Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Ben Murphy, London and South East heat

The  Staff Canteen

Head chef at London's Launceston place Restaurant Ben Murphy is one of four chefs representing the London and South East region on Great British Menu 2021.

Series 16 of the competition starts on Wednesday 24th March and will air on BBC Two at 8pm every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for eight weeks. The London and South East heat will air on Wednesday 7th, Thursday 8th and Friday 9th April.

For the London and South East heat, host Andi Oliver is joined by veteran chef and judge Paul Ainsworth.

Ben competed against Oli Marlow, executive chef of Roganic and Aulis in London and Hong Kong; Tony Parkin, head chef at  The Tudor Room in Surrey; and Kim Ratcharoen, senior sous-chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Check out the full line-up of chefs appearing on Great British Menu 2021.

As per the programme's new format, due to hitting lower scores than the other three chefs in the kitchen, Ben was eliminated after the fish course.

Once mentored by chef Pierre Koffmann, Ben was only 25 when he took on his first head chef role at The Woodford, which he launched with the backing of Essex-based restaurateur, Steve Andrews, in 2016. 

The following year, he was offered a head chef position at Launceston Place in London's Kensington, and was at the helm when it received two Rosettes in the AA Restaurant Guide in 2017. 

Although the role wasn't part of the chef's plan, Ben confirmed to The Staff Canteen that he still wants to open a restaurant of his own one day.

This year's British Innovation theme will make the competition a good challenge for Ben, who has expressed an enthusiasm for complex and interactive food comparable to that of The Fat Duck

Full name

Ben Murphy

Nickname 

N/A

Age/DOB

30, born 01/12/1990

Place of birth / residence

Born in London, brought up in North West London

Relationship status / children

Single

Height

6ft

Type of chef (restaurant, hotel, development chef, etc.)

Head chef at Launceston Place Restaurant

Favourite type of cuisine

I love to eat Italian food

Path to becoming a chef

My focus at the age of 16 was to become a professional footballer. Due to a broken collarbone, I focused more on food technology at school.

I was lucky enough to get into Westminster Kingsway College, which gave me an incentive to focus on cooking. It was something I really took to, especially the practical side of things. 

Past and present place of work

I’m currently head chef at Launceston Place Restaurant. Previously I’ve worked at The Woodford, The Greenhouse, Per Se, Eleven Maddison Park, Epicure in Paris, Michel Guerard, Koffmann's at the Berkeley 

Personal and professional mentors / role models 

Pierre Koffmann has always been a mentor to me, we are more like family now. I look up to chefs such as Sat Bains, René Redzepi and also Gordon Ramsay. They all inspire me in their own ways.  

Guilty pleasure dish

Raspberry Mini Rolls, but I have to eat the whole packet.  

Best / worst thing about being a chef

Best thing is having a fully booked restaurant and clean empty plates. The worst thing is having to sacrifice seeing family and spending times with friends.

Thoughts about the 'British Innovation' theme this year

It’s very exciting, it certainly took me out my confront zone. 

Plans for the future

I take every day as it comes. “Living for the moment” as they say, who knows what’s round the corner. I’m still nowhere near where I want to be with my food, but I'm generally in a happy place. 

Dishes

Starter

For his starter, Ben drew inspiration from British agriculturist Jethro Tull, one of the forced behind the British Agricultural Revolution in the 18th century. 

To create his 'Seed Drill's Garden,' he made a truffle ragu which he served with a celeriac and mint purée, pickled vegetables and topped with a sesame, black truffle, fennel pollen and pecorino crumb.

Paul Ainsworth gave it a score of 7/10

Fish course

Ben took a risk with his fish course, preparing lobster despite having an allergy to it. "You'll be eating all of it" paid hommage to the 1810 invention of the tin can by Peter Durand, and consisted of lobster served with coriander coulis, yuzu cream sauce, croûtons, and a 'tin can' lid made out of lobster bisque and white chocolate.

It scored an 8/10, which had Ben not been in a room with three very high-scoring chefs, could have seen him through to cook his main course, but sadly he was the first to be eliminated.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th April 2021

Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Ben Murphy, London and South East heat