Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat

The Staff Canteen

Meet the Great British Menu 2016 contestants from the North West; Matt Worswick, Adam Reid and Kim Woodward.

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.

Adam Reid, The French at The Midland Hotel, Manchester

Adam Reid is the head chef at Simon Rogan’s The French at the iconic Midland Hotel in Manchester. Manchester born and bred, Adam started his career at the city’s Bridgewater Hall before gaining experience as a senior sous chef at Brockencote Hall in Worcestershire and the Michelin-starred Chester Grosvenor hotel. He moved to The French in March 2013 to oversee the opening alongside Simon himself serving up quality local produce with bold, simple flavours and technical flair in the typical Simon Rogan style.

Why did you want to take part in this series?

Obviously when the series started about 11 years ago I was kind of at the start of my career so I watched the show from the very beginning. It’s just one of those things you want to aspire to and one day think ‘I want to do that’ but never actually think it would be something you would do!

I had actually looked at doing it the year before but I wasn’t in the right place at the time but this year came round and it felt like the perfect timing. It’s one of those things where you look up to the chefs and you know you’re kind of getting somewhere when you doing something you saw on the TV 11 years ago!

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

It was horrible! I liken it to writing a menu for someone who wants something very specific but that’s part of you as a professional being able to apply your skills to achieve something that somebody asks for. It was just a challenge for me, I looked at it in an open minded kind of way and thought I can approach this in a way that says ‘this is what we do in the restaurant and I’m going to try and tweak that to fit into what they have asked me’ or I can just go into this thing and go ‘it’s a completely different thing and has nothing to do with the kind of food we do in the restaurant so to speak.’

>>> Read more about Adam Reid here

So really I was just really open minded about how I approached it and every single dish I created from my menu kind of had the same overall theme but each dish was very specific around the brief. I really just used the brief to determine how I approached the menu.

Had you worked with Kim (Woodward) or Matt (Worswick) before?

I’ve never met Kim before but funnily enough Matt and I both won the Caterer’s Acorn Award in 2014 so we had actually spent the weekend together there, so we knew each other anyway. Matt’s a nice guys and Kim’s great as well and to be honest we actually got on really well. It was a good experience getting to work with those guys.

Kim Woodward, The Savoy Grill, London

Kim became the head chef at the Savoy Grill in April 2015 having spent the previous six years as head chef of the York & Albany. She travelled through America earning her chef whites and honing her skills in top restaurants such as Top of The Rock in Missouri. In 2007 she returned home and joined the Gordon Ramsay group as a junior sous chef at Boxwood Café. She later joined Plane Foods and then was part of the successful opening team of the Savoy Grill under executive chef Stuart Gillies progressing to her current status of head chef.

Why did you want to take part in this series?

I always like to take part in the competition side of the culinary world. I find it keeps me on my toes, and I get to see and meet other great chefs from the industry.

>>> Read more about Kim Woodward here

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

I loved it. I thought this year’s brief was great. The Queen’s era, and within her reign, wow! It played a great part in my dishes and my Journey creating them to suit the region and the food.

Had you worked with Adam (Reid) or Matt (Worswick) before?

I have never worked with Adam but had seen Matt from last year’s Great British Menu. I thought both of the guys were brilliant. They’re both such passionate chefs.


Matt Worswick, The Latymer, Pennyhill Park

Matt began his chef career at The Crofters Hotel in Lancashire before moving to the Michelin-star St. Martins-on-the-Isle on The Isles of Scilly, working with Kenny Atkinson where he achieved a Michelin Rising Star award in 2007. He has since gone on to secure his place as a semi-finalist on BBC MasterChef: The Professionals in 2010 and most recently a regional finalist representing the North West in BBC2’s Great British Menu 2015.

It's your second GBM appearance - why did you want to do it again?

I suppose it’s good exposure. I’ve watched the show for 10 years and last year was good so I thought why not.

Have you learnt anything from your first experience that helped this time around?

I suppose just to be yourself. You can’t go on there and try and be something that you’re not, it kind of brings out the best and worst in people but if you’re just yourself I think you get a true representation of who you are.

And like I said, it’s good exposure so as long as you come across as yourself people will get to know you a bit more.

If you’re comfortable you’re going to cook the best food but it’s always going to be a difficult scenario to be in.

What did you find most difficult?

The competition itself is quite difficult and being judged on national TV isn’t easy. The pressure to be on that side of things is tough, you just have to confident with the food you’re cooking I suppose.

>>> Read more about Matt Worswick here


How did you find working with Adam (Reid) and Kim (Woodward)?

They’re really professional chefs and it’s nice to be working with such high calibre chefs. They have a great reputation in their own right and who they have worked with before. That was always going to be a challenge but it was great to see how different people work and certainly under those circumstances. I really enjoyed it actually, it was great.

Did the brief push you out of your comfort zone?

I don’t suppose it pushed me out of my comfort zone because you had to cook with what you’re comfortable with. I enjoyed the brief because it was right up my street with the style of food that I cook and I’m very passionate about British food and ingredients.

It was a really good brief to cook for and it wasn’t necessarily out of my comfort zone because it fitted my style of food anyway.

Having done it twice would you do GBM again?

I don’t know, it all depends and I guess it depends on whether they ask me as well. The show is evolving all the time and so wherever I do it again I suppose I just have to cross that bridge if it came to it but I guess doing it twice is enough exposure for anybody.

I think now I would like to concentrate on the restaurant a bit more rather than going off and doing TV which is great for business but it takes a lot out of your time because you’re thinking about it all the time and practicing so my priority now would have to be the restaurant.

>>> Read more about Great British Menu here 

>>> Read more about Great British Menu 2016 here

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th September 2016

Great British Menu 2016 - North West heat