Great British Menu 2015: North East heat preview

Great British Menu 2015: North East heat preview

by Food Urchin 7 September 2015

We're speeding through the regions with Great British Menu this year, and this week it's time for the North East. Food blogger Danny, aka Food Urchin, gets us geared up for the kitchen battles and tough judging to come.

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Danny is a food adventurer, home grower, supper club host and writer of the entertaining and quirky epicurean blog, Food Urchin.

Danny is a food adventurer, home grower, supper club host and writer of the entertaining and quirky epicurean blog, Food Urchin. When Danny is not busy digging holes to pit-roast lamb or hanging marrows in tights to make rum or foraging for snails in his garden to throw into paella, he is often left in charge of a pair of cheeky twins; with sometimes disastrous results in the kitchen. A former nominee for Best Food Writer at The YBFs Danny has decided that one day, he might just write a book about food.

It seems to have gone all secret squirrel with regards to this week’s heat for Great British Menu. No preview clip for our amusement, no heightened sense of peril or drama and no clue as to who the mentor will be; to coax, cajole and critique our competing chefs into quivering submission.

Nothing at all. Nada. Zilch. Kaput.

Perhaps it’s because this week’s chefs all have a certain degree of edge or disquiet surrounding them and this has got the BBC all nervous like. So let’s see who is on board from the North East then.

Well on paper, Mini Patel, head chef at The Pointer in Brill, Buckinghamshire, seems like a fairly innocuous sort of chap. Renowned for producing simple British classics with creative twists, his reputation for cooking and presenting beautifully proceeds him. So nothing to worry about there. Then again, apparently The Pointer used to be a drinking den for the men who planned and carried out the Great Train Robbery, way back in 1963.

Likewise, there is certainly an air of mystery about Tim Allen, who joined Launceston Place in 2012 after spending seven years slogging his guts out at two Michelin-starred Whatley Manor, in the Cotswolds. As a keen gardener, Tim put his knowledge of home-grown produce to good use and created a set of truly exceptional dishes for Launceston Place’s organic menu and garnered a Michelin star in no time at all. But by all accounts, he has recently left his post and returned to his native Yorkshire for ‘personal reasons’. I wonder what that is all about then.

Michael O'Hare and Tim Allen get creative
Some intense judging

And finally, we have Michael O’Hare, creative visionary chef at The Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds, and owner of the biggest hair in the industry. Reports on Twitter have suggested that when this man enters the kitchen for GBM, sparks could fly. And you have to admit, this does all sound rather exciting. Given that the names of some of his dishes go along the lines of ‘The Insecurity of Postmen in Oakley Sunglasses’ and ‘Marc Bolan Wasn’t A Welder’, it also sounds like Michael might just be one sandwich short of a picnic.

It could in fact all go off and maybe that is why the Beeb are being quiet. The reputation of the WI is at stake here and they definitely won’t stand for any ding dong. We shall have to wait and see what happens.


I have just heard a rumor that Marcus Wareing is going to be the chef overseeing matters and he is meant to be quite handy with the boxing gloves. Oh gawd, this doesn’t bear thinking about.

Let’s get ready to ruuuuuuuuummmmble.

Don't mess with Marcus...