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Great British Menu: Chris Fearon shares his GBM experiences

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Chris Fearon, Great British MenuChris Fearon, head chef of Deanes at Queens Head,in Belfast, shares his experiences on the Great British Menu with Satellite Dishes. Here's what this charming fella ha to say.

How did you find the regional heat?

It was a daunting experience because Brian McCann was my old chef. I worked with him for about four or five years before I left take on my first head chef role and I went for the biggest rival in Belfast.

We fell out over it and didn't speak for a couple of years and the first time we saw each other was at the Great British Menu so it was a bit weird. It wasn't until the last day that I really started enjoying myself because of the awkwardness in the studio. Once I'd won the regional heat it was fine.

Great British Menu 2011: An interview with Aktar Islam

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Aktar Islam, chef director of Lasan, Birmingham takes time out to talk to Satellite Dishes about his GBM experience and on winning his place at the final banquet. 

How did you find the regional heat?

When I first got in the kitchen knowing I was up against Richard and Sue, the first thing that came to my mind was that Richard had a star and Sue she's got high pedigree working in three Michelin-starred kitchens and has worked with many Michelin-starred chefs. 

I had done a bit of research I thought am I a bit of an underdog here, but once meeting them I thought, I am here now and here to win. We were all there to win it and all under the same pressure and may the best man win. 

Paul Ainsworth twitter pic.jpgPaul Ainsworth was one of the four fantastic chefs to serve up a dish at the Great British Menu people's banquet. Satellite Dishes found out what it was like to get cooking in front of the foodie nation.

How has your appearance on Great British Menu affected business at Number 6?

The first episode of the south west regional heat went out on May Day and we were closed. It's a bank holiday and everywhere in Padstow closes for a big celebration in the town. We came back in on the Wednesday to over 200 emails and our voicemail, which holds about 70 messages, was completely full. And that was just after the duck course. They hadn't seen the fish yet. Ever since then it's been consistently busy for lunch and dinner every single day.

Did you have any idea what to expect?

Tom Kerridge is one of my best friends and he gave me an inkling about what it'd be like but it all depends on the type of character you are. And that's what it's all about.

Thumbnail image for Tom KerridgeTom Kerridge takes time out to talk to Satellite Dishes on his GBM experience

How did you find the regional heats?
You are always under pressure in the regional heats because you want to get through to cook for the judges.
I felt sick with pressure to get through to the judges as Tom Aikens and Phil Thompson were amazing.

I thought both their food was amazing any of us could have got through. There were some incredible scores in this region. Phil and Tom are incredible chefs. I know Tom gets a bit of bad press, but he is an amazing guy.
I was honored to be cooking in the kitchen with him. 

Tom KerridgeMichelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, of the Hand and Flowers in Marlow, has scooped the last spot on the Great British Menu final, beating comeptitive rival Tom Aikens into second place.

The south east heat was a battle of the Michelin stars as Tom K went up against Tom Aikens of Restaurant Tom Aikens and Phil Thompson of Auberge du Lac.

Tom K was back to defend his title as GBM 2010 champion. Last year he won the battle for the main course and it looks like he might make it a double.

Chef judge Jason Atherton scored him a perfect ten for his take on a traditional hog roast.

Johnnie Mountain talks Great British Menu and charity cooking

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Johnnie-Mountain.jpgJohnnie Mountain, chef patron of the English Pig in London and north west regional finalist of this year's Great British Menu, is a charitable fella.

He has just been announced as a patron of Popup4poverty - a charity pop-up restaurant project in aid of the street and slum children of Kolkata (via the Hope Foundation).

He spoke to Satellite Dishes about why he decided to get involved and what it was like to return to the Great British Menu kitchen once again.

Satellite Dishes: What prompted you to get involved in Popup4poverty?

Johnnie Mountain: I was approached by these new save the world kids Dave Ahern and Ed Francis (of the Engineer pub in Primrose Hill) on the back of the Kai We Care charity dinner [a nine-course dinner for 200 in aid of victims of the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand that was arranged in four weeks largely through the use of social networking site Twitter - Satellite Dishes]. That has kick-started a lot of momentum to help people. And that's a great; a really positive thing to do in this shit world that we live in.

Great British Menu: Hywel Jones to represent Wales in final

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Hywell-Jones.jpgLucknam Park chef Hywel Jones has won the penultimate regional heat of Great British Menu and goes on to represent Wales in the series final.

He saw off competition from returning Welsh champion Aled Williams of Plas Bodegroes, Gwynedd, who narrowly pipped newcomer Gareth Jones from Bodesgallen Hall, North Wales, to make it through to the Friday final.

What's been particularly interesting in these regional heats, is the very different interpretations of the brief.

While there is no doubt that all the chefs that have taken part have skill, some more than others, this series of GBM has been more concerned with innovation and creativity.

Michael-Smith.jpgMichael Smith has been named winner of the Great British Menu Scotland regional heat, beating Tony Singh into second place.

The judging was particularly interesting as come of their comments were completely at odds with chef judge Alan Murchison's throughout the week.

For example, Tony's langouistine fish course was criticised by Alan for being too simple, whereas Oliver Peyton, Matthew Fort and in particular Prue Leith, absolutely loved it.

Michael's menu beat Tony's by two votes to one, with only Prue opting for the Oloroso chef's quirky menu.

Great British Menu: changing tactics in the Scotland heat

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GBM-logo.jpgMichael Smith and Tony Singh have returned to the Great British Menu kitchen and this year sees new competition in the form of Philip Carnegie.

Michael, the head chef at the Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye and Tony, chef owner of Oloroso, Edinburgh, went up against each other last year but were pipped to the regional crown by this year's chef judge Alan Murchison.

Inverlochy Castle head chef Philip is the new kid on the block and his inexperience with this type of competition is apparent.

While Michael and Tony seemed to be pacing themselves with their menus, if their uncomplicated starters were anything to go by. 

Great British Menu: Learn to cook like Paul Ainsworth

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pollack.jpgPaul Ainsworth has teamed up with Caterer and Hotelkeeper to talk a load of pollocks (sorry, too easy).

The chef-patron of Number 6 restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall, is a big fan of pollock/pollack (both spellings are acceptable).

A member of the cod family, it has increased in popularity given its status as a more sustainable fish option to the over-fished cod.

Are you feeling green? Do you want to learn more about preparing line-caught pollack?

The Great British Menu regional champion for ths south west spoke to Michael Raffael about the best ways to source and prepare this fish for stock and recipes.

caterersearch-logo.jpgCheck out the pollack masterclass on Satellite Dishes' parent site


TT-logo-small.gifFor photos, visit the top hospitality industry discussion and media forum Table Talk.


Recent Comments

  • Kevin Ashton: I think the current problem with cooking/food related shows on read more
  • Chef Hermes: Whilst #HotelGB has come in for some heavy criticism, most read more
  • Josie Hogan: MW has never has any great respect for JM. Seen read more
  • Barbara Billings: Just finished watching London and the South East, clearly Jason read more
  • GBM ADDICT: BBC must be crowing that this episode of GBM HAS read more
  • Timoth: This year's GBM is a complex brief and clearly the read more
  • Tracey: It was unprofessional of MW to say the things he read more
  • Jane Pattinson: ^ Interesting comment "Melinda"... or should we say, Marcus!? ;-) read more
  • Betty: Marcus Wareing is, without a doubt, one of the most read more
  • Melinda: The contestants are there to be judged. Marcus Wareing judged read more