Great British Menu 2016 blog by Jenna Lloyd - the North West heat

The Staff Canteen

This will be a blog that builds over the week, rounding up each episode of the North West heat of Great British Menu 2016.


Competing in the North West heat this year was reigning regional champion Matt Worswick, the Savoy Grill’s first female chef, Kim Woodward and Adam Reid, protégé of Simon Rogan. Judging the three contestants would be former Banquet winner and holder of two Michelin stars Phil Howard.


Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

Matt Worswick is executive chef The Latymer in Surrey. His fish course was shortlisted in the final this year and this year, he is hoping to win. His starter ‘Liver and Onions’ aimed at a contemporary gastronomic re-imagining of the British classic.

>>> See more liver dishes here

Matt blowtorched ox liver and cooked it sous vide. He roasted baby red onions with bone marrow and thyme, and pickled shallot rings in a mix containing coriander and fennel seeds. He also opted to caramelise some onions in the bone marrow fat and cook some crispy shallots in butter. Matt wasn’t just showcasing British cuisine but he was attempting to show every technique possible for this course. He brought in a centrifuge to make his gravy.

He piped his mash into the bottom of the bowl then added the onions, liver and gravy, red onion, soft shallots and bone marrow. He topped with a generous garnish of crispy shallots and seasoned with dehydrated onion ash. For that roasted aroma “like me mam used to make”, Matt had boxed where British flags covered dry ice and dehydrated burnt onions. He poured the gravy over this at service to activate the smell and smoke.

Judge Phil Howard said that while the dish was a classic and the ‘kind of thing we all like to eat’, he didn't feel that all the behind-the-scenes techniques showed in Matt’s starter and said it lost finesse in its execution. He did however say that the shallots and onions were delicious, the mash was rich and the gravy delivered.


Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

Kim Woodward - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

Kim, a former protégé of Gordon Ramsay created was a tribute to the British Overseas Territories, ‘B.O.T’. She used exotic flavour combinations in a broth for the langoustines – coffee, ginger, sugar cane and rum to name a few. Kim also made a chickpea and coconut milk houmous and served in bowls with sea trout, chickpea crackers, sweet potato crackers, coconut shavings. Her broth was in a bottle on the side with a little message lodged in the top, explaining what the B.O.T are.

Phil felt that the idea really worked well with the brief, the crackers added great texture and the crab worked well. He added however that she should have had a larger piece of crab and he said that the langoustine broth had a confused flavour. The houmous he felt looked cloudy at the bottom of the bowl.


Kim Woodward - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

Adam Reid is head chef at Simon Rogan’s The French at the Midland Hotel. Judge was very excited about this dish – as he felt it was inspired by Simon’s canapes and he called them the “best in the world”.

Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

Adam’s starter ‘From Pakoras to the Palace’ was inspired by his family friend Laila Remtulla MBE. Laila found success starting her own company Laila's Fine Foods, selling homemade bahjis forty years ago. He would pay tribute to Laila’s Tanzanian and Indian heritage by making samosas with a spiced cabbage, mustard seed and goats curd filling. He also served a bittetachamp – an east African dish of spiced mince wrapped in mash and paneed before being deep fried.

Adam served his samosas in a traditional Indian tiffin box, decorated with flavours. To accompany the bittetechamp, he served dates poached in tamarind and a saffron infused cultured cream with chopped anise hissop?, parsley and mint. He also made a chilli tomato dressing for the pakoras.

Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

>>> Click here to read previous GBM blogs

Phil said that Adam’s starter was fun to eat and well executed but he felt that the pakora didn’t deliver. He suggested adding some crab to boost the flavour.

Adam received the highest score for his starter – an eight. Matt’s liver dish was given a seven and Kim’s a six. There’s still all to play for as we head to the fish course tonight!

Adam Reid was in the lead as the North West chefs head into the fish course last night. There was only one point between the chefs though so there was still everything to cook for! Judge Phil Howard won at the Banquet with his fish course so he had high expectations for the three contestants.

Kim Woodward - Great British Menu 2016 - North West HeatKim Woodward was on the lowest score but she felt confident that her dish ‘Great Miners’ would change this. The star of Kim’s course was a big piece of halibut, brushed with charcoal oil and coated in a mix of fennel seeds, paprika and celery salt.

She cooked the fish on an indoor barbecue – as the dish was a tribute to North West miners. To accompany the fish, Kim made crushed black potatoes and black bread rolls, using squid ink for colour. She made a brown butter sauce with capers, lemon juice and chives.


