It's not often one gets to combine helium and roadkill with high gastronomy. But such was the case on Friday's Great British Menu which saw chefs Michael Smith of Isle of Skye and Mark Greenaway of Edinburgh battle it out for Scottish glory. Judging the chefs were our usual trio of Oliver Peyton, Matthew Fort and Prue Leith, along with guest judge, comedian Debra Stephenson. The challenge was to produce dishes of culinary excellence that were also true to the spirit of Comic Relief. Here, the chefs' Scottish heritage often came in handy for both purposes.
First to the pass was Mark's rabbit terrine with carrot meringues, served in clever comedy cookbooks, but neither the food nor the comedy seemed to hit the mark. Oliver Peyton referred to the parsley puree as "green sludge" and the terrine "like underseasoned rabbit". No one was laughing, which made it far easier for Michael to steal the show with his "why did the chicken cross the road" starter.
Of course, it didn't matter why the chicken crossed the road, because the poor bird didn't make it: the food was presented in somewhat gory fashion on a black plate featuring beetroot puree splatters (blood), shredded pickled carrots (guts) and a few feathers in case it wasn't totally obvious what happened to the sad chicken. Debra referred to the "carnage" as "comic genius on a plate" while Oliver proclaimed that it "hit the brief on the head" in a very "assured piece of cooking."