If you are a newbie chef, coming to the Great British menu and entering a regional heat, knowing that you will be competing against a previous champion must be daunting. That’s what I would have thought anyway. But during this week’s battle to get through to the final judging round, both Kim Woodward and Adam Reid showed not one flicker of doubt or sweat at first. Perhaps this was down to their backgrounds. Kim, a protege of Gordon Ramsay, is the first ever female head chef at The Savoy Grill after all. Adam has risen through the ranks under the guidance of Simon Rogan and is now head chef at The French in Manchester. Both have that steely eyed glare and sense of purpose and determination. Why should they be worried?
Well, I suppose it helps that the chef in question is Matt Worswick; a big, bouncing ball of fun and energy from Liverpool. When all three met for the first time, I thought to myself, ‘Those two are going to pick him off like a pair of velociraptors.’ However, with a leather apron as a shield of armour, Matt soon brought them back to earth by interjecting with, ‘You guys don’t know what’s coming.’ Injecting a good dose of heebie jeebies to boot. Then Phil Howard walked into the room and suddenly, the playing field was levelled. ‘Ha ha! Not so cocky now, are we!’ I yelled at the screen. Before hiding behind the sofa, because Big Phil makes me nervous also.
Kicking off with the starters round then. Matt stepped up and announced that he was making ‘Liver and Onions’. A dish signalling an intent to go down the nostalgic route and one that brought back more than just a couple of memories for Matt’s uncle. After he asked him to try it for him, his uncle said that there were two things missing, his ‘Mam and Dad’. Which led to much lip wobbling. Phil was also moved and impressed by Matt’s contemporary approach, delivering a whole range of techniques to showcase the onion (pickled, crisped and dehydrated as ash). It need more finesse though and looked rather messy.