>>> For more halibut recipes, click here…


Kim made a ‘gravel’ for her dish using black olive and rosemary. She presented the dish in miniature coal carts with the brown butter sauce in little pots. While unsure about the ‘double carbohydrate’ element of serving potatoes and bread, she felt it did fit with the theme of miner’s food. Matt said that he would have used less olive with the dish.

Kim Woodward - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

Judge Phil said that Kim’s rolls were under-proved but that the black element of the course definitely had impact. He went on to say that her halibut was “what cooking is all about”!

 Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West HeatReigning champion Matt Worswick was making a reinvention of the classic ‘Prawn Cocktail’. In an attempt to make it more refined, he made an iceberg lettuce puree with a dash of spinach and salt. He coated langoustine tails in lemon oil, star anise and thyme at poached them in a water bath at 56 degrees.

Interestingly, Matt chose to freeze his Marie Rose sauce with liquid nitrogen. He said that he hoped this would give the ‘cold crunch’ familiar with a prawn cocktail.

He served his fish course on a plate surrounded by ‘psychedelic’ flowers and coloured lights. First on the plate was the puree, then the langoustines, then some raw lettuce discs for added crunch. Matt chose not to make his own bread and used shop-bought bread for croutons. He also added cucumber flowers to the plate and finished with lemon oil and frozen lemon.Both of the other competing chefs felt that Matt’s dish would score a nine.

Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West Heat

Phil Howard called his presentation ‘naff’ but then said that prawn cocktail IS naff. He said that the puree was used in the right way and Matt’s sauce was ‘spot on’. He was however disappointed by the langoustines and said that they lacked character being cooked at a low temperature.

>>> Check out Wild Atlantic Prawns for more inspiring prawn combinations

Adam Reid- Great British Menu 2016 - North West Heat

Adam Reid’s dish ‘By The Seaside’ was inspired by his family trips to Bridlington as a child. He fried his hake and finished it in clarified butter. Rather than doing a ‘fish and chips’,

Adam chose to make his version of chip shop ‘scraps’, small pieces of batter cooked in vinegar and gin to make them puffy and light. He would serve pickled cockles, sea greens and an aerated tartare sauce on the side.

Adam said that his dish was partly inspired by the late Connie Brown MBE, who was still working in Brown’s café in Pembroke just before her death at the age of 102.

A tribute to Connie, Adam served his course on a newspaper and wrapped it inside it.

Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West Heat

The other chefs said that you would expect chips with the dish. Kim also said that the ‘scraps’ had no vinegary bite to them. Judge Phil was intrigued by the scraps to begin with but agreed that they lacked impact when served with everything else. He said that the hake was risky but that Adam had cooked it perfectly and it had met the brief well. He felt that unfortunately overall there was a lack of vitality in the dish.

The scores from Phil were a nine for Kim (boosting her low score from Monday), a seven for Adam and a six for Matt. This puts our North West chefs on level pegging as they go into the mains this evening!

Yesterday saw Kim Woodward claw her way back and win the fish course with a high score of nine. The chefs were now halfway towards an elimination and the scores were level pegging.

Kim Woodward - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heatKim's main,  ‘Bobbys on the Beat’ was dedicated to the men and women of the police force honoured by the Queen. This was a rather personal theme for her as her grandfather was in the force for twenty-two years and her husband was too at one point.

>>> Check out more pork recipes here...

The star of her dish was a pork rack from Suffolk which Kim chose to roast whole, having brined it in fresh bergamot, garlic and thyme. She also chose to serve pork cheeks and made a blue cheese and apple biscuit which resembled a scone.

Kim wanted to make a 'tea' - a pork liquor infused with earl grey tea and bergamot. She served her dish in 'copper' pans - a bit of a play on words! First, petals of charred onion, then the sliced bergamot-infused pork loin.

On the side were teacups with buttered cabbage, braised cheek and sage.
 Her teapot was filled with her 'tea' and her blue cheese biscuit on the side. Her presentation was completed with flashing replica police hats!

Kim Woodward - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

Matt Worswick said that her pork was a tad pink and needed more resting time. This did not seem to be how judge Phil Howard felt as he said that Kim's pork delivered way above expectations.

Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heatHe said that the dish however was lacking in detail - her biscuit lacking in finesse, her sauce too thin. He also said that a vegetable would have been appropriate

 Adam Reid was looking to score more points with ‘Time for Tea’ – a nostalgic beef and vegetable dish that was inspired by family roast dinners.  

>>> We've got loads of beef recipes here...

Adam removed the fat from 42-day-aged Cumbrian shorthorn beef sirloin, slow cooked it and rolled it back around the fillet ready to cook souse vide. Adam like Kim would also serve cheek - ox cheeks cooked in a pressure cooker and tea -  a caramelised onion and beef shin broth in the style of a tea.

Phil was expecting big flavours from this cut of meat but was concerned if Adam could bring the refinement that you wouldn't get at home.Anna Kennedy OBE - tweet - Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West Heat

Adam met Anna Kennedy OBE, a campaigner for autism who set up a specialist school after two sons were diagnosed in 1999.

The school is now the largest of its kind in Europe and teaches the children life skills like cooking.

Serving on fine china, on a tray customised with family photos, Adam's beef and ox cheeks were accompanied by braised cabbage cooked in butter, sliced sirloin, honey glazed parsnips, crushed salt baked carrots, roast potatoes, turnip discs and horseradish sauce.

He served beef gravy in a jug and his barbecued-shin beef broth in a teapot, inside a model house.

Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

The other chefs agreed that the 'tea' was packed full of flavour and worked with the dish. Phil  said that the ox cheek perfect, the sauce was rich and the tea was fun but he didn't like how Adam handled the sirloin.

 Matt Worswick Great British Menu 2016 - North West heatIn keeping with the theme of Matt's menu, he was looking to rework classic ‘Coronation Chicken’, a staple dish that he feels has fallen out of favour and been reduced to a 'sandwich filler'. There was a lot of pressure as Matt got a ten for his main last year and two chefs in theis series had previously made coronation chicken that the judges found lacking.

>>> For more chicken recipes, click here...

Matt cooked a North West baby chicken in a water bath. He opted to make a Bombay mix from scratch, combining chickpea flour, turmeric and water in a noodle press to make sev noodles. These were then combined with black wild rice, roasted peanuts and almonds, as well as spice mix. He froze, minced and fried chicken skin which he hoped would bring an intense flavour. His chicken was shredded and made into quenelles with fresh mango puree, salsa and coriander.

Onto a gold rimmed plate went buttermilk gel, his quenelles, chicken breasts topped with the bombay mix, mango salsa and more gel. With a final season and a garnish of coriander cress and pickled golden raisins, the dish was finished with a coronation - with a crown around the rim of the plate.

Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

Kim and Adam were impressed with Matt's Bombay mix and his substitution of apricot for mango. Phil suggested that Matt had roasted the leg meat so that it was a bit coarser but overall felt that the dish was a great interpretation of the beef. He said that the Bombay mix was inspired and the flavours worked perfectly.

Phil gave Matt a nine but said the dish had "legs to go the whole way". He then scored Adam an eight and Kim a six. 

With Matt Worswick in the lead and Adam Reid one point behind, things were very close as the North West chefs entered the dessert course. Could Kim Woodward claw her way back after her main scored low?  Judge Phil Howard said he has a very sweet tooth but he’d be very particular about the desserts...

Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West judgingMatt was a bit nervous, as he felt he ‘bombed’ last year with his dessert. He had set himself the challenge of reinventing Peach Melba, a dish first conceived at Kim’s restaurant, the Savoy.

His technical element, some frozen smashed raspberries using liquid nitrogen. He caramelised some peaches to make a puree and poached the others in peach schnapps and vanilla. He served his peaches with a vanilla ice cream and he made a raspberry sponge which he heated in the microwave.

Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West

Serving on boards with replica OBE medals, the other chefs weren’t sure if Matt had elevated the dish enough for it to be banquet-worthy.

Phil said that it was such a simple thing to serve but it worked. He complimented Matt’s peaches and ice cream but felt the Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West judgingpresentation was a bit lacking. He also said that the dish felt a bit dry towards the end and suggested that Matt add more ice cream or replace the fresh raspberries with jelly.

Adam Reid was also feeling the pressure as he was the only North West chef not to have scored higher than an eight this week. His very technical dish, ‘Golden Empire’ featured a blown sugar apple centrepiece.

The dish was a reinvention of apple crumble. Matt cut a hole in his apples using a heated copper pipe and filled the apples with an aerated custard flavoured with meadowsweet, apple compote and baked crumble mix with hazelnut praline. On the side was an apple granita ‘snow’.

Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West

The contemporary dish, Phil described as impressive and beautiful but he felt the granita jarred rather than complementing the apples.

 Kim Woodward - Great British Menu 2016 - North West judgingKim was aiming for a ten with her dessert, ‘Guards of the Tower’. A tribute to Yeomans Warders a.k.a beefeaters as her great grandfather was one for over twenty four years.

She made a gin and tonic flavoured jelly, inside which she put a poppy seeded jelly using a syringe. Kim also served a chocolate ganache infused with the botanicals from her gin – coriander and liquorice.

She made white soil from chocolate and popping candy and made ‘crown jewels’ petitfours with yoghurt and lime.

Kim served her dessert in a box shaped like the Tower of London, her jelly was on glass over lights to create a 3D effect. Kim also put white gloves on the box for picking up the jewels.

 Kim Woodward - Great British Menu 2016 - North West

Phil said that the jelly was impressive – he’d never seen something like it. He felt the gin and tonic flavours worked a treat. He felt Kim was let down by the ice cream and chocolates as the flavours and edible spray paint were not as elegant.

Phil scored Kim and Matt an eight each and Adam a nine. This meant that Kim was eliminated, but we have no doubt she will continue to do great things at the Savoy and beyond and we’ll be keeping an eye out!

Matt and Adam were the two remaining North West chefs fighting for a place in the national finals. The Banquet this year will be held at the Palace of Westminster and the guest will be Britons honoured by the Queen. The two chefs ended the dessert course on the same score so the competition would be fierce.

Joining regular judges Oliver, Matthew and Prue was guest Lady Claire MacDonald OBE, a food writer and cook who was honoured for services to hospitality and charity.

 Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West judging

Hoping to get to the final again, Matt was making most of the alterations suggested by Phil Howard. His starter ‘Liver and Onions’, he opted not to use a blowtorch on the meat and served more liver, less onions as per the advice. His interactive element of the beef gravy over dry ice please Claire, who said the smell was great. The judges weren’t totally convinced however that the liver and onions together were banquet-worthy.

For Adam's starter 'From Pakoras to the Palace', he added crab to the pakoras after Phil had said there wasn't enough seafood flavour. While the judges liked the flavours, they weren't sure if his dish was modern enough.

Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West judging 

For Matt’s fish course, he cooked his langoustines for longer – ‘I’m not arguing with big Phil!’ He chose to serve the iceberg lettuce as it is rather than as disks. Adam questioned whether this would make the dish look less refined but Matt assured him it was to give the lettuce more presence. His ‘naff’ presentation, Matthew said was ‘unparalleled vulgarity’. Claire spotted one of her langoustines was not completely cooked but Oliver thought they were cooked well.

Adam added a malt vinegar gel to his cockles to add flavour. All of the judges agreed that the hake was delicious but Oliver felt that the scraps were the most delicious thing on the plate. He went as far as to say that it “was everything his starter was not”.

For Adam’s main ‘Time for Tea’, he served the meat ‘as rare as he possibly could’ as he felt it was necessary with such a well-aged piece of meat. While they were impressed with the beef tea and the flavours, Prue questioned whether a ‘small roast dinner’ deserved a place at a banquet.

 Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West judging

Matt’s Coronation Chicken main was his highest scoring dish of the week. Phil Howard said that the confit chicken leg needed more texture so Matt deboned and rolled thigh meat, frying it ‘like a posh chicken nugget’ in an attempt to meet that. Oliver called it stunning and felt it was a more accurate representation of the multicultural Britain we have now than the original coronation chicken. Claire was particularly impressed with the Bombay mix, that Matt made himself from scratch.

Adam’s technical dessert was the most challenging. Tensions rose when he dropped one of his blow glass apples and had to quickly make a replacement! The fillings for the apples really impressed the panel, who felt that the combination of temperatures and textures were very good. Matthew called it ‘amazingly delicate’ and Prue said she’d “give it twelve if she could!”

 Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West judging

To stop any dryness in his dessert, Matt made a substitution of raspberry jelly cubes instead of fresh raspberries in his Peach Melba. He deliberated adding more colour to his presentation by using the flowers from his prawn cocktail but chose not to in the end. This was another dish in which the different textures, temperatures and flavours really impressed the judges. Matthew loved the raspberry jelly, saying it dissolved instantly in your mouth.

The judges said that both chefs had done the North West proud and found it difficult to come to a decision about who should go. They said that both had three great dishes and one not-so-good one.

Adam Reid - Great British Menu 2016 - North West judging

However, it was Adam Reid who came out on top in the end. His ‘Golden Empire’ scored him tens across the board from the judges. Matt said it was ‘great to lose to someone like Adam’ and the judges suggested he should come back in case he is third time lucky!

Matt Worswick - Great British Menu 2016 - North West judging


>>>  Read our interviews with the North West chefs here

>>> Read more about Great British Menu here




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Great British Menu 2016 blog by Jenna Lloyd - the North West heat