Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Oli Marlow, London and South East heat

The  Staff Canteen

executive chef at Roganic and Aulis London and Hong Kong Oli Marlow 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.

Oli went head to head with Kim Ratcharoen, senior sous-chef at Restaurant Gordon RamsayTony Parkin, head chef at the eponymous restaurant at The Tudor Room in Surrey and Ben Murphy, head chef at Launceston Place in London. Check out the full line-up of chefs appearing on Great British Menu 2021.

As per the programme's new format, Ben Murphy was eliminated after the fish course. Despite high scores all round, Tony came last out of the three remaining, leaving Kim and Oli to cook for the judges chamber on Friday 9th April. 

Oli not only secured a spot in the national finals but beat the Great British Menu record for the highest score across four courses: he received 38 points from veteran judge Paul Ainsworth and 38 from the sum of points awarded by Matthew Fort, Oliver Peyton, Rachel Khoo and guest judge Professor Chris Jackson.

Finals week will be screened on BBC Two on Monday 17th, Tuesday 18th, Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th May. The banquet will air on  Friday 21st May.

Banquet

With just one point between him and rival contestants Hywel Griffith and Jude Kereama, Oli won the most points for his main course in finals week to cook his 'Special Delivery' dish at the banquet.

Dishes

Starter

For his starter, Oli wanted to pay reference to the underground farm in Clapham Common, originally built as an air raid shelter during WWII. 

'Growing Underground' consisted of a Jerusalem artichoke salad - in a purée, poached and in crisp form - served with crosnes (otherwise known as Chinese artichoke), pickled onions, a stout vinegar reduction and ragstone cheese mousse. Paul was blown away and gave it 10/10 points.

Fish course

For his fish course, Oli created a dish based on Ada Lovelace's invention of the first computer programme, tying it to the brief with the use of algorithms - used by supermarkets - to pair ingredients. With just four ingredients (lobster, black garlic, kale and butter), he created a second 10/10 dish.

Main Course

Oli's main course, 'Special Delivery' was a nod to Tim Berners-Lee's invention of the World Wide Web, and the fact that so many chefs have had to turn to making takeway meals during the coronavirus pandemic. 

A take on the classic chicken egg and chips, he prepared guinea fowl breast with bone marrow guinea fowl mousse, miso glaze, toasted yeast, a potato nest with a sticky egg yolk, miso-fried wings, barbecued hen-of-the-wood (or maitake) mushrooms, dill pickle gravy, miso and mushroom ketchup and garlic mayonnaise. 

His lowest score so far, the dish still received an 8/10 from veteran chef Paul Ainsworth.

'Special Delivery': Guinea fowl, fried chicken wings, chicken sauce, potato nests,
sticky egg yolk, barbecued maitake mushroom, dill pickle, soy glaze
Recipe here

Dessert

For his dessert Oli paid tribute to Peter Durand's invention of the tin can. 

His 'Happy as can be' caramelised verjus apple was layered on top of an earl grey tea ice cream and condensed milk cake, topped with camomille cream and dotted with cranberry gel. All three chefs scored a 10/10 for their dessert.

For his four courses, Oli scored 38 points in total, the highest regional score ever in Great British Menu history.

Despite fierce competition from rival chef Kim Ratcharoen, Oli impressed judges Matthew Fort, Oliver Peyton, Rachel Khoo and guest judge geologist Chris Jackson, securing a spot in the national finals.

Biography

Oli knew that he was going to be a chef from a young age. He did an apprenticeship at the Chewton Glen in Hampshire whilst studying at college, then staged at The Fat Duck and Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons before landing a job at Quay in Sydney with chef Peter Gilmour.

His career has so far been staggering: whilst still in his early twenties, the chef left a position at Roganic to work at Eleven Madison Park in New York, then landed a sous-chef position at Maaemo in Oslo, returning to work for Jonny Lake at The Fat Duck before being named head chef at Roganic.

He is now the executive chef across Simon Rogan's Aulis and Roganic restaurants, of which there are five across the UK and Hong Kong - including Roganic London, which, when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, will reopen at a different site to where it was located prior to the pandemic.

Full name

Oliver Marlow

Nickname 

Oli

 Age/DOB

30, born 19.08. 1990

 Place of birth / residence

From Ealing, London. I grew up in the New Forest and currently live in Wokigham/ Hong Kong.

Height

6'4

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

I work in restaurants currently but love the buzz of hotels.

Favourite type of cuisine

I love to cook simple seasonal food with the best British produce.

 Path to becoming a chef

I’ve always wanted to be a chef as I get so much pleasure from eating food, I think it was only natural for me to become a chef. I trained at Bournemouth college and did a 3-year apprenticeship at the Chewton Glen hotel in Hampshire.

place of work, Past and present

I currently work at Roganic and Aulis Hong Kong and look after Aulis London.
I have worked at The Fat Duck, Maaemo, Eleven Madison Park and the Chewton Glen.

Personal and professional mentors / role models 

I have lots of role models. Someone like Luke Mathews at the chewton glen. A chef who looks after and guides chefs in the early parts of there career and was always there as support.

Guilty pleasure dish

I love pizza. Pineapple and ham

Best / worst thing about being a chef

The best part of being a chef is that you can travel the world and always find a job. The worst part is the long hours and giving up weekends/ holidays/ birthdays, etc.

Feelings about being on GBM

I was a little nervous, especially with the new format of someone going home after the fish course. I said I would be happy as long as I got to cook my entire menu, as I wanted the chance to cook all of my dishes that I had prepared for.

Thoughts about the 'British Innovation' theme this year

I loved the theme. Having worked at The Fat Duck and with the contacts I had from there it was really fun to go over the top and really hit the brief with all the science interactions.

Plans for the future

I have no plans for the future. I have a great job and feel very valued as a team member. And I always cook well when I’m happy.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st May 2021

Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Oli Marlow, London and South East heat