Great British Menu 2016 - Wales heat

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 19th September 2016

Meet the Great British Menu 2016 contestants from Wales; Adam Bannister, Andrew Birch and Phil Carmichael.

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 Bannister Great British Menu 2016

Adam Bannister

Great British Menu 2016 

Adam Bannister, Slice, Swansea

Adam trained at Stephen Terry’s acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurant, The Hardwick as well as doing a stint at the Northcote  under the Great British Menu champion, Lisa Allen. Adam and fellow chef, Chris Harris decided to venture into the restaurant business in May 2014. Within a year of opening the restaurant, Slice, was voted best restaurant in Swansea on TripAdvisor. It was also listed in both the Michelin guide and Good Food Guide 2014.

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

I suppose I wanted to try and enjoy it a bit more this year because obviously I was a bit nervous last year as it was my first appearance. So I just wanted to try and enjoy it a little bit more than what I did the first time round really.

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

You’ve got to try and learn how to control your nerves. I didn’t really get too nervous in the kitchen this time round so I definitely feel like I learned how to control them more.

What did you find most difficult?

That’s a good question, I guess for me it was just dealing with my nerves.

How did you find working with Andrew (Birch) and Phil (Carmichael)? You worked with Phil last year didn’t you?

It was good. They’re both great boys and really good chefs so it was nice to get the opportunity to work with them for a couple of days. Everyone’s got busy lives but we’ve tried to stay in contact, it’s a little more difficult to speak on a regular basis but there you go.

Did the brief push you out of your comfort zone?

No, I didn’t find the brief too bad this year.

Having done it twice would you do GBM again?

I don’t know about that! It’s a lot to commit to and we only have a small restaurant ourselves so to get time off to participate can be quite difficult. It’s hard to find the time to fit it all in really but never say never.

Great British Menu 2016

Andrew Birch Great British Menu 2016

Andrew Birch

Great British Menu 2016

Andrew Birch, Fishmore Hall, Ludlow

Andrew was previously a senior sous chef at the 3 AA Rossette and Michelin-starred Montague Arms in Hampshire where he gained a wealth of experience with famed chef Matthew Tomkinson. Andrew has been awarded Welsh Chef of the year in 2004, Young Chef Apprentice of Britain in 2005, Young Chef Apprentice of Europe in 2005 and was a finalist in the Roux Regional Scholarship in 2006.

Why did you want to take part in this series?

I did it to try something new and to take me out of my contort zone and see if I liked the TV side of cooking.

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

I enjoyed coming up with the menu it's was hard because the competition was tough and seems to get better every year.

Had you worked with Adam (Bannister) or Phil (Carmichael) before?

I had never meet Phil or Adam before and was an interesting experience spending a few days with them both all 3 of us are completely different chefs I enjoyed it.

Great British Menu 2016

Phil Carmichael Great British Menu 2016

Phil Carmichael

Great British Menu 2016

Phil Carmichael, Berners Tavern, London

Phil first met Jason Atherton in 2012 and worked alongside him on the launch of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze. Phil quickly became Jason’s right hand man heading up the kitchen at Maze in South Africa and then in Prague, where he won his first Michelin star. He later returned to the UK to assist Jason in the launch of the Pollen Street Social in 2011 which was awarded its first Michelin star in 2012 making it one of London’s most esteemed restaurants.

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

I just really enjoyed it the first time round and I wanted to give it another crack to see if I could get any further than I did last time. The first time I did it I missed out by one point so I wanted to make sure I could go back and do it again.

>>> Related: Phil Carmichael, head chef, Berners Tavern, The London EDITION Hotel

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

Yes, you know the kitchen better, you know the layout, you know the equipment a lot better and you know what curve balls they are going to throw at you. You’re just more comfortable in the kitchen.

What did you find most difficult?

It’s just cooking in a brand new kitchen, that’s the most difficult part as a chef. We’re all used to cooking in our own kitchens where we know where everything is, what the stove is like, etc. So that was challenging, I mean the whole process is difficult but that was the first time for me cooking in a foreign kitchen and it wasn’t easy.

How did you find working with Andrew (Birch) and Adam (Bannister)?

It was great being back in the kitchen with Adam (Phil and Adam Bannister worked together on the show last year). He’s a good laugh and he’s hectic to watch but he’s a great little cook. Andrew I hadn’t actually heard of before but his food was very meticulous. Andrew was a little quiet but it was the second time Adam and I had worked together so we had a bit more of banter going on but it was just a really good laugh.

Did the brief push you out of your comfort zone?

It’s always difficult being told to cook for something rather than just being able to let your creativity go nuts. It was quite a broad brief and quite general so we could get away with a lot of stuff but you’re constantly questioning yourself as to whether this is hitting the brief and whether they are going to get it, so that can be quite difficult to get across in a plate of food.

Having done it twice would you do GBM again?

Yes, absolutely. If I was invited back I would definitely like to do it again.

>>> 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 19th September 2016

Great British Menu 2016 - Wales heat