Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Roberta Hall-McCarron, Scotland heat

The  Staff Canteen

chef and owner of Edinburgh's the Little Chartroom Roberta Hall-McCarron is one of four chefs Competing for Scotland on Great British Menu 2021.

Series 16 of the competition starts on Wednesday 24th March on BBC Two at 8pm. The Scotland heat is airing on Wednesday 31st March, Thursday 1st April and Friday 2nd April.

For the Scotland heat, host Andi Oliver is joined by veteran chef and judge Tom Brown.

It pitted her against chef owner of The Harbour Café and founder of Stocks Events, Amy Elles - who, as per the programme's new format, was eliminated after the fish course; Scott Smith, the chef and owner of Edinburgh's Fhior - who fell short of making it through to the judge's chamber; and chef owner of Aizle and NotoStuart Ralston

Roberta won the most points from judges Matthew Fort, Oliver Peyton, Rachel Khoo as well as from guest judge and author Caroline Criado-Perez, letting her through to represent Scotland in the National finals,. The be all and end all finals week and Banquet will take place on the week beginning May 10th.

Banquet

With just one point between her and Jude Kereama from the judges, Roberta took the lead to serve her fish course, 'Maxwell's Colour Wheel,' at the banquet on Friday 21st May.

Biography, Path to becoming a chef, past places of work, Age/DOB, relationship status, Height

The former chef de partie at The Kitchin spent six years working alongside Dominic Jack at the now defunct Castle Terrace before setting up her own venture, The Little Chartroom, 

She won the Young British Foodies Award 2018, appeared on Great British Menu 2020 and the restaurant ranked 79th in the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards 2020.

When she visited in 2018, Grace Dent gave it an 8/10 for food, atmosphere and service, and said that the "relatively new, decidedly bijou, nautical cartography-fixated and almost-fine-dining restaurant" was "unique, delicious, risky and completely remarkable."

Roberta describes her food as seasonal Scottish, and because her restaurant is small (the clue is in the name), she likes to keep the menu to scale.

A step away from what it was like to cook at Tom Kitchin's restaurants, Roberta and her husband Shaun McCarron have a hand in everything that happens at the 16-cover restaurant.

Dishes

Starter

For her starter, 'The Edinburgh Seven,' inspired by the first women to attend British universities, Roberta served lamb sweetbreads with creamed sweetcorn, wild mushrooms, black garlic and cheese curds, scoring a 7/10.

Fish course

For her fish course, 'Maxwell's Colour Wheel,' dedicated to James Clerk Maxwell, whose research into the light spectrum led to his production of the world's first colour photograph, Roberta served turbot fillet with potato tarts, slow-cooked quail yolk and an Arbroath smokie soup. Impressed veteran judge Tom Brown scored it an 8/10.

Main Course

Roberta's show-stopping main course, 'Johnston's fluid beef' was a nod to two Scottish inventions: Bovril and the Thermos. It featured a beef cheek and shin pie layered with ox tongue-studded chicken mousse and caramelised onions, wrapped in parma ham and shortcrust pastry, served with a red wine sauce, topped with baby vegetables and an oat seed mix. A jug of beef consommé was also placed on the table for guests to drink from Thermos cups. 

A rare feat on the Great British Menu, the dish earned Roberta a 10/10 from veteran chef Tom Brown.

Dessert

For her Dessert, 'Penicillin,' another ode its accidental invention by Alexander Fleming, Roberta made a ginger sponge with lemon curd, white chocolate and whisky mousse and coated with a chocolate glaze, ginger ice cream and a penicillin cocktail (whiskey, lemon juice, honey syrup and peated whiskey). She received 8/10 for the dish. 

Up against Stuart Ralston in the regional finals, Roberta impressed judges Matthew Fort, Oliver Peyton, Rachel Khoo, as well as guest judge and author Caroline Criado-Perez, securing a spot in the national finals.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st May 2021

Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Roberta Hall-McCarron, Scotland heat