Great British Menu 2021: the finalists

Great British Menu 2021: the finalists

by Great British Chefs 17 May 2021

The regional heats are over and eight fantastic chefs have made it to the final. Take a look at who's representing each region in Great British Menu 2021.

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Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Central: Stuart Collins, Docket no 33, Shropshire

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Staffordshire-born Stuart was new to the Great British Menu kitchen and, as chef patron of his own establishment, was fighting fit for the competition. 37-year-old Stuart has worked under some of the biggest names in the industry. After a working-stage under Gary Rhodes at City Rhodes, he worked with Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park for over four years and then went onto Gordon Ramsay at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay for a year before being part of the brigade that helped set up Gordon’s New York restaurants, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Maze, where he became Gordon’s head chef.

He returned to the UK as Michael Caines’ executive chef for the Abode Hotel in Cheshire and then moved to Doha, Qatar to work on various restaurant concepts before returning back to the UK in 2017 to open his own restaurant – Docket No 33 in the market town of Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Stuart’s style of food is modern British using the best regional produce. His menu for the competition celebrated a broad range of scientific innovators from Stephen Hawking to Edgar Hooley, the man who invented tarmac.

Scotland: Roberta Hall-McCarron, The Little Chartroom, Edinburgh

Edinburgh-born Roberta returned this year with steely determination after making it to the GBM finals in 2020. She started out in kitchens aged sixteen doing work experience and hasn’t looked back since, working for one of Scotland’s best chefs, Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin at The Kitchin before moving on to Castle Terrace with Dominic Jack.

Roberta is chef owner of The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh which she runs with her husband, who manages front of house. Her style of cooking is traditionally Scottish, influenced by French techniques, and her menu for the competition was inspired by Scotland’s rich larder and some of her favourite pioneers including the Edinburgh Seven – the first women to be matriculated at any British university – and James Clerk Maxwell’s first demonstration of colour photography.

London and South East: Oli Marlow, Roganic and Aulis, London and Hong Kong

Hampshire-born Oli was on a mission to follow in his boss’s footsteps, veteran Simon Rogan, and go all the way in this year's competition. 30-year-old Oli did his apprentice at Chewton Glen in Hampshire and then went on to work in world renowned restaurants such as The Fat Duck, Eleven Madison Park and Maaemo in Oslo.

For over four years Oli has been working for Banquet winner and veteran Simon Rogan and is the exec chef for Aulis London, an eight-seater chef’s table dining experience, and Roganic London which closed in December 2020 due to the pandemic (but is scheduled to reopen later this year). He is also the exec chef for Roganic Hong Kong which won its first Michelin star in January 2021, along with Aulis Hong Kong.

Oli’s cooking style is very seasonal, deceptively simple and based on classical English flavours. His menu for the competition was inspired by modern technology from underground farms to the invention of the internet underpinned by unique flavour combinations and classical techniques.

Wales: Hywel Griffith, Beach House Restaurant, The Gower

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Returning to light up the Great British Menu kitchen was patriotic Welsh speaker Hywel who narrowly missed getting to the Banquet last year. Hywel grew up in North Wales and has been a chef since he was seventeen. He honed his craft at Coleg Menai in Bangor before graduating to the Lanesborough Hotel in London and The Chester Grosvenor before returning to Wales as sous chef at Ynyshir. During his time there the restaurant achieved three AA rosettes and a Michelin star. He then opened his own restaurant Beach House in Oxwich Bay in 2016 which has won several awards including a Michelin star.

Hywel’s cooking style is modern Welsh and champions all Welsh produce. For his menu, he drew on bold inspirations linked to Wales from the discovery of our nearest galaxy, Andromeda, to Martha Hughes Cannon, a pioneer in medicine and sanitation.

North East and Yorkshire: Alex Bond, Alchemilla, Nottingham

Proud Yorkshireman Alex returned after coming a close runner-up in the regional finals last year – this time he is determined to get to the Banquet. Alex has been a chef for over twenty years and has worked at many prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants such as 42 The Calls, Anthony’s, Restaurant Sat Bains, Auberge du Lac, Turners and The Wild Rabbit. In 2019 Alex was awarded a Michelin star for his restaurant Alchemilla in Nottingham, along with four AA Rosettes in February 2020 and a place in the Good Food Guide's Top 50 for The Good Food Guide.

Alex believes in using the best produce available and backing it up with depth of flavour. He was inspired by the scientific pioneers of the North East and presented his dishes with wit and playfulness.

Northern Ireland: Phelim O’Hagan, Brown Bonds Hill, Londonderry

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Londonderry lad Phelim is very competitive and wants to keep Northern Ireland at the Banquet.

Phelim started out as a pot wash at the age of fourteen and has never looked back. As a chef he has worked at House which is the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel in Ireland, and then at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie in Gleneagles. For the last six years, he has worked at Browns Bonds Hill in Londonderry as the head chef under chef patron and former GBM competitor Ian Orr.

Phelim would describe his cooking style as modern Irish using modern techniques with the best produce that Northern Ireland has to offer. His menu was inspired by the pride of scientific advances in his home country.

North West: Dan McGeorge, Rothay Manor, Lake District

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30-year-old Liverpudlian Dan was new to Great British Menu and thrives in a competitive environment, having been semi-finalist twice in National Chef of the Year. After studying for a law degree, in 2011 Dan decided to attend Liverpool Community College and develop his passion for cooking.

Dan has worked in several high-profile kitchens including The Bath Priory under exec chef Sam Moody and under Ben Mounsey at modern European restaurant The Lawns at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa. For over three years, Dan has been head chef at Rothay Manor in Ambleside, a boutique hotel and restaurant in the heart of the Lake District and in that time, he has earned the restaurant 3 AA Rosettes. Dan also recently received a 2020 Acorn Award which recognizes the brightest stars in hospitality under thirty.

Dan’s culinary style uses the finest regional produce and his menu was inspired by local pioneering ventures such as George Garrett’s early submarine, launched in Birkenhead.

South West: Jude Kereama, Kota and Kota Kai, Porthleven, Cornwall

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Jude returned to the Great British Menu kitchen for the fourth time determined to go all the way. Born in New Zealand, Jude has lived in the UK for over twenty-four years. He runs Kota and its sister restaurant Kota Kai in the fishing village of Porthleven, Cornwall.

After training under acclaimed chef and fellow kiwi Simon Gault, Jude spent many years working in London at a number of top restaurants. His last position was with Antony Worrall Thompson – it was there he met