Great British Menu 2016: Scottish heat preview

Great British Menu 2016: Scottish heat preview

by Great British Chefs 26 August 2016

The first week of this year’s Great British Menu pits the finest chefs to come out of Scotland against one another, to see who’s got the skills to move on to the next round and be in with the chance of cooking at the finalists’ banquet.

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Great British Menu is back for an incredible eleventh series, and this time it’s the Scots who will be kicking off the competition. Under the judging eye of Daniel Clifford, head chef of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Midsummer House and Great British Menu veteran, three up and coming Scottish chefs will be trying to sous vide, Thermomix and centrifuge their way to a place in the final.

With a simple brief of cooking British cuisine to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s ‘Great Britons’ it’s hard to guess what the chefs will be bringing to the pass, but one thing’s for sure – there’s going to be some very complex, intricate cooking, with presentation that deserves its own spot in an art gallery. If you’re unfamiliar with the chefs competing, take a look at their careers so far below.

Michael Bremner, 64 Degrees, Brighton

Michael Bremner

Born in Aberdeenshire in 1975, Michael worked as an apprentice in Scotland’s The Pittodrie House Hotel before moving down to London to gain experience in pastry at the Michelin-starred Orrery Restaurant. He soon moved over to become head pastry chef at Quo Vadis when it was run by Marco Pierre White, before travelling around Australia working in the kitchens of Melbourne, Sydney and Airlie Beach.

Michael then arrived in Brighton to work as a sous chef at the Seattle Hotel for three years, before travelling to Canada to work in the country’s highest rated resort, the Pan Pacific Hotel. In 2007 he returned to Brighton to become head chef of Due South on the seafront, and spent the next five years raising his profile in the South East. After a brief stint as head chef at the city’s popular vegetarian restaurant Food For Friends, he opened 64 Degrees in October 2013. Focused on social dining and small plates, it has gone on to win Best Restaurant in several Brighton food awards and was listed at number twenty-four in the 2015 National Restaurant Awards.

Adam Handling, The Frog, London

Adam Handling

At just sixteen years old, Adam became Gleneagles’ first ever apprentice under renowned chef Andrew Fairlie. He then went on to work in London before heading his first brigade as sous chef at the Malmaison Hotel in Newcastle. His skills quickly grew, and he was given the job of head chef at The Fairmont in St Andrews.

Adam then moved back to London to head up the kitchen at St Ermin’s Hotel in St James’ Park, leading a team of twenty-two chefs. It was while he was working here that he entered MasterChef: The Professionals, and finished in the top three.

In September 2014, Adam opened his own eponymous restaurant in Caxton Street, London, which a year later won the title of Best Newcomer UK Restaurant in the 2015 Food and Travel Magazine Awards. In June 2016, he opened The Frog in Spitalfields to critical acclaim – a more casual, relaxed restaurant with playful dishes and Japanese-inspired cooking.

Ally McGrath, Osso, Peebles

Ally McGrath

Earning his stripes working under the likes of Richard Corrigan, Ally McGrath returned to his native Peebles in the Scottish Borders to open Osso in 2007. He and his wife bought the business in 2014, and now run the restaurant as a relaxed, welcoming, family-friendly venue serving up local produce in an unfussy, natural way.

Ally is the only chef on this year’s Great British Menu currently cooking in Scotland, and runs the only Borders restaurant to get a mention in the Michelin Guide.