Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Tony Parkin, London and South East heat

The  Staff Canteen

Michelin-starred chef Tony Parkin 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.

Tony is competing against Kim Ratcharoen, senior sous-chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay;  Oli Marlow, executive chef of Roganic and Aulis in London and Hong Kong 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.

Tony began his career with an apprenticeship under John Campbell at The Vineyard at Stockcross which led to a long stint in Copenhagen working at Kommendaten and Noma.

On returning to the UK, Tony held positions at Northcote, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Restaurant Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House, as well as working in the private sector for Lord and Lady Bamford at Daylesford.

In 2019 Tony took the Head Chef position at The Tudor Room in Great Fosters before rebranding the restaurant Tony Parkin @ The Tudor Room.

He was awarded a Michelin star in the 2020 Michelin guide after just 4 months and retains the star in the 2021 guide.

Full name

Tony Parkin 

Nickname 

Don’t have one

Age/DOB

37

Place of birth / residence

Reading

Relationship status / children

Engaged with a 5 year old

Height

6ft

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

I’m chef patron of Michelin-starred Tony Parkin @ The Tudor Room in Great Fosters Hotel

Favourite type of cuisine

Thai 

Path to becoming a chef

I did an apprenticeship 

Past and present place of work

I’ve worked at numerous places including Noma, Kommendaten, Northcote, Adam Simmonds at Dansefield House, as well as being a private chef for Lord and Lady Bamford.

Personal and professional mentors / role models 

I wouldn’t say I have any mentors however I admire chefs - a lot of them current, like Mickael Viljanen, Mark Birchall, Paul Ainsworth and Gareth Ward.

Guilty pleasure dish

I don’t feel guilty for it, but its an XL bacon double cheeseburger from Burger King. 

Best / worst thing about being a chef

Best thing is doing something you love and being creative; worst thing is defo getting up early.

Feelings  stepping onto the GBM set

I was relatively calm 'cause I knew if I flapped I’d cook like a knob.

Thoughts about the 'British Innovation' theme this year

I really enjoyed cooking on GBM and I thought the brief was pretty cool, it took a lot of thinking.

Plans for the future

The restaurant has just been refurbed and the chef's table is complete. so the plan is to concentrate on the restaurant and push to make it one of the best in the country. Now we can really concentrate on how I want the restaurant to be.

Dishes

Starter

For his starter, 'Tea makes everything better' Tony drew inspiration from Florence Nightingale, a pioneer of modern nursing known for her advances in the fields of hospital hygiene, sanitation and statistics.

He fried and glazed some hen of the wood mushrooms, which he served with lamb, date ketchup, iberico ham, potato curls, cordiceps and a mushroom tea. Paul Ainsworth awarded him 8/10 points for the dish.

Fish course

Tony's fish course was an ode to chimp behavioural scientist Jane Goodall.

Called 'Spicy Monkey,' it was in fact monkfish tail served with a jungle curry broth. Paul Ainsworth gave it a 7/10.

Main Course

'Viva La Underground via Cornwall,' served to the tune of The Jam song, 'Going Underground' was dedicated to civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his father, Mark Brunel, who together dug the world's first tunnel under the Thames - relying predominantly on Cornish workers. 

It consisted of Canard à l’orange (Duck à l’orange), using a Cornish bird served with a light madeira sauce with peppercorns, star anise and orange running through it. Alongside the duck was a celeriac purée, pine pickled red beetroot and golden chiogga beetroot finished on charcoal. Veteran judge Paul Ainsworth gave it 7/10 points.

Dessert

For his dessert, 'Dropping the B bomb,' inspired by novel research into bees' heightened sense of smell and how it can be used in drug and explosive detection, Tony made a layered gateau with crème fraîche panna cotta, honey and dulce de leche sponge, popping candy, sprayed with white chocolate and topped with a dehydrated honey crisp. The gateau was then served with yoghurt sorbet drizzled with honey from the Great Fosters' estate. All three chefs scored a 10/10 for their dessert. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd April 2021

Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Tony Parkin, London and South East heat