Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Hywel Griffith, Wales heat

The  Staff Canteen

Head chef and director Michelin-starred Beach House restaurant Hywel Griffith is one of four chefs representing Wales 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 Wales heat will air on Wednesday 12th, Thursday 13th and Friday 14th April. It will also be available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Hywel competed against Ali Borer from the Nutbourne, chef and owner of SY23 Nathan Davies and Michelin-starred chef owner of Olive Tree in Bath, Chris Cleghorn.

As per the programme's new format, Chris Cleghorn was eliminated after the fish course, leaving Ali, Hywel and Nathan to cook their remaining two courses for veteran judge Tommy Banks. Ali failed to recoup enough points to catch up with Hywel and Nathan with his main course and dessert, leaving them both to cook for the judges on the third day of the Wales heat.

Hywel beat his opponent Nathan on the third day of the Wales heat, and will be competing in the national finals.

Born and raised in Bethesda in Gwynedd, North-Wales, Hywel stepped into a professional kitchen for the first time aged 13.

He studied at Coleg Menai in Bangor before heading to the Lanesborough luxury hotel in Kensington, London, and has since worked alongside prominent chefs including Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor, Shane Hughes at Ynyshir Hall, Paul Heathcote at Longridge Restaurant and Steven Smith at Freemasons.

Three years after launching the restaurant on the Gower Peninsular, the chef became the first to be given a directorship and a share of The Seren Collection, which is owned by Zoe and Neil Kedward and also includes The Grove of Narbeth and Coast in Pembrokeshire. 

This year will be Hywel's second attempt to win over the judges, as he was a contestant on Great British Menu 2020.

Full name

Hywel Llyr Griffith

Nickname 

H

Age/DOB

37

Place of birth / residence

Bethesda (North Wales) / Gower

Relationship status / children

I have a partner but no children

Height

5ft10"

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

 Modern Welsh, local produce. Fresh no gimmicks cooking. Standalone restaurant

Favourite type of cuisine

Sushi and BBQ

Path to becoming a chef

I just decided at the age of 13, no reason why, it just came from nowhere.

Past and present place of work

Lanesborough Hotel - Paul Gayler Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor; Ynyshir hall - Shane Hughes; The Longridge restaurant - Paul Hethcote; Freemasons at Wiswell - Steve Smith

Personal and professional mentors / role models 

Guilty pleasure dish

Cote de boeuf, Bearnaise sauce

Best / worst thing about being a chef

I simply love all aspects of being a chef

FeeEings  stepping onto the GBM set

Great to meet the other chefs and a great buzz being in the GBM kitchen again

Thoughts about the 'British Innovation' theme this year

Absolutely brilliant, I loved learning about the unknown inventors from Wales and then championing them

Plans for the future

Steady progress at Beach House, it's a journey that has plenty of legs left

Dishes

Starter

Hywel pulled out all the stops for his starter, 'The Great Nebula of Andromeda.' Humbly calling it his take on the grape and cheese combination, and little more than a blue cheese salad, the chef prepared a Perl Las cheese mousse made to look like moon rock, which he served with bitter leaves, raddichio and endives, muscat grapes, a maple syrup, maple vinegar and hazelnut oil dressing, beetroot pickled in white balsamic vinegar, puffed rice, purple potato crisps, red love apples, Welsh white truffles, candied beet starts, mustard frills and beet powder. 

The dish, dedicated to Isaac Robert's first photograph of our nearest galaxy, was served on a nebula tray, and earned Hywel a 10/10 score from veteran judge Tommy Banks. 

The Great Nebula of Andromeda - Perl Las, bitter leaves, muscat grapes, purple potato crisps,
truffle, red love apple, candied beets. Recipe here

Fish course

Hywel's fish course, 'Water of life,' paid tribute to Welsh politician and physicist Martha Hughes Cannon, who helped reduce the spread of diseases by removing communal drinking cups from public fountains in the early 20th century. It revolved around a piece of sous-vide poached salmon, served on a Granny Smith Apple and ponzu jelly with pickled shimeji mushrooms, sea vegetables, crispy salmon skin, wasabi mayo and dots of apple, cucumber and white soy sauce gel. 

Due to the consistency of the waterbathed fish, Tommy gave the dish an 8/10 score. 

Main course

Steel industry pioneer David Thomas was the inspiration behind Hywel's main course, 'Lamb from the land of Anthracite and Iron.' His upmarket surf and turn saw him wrap and roll a whole saddle stuffed with sweetbread and fillet mousse, which he finished in a blast furnace and served with a purée of leeks (coloured black to represent Anthracite coal) sweed fondant, butter baby leeks and cockle laverbread sauce. Tommy gave the dish a 9/10 score.

Dessert

For his dessert, Hywel paid tribute to Bill Frost's first ever flying vehicle, the Pembrokeshire flying machine or the Frost Airship Glider. He constructed a simple replica of the aircraft with a set chocolate mouse in which he placed a pineapple piece poached in vanilla and Pedro Ximénez sherry, waffle to look like the plane wings, the whole thing served with vanilla ice cream. Tommy gave it an 8/10 score. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 4th May 2021

Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Hywel Griffith, Wales heat