Great British Menu 2016 - Central heat

The Staff Canteen

Meet the Great British Menu 2016 contestants from Central England; Andrew Scott, Daniel Smith and Danny Gill.

The chefs will create dishes in a bid to get the chance to cook at a banquet celebrating the ordinary citizens who’ve been honoured by the Queen. Great British Menu makes history as the Palace of Westminster opens its doors for the first televised banquet to be held in the historic House of Commons Members’ Dining Room. And in a bid to cook at this ultimate banquet, the competition reaches new highs in the kitchen as past record scores are equalled then smashed.

Andrew Scott Great British Menu 2016

Andrew Scott

Great British Menu 2016 

Andrew Scott, Restaurant 56, Farringdon

Andrew Scott has spent his entire career in Michelin-starred kitchens, training initially at Mallory Court, Lords of the Manor and L’Enclume before rejoining Mallory Court, where he became Head Chef in 2010. He continued to retain the accolades at Mallory for 2 years before moving onto the Curlew restaurant in East Sussex, where he gained a Michelin star in the 2014 Michelin Guide.

In 2014, a brand new project arose which was Sudbury House in Faringdon Oxfordshire.

Opening Restaurant 56 in the grade 2 listed building then overseeing the full refurbishment of the rest of the hotel and opening a more relaxed dining option too.

Why did you want to take part in this series?

“GBM was an amazing process that opened my eyes to TV cheffing! I wanted to take part as I've been an avid fan of the show for last 10 years never missing an episode. I used to think I'd love to take part but then thought by the time I'm old enough/established, it won't be on and maybe I won't be good enough as you can't apply you're asked. It was a dream come true to have a go.”

How was it creating the dishes for this year’s theme?

“Planning the menu and making sure you hit the brief so the viewers can connect was really intense and took a lot of planning. I enjoyed the theme as I'm proud of my country and royal family , I researched meals served at Buckingham palace, the Queen’s favourite food and drinks, and then other courses were based on amazing people in my region that had gone the extra mile in there career or community.”

Had you worked with Danny or Daniel before?

“I'd never worked or even met the other two boys, but after a little Twitter stalking I found out a few things. They’re both great guys and we had fun doing the show, but to be honest once in the studio there's nothing you can do you could be up against Heston and Gordon you're still going to cook the same dishes you've been  planning for weeks!”

Great British Menu 2016

Daniel Smith Great British Menu 2016

Daniel Smith

Great British Menu 2016

Daniel Smith, The Ingham Swan, Norfolk

With a career spanning 20 years, Norfolk-born Daniel has worked for the acclaimed Michel Roux Jr at the two Michelin starred London restaurant, Le Gavroche before moving back to Norfolk to work with another renowned chef - Galton Blackiston at Morston Hall where he achieved his first Michelin Star as Head Chef, aged 23. He then spent a decade at the popular Wildebeest Arms in South Norfolk before opening The Ingham Swan, his first restaurant, in April 2010. During this time he has built up a solid reputation and loyal following as being one of Norfolk's most innovative and creative chefs.

Why did you want to take part in this series?

Obviously the kudos. The pedigree of chefs from past shows is also a massive boost to your confidence because they have obviously been a part of that show. I suppose ultimately for myself I was a little bit surprised when I was initially asked to go on the show. But when I found out how, when and what it just turned out to be a fantastic privilege to be a part of the programme.

How was it creating the dishes for this year’s theme?

At first, the way I viewed it was obviously that I had to have a story. So initially it was thinking about who I was going to dedicate the dishes to and obviously understand why that would fill the brief. Three of my four dishes I dedicated to individuals whereas my main course was more of a generic thing honouring anyone who has been honoured from the queen.

Had you worked with Danny or Andrew before?

No definitely not but I must say I am good friends with both of them now. We formed a great bond which will obviously be shown on the TV programme. Since the show I have kept in contact with both of the guys and it has been great having a nice alliance with them. Initially going up against the pedigree of chefs, especially Daniel coming from a two star background, it’s even more daunting despite having worked in 1 and 2 star restaurants before.

It was a great feeling to be a part of the programme and part of what they did.

Daniel Smith Great British Menu 2016

Danny Gill Great British Menu 2016

Danny Gill

Great British Menu 2016

Danny Gill, Bell at Coleby, Lincolnshire

Danny is the head chef of the pub restaurant, The Bell at Colebay. A former protégée of Daniel Clifford’s, Danny has worked in the kitchens of both Midsummer House and the Flitch of Bacon.

Growing up with a father who cooked for the RAF, Danny soon found himself washing pots and pans at the weekend. After leaving school early, Danny pursued a career in the hospitality industry and found himself working for a 2 AA rosette pub in his hometown of Lincoln. He later moved to Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons where he got offered a job as Commis Chef.

>>> Related: Daniel Clifford, Midsummer House and Flitch of Bacon

After 4 years at Le Manoir, Danny joined Daniel Clifford’s 2 Michelin starred restaurant, Midsummer House as a junior sous chef. After leaving there to return home he later found himself back at Midsummer where he remained for a further 3 years working his way up to become head chef.

Following a call from Daniel, Danny found himself helping to set up Daniel’s next venture, his Little Dunmow pub, the Flitch of Bacon which opened last year. After a brief stint as head chef Danny recently left to head up the pub restaurant, The Bell at Colebay under the guidance of chef patron, Paul Vidic.

Why did you want to take part in this series?

My first initial thing was to not do it because of what was going on with the restaurant but at the same time it kind of made sense to do it so that’s how GBM came about.

The show has been going for 9-10 years and we have all kind of grown up watching it and seeing all of our peers take part and I think it’s a natural progression for any chef at that level to want to push on and do it. So as much as I was in two minds about wanting to do and not wanting to do it, and the pressure from chef (Daniel Clifford) wanting us to do it as well, it was a bit of a no brainer really. It was an absolute privilege to take part.

How was it creating the dishes for this year’s theme?

It was a challenge. I have taken part in devising menus twice before when I was at Midsummer with Daniel so I had a bit of an advantage. It really gets your brain working because they want it to be modern and to see new things but after 10 years of Michelin chefs doing the show it’s hard to do something that hasn’t already been done before.

If I got the chance to do it again I would definitely look at honing in on how you interpret the brief because you can kind of overlook what they are actually trying to get out of you with the dishes. So that was the hardest bit for me really because the brief was so vast this year with what they were after. When we got down to finals week you could see other people’s interpretation and I think the producers were after it being more about the OBEs and MBEs rather than the Queen and the jubilee.

It was an amazing experience.

Had you worked with Andrew or Daniel before?

No, I had never met them before or worked with them but they are two amazing chefs. We had a great week with each other and I’m still in touch with them both now. They are just both great chefs.

Great British Menu 2016


 >>> Read more about Great British Menu here

>>> Read more about Great British Menu 2016 here

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 26th September 2016

Great British Menu 2016 - Central heat