Great British Menu 2018 blog by Cameron Huck – Wales heat

The  Staff Canteen

The Great British Menu is back and the contestants this week are from Wales. The chefs have begun the battle to get the chance to cook at a banquet honouring 70 years of the NHS.

Entering the kitchen this week is Jason Hughes from Chateau Rhianfa, Chris Harrod, chef-owner of the Michelin-starred The Whitebrook and Andrew Sheridan, the executive head chef from Sosban.

Week 5 of the Great British Menu sees three first-timers representing Wales, who eagerly awaited to see who the veteran judge was going to be and it was former dessert course champion and Michelin-starred chef Paul Ainsworth.

Paul admitted that he would be ‘very hard to please’ and when discussing the theme of this year’s show said:

GBM Wales Andrew chicken soup dish

“Everybody has some connection to the NHS, what better way to be able to portray yourself and just give everything on a plate.”

Andrew Sheridan was taking inspiration from a dish that his mum used to give him when he was poorly – chicken soup.

However, this being the Great British Menu, Andrew was taking a nostalgic dish and elevating it - his dish ‘Mum’s flu-fighting Chicken soup’ had six chicken elements to it; using its legs for the soup,  fillets cooked confit style as well as a chicken oyster and a chicken lollipop.

>>> recipes from Andrew Sheridan here

Michelin-starred chef Chris' dish was inspired by the concept of therapeutic gardens in hospitals. As well as using foraged herbs and flowers. Chris made a black pudding as a base to sit his ‘sensory garden’ on which would be pan-fried and popped into a crumb to provide a ‘soil’ like base for his smoked beetroot to give an impression of an ‘edible garden’. 

Paul liked the inspiration behind the dish but was concerned that there were so few ingredients. He hoped that the smoked beetroot would ‘blow his mind’. He felt that there was not a lot of cooking and that Chris would really need to ‘pull it out of the bag’. 

GBM Wales chris sensory garden

Jason was hoping to use his military precision to help him stay on track. His take on a post-war recipe  ‘A Tea from the Heart’was dedicated to the 'WVS’ who served beef tea to patients. Paul felt that ‘the inspiration behind the dish was the best' and it included ‘meat’ teabags, duck hearts and tongue and a ‘truffle’ like potato in a squid ink breadcrumb.

Chris was first to the pass with his dish ‘A Sensory Garden’,  Paul felt that the smokiness of the beetroot was ‘just enough’ 

Andrew was up next with his dish but unfortunately, his egg yolk was cold and he forgot his oyster chicken element.

Last up was Jason with his dish ‘A Tea from the heart’, which included his beef teabags served in a teapot to pour over the main dish, Paul expressed concern that the dish would go cold whilst he was waiting for the beef to ‘brew’. wales a tea from the heart jason.JPGWhen presenting the scores, Paul awarded Jason with a 5 citing that his duck heart was overcooked, the tongue ‘didn’t deliver’ and his ‘truffle’ was style over substance. He felt that Jason wasn’t the ‘master of that dish’ and that it needed more work. Paul reiterated that he liked the idea and that Jason had clearly thought hard about the theme,

Chris was given a 7 by Paul who felt that if this made it to the banquet, as a guest he would completely understand what Chris was trying to achieve. Paul did feel that it lacked ‘oomph’ and whilst it was delicious, he wanted more  -saying that 'he didn’t want a great dish but an incredible dish.'

Andrew was awarded a 6 for his dish and Paul said that he was ‘really impressed’ with the dish, but advised that he didn’t feel ‘energised’ and that it needed more seasoning. Referring to Andrew’s egg yolk issue, he said that this element needed work. 

In summary, Paul said: “Let’s just put this down to a bad start – a shaky start, but understand that you are on Great British Menu”

As the Great British Menu went into its second day for the chefs representing Wales, it meant they had to prepare their fish course. All the chefs knew they had to up their game to really try and get out ahead and into the regional final.

Jason who had struggled with his timings for the starters was making a dish involving over 40 ingredients! This was to then be simplified into a 3 part dish, made up of a sweet potato puree, Café du Paris butter and scallops which he pan-fried and then grilled. He topped the entire dish with a chicken skin granola. It was named ‘A Lot Behind the Scenes’.

A lot behind the scenes

Second up was Chris. He was hoping to consolidate his lead with his dish ‘It’s Not An Aspirin, It’s An Apple A Day That Keeps The Doctor Away’. He was also using scallops but in a tartare, meadowsweet, the herb aspirin used to be made from, caramelised cauliflower puree and rosehip and crab apple jelly. All of this was served in a hollowed out apple.

chris apple per day

Andrew Sheridan forgot one of his components in the starter much to the bemusement of veteran chef Paul, so Andrew knew that he had to really wow him to get ahead. He utilised a monumental amount of ingredients in his cooking, even more than Jason in fact. Called ‘Gran Was Right About Cod Liver Oil’, it involved cod which was cooked in a water bath at 54C then blowtorched, a sushi rice cracker and a smoked cod roe emulsion.

Cod Liver Oil

>>> recipes from Andrew Sheridan here

Once they had all served up Paul had his say. Jason’s dish was over-spiced and needed a bit more refinement but was an awesome example of seafood cooking for Paul. Andrew was praised for how his story came across and how he managed to balance all his flavours but Paul was not a fan of how the cod was pink in the middle. Paul enjoyed the spectacle of Chris’ dish but found it to be too big of a portion with too many flavours.

This only left the scores to be mentioned, Chris and Andrew received a 7 each while Jason scored a 9!

Mains day for the Great British Menu chefs was finally upon us and they had a lot to do. With only 1 point between them and only 2 days left it was up to the chefs to impress veteran judge Paul Ainsworth enough to get into the lead. All three judges took inspiration from the founder of the NHS, and Welshman, Aneurin Bevan.

Andrew had not quite hit his stride with either of his previous dishes and hoped to change his fortunes with his main. Named ‘Aneurin Bevan: For Better Steak’, he unsurprisingly used steak in his dish. He vacuum-packed a ribeye and cooked it a 48C before roasting it in beef dripping and cooked ox cheek in a water bath with hay. He served it alongside salsify and a lovage and turnip jus.

Aneurin Bevan For Better Steak

>>> see recipes from Andrew Sheridan here

Jason was riding a high from his previous days' performance and was using Welsh lamb in his dish ‘For the Rich and Poor’. He cooked a cannon of lamb alongside a lamb sweetbread croquet and lamb offal faggots and a spiralised potato ring which he deep-fried and filled with a potato puree.

For the Rich and Poor

Chris was last up with his dish ‘Everything but the Squeal’, a sharing dish which used almost every cut of pork available. He made pigs head croquet, pressure cooked the shoulder and cutlet and utilised a variety of other methods with the other cuts. He made pork faggots to go alongside his dish and served it with celeriac, which he salt-baked first and then cooked in charcoal to make it look like coal.

Everything but the squeal

Feedback for the chefs today was varied, with some excelling and others not doing quite as well. Andrew was praised for how well he nailed the brief and how well his ribeye was cooked despite Pauls reservations about it being cooked to medium rare. Paul said Jason cooked his cannon of lamb well but found his lamb faggot to be overcooked. Chris had praise heaped upon him though, with Paul emphasising how incredible Chris’ skill and execution were.

When it came to the scores Andrew did very well and scored a 9, Jason did not fare as well with a 7 but Chris did exceptionally, scoring a 10!

The dessert course

Desserts day for the Welsh Great British menu chefs meant it was their last chance to impress veteran judge Paul Ainsworth to get a place in the regional final.

Andrew, who started off the week making incredibly complex meals took inspiration from the humble rice pudding for his dessert. Named after his great-grandmother ‘Nurse Onion’s Rice Pudding’ really tried to elevate the humble dessert. Involving a rice pudding mousse, 75-80 day fermented apple, hay ice cream and, a caramelised milk skin tuille, Andrew knew he would have to pull it all off to perfection to get through.

great british menu 2018

Chris who had excelled with his main course hoped to continue his good run with his dessert ‘Tea and Cake’ Dedicated to the nurses and midwifes who helped to deliver his daughter 18months ago he had a truly fantastic motive to do well in this round. He made a nettle and honey cake as the base, topped with a woodruff mousse and a caramelised chocolate tuille. Chris made a refreshing tea to go alongside it. He struggled to get his mousse to set though and eventually had to serve it up even though he was not happy with it.

great british menu 2018

Jason, a former pastry chef, based his dish around memories of being in hospital eating sticky toffee pudding. Aptly named ‘Little Toffee Pudding’ it involved a sticky toffee pudding, milk ice cream and a sesame and apple tuille. He also informed Paul he was making a surprise element to go alongside the dish. This surprise element was a sour apple balloon which unfortunately Jason was unable to make in the kitchen so he had to serve without it.

Andrew received glowing praise for his dessert which Paul called an ‘absolute triumph’. The other two chefs did not fare as well. Paul found Chris’ dessert to be a heartfelt tribute with a unique nettle cake that suited Chris’ style however, Paul thought there were major faults with it. Paul enjoyed how Jason involved another texture in his dish with the sesame tuille but just didn’t find it exciting enough, especially as the balloon component was not served.

great british menu 2018

Paul gave out a range of scores for the desserts. He gave Chris a 5 and Jason a 6, while Andrew soared with a 10! This meant that both Chris and Andrew would be going through to the regional final.

The Wales regional final

It was judgement day for both Chris Harrod and Andrew Sheridan in the Great British Menu and both chefs knew that a place in the national finals was on the line.

Judging them were the esteemed and exacting panel of judges, Andi Oliver, Oliver Peyton and Matthew Fort. Also joining them was Aneira Thomas who was the first baby to be born in the NHS.

great british menu 2018

The chefs had to make all four courses they had made for Paul Ainsworth but were able to make tweaks to them following the feedback Paul had given them.

Andrew was first up with his starter, ‘Mums Flu Fighting Chicken Soup’. Awarded a 6 earlier in the week, Andrew knew he could not afford to forget the chicken oyster component as he did on Monday. When the judges started to taste it they were bowled over by it, they all found the chicken soup to be delicious.

Chris’ starter only did marginally better than Andrews scoring a 7 as Paul found it lacked ‘oomph’. With this in mind Chris decided to add more onion puree to it to add a bit more flavour. Matthew Fort said once it was put down that it ‘looks uncomfortably good for you’ and all the judges were not big fans of the dish.

great british menu 2018

Moving onto the fish Andrew took Pauls advice to simplify the dish and decided to cook his cod in a beurre noisette. Oliver Peyton was not a fan of the dish as were most of the judges.

Paul thought Chris’ fish course had too many flavours in too big a portion changed his rosehip jelly to try and get more flavour out of it. The judges found it to be too strong after Chris’ tweak and were not fans of his presentation.

Both chefs excelled with their mains and wanted to maintain the high standards they had earlier in the week. Chris served his main first and it went down a treat. The judges absolutely loved the whole dish, in fact Matthew Fort said he would be happy just eating the celeriac.

Andrew who had done exceptionally well when he served his main to Paul did not do as well this time around. The ox cheek was not tender enough for Oliver and Andi found the lovage emulsion to be quite pungent.

Chris had struggled to get his dessert out just as he had wanted previously in the week and was determined not to let that happen again. He had far better reception for his dessert this time with the judges only really finding fault with how dense his nettle and honey cake was.


Dessert was where Andrew shone though and once again his dessert did fantastically well. All the judges absolutely adored Andrews’s dessert finding it both original and very tasty.

After everything had been served up all that was left for the Great British Chefs from Wales was to find out who made it through. Chris Harrod made it through and had his exceptional main to thank which scored 4 10’s.This meant that unfortunately for Andrew he did not make it through, but the judges made it clear they were upset they would not be seeing his dessert in the national final.


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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th September 2018

Great British Menu 2018 blog by Cameron Huck – Wales heat