Great British Menu 2022 chefs: Sally Abé, Central heat

The  Staff Canteen

Consultant chef at the Conrad London St. James hotel Sally Abé is one of four chefs representing the Central region on Great British Menu 2022

Series 17 of the competition starts on February 1st 2022 on BBC Two at 8pm and will air at the same time every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for eight weeks.

Sally is competing against Liam DillonBenjamin Orpwood and Harvey Perttola. This is Sally's second appearance on the show, having taken part for the first time in 2020. Before making it to the judge's chamber, the chefs' food is to be judged by veteran chef Aktar Islam, who appeared on the programme in 2014.

As per the programme's new format which starts each heat with four chefs (as opposed to three, which was the case until series 15), Harvey was eliminated after the fish course. Liam was the next to go, leaving Ben and Sally to face judges Tom Kerridge, Nisha Katona and Ed Gamble, as well as guest judge Cat Deeley on Thursday, 2nd February 2022.

Though neck and neck when it came to total scores, Sally consistently impressed the panel, securing a spot in the finals.

Biography

Born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, Sally began a hospitality business management and culinary arts degree at Sheffield Hallam University when she was eighteen. As part of her course, she undertook a placement at The Savoy, but when the time came for her to return to university, she decided to keep working her way up the ranks as a chef instead.

Sally's impressive CV has seen her train with some of the country's finest chefs, from Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s to The Ledbury with Brett Graham and Elystan Street with Phil Howard.

She worked at The Harwood Arms between February 2017 and April 2021, during which time she retained the pub's Michelin star, was named Chef to Watch​​ at the 2019 Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards and helped earn the number one spot in the The Estrella Damm top 50 Gastropubs 2020. Sally was also named SquareMeal’s Female Chef of the Year in 2021. 

She now oversees the food offering at the Conrad London St. James hotel, including The Pem restaurant, with head chef Laetizia Keating and general manager Emma Underwood

The restaurant's name was inspired by Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, nicknamed ‘Pem’ by her family, with the intention of celebrating great women past and present.

As if her own prowess wasn't enough, Sally is married to a fellow industry titan: her husband, Matt Abé, is the chef patron of three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

Expect Sally’s menu on GBM to reflect her love for British, seasonal ingredients with a focus on game and the elegant touch she has become known for.

Dishes

Starter

'Don't Panic!', inspired by a Dad's Army episode called 'When did you last see your money' consisted of bubble and squeak, chicken mousse sausages, pickled mushrooms, chicken gravy, crispy chicken skin and shaved truffles.

Fish Course

For her fish course, 'Scolli Bolli Sweetie Darling,' Sally paid tribute to Absolutely Fabulous duo Patsy and Eddie with a dish of scallops (and Dover Sole for Tom Kerridge, who has a shellfish allergy) served with braised celery, pickled grapes, samphire and sea purslane with a puff pastry parcel, caviar and a Bollinger Champagne and saffron (as in, Saffy) sauce. 

Main Course

Sally Abé's main course, 'One Small Step for Man' 

Sally's black and white main course, 'One Small Step for Man' was inspired by the BBC broadcast of the moon landing on July 20th, 1969, and one of the Apollo astronauts' meals when on board the Lunar Module. Having scored 10/10 from veteran judge Aktar Islam, Sally attempted to recreate the dish identically for Tom, Nisha, Ed and Cat. 

Her pork chop, and pork gel came with scalloped potato served in a can, turnip and celeriac puree made to look like a boot print, black pudding, pork crackling served in a vac pac bag, as was the accompanying pork gravy.

Dessert

'Here's One I made earlier' was based on an episode of the much-adored children's programme, Blue Peter, and the 1971 episode which saw hosts bury a time capsule to be opened in the year 2000.

A cylinder of tempered chocolate resting on chocolate brownie soil came filled with raspberry jam and sorbet, salted caramel, feuilletine and malt mousse.

Instagram @littlechefsally

Twitter: @LittlechefSally

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th March 2022

Great British Menu 2022 chefs: Sally Abé, Central heat