Great British Menu 2016 Blog by Jenna Lloyd - London/South East heat

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th October 2016

The London/South East heat of Great British Menu 2016 saw the return of Mark Froydenlund, head chef at Marcus Wareing’s two Michelin star restaurant Marcus in The Berkeley.

Competing against him were newcomers Ronnie Murray (formerly group head chef at Hix Restaurants) and Russell Bateman, head chef at Colette’s at The Grove. Russell joked that he would least like Richard Corrigan to be the veteran judge for their heat and guess who walked through the door?!

Russell is no stranger to a Michelin restaurant kitchen, having previously worked at the likes of  Gordon Ramsay's Pétrus and Daniel Clifford's Midsummer House. It was clear that his food style would differ significantly from Ronnie’s, who now runs a monthly supper club ‘Peckham Manor’ from his home in London.

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - starter course

Hoping to get a dish to the Banquet this year, Mark was first up with his starter – a contemporary and playful take on the classic Bubble & Squeak. A rather complicated dish, Mark was working with several elements including a cabbage, potato and ham hock croquette and pork jowls cooked in beer and cider.

Introducing some rather technical cooking, Mark used maltose to make a sweet crackling, which would pop when added to hot oil. He also combined whiskey, spices and agar to make a piccalilli gel. Also on Mark’s plate were pickled cauliflower and cabbage, shredded spring onion, cep powder and the cooking juice from his pork jowls.

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - starter course

Richard thought this was a beautifully presented and elegant dish. He liked the croquette and piccalilli combination but felt overall that the dish needed an earthy flavour to balance out the sweetness.

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - starter courseFormer National Chef of the Year Russell Bateman was preparing a rather unconventional starter using Cumberland sausages and a fishy consommé! He opted to serve his seafood (native oysters, diver caught scallops and Grimsby smoked haddock) raw. These would be lightly cooked when the broth was added. Russell did however very briefly poach his Colchester oysters in apple juice beforehand to give them a bit of flavour. He made balls of sausage meat for texture and these were joined by brown sauce, apple, seafood and nasturtium leaves.

‘From Humble Beginnings’ was a dish representing the moment that a Great Briton gets their letter from Buckingham Palace. The bowls were served in presentation boxes with the letter on top and the hot sausage broth in jugs on the side.

>>> More sausage recipes can be found here...

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - starter course

Richard Corrigan is a big fan of oysters (he has his own oyster bar in London!) and he felt that Russell’s were overcooked. He added that the brown sauce had been lost in the dish but called all the other elements ‘magical’.

Ronnie Murray - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - starter courseRonnie Murray had spent a lot of time in the library above the restaurant prior to the show, researching his dishes in old cookbooks. His menu was a look at some of British historic dishes, starting with rook pie. As it is now illegal to shoot rook commercially, Ronnie was cooking pigeon – mincing the leg meat, pan frying the breast and using the carcass to make a gravy. He too was using brown sauce but did not make his own like Russell did – he simply added it to the gravy at the end. He also chose to incorporate pigeon livers into the mince, despite advice from his previous boss Mark Hix who said they might be too strong a flavour.

Ronnie’s ‘Mock Rook Pie’ was a bit like shepherd’s pie. He baked Duke of York potatoes before scooping them out and deep frying the shells.  He topped them with the mince and confit leg, then poured over the gravy and placed the breast on top. Also on the plate were some swede balls and root vegetables cooked in butter.

>>> More pigeon recipes here...

Ronnie Murray - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - starter course

Richard said that he could not see this dish at the Banquet. He said Ronnie should lose the brown sauce but added that the pigeon was cooked beautifully and the potato reminded him “how good something so simple can be”.

Scores for the London/South East starter were a six for Ronnie, a seven for Mark and an eight to Russell.

Judge Richard Corrigan loves fish and has a fish restaurant (Sea Grill in Harrods) so the pressure was really on for the London chefs as they went into the Fish course.

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - fish courseCurrent leader Russell had been inspired by the Notting Hill Carnival and chose to put a taste of the Caribbean in his dish. He was cooking Cornish lobster three ways using jerk spices and highlights of pineapple and coconut to pack the flavours in.

He served the dish in three stacked serving dishes containing ingredients. On the top, a canape-style lobster knuckle cooked in jerk butter, garnished with lobster emulsion and crispy artichoke served on a bed of spices. The second serving contained jerk lobster tail with an artichoke and coconut milk puree, charred pineapple and coconut shavings. On the base were lobster tail, claw and coconut milk dumplings in a soup with diced pineapple.

