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Great British Menu 2015: South West Final

Great British Menu 2015: South West Final

by Ella Timney 15 August 2015

We take a look at the thrills and spills of the South West final, where Josh Eggleton and Dominic Chapman are battling it out for a place in the finals. Which chef will emerge victorious?

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Ella is a Food Editor at Great British Chefs. She frequently puts her analytical skills to good use observing (and partaking in) drinking cultures in her favourite London ale pubs.

Ah the South West. As a sturdy human growing up in Devon, I can tell you bey, things are itchin' tough out there. They don’t call it the wild west for nothing. Ignore the fact that came from the US. It’s equally true in the UK.

‘It’s the day of reckoning’ mutters the stern voiceover lady. ‘My menu is better than Josh’s’ says Taunton’s very own Dom, breezily. Dom’s had a cracking week, pulling slightly ahead of Brizzle boy Josh until dessert. Josh’s pud got a blistering 10 points from Emily Watkins.

With this in mind, Dom must be feeling pretty good about pulling ahead of his rival. ‘I love looking at Josh. I love it when he’s behind me as well’.

Dom begins with 'In England’s Green and Pleasant Land', which despite the forgotten soup during the first round, scored a solid 8 points from Emily.

Dom is keeping it cool this time round, all sturdy and chilled with his dizzying multiple-element prep. But oh no, he's forgotten his scotch eggs! Peril! It's fine though, this lovely picnic presentation is all gravy, baby.

It looks delightful – a crisp, gorgeous scotch egg, little pork belly salad (which Emily said was unnecessary, but really, when is pork belly ever unnecessary?). It's a huge first course, muttered Matthew ‘I can’t fault any of this’ said Prue. Oliver commends that the dish sturdily ‘holds the roots of WI but is fine dining’. Fabulous, well done Dom!

Now it’s time for 'Mack Victoria sandwich' from Josh, which won 7 points from Emily, losing out for not being befitting of the WI and being ‘too big'! I’m always well up for a mackerel burger, personally. Oliver hit the nail on the head when he said ‘I think it’s weird on an occasion like this to rock up with a mackerel burger’. You feel like on some courses in GBM the chefs aren’t going for it. I get this feeling here.

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Dom's spectacular starter
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Don't trust them judges, they're not really pies!

Up first for the fish course is Dom’s ‘Mountain streams’. Emily told Dom to drop the pie. Josh said to drop the pie. He dropped the pie. ‘Or you could do the pie and not the rest’, Josh added, cheekily.

Despite the ribbing, Josh saved Dom’s bacon in pointing out his forgotten horseradish cream. I love these two, they should be a double act. A wonderful, South Western double act.

It looks lovely enough, served on pretty pebble plates, but ‘you could have it anywhere’ – very mild comments for the salmon, here. Not good enough, not interesting enough. It’s ‘okay’. Oh dear.

Josh next served up ‘Agricultural pie scheme’ – possibly one of the least sexily titled dishes in GBM history. The judges are presented with gingham-wrapped, lovely pies, but hang on – they're not bloody pies! A lovely bit of cod under the deceptive, fake lid, and the judges happily tuck in. Matthew feels cheated at the lack of actual pie, but I think he should get over it. ‘Pie scheme’ - those words will never be good together. Pie scheme.

 
 
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Josh tucks in to his delicious mutton
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Dom's colourful main

Now for Josh’s main, ‘Round the table with your 5 a day’ - another not so snappily titled dish. Emily didn’t like kidneys. Dom liked kidneys, and Josh keeps them in, hurrah! Josh brings out the mutton racks, roasted. ‘I’m not happy with my racks, a bit firm’. They look fantastic though, served with devilled kidneys, curry spiced swede mash and broccoli, all presented in dishes borrowed from his nan. It’s all in the detail.

‘That mutton chop is ringing all of my bells’ said Oliver. It’s super, traditional, a good old Sunday lunch.

We cut back to Josh in the kitchen, carving up a bit of mutton for himself. ‘BEEEEP roast dinner’ says Josh, hacking into a bit of meat and popping a wedge into his mouth. ‘I’ll do them a roast dinner’ - I love Josh.

'Bring me my chariot of fire' is next from Dom, a grow-your-own inspired dish. Emily gave him a 9 but advised swapping lamb breast for rack. He ignored her advice, thankfully. Hang on though, Dom’s hotpots are worrying him!

‘You don’t seem too happy with you hotpots’ muttered Josh

‘Why?’

‘Because you were swearing at the oven’

‘It’s because I forgot to… I’ve forgotten.’

‘You’ve forgotten what you forgot?’

I feel you Dom, my oven has also been at the receiving end of many torrents of abuse. Despite the quaking hands, the judges were happy, and they loved his lamb breast! The hotpot is not hotpotty enough though, remarked Oliver.

 
 
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The junket in question - Josh's dessert
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Afternoon tea treats from Dom

Now on to Josh’s 'Mission milk' for dessert, made with a cornflake milk junket. Hang on though, he’s got problems with his junket. Junket!!! ‘If his junket doesn’t set, it’s all over’ says Dom. He tentatively turns them out. They are fine! The junkets are all wobbly and white. I wish everyone would stop saying junket.

‘The junket shivers on your tongue before sliding down’ remarked Fort, horrendously. The judges are in awe overall, and like the fact they get a cheeky calendar girl surprise at the bottom of the plate.

Finally, we have Dom’s 'Clotted creams and pastures green'. Emily scored him a 6 for this, saying it was too much like an afternoon tea trolley. There are many elements, but he’s taken off a few to appease the judges.

‘Now it’s in the lap of the … judges’ said Dom, hopefully not literally.

They love the treacle tart, but Prue just ‘finds it all rather brown’. ‘Do you want to feed back to people things that they can make just as well themselves?’, asked Oliver, thus getting at the crux of this years’ brief. To pamper or not? Why try to teach your WI grandmother to suck eggs?

With that, the tense twosome await judging. I wish both of them could go through, they’ve both had cracking rounds. Prue announces that It’s a draw! Oh crikey! Sadly though, they do have to choose ‘the best menu’.

Dun dun dunnn ... it’s Josh! Success at the last minute. I think the pudding threw the whole thing, and I’d be shocked if anyone takes his dessert spot in the banquet. Commiserations to Dom, you were fabulous. Well done South Western chefs, you've done us proud.

 
 
 

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