Great British Menu 2021: Gareth Bartram, North East Heat

The  Staff Canteen

Head chef at one Michelin star restaurant Winteringham Fields Gareth Bartram is one of four chefs representing the North East 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. All episodes are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Gareth is competing against chef and owner of Michelin-starred Alchemilla, Alex Bond; head chef at The Princess of Shoreditch Ruth Hansom and head chef of two Michelin-starred Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs Tom Spenceley.

This year is Gareth's first appearance on Great British Menu. 

As per the programme's new format which starts each heat with four chefs (as opposed to three in previous years), Ruth was eliminated after the fish course. Gareth was second to exit the GBM kitchen, leaving Tom and Alex to cook for the judges on the third day of their heat.

Dishes

Starter

Gareth’s starter, ‘Mother Seacole's homemade remedies,’ was inspired by 19th century British-Jamaican nurse, Mary Seacole, who tended to British troops in the Crimean war.

For this, he prepared chicken stew which he served with fried dumplings. These were filled with chicken liver and thigh meat, and served with braised carrots, mustard and onion emulsion. The dish was topped with crispy chicken skin dotted with tarragon and citrus emulsion. Simon Rogan gave it a 7/10 score. 

Fish Course

Gareth's fish course was an ode to Philip Souter and his team at Procter and Gamble for their invention of water purification powder. 

Roasted cod, pickled cockles, cucumber relish, braised fennel and dashi broth with lovage oil was finished with Exmoor caviar; the broth was then clarified at the table, giving the dish its edge. Veteran judge Simon Rogan gave the dish 8/10 points. 

Main Course

Gareth’s main course, ‘The Linc to Yorkshire,’ was inspired by The Humber Bridge, which connects Lincolnshire to Yorkshire.

His Lincolnshire lamb saddle took the form of slow roasted belly spiced with coriander, mustard, fennel and cardamom seeds; roasted loin and faggots. He served these with barbecued carrots, hispi cabbage, sheep’s yoghurt and a lamb sauce made with red wine, port and madeira. It received 8/10 points from veteran judge Simon Rogan. 

Dessert

Finally, for his dessert, ‘Zeer,’ Gareth sought to recreate a miniature of Leeds inventor Emily Cummins’ zero-electricity fridge, which is used in developing countries to store medicines. It consisted of a  tempered dark chocolate casing which he filed with chocolate mousse, buckthorne gel, feuilletine crumb and puffed rice. 

Simon gave it a score of 8/10.

Biography

Full name

Gareth Bartram

Nickname

Gaz

Age/DOB

35, born 03/01/1986

Place of birth / residence

Born in Rotherham, live in Winteringham

Relationship status / children

Married with two daughters, Ivy 5 and Frances 2

Height

5ft7"

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

Restaurant with rooms 1 Michelin star 4 AA rosettes

Favourite type of cuisine

Modern British

Path to becoming a chef

I started in a butcher's shop whilst I was at school, this increased my interest in the food industry so went to Grimsby college to train whilst working in pubs and restaurants on weekends and nights off.

Past and present place of work

Box wood cafe, Gordon Ramsay, London. Jack’s, Jamie Hirst, Wiltshire. Hare and hounds, Dan Moon, Bath. Now work at Winteringham Fields for Colin McGurran.

Personal and professional mentors / role models 

both my mum and dad have got fantastic work ethics. I learned from a young age that if you want to achieve something. you have to work at it and push harder than anyone else. Things aren’t just given to you.

Every chef I’ve worked for has given me something to take away and I would be lying if I said Colin hasn’t guided me the most on how to achieve something great which has heart.

Guilty pleasure dish

Fish finger sandwich, iceberg lettuce, tomato sauce and mayonnaise.

Best / worst thing about being a chef

The best thing about being a chef for me is being able to create and play. I go to work and I have fun, I love what I do and when you find something like that, can you really call it work?

The worst thing about being a chef is not being at home at much as I’d like. Don’t get me wrong living close to the restaurant I do get more time at home than most chefs, but being able to put your kids to bed every night is a luxury I don’t really get.

That’s one thing I think I have enjoyed about the lockdowns, time with my children I wouldn’t have normally had. I am grateful for that.

Feelings  stepping onto the GBM set

Obviously was nervous didn’t know what to expect it was my first time in that environment.

The whole team there were amazing, they made you feel so welcoming and relaxed you ready for your time there so that you could just concentrate on doing what you were there to do. It was an amazing experience, I loved it.

Thoughts about the 'British Innovation' theme this year

I found this year's brief to be very exciting, it really does open up a world of things I never knew were invented in the UK and innovators that were born here.

It’s not until you delve into the brief you get an idea of dishes you could create, it was very important to me to hit the brief as I know previous chefs have fallen short by not hitting the brief bang on.

Plans for the future

It has to be getting the restaurant back open and restoring our farm back to its former glory. 

COVID hit the whole industry hard and we have a lot of work to do in the run-up to reopening. One of our projects at the moment is reclaiming back our farm with a new outlook on sustainability and recycling, being more green and kinder to the planet. This is a subject close to our hearts.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd April 2021

Great British Menu 2021: Gareth Bartram, North East Heat