Great British Menu 2017 chefs - Nick Deverell-Smith, Central heat

The  Staff Canteen

Meet the Great British Menu 2017 chefs from Central: Nick Deverell-Smith

This year Nick Deverell-Smith takes on Ryan Simpson and Pip Lacey 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.

Nick Deverell Smith, chef owner, The Churchill Arms, Great British Menu 2017
Nick Deverell-Smith

Before opening The Churchill Arms, Nick’s first solo venture, he learnt his craft from the best chefs in the country, including Marco Pierre-White, Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing and Eric Chavot. This year is Nick’s first time on the Great British Menu, but we hear he is putting on a great show!

>>> Related: Marcus Wareing, Marcus Wareing Restaurants, London

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

I have watched Great British Menu for years and I am always inspired by the calibre of chefs who take part. Competing on it has been a dream of mine for years and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to compete on a show I am so passionate about. The programme has been running for 12 series now so it’s a great feeling to be asked to take part in such an iconic TV show and to be recognised as one of the top chefs in my region.

How tough was it to come up with dishes which fit the brief: a taste of summer, Wimbledon?

This year’s show is all about creating a range of dishes which showcase all the flavours, smells and colours of the summer, and paying tribute to the incredible history and prestige of the Wimbledon Championships. I think it’s a very interesting brief as there are lots of various angles to explore and the one thing I struggled with during the brief was the time scale. I did a lot of research into the historical aspect on what people used to eat at Wimbledon, looking at the best produce during that time of year and sourcing appropriate props that fit the brief. There was definitely a lot of pressure to execute impressive dishes on top of running a pub full-time in such a short time!

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

My main goal during filming was to cook exciting food with a wow factor. As I said, I spent a lot of time sourcing the appropriate props and ingredients in order to fulfil the theatrical aspect of the brief. When cooking on Great British Menu you definitely need for your dishes to stand out as well as taste great. So yes, that was definitely a huge part of the pressure.Great British menu 2017

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

I am a really competitive person, so I thrive on a challenge! The competitiveness of cooking alongside top chefs from my region helped to drive me forwards, even though it was very tough. I don’t think that anyone particularly enjoys being pushed out of their comfort zone but that is all part of the learning process and it’s difficult to progress without being faced with a challenge. The whole experience was very demanding and it was definitely one of toughest kitchens I have ever cooked in!

Best and worst part of being on Great British Menu?

The best part was fulfilling my dream of cooking on Great British Menu. The worst part was the heat of the kitchen…there is no extraction in the GBM kitchen so it gets really hot in there!

Would you do it again?

I would love to do it again!

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

There were a lot of comments the judges made that I agreed with, and there were some that I didn’t! It’s interesting to receive feedback because they will often highlight something that you may not have even thought of. It’s important to take feedback on board and use any negative comments as constructive criticism to improve for future.

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

There is always a lot of pressure when cooking for top chefs and this combined with the TV cameras made it quite stressful. You just want to succeed and do the best you can do in that situation.

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

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th June 2017

Great British Menu 2017 chefs - Nick Deverell-Smith, Central heat