Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Stuart Collins, Central heat

The  Staff Canteen

Chef and co-owner of Docket 33 Stuart Collins 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. The central heat is first, with episodes on Wednesday 24th, Thursday 25th and Friday 26th March.

Stuart went head to head with Hicce's Shannon Johnson - who, as per the new format, was eliminated from the competition after the fish course - Sabrina Gidda of Allbright Mayfair, and Liam Dillon, chef and owner of The Boat Inn in Lichfield, who left the competition after the dessert 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.

Stuart beat his rival Sabrina Gidda in the judges' chamber point tally and made it through to represent the Central region in the National Finals on Monday 17th, Tuesday 18th, Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th May. The banquet will air on  Friday 21st May.

Biography

Over the course of his career, Stuart has worked for some of the industry's greats, including Michael Caines MBE at Gidleigh Park in Devon, as well as at Maze and at three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London and New York. 

Prior to opening Docket 33 in 2017, Stuart served as the executive chef at the Abode Hotel in Chester, then, in 2011, travelled to Doha in Qatar where he worked across four hospitality projects in the Qatar Foundation. 

Stuart likes to cook modern British food using local, seasonal ingredients. His Great British Menu will celebrate a broad range of scientific innovators from Stephen Hawking to Edgar Hooley, the man who invented tarmac.

Recipe

Dishes

Starter  

His starter, 'Take it With a Grain of Salt,' was inspired by food scientist Elsie Widdowston, and combines pureed apples with glazed pork cheeks, cabbage and bacon choucroute, smoked bacon, pickled apple and West Country crackling.

 Fish Course

His fish course, 'Singularity,' inspired by Stephen Hawking's discovery of the black hole, features cured trout in beetroot, fennel and sake, served with taramasalata, candied beetroot, golden beetroot, topped with caviar, natursium leaves and a black coral tuile. 

At the end of the fish course, Liam and Sabrina tied at 15 points while Stuart led the way with 17 points.

Main Course

For his main course 'Dissected Maps,' Stuart is cooking rose veal fillet and shin with butter and parsley violet potatoes, purple-sprouting broccoli with beef fat toasted crumb served with onion and beer puree. The inspiration for the dish came from British cartographer and engraver credited as the inventor of the jigsaw puzzle, John Spilsbury. 

Dessert

Stuart's layered chocolate dessert, 'Radcliffe Road' was inspired by the inventor of tarmac, Edgar Purnell Hooley, and Britain's first road in Nottingham. With a base of dark chocolate feuilletine base, it is topped with earl grey jelly, chocolate and hazelnut nougatine mousse and a dark chocolate glaze.

After the dessert course, Stuart went through to the judges with a score of 34, and Sabrina went through with a score of 30.

He impressed the judges chamber on the third day of the Central heat, and will be competing in the national finals.

 Full name

Stuart Collins

 Nickname 

N/A

 Age/DOB

37

 Place of birth / residence

Originally from Wheaton Aston, Staffordshire, now living in Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Relationship status / children

Married with two boys

Height

 6’2

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

Restaurant. Have worked in hotels, but where the restaurant is mostly stand-alone

Favourite type of cuisine

I enjoy many different cuisines. There was a strong Asian and Italian influence when in New York, various Arabic and Indian influence when in the Middle East, and of course British now being in the UK. 

 Path to becoming a chef

Completed NVQ’s at Birmingham College alongside working in a local pub. 

place of work, Past and present

Gidleigh Park, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay London, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay NYC, Maze NYC, Michael Caines at the Abode Chester, various projects in Doha, Qatar. And now, Docket No.33, Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Personal and professional mentors / role models 

Professionally, I tend to follow people that I’ve worked with. Markus Glocker in NYC, Paul Froggatt in Taupo, New Zealand, Paul Walsh in London and Stuart Ralston in Edinburgh.

Guilty pleasure dish

Fish & chips and Haribo, but not together!

Best / worst thing about being a chef

Best: Being able to be creative and work with some amazing ingredients.

Feelings about being on GBM

Nerve-racking and pretty surreal! Although I’d never been there before, it felt oddly familiar.

Thoughts about the 'British Innovation' theme this year

I liked this years’ theme. It was great to learn about the innovations and inventors from the local region. Straight away I knew exactly what I was going to do for some of the dishes. Others needed a bit of thinking about!

Plans for the future

Right now, my focus is on re-opening, re-building a team and bouncing back better than ever. As for further down the line, we’ll have to see what happens!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th May 2021

Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Stuart Collins, Central heat