>>> Plenty of lobster recipes here...

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - fish course

Richard wasn’t sure about the flavours initially but said that it was “mind blowing” and very original.

Ronnie Murray - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - fish course

Ronnie Murray was cooking Colchester rock oysters. Was this a bit of a risk with Richard as their judge? He prepared the oysters at three different temperatures – warm, chilled and frozen. The raw ones were topped with a Bloody Mary frozen granita and garnished with freshly chopped celery leaf. The chilled oysters were served in a gin and tonic jelly. Ronnie deep fried the remaining oysters in crispy angel hair pastry at the last minute, which he served with a spicy mayonnaise.

>>> Looking for more oyster recipes?

Ronnie Murray - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - fish course

While Richard felt that Ronnie had cooked them perfectly, he said that there was a bit too much alcohol and this overpowered the fishy flavours.

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - fish course

Mark Froydenlund decided to pay tribute to the men and women of the RNLI for his fish course, ‘Duty Calls’. He lightly cured and roasted cod in lots of butter before topping it with a mussel garnish. He prepared a potato mousse and crispy ‘potato crumbs’ to go with the fish, as well as a flavoursome take on ketchup using chilli and ginger and a parsley and pea sauce. This was not just fish and chips!

The idea behind the dish was when duty calls for the volunteers, that they may have to interrupt their dinner. Mark donned a life jacket at service and Richard said that really liked this story behind the dish. 

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - fish course

Unfortunately, Richard felt that the cod was slightly overcooked and he said the potato mousse got lost. He did however really like the other ‘sauces’ using tomato and pea.

Richard was completely overwhelmed by Russell’s fish course and scored him a perfect ten. He gave Ronnie an eight and said that with a few tweaks, his oysters could be at the Banquet. Mark got the lowest score of the day with a seven. Russell said that “nuances of cooking times should be spot on for a chef of your calibre”.

There was no easing up on our London competitors - the region has previously produced five Great British Menu Banquet winners! Last year, London/South East chef Matt Gillan had a winning main course – could another chef from the region do the same this year?

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - main courseMark Froydenlund seemed to be feeling the pressure more than his peers, having received a nine for his main course the year before. His dish ‘A Celebration of Rose Veal’ was a tribute to British farmers and how their quality produce has helped to transform British food over the years. He poached and roasted his rack of veal, then vacuum packed the eye cooking it in a marinade in the water bath. The sauce had a barbecue base but resembled a classic jus.

He accompanied his meat with ‘spring like’ vegetables, including fresh chestnuts, carrots rolled in pine nuts, broccoli florets, braised stems and carrot powder. Mark finished the dish with black garlic puree. He served his veal rib on a sizzle platter, garnished with more pine nuts, carrot powder, crispy broccoli and chick weed. His veal sauce in jugs on the side, he also placed a commemorative plaque with the dish – from a farmer who lost cattle in the Foot and Mouth crisis.

>>> We've got some veal recipes for you to try...

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - main course

Richard said that Mark took a brave risk in taking on the veal but he loved what he did with it! He called it a stunning dish with personality and said that all of the cooking was spot on. Richard particularly liked the carrots - "what flavour!" 


Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - main courseCurrently well in the lead, Russell Bateman said there was still “no room for complacency” as he began his dish ‘Modesty Meets Royalty’. Based on the moment that a Great Briton meets the Queen for the first time, Russell was cooking modest ingredients but hoping to elevate them to Banquet standard. He started by braising beef cheek in treacle before cooking it sous vide. He smoked bone marrow and made sourdough breadcrumb cooked in beef dripping. He also caramelised a beef fillet before finishing it with the treacle and a spice mix. 

He called it a ‘posh beef dinner’ and paired the meat with salt-baked treacle Chantenay carrots, crispy kale and a carrot puree. Also on the plate was a watercress tarragon and parsley oil. Russell served his treacle braising juice in individual jugs and presented Richard with antique knives on a ceremonial cushion.

>>> Lots of tasty Scotch beef recipes here...

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - main course

Richard called the beef “fantastic” but he said the cheek was a little stringy. He said each other element was cooked perfectly and really liked the sourdough crust.


