Great British Menu 2017 chefs - Dominic Chapman, South West heat

The Staff Canteen

Meet the Great British Menu 2017 chefs from the South West: Dominic Chapman

This year Dominic Chapman takes on Tom Brown and Andy Clatworthy 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. 

Dom Chapman Great British Menu 2017
Dominic Chapman

Currently, the chef patron of The Beehive, Dom has been an integral part of many iconic kitchens. He was a former chef at Heston Blumenthal’s three Michelin-starred Fat Duck, and as head chef of Royal Oak, Dom earned his own Michelin star and 3 rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide. He is a well-seasoned Great British Menu contestant, and after a year’s absence, he’s now back on the show.

You’ve done Great British Menu before, what prompted you to do it again?

Good question! Great British Menu is good fun. It gets you out of the kitchen, gets you to do new stuff, gets you to meet other people. It’s good for business as well, that little bit of exposure on BBC television. Anything that can help that is a reason to do it.

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

It’s a really good brief. A very wide brief, open to interpretation. Sometimes Great British Menu is difficult because you have to come up with ideas that are a little bit cliched, but summer is a season. In the summer you have some beautiful produce out there so coming up with dishes within summer with a little nod to Wimbledon was reasonably easy.

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

You have to think out of the box for GBM; you do need some props, but it depends on who your veteran judge is. One judge will tell you too much prop, another judge will say not enough. It’s totally down to the food. If you can use props that will elevate the food then that’s a big yes. If you just put your food on a plate, then everyone’s going to say boring.

>>> Read more about Dominic Chapman here

Did you feel the pressure this year?

I feel the pressure every year. It’s full on! The pressure to do well and then you’ve got cameras in your face all day, it’s unbelievable.13349951 low great british menu

Did you enjoy being pushed out of your comfort zone?

GBM is very enjoyable; I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. It’s a competition so you’re living on adrenalin. From that point of view, it’s good fun. You work with some good guys in the kitchen. It’s a bit different from the day job. There is massive pressure to get it right and things do go wrong, but that’s just a part of the show. If it went swimmingly well, then it would be boring.

How difficult was it to cook in the Great British Menu kitchen alongside other chefs?

You are under strict time constraints. Try to do too much and then you’ll run out of time – nightmare! The kitchen’s hot, things work differently in the GBM kitchen, the oven is different, so you’re working with equipment that’s not quite the same. You are under pressure because people are watching you all day. It’s frustrating because you only got one chance. You can’t start again because if you’re not up for the task on time, they’ll chuck you out.

Best and worst part of being on the Great British Menu?

The best part is the adrenaline you get from it, and working with a bunch of other chefs is so much fun. The worst part is what you do is being scrutinised in front of millions of people on TV.

Would you do it again?

Dom Chapman great british menu 2017Yeah! When somebody’s saying that they’ll put you on TV, give you good exposure, it’s good for business, you can’t really say no. It doesn’t happen every day so you’ve got to enjoy it. Use it as an experience, you know?

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

I got four tens so I’d definitely agree with the judge. That was absolute bullshit – I just said that because I like saying it! I agree with the judges; they know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about.

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

It’s always nerve-wracking but it’s good fun. Not that nerve-wrecking really, you just get on with it and believe in what you’re trying to do and make sure it’s right.

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

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th May 2017

Great British Menu 2017 chefs - Dominic Chapman, South West heat