Great British Menu 2018 chefs - Tom Brown, South West heat

The  Staff Canteen

Meet the Great British Menu 2018 chefs from the South West: Tom Brown

This year Tom Brown took on Jude Kereama and Olivia Barry in a bid to make it through to the Great British Menu 2018 banquet which celebrates 70 years of the National Health Service. He won the main course with his dish Poor Man's Goose and will cook at the banquet - get the recipe.

Tom Brown 3   credit Cedar Film
Tom Brown

In Great British Menu 2017, chef Tom Brown won the South West heat to reach the finals. The talented chef has recently opened up his first solo restaurant - Cornerstone in Hackney Wick and has previously worked as head chef for Nathan Outlaw at Outlaw's At The Capital.

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

I suppose because of the reaction from last year, people responded well to my dishes. On a more personal level, I really enjoyed it and I made some good friends .  I thought I would give it another go and see how I did.

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?

When I first read it, I thought it was a tricky brief - I was expecting a lot of syringes filled with coulis and that sort of shit but it was a lot more heartfelt than that which was nice.

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

If there is anyone who deserves to be thanked and to get a shout-out, it’s the people from the NHS – they are amazing, A lot of my family have a medical background, so it’s something that is quite close to home.

You have previously competed in Great British Menu - how does this year’s competition compare?

They were pretty similar - I  think the dishes I did last year were good, but I like the dishes I did this year too. 

Do you feel that your previous experience in Great British Menu is an advantage?

It is, and it isn’t. You know how the format works, so you are settled, but I felt a bit more pressure this year. There is some expectation for you to be on the same level as last year. 

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

It’s nice to come back and see everyone. I got to do the show with some amazing people like Jude - he is so nice and such a lovely bloke and he was a real pleasure to be around. When you are waiting to find out who you will be in the kitchen with you hope it will be someone you get on with. Jude is a top bloke and to be in in a kitchen with him was a highlight. We got to have a laugh and try his food which was amazing.

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

The only thing would be the pressure and the weight of expectation. I am like that anyway – I am my own biggest critic and I am always picking at things and wanted it to be perfect. 

How did you find the criticism and being judged?

It’s never nice to get criticised but there are levels of criticism aren’t there? It’s always hard to take criticism but it’s part of the job really and you must take it on the chin. You can’t have an ego about it.

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

You want it to be right for everyone. You always put that kind of pressure on yourself. You want to be the best and you want to win. 

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

It was just nice to come back and see everything.

Would you take part in Great British Menu again?

To be honest, I don’t know how I could divide my time what with the restaurant. Having done it twice now, I would probably leave the competing to someone else.

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

Yeah absolutely! As much as we talk about how fun it is, there is no getting away from the fact that it drives business to an amazing degree and it boosts people’s profiles. It’s always good to compete against the best and that is what Great British Menu is known for – I would 100% say to anyone that it’s a good thing to go for

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th October 2018

Great British Menu 2018 chefs - Tom Brown, South West heat