Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Shannon Johnson, Central heat

The  Staff Canteen

Shannon Johnson is one of four chefs in the central region line-up on Great British Menu 2021. series 16 of the competition starts on Wednesday 24th March and will air on BBC Two at 8pm.

Shannon competed against Sabrina Gidda, head chef at Allbright in Mayfair, chef owner of The Boat Inn, Liam Dillon, and Stuart Collins, chef and co-owner of Docket No 33. As per the new format of the competition this year, Shannon was eliminated from the competition after the fish course.

Hosted by former judge Andi Oliver, the Central heat is judged by veteran chef and the executive at Northcote Manor, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, with Simon Rogan stepping in for the fish course due to Lisa's seafood allergy.

27-year old Shannon worked at Angela Hartnett's one Michelin-starred restaurant, Murano, for three years, before joining Angela's protégé and GBM victor Pip Lacey, at her restaurant in London King's Cross St Pancras, Hicce

As the head chef at Hicce, Shannon oversees a modern British menu with a focus on woodfired cooking.

As her inspiration for this year's British Innovation theme on Great British Menu, Shannon is drawing on her modern style to celebrate significant women in science.

Her raviolo starter, 'Humble Beginnings', combines tea-smoked potato and ricotta, cabbage, caramelised onions and beef sauce jelly, served with cavolo nero pesto, browned butter and pickled celeriac, in a hommage to Elsie Widdowston's nutritional research. 

Her fish course, 'Helix,' is Shannon's ode to Cambridge scientist Rosalind Franklin's understanding of the molecular structure of DNA, and features skate served on the bone with jerusalem artichoke puree and crisps, sea aster, white Madeira sauce and variegated kale.

 Full name

Shannon Emilea Anne Johnson

 Nickname 

No nickname!

 Age/DOB

28, born 06/03/93

 Place of birth / residence

Origin: Lincolnshire, currently live in Bethnal Green

Relationship status / children

Status: live with partner, he’s a senior development chef

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

Restaurant Chef

Favourite type of cuisine

Mediterranean

 Path to becoming a chef

My mother is a great cook, my Nan is Spanish, I loved food from a young age and I trained for 3 years at college in catering and hospitality

Past and present place of work

After college I moved to Scotland, worked for Turnberry hotel (the one Donald trump brought, that’s why I left). Then I moved to London to work at Murano by Angela Hartnett 1, that’s how I know my current employer Pip Lacey. I'm now head chef at Hicce in King's Cross.

Personal and professional mentors / role models 

Pip Lacey is my mentor, role models are my mum and all great chefs

Guilty pleasure dish

Chips! Smothered in Turkish style garlic sauce...

Best / worst thing about being a chef

Best: customer rewards- when they love your food, also working with a strong kitchen brigade.

Worst: I'm constantly tired - I love sleep and my bed

Feelings about being on GBM

It was scary, but exciting - I just really tried to enjoy the experience as an overall, despite the outcome. There are great chefs out there, just a pleasure to meet them all and be part of the competition.

Thoughts about the 'British Innovation' theme this year

It was a hard one, not going to lie, linking the theme to food was the hardest, but I love a challenge and it was great fun.

Plans for the future

None just yet, let’s see what the future holds!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th March 2021

Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Shannon Johnson, Central heat