Great British Menu 2017 chefs – Angela Malik, Scotland heat

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th May 2017

Meet the Great British Menu 2017 chefs from Scotland: Angela Malik

This year Angela Malik takes on Ally McGrath and Michael Bremner in a bid to make it through to the Great British Menu 2017 banquet which celebrates 140 years of Wimbledon. This year’s brief is to create dishes that capture ‘a taste of summer’ paying tribute to the history and prestige of the Wimbledon Championships.

Angela Malik - Great British Menu chefs 2017
Angela Malik

Angela Malik is a food entrepreneur and was formerly chef patron of two delis in Acton and Ealing, both called ‘Angela Malik Modern Asian Deli’.  A top ten alumnus of Leith’s School of Food and Wine, she also undertook work experience at some top restaurants, including Bibendum and Vong. After this, Angela opened The Angela Malik School of Food and Wine with chef Tom Kime. She has now been a food educator for many years, teaching some classes at Leiths and offering bespoke cookery training through her own company, Angela Malik.

 Why did you want to get involved in Great British Menu?

I was actually approached by the producers to be a judge on one of the shows! I’ve known of Optomen for a long time, I worked with them many years ago. So, I knew the producers and I had lunch with them and the original approach was for me to be a judge and we were chatting and I asked: “Why don’t you have more women contestants on the show?” and they basically explained that they struggle to get them and asked me to take part. I laughed and told them that I’m not really a restaurant chef.

My background is very much teaching and delis, and I’m a food entrepreneur who does everything except run restaurants. They said the show is changing, they’re looking for different types of contestants and they’re encouraging women to come forward. So, I had a think about it and I thought perhaps it would be good for me to push myself beyond my comfort zone and to be able to showcase what I do.

I don’t plate food to look like beautiful pictures but I know about flavours and I cooking. So, I put myself forward and they picked me! Part of the reason for me was to be brave and strong, as women we should represent a lot of what’s done in the food industry. And we need to come forward and there aren’t many platforms where you can do that on TV.

How tough is it to come up with dishes which fit the brief?

‘Taste of Summer’ was brilliant – I love all the summer ingredients so that wasn’t difficult. The ‘Celebrating Wimbledon’ theme was a bit more challenging but when I actually started to think about it, it was quite nice to have something off-piste. I love the idea of fitting it around a theme - that gave a bit of direction, otherwise I wouldn’t have known where to start. . It actually kind of fell together and the summer element helped because all of the ingredients were kind of Wimbledon-y! I’ve pitched it like ‘A Day at Wimbledon’, so things you would do at Wimbledon, leading everyone through a journey.

Did you feel under pressure to create theatrical dishes rather than well-cooked dishes served simply on a plate?great british menu 2017

No, I think for me it was very much substance over style. I think sometimes people get too carried away with the style of it. I didn’t have much time to do all the props either so it was focusing on the quality of the food and the flavours. When you eat it, it’s got to taste delicious. If I’d had a bit more time, I would have practiced a lot more in terms of the style of it but for me, it was just to get some nice food on a plate.

It being my first time on the show, there was enough pressure without having to fiddle around with too much gimmickry! The pressure to do something different was definitely there - you don’t want to be doing something too safe. This is a creative show, so it’s about showing your creativity. So I wanted to show I could do other things other than just Asian cooking.

Did you enjoy being pushed out of your comfort zone, and how difficult is it to cook in the GBM kitchen alongside other chefs?

I was very, very scared! I watched that show for twelve years and I always thought whoever does it, is very brave. I’m not someone who has ever learned plating. After leaving Leith’s, my journey has been very different from a traditional restaurant career. It’s been around building businesses in cookery education.

I was frightened because I’ve never really cooked like that, under that much pressure and never been surrounded by all these other fantastic chefs who do it day in and day out. I only got told in August that I was on and we started filming in September. I think it would have been wiser if I’d had more time to practice but in the end, I thought, you can only do your best and see what happens.

great british menu 2017 What were the best and worst parts of being on GBM?

The best part was working with the other guys and being in that very ‘cheffy’ environment – it really pushes you to be the best that you can be. That was great.

The worst I think was just the pressure of the kitchen. It’s physically a very hard environment to be in, it was very hot in that kitchen. Time, as well - until you’ve done it, you don’t realise how quickly an hour and a half goes and then you’ve given yourself too much to do so the message is simple. The days were very long too and I wasn’t quite prepared for that – we’d be in the studio from 6 am and not finish filming until 10 pm by the fourth day, I was just physically exhausted.

Would you do it again?

If I was to do it again, I would be more prepared with my stamina for the physical part of it. I think it came across when I started plating in the actual filming, that I didn’t have much time to prepare dishes beforehand. Having only a few weeks to think about the whole thing, from start to finish, it just wasn’t enough time to be able to prepare. The other guys were repeaters – they’d been on it last year and that was very obvious as well because they’d prepared very well. It needs a lot of dedication to do it properly.

How nerve-wracking is it to cook for your peers?

I was fine about that. I’ve cooked for lots and lots of people, private clients, clients who are chefs as well, so I’m very confident in my ability to cook my own food. What worried me more was the actual presentation of it because that’s not something I usually do.

If you were scoring your dishes, would you agree with what your judge said or not? If not why not?

Absolutely, I was really pleased! I was pleasantly surprised by my score and in the end, I held my head up. I thought it would be an absolute crucifixion but it wasn’t.

>>> Find out about all of the Great British Menu 2017 chefs here

>>> Read more about Great British Menu 2017 here

In these challenging times…

…the hospitality landscape has dramatically changed in the last two months, and with that our advertising revenues have all but expired, significantly impacting our business. Despite having to furlough a large portion of our staff, we are still delivering the valuable content and honest information, which hundreds of thousands of you come to The Staff Canteen for. We believe we have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience. 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.

Your financial support means we remain independent and open to all. We were launched by a chef and remain the voice of chefs and other hospitality professionals.

We need your support to keep delivering the products and content that you love, giving you the platform to share opinions and inspiration. Every contribution whether big or small, means so much.
Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th May 2017

Great British Menu 2017 chefs – Angela Malik, Scotland heat