Ronnie Murray - Great British Menu 2016 - London South/East heat - main course

Ronnie’s dish featured two eight-bone racks of lamb, tied together in a ‘Crown of Honour’. In the centre of the crown, Ronnie would make a lamb neck curry with some interesting samphire pakoras and a green apple relish. He joked with judge Richard that if he overcooked his lamb, he may as well go home! Despite saying this, he wasn’t sure first time so he put the racks back in for a little while while he deep fried the pakoras.

The final result was rather impressive, the crown of lamb stayed together despite Ronnie taking the string out and he placed it on a bed of crispy kale. He filled it with his curry then topped the curry with coriander and parsley. The pakoras and relish went on a side dish.

>>> Click here for some different Scotch lamb recipes...

Ronnie Murray - Great British Menu 2016 - London South/East heat - main course

Richard said he’d be very happy to have this dish with a pint but he said ultimately, the lamb was overcooked and it was the most important thing on the plate! He wasn’t totally impressed by Ronnie’s curry either and said the spices needed cooking out a bit more.

Another ten appeared as Richard praised Mark’s rose veal dish. He gave Russell a nine and Ronnie a seven. Would there be a shake-up with the desserts?

Mark Froydenlund was determined not to leave after the desserts this year, especially riding on his high score from yesterday.

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - dessert courseHis dessert ‘Island of Spice’ incorporated foods of the Commonwealth, particularly Grenada. He served pineapple two ways, confit and a sorbet. A bit of a ‘pina colada’ feel, he added coconut and rum syrup to the confit. He also made a coconut meringue and an aerated panna cotta which he froze. Mark also made a ginger sponge with treacle which he cooked in the microwave! Ronnie poked fun at him for this: “two Michelin stars and you’ve got microwave sponge!”

He dipped the sponge in the rum syrup and added it to the plate with the other elements. He garnished with finger lime cells, lime zest and nutmeg and served the plate on a map of the Commonwealth.

>>> Looking for pineapple recipes?

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - dessert course

Richard called this dish “well crafted” – he loved the pineapple meringue and sorbet. He added however that the sponge was too heavy and the syrup made the dish too sweet.

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - dessert courseLeader Russell Bateman’s dessert was technically tricky (as usual). ‘Is it a biscuit or is it a cake?’ was based on an afternoon tea, the kind the Great Britons might celebrate with after receiving their honors. The dish comprised of three elements – a jaffa cake, an ice cream sandwich and a jammy wheel. He made the jaffa with two types of chocolate, dark and milk. He made the dark chocolate into a mousse and made an orange jelly for the centre. The base was a Genoese sponge.

Once it was all set, Russell poured a chocolate mirror glaze over the whole thing. The second element was made using an orange parfait, which Russell sandwiched together with dehydrated sponge. His jammy wheel was made from cocoa nib biscuits with whipped white chocolate and marmalade. The dish was elegantly presented on plates and cake stands, with a pot of tea to accompany it.

>>> We have tons of recipes using chocolate!

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - dessert course

Richard called the presentation “innovative”. He praised the jaffa and its mirror glaze but wasn’t sure about the concept of high tea. He said the proportions were off, “less would have been more”.

Ronnie Murray - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - dessert course

Ronnie Murray was hoping to save himself from a lower score with a dish that his grandmother used to make. To honor her memory, Ronnie was making a two-layered jelly/mousse from scratch using Hereford raspberry puree.

Formerly a trained pastry chef, Ronnie was a bit worried that the jellies wouldn’t come out of the mold in one piece but luckily they did. He also chose to bake some honey oats with whiskey and some shortbread, as a tribute to his family’s Scottish heritage. For that contemporary edge, Ronnie served his jellies with freeze dried and fresh raspberries. A raspberry sorbet, raspberry puree and a tin of evaporated milk completed his fruity dessert. He felt he had done his grandma proud with this very personal dish.

>>> Click here for more raspberry recipes

Ronnie Murray - Great British Menu 2016 - London/South East heat - dessert course

Richard liked Ronnie’s shortbread but wasn’t sure about the jelly/mousse combination. He said that technically he had pulled it off but the portion was too big and the sorbet was far too sweet.

He awarded Ronnie a seven and Mark the same, but gave Russell a much lower score of six for his afternoon tea. This did not affect Russell’s lead too much and so he - along with Mark - would be at Friday’s judging.

Ronnie was disappointed but he felt he had learnt a lot and had fun. We’ll be watching Ronnie from here on out – be sure to check out his supper club Peckham Manor and get tickets for more of his tasty food!

Friday’s London/South East Judging saw a showdown between returning chef Mark Froydenlund and newcomer Russell Bateman. Russell had topped the leaderboard all week – he had even been awarded two tens. Could he deliver the same standard and would it impress the four judges as much as it did Richard Corrigan?

Guest judging this week was Kevin Gould, a former chef turned grocer, now an award-winning food writer.

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London South East heat - judging

In Russell’s starter ‘From Humble Beginnings’ he served raw seafood, that was cooked slightly when you added the broth to it. Richard suggested that Russell keep the oyster raw and he took this advice. He also took out the mussel in the hope that the seafood would cook a bit quicker. Prue Leith was rather impressed by this technical element to the dish and Kevin was particularly fond of the haddock in the dish.

Richard called Mark’s starter too sweet so in an attempt to balance that flavour he added a ceps mushroom dressing for a bit of earthiness. He also decided to hold back a bit on the caramel for his maltose crackling, increasing the pork fat in the glaze instead. The judges were very impressed with this dish and said he had struck the right balance with his flavours. This had set them up very well for the remaining courses.

Russell’s fish course ‘Caribbean Carnival Queen’ was the first ten of the week. He lovingly dubbed it the “department store of flavour” as he stacked his three serving dishes filled with different ingredients. Kevin Gould was blown away by this dish – he loved the theme, the aromas and the ‘piquancy’ of the pickled pineapple.

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London South East heat - judging

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London South East heat - judging Mark’s fish course was a tribute to the men and women of the RNLI. Richard had been unimpressed by the cooking in this dish and told Mark that his flavours were ‘too safe’ and his cod was overcooked. Mark was pinning his hopes on the flavours in his chili and ginger tomato sauce to raise the dish up. He also chose to cook the cod last minute so as not to make the same mistake again. He gave the servers lifejackets for service and was hoping he’d done enough to improve his previous score. He added purple potatoes, to which Matthew said he was ‘grabbing at lifebelts’ to try and rescue the dish. Prue however really liked the dish, particularly the flavours in the parsley sauce.

 

It was revealed just before the main courses that there was currently only a two-point difference between the two chefs. Everything was still to play for!

 

Mark’s rose veal main received a ten from Richard earlier in the week. It met equal praise with the judging panel on Friday, with Matthew Fort calling it “utterly delicious”. They praised the fact that the dish was simple, yet refined and each element was cooked well and tasted great.

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London South East heat - judging

Russell’s main ‘Modesty Meets Royalty’ combined a cheaper ingredient (beef cheek) with more luxury ones (beef fillet and smoked bone marrow). Richard Corrigan said that Russell’s cheek was a bit stringy and he was conscious of this as he prepared the meat this time. Oliver Peyton said that the fillet was a poor choice and Matthew struggled to see the connection with the brief.

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London South East heat - judging

Mark’s dessert was also a tribute to the exotic flavours of the Commonwealth but he was criticised for his sponge being too heavy. He tried reinventing the sponge with pineapple chunks but they were too wet and didn’t work. Remaking the sponge, he added pineapple powder instead and made another alteration, replacing his plates for different ones. This dish impressed Oliver a bit more and he said Mark was “back on form”. Kevin called the dessert “refreshing”

Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London South East heat - judging Russell’s dessert was a refined take on afternoon tea. Richard felt that the proportions were all a bit too big so Russell was baring this in mind as he served his three components. Kevin liked the difference in flavours and textures offered by the dessert but Oliver disagreed, saying that the chocolate wasn’t flavoursome enough. He also didn’t like that the biscuits came apart as he said you would expect to eat them with your hands and you couldn’t do that.

After much deliberation, the judges decided that Mark Froydenlund was the winner of the London/South East heat. They called his veal the “pinnacle of modern British cooking” and he hoped that Marcus would be impressed by the win. They also commended Russell’s starter, which scored nines across the board.

Mark Froydenlund - Great British Menu 2016 - London South East heat - judging

Overall Prue called it “one of the most pleasurable days” she’d I've ever had and said that she wished she could have put them both through.

 Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London South East heat - judging

Mark Froydenlund winner - Russell Bateman - Great British Menu 2016 - London South East heat - judging

 >>> Read our interviews with the GBM London/South East chefs here

>>> Read more about Great British Menu 2016 here

 

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th October 2016

Great British Menu 2016 Blog by Jenna Lloyd - London/South East heat