Great British Menu 2018 chefs - Shauna Froydenlund, Northern Ireland heat

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st October 2018

Meet the Great British Menu 2018 chefs from the Northern Ireland heat: Shauna Froydenlund

This year Shauna Froydenlund takes on James Devine and Tommy Heaney 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.

Shauna is joint chef-patron at Marcus Wareing's eponymous restaurant at The Berkeley Hotel in London alongside her husband Mark and both have played a big part in the restaurant's ongoing success and growth. Shauna started working with both Marcus Wareing and Mark at what was then Pétrus 10 years ago.  She has also worked on the launch of Marcus Wareing's The Gilbert Scott as well. She moved over from Northern Ireland to study Hospitality and Business Management with Culinary Arts at Sheffield Hallam University and subsequently went to work at Pétrus after working there on a placement.

Mark and Shauna Froydenlund image
Mark and Shauna Froydenlund

Why did you want to take part in Great British Menu?

It’s a programme I’ve watched since the first ever series and look forward to it every year. I never thought it would be a possibility to take part as it’s such a tough competition. I wanted to take the opportunity to do something for myself outside of the kitchen I’ve worked in for so many years.

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?

This years’ theme put me under huge pressure to create dishes worthy of such an incredible service which has touched all our lives in some shape or form. Initially, I was quite thrown by it but the more you think about it there was a huge scope for how you approach the brief and it becomes quite personal.

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

The reason we take part in such a credible competition as Great British Menu is to push ourselves to a whole new level. To dedicate these dishes to our NHS heroes is a huge deal and makes all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile! It’s a massive luxury to have such an incredible service available to us and that truly needs to be appreciated.

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

I always watched Great British Menu and wondered if the timings, heat, pressure amongst other things was a true reflection of what it’s really like and I can now safely say it is! It’s an honour to cook alongside such talented chefs and they really keep you on your toes and push you to be the best you can be.

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

Meeting and working alongside other talented chefs. It’s a real tough experience and although ultimately you’re there to beat each other in a competition, you can’t help but form a great relationship with the other chefs.

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

I haven’t watched myself yet to make comment on any negatives! But I don’t think it’s worth ever looking at the negatives. Like I said - it’s a fantastic competition to be involved in so only positive things can come from it hopefully!

How did you find the criticism and being judged?

I think you have to take all judging/criticism at face value. It’s a competition that is all about being judged - so take it on the chin! The dishes created by us have been practised and practised and really mean something to us as cooks but not everyone is going to love them the same way. I tried to take all the criticism on board and make changes where necessary but if I was to do it again, I think I’d approach this differently.

Were you more nervous about being judged by the veteran chef or the judges?

Initially, the chefs for sure as they’re standing right in front of you but as the week progresses and you get settled you realise why you’re there and who you want to be cooking the dishes for so what the chefs think sort of becomes irrelevant!

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

The heat. That kitchen is ridiculously hot! Also, the feeling of pride when you get those great comments for a dish that you’ve given your all to. This series will also always stand out to me as I’d just discovered I was 12 weeks pregnant when filming.

Would you take part in Great British Menu again?

Yes.

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

Absolutely. But only do it when you feel absolutely ready as it’s so intense and as a chef, it really pushes you to be the best as you’re really exposed.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st October 2018

Great British Menu 2018 chefs - Shauna Froydenlund, Northern Ireland heat