Great British Menu 2017 chefs – Michael Bremner, Scotland heat

The  Staff Canteen

Meet the Great British Menu 2017 chefs from Scotland: Michael Bremner

This year Michael Bremner takes on Ally McGrath and Angela Malik 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.

Michael Bremner great british menu 2017
Michael Bremner

Michael started his career as an apprentice at The Pittodrie House Hotel. Once he qualified, he moved to London, working at the Michelin-starred Orrery Restaurant as a demi-chef de partie.

Then, Michael moved to Seven in Leicester Square where was chef de partie, before taking on the role of head pastry chef at Marco Pierre White’s Quo Vadis, where Curtis Stone was head chef at the time. After a brief period travelling and working in Australia, Brighton and Canada, Michael returned to the UK permanently in 2007 to take up the position of head chef at the well-known restaurant, Due South.

Michael left Due South in 2012 and began making plans for his first business venture, 64 Degrees. A restaurant focused on social dining, 64 Degrees opened in October 2013 and it has been awarded ‘Brighton’s Best Restaurant 2017’.

>>>Related: Michael Bremner, Chef Patron, 64 Degrees

What made you want to take part in Great British Menu again?

I feel like I got so close last time that I feel like I’ve got a bit of unfinished business. I feel like I want to do my hardest. When I stood in that room [last year], I genuinely thought ‘It could have been me’. You know when you sort of build it up in your head? I was just praying for them to say my name and when they said Tommy’s name, it was just gutting.

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

It’s very hard when you’re doing a competition. I’m a massive fan of GBM so there has been a certain pattern of things that people do – it’s always quite dramatic, props, so there are all these technics and those sorts of things. The brief was about Wimbledon and summer – I very much focused mine on Wimbledon. I kind of have this fascination I think, that I focus on something and I almost obsess over it until I get it correct and that’s kind of how I did it with each course. I got into it. That’s probably the best part of it, for me, was coming up with the dishes.great british menu 2017

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

I think this year I do more my style of cooking. Last year I cooked a bit differently to how I normally cook and it was just having stories that connect with people. This year, I’ve done more my sort of style and I suppose things that I’m interested in.

 What were the best and worst parts of being on GBM?

The best bit is meeting the chefs. Last year, it was such an amazing experience working with the chefs and the whole team. Everyone that’s involved, they are fantastic people. I really enjoyed it. You get out of it how much you put into it. If you go in there cocky and arrogant, you’re not going to enjoy it as much as if you just be yourself. The most stressful part of it though is trying to keep your cool when something goes wrong.

I panic a lot in my head but outside I’m poker-faced, everything’s okay. That’s the worst thing about GBM – everyone’s watching you, to make a mistake and try and pretend like you didn’t, that’s the hardest part. I felt more comfortable in the kitchen this year. Last year, it was brand new to me. Being in a new kitchen was stressful, let alone having four or five cameramen staring at you as well and everyone asking you questions. It’s a lot to take on, it’s draining.

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

Without a doubt! I think last year when Daniel Clifford walked through the door, I thought it would be someone else. I was really hoping it was going to be someone like Michael Smith or someone like that and then when Daniel Clifford walked through the door, I was like ‘oh my god!’. He’s like one of the most respected chefs in the UK, he’s an incredible chef. That put the wind in me if you like, that was very terrifying!  

great british menu 2017If you were scoring your dishes, would you agree with what your judge said or not? If not, why not?

Without a doubt. We had a very fair judge this year.

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

It is really hard to cook in the GBM kitchen, you make mistakes you might not normally make. There is always lots going on and it is so hot. Saying that I loved every minute!

And I found being around the other chefs really inspiring and as much as everyone wants to win we also all support each other. 

Would you do it again?

Yes.

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

>>> Read more about Great British Menu 2017 here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th May 2017

Great British Menu 2017 chefs – Michael Bremner, Scotland heat