Great British Menu 2018 chefs - Sabrina Gidda, Central heat

The  Staff Canteen

Meet the Great British Menu 2018 chefs from Central England: Sabrina Gidda

This year Sabrina Gidda takes on Marianne Lumb and  Ryan Simpson-Trotman in a bid to make it through to the Great British Menu 2018 banquet which celebrates 70 years of the National Health Service. This year’s brief is to create celebratory and heartfelt dishes in tribute to the heroic staff of the NHS.

Great British Menu 2018 chefs - Sabrina Gidda
Sabrina Gidda

Sabrina Gidda didn’t originally set out to be a chef. She was studying Fashion PR and Marketing at university, working part time at a café and when the chef injured himself, she stepped in to help out. Since then, Sabrina has worked for Restaurant Associates, as head chef at Bernardi’s and started her new role as executive chef for Allbright in July 2018. She has also been a finalist in the Roux Scholarship competition twice, first in 2014 and then in 2015.

Why did you want to be involved in Great British Menu?

They asked me when I had just opened Bernardi’s and unfortunately I couldn’t commit - so I was thrilled when they asked again! It is always so great to meet and cook with other chefs - it certainly takes you out of your comfort zone.

This years’ theme is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS – how easy was it for you to come up with dishes to be served at the anniversary banquet? 

It was a little bit difficult trying to find the approach - but the most relevant part of the NHS to me was that it was a family - and that this kind of incredible diversity should be celebrated! That’s why I chose to create a diverse menu, celebrating different cuisines and different culinary techniques. 

What does the NHS mean to you and how rewarding is it to possibly cook your food for these incredible individuals?

It would be incredible to cook for these amazing NHS heroes - specifically the totally awesome nurses that I was privileged enough to spend the day with. The kindness, compassion, dedication and warmth was quite remarkable. A very special group of people indeed.

How difficult is it to cook in the Great British Menu kitchen alongside other chefs?

It wasn’t too difficult to cook with Marianne and Ryan - they are both such talented chefs. It was competitive in the kitchen but there was a great sense of camaraderie really - all of us were pushing on and worrying about the time!

What was the best part about being on Great British Menu 2018?

I’m sure it sounds totally naff - but it was the people I met. I have always admired Marianne so meeting her was such a treat, and Ryan’s food is just amazing. The whole team behind the scenes are so much fun too – a really top team. Little sleep and such intensive days made me a little emotional but a couple of scores were a real highlight - especially from a chef like my veteran judge. It really makes all the effort worth it.

Were there any negative parts to being on Great British Menu?

It was pretty exhausting!

How did you find the criticism and being judged?

I think that makes for better television viewing - doesn’t it? When you get a low score or negative feedback, you’re bound to be disappointed and I did snap at one point! But it was just great fun - so lovely to be involved and push yourself like that. 

Do you have any standout memories during your time on Great British Menu?

I got a high score for one of my dishes and the veteran judge ate everything on the plate too so that was most complimentary. It’s also got to be the amount of prawn cocktail crisps Marianne and I ate!!

Would you take part in Great British Menu again?

I would love to!

Would you encourage your peers, colleagues and chef friends to take part in a competition like Great British Menu?

Of course! It’s great to be involved in. It can be quite stressful at times, but it’s also great fun! 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd September 2018

Great British Menu 2018 chefs - Sabrina Gidda, Central heat