Great British Menu 2014 - North East Heat

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th May 2014

Meet the Great British Menu 2014 contestants for the North East; Colin McGurran, Paul Welburn and Frances Atkins.

Colin McGurran

Great British Menu Colin McGurran
Colin McGurran

Colin was born in Zambia to Irish and Scottish parents. His career has  taken him around the world starting at Bournemouth College where he studied at catering, then on to the two Michelin-starred Domaines Haut de Loire in Onzain, France. He then went on to become banqueting manager at Rotana Hotels in Abhu Dhabi for the UAE Royal family.

The high standards imposed upon him in his career have definitely rubbed off on him. In 2001 he headed to West Yorkshire and took over The Woodpack Country Inn with his sister Alison.

Then in 2006 he bought Winteringham Fields with his wife Bex, who runs the small holdings farm onsite that supplies the restaurant with vegetables eggs and lamb. The restaurant currently holds five AA stars and three AA rosettes.

He earned Great British Menu success in 2012 with his famous dish ‘Quail in the Woods’, with which he was able to showcase his hard learned individual style, that combines his love of nature with his desire to innovate.  

Frances Atkins

Great British Menu Frances Atkins
Frances Atkins

Frances and her husband, Bill, have co-owned The
Yorke Arms
near Harrogate for almost two decades. She started her first kitchen job at the Michelin-starred Box Tree in her native Ilkley. There she rose to the challenge of a male-dominated kitchen, and from there came stints at Dalhouse Castle, and Tate & Lyle.

A ten year hiatus followed at the insistence of her first husband, but when the pair split in 1984 she set up her own catering company, which afforded her enough to buy her first restaurant. At this time she would visit her mentor Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir whom she calls a great influence.

>>> Related: Frances Atkins, Chef Patron, The Yorke Arms

Frances and The Yorke Arms have gained many accolades including a Michelin star since 2003, Good Food Guides Restaurant of the Year 2008/9, Yorkshire Life Restaurant of the year 2012/13, and came in at number 3 in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurant 2013. She brings a no fuss feminine expertise to her kitchen.

Her dishes are uncomplicated but show her keen understanding of textures, flavours and her ingredients.  

Paul Welburn

Great British Menu 2014 Paul Welburn
Paul Welburn

Paul was born in Scarborough where he attended the near-by catering college. He then moved to London and The Star Inn before continuing on to Rhodes in the Square under Michael James and Gary Rhodes.

>>> Related: Andrew Pern, chef patron, The Star Inn at Harome

He was then offered a job on a private yacht in Cannes where he worked for 6months, and felt that being able to flex his wings out of the cramped London kitchens, it gave him a whole new perspective on food. He returned to London where he was part of the original Gherkin team under Brian Hughson.

>>> Read: 10 minutes with: Paul Welburn

He then helped to open Rhodes W1 as sous chef, helping the restaurant gain its first Michelin star within months. He took over from Rhodes himself and retained the star as head chef for 5 years. Last year Searcys, the company behind Gherkin, won the contract for the restaurant of the newly refurbished Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Paul leads the kitchen of the Centenary Bar & Brasserie, which caters to theatre goers and diners of Birmingham.

By Harriet Knight

>>> Read more about Great British Menu here

>>> Read more about Great British Menu 2014 here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th May 2014

Great British Menu 2014 - North East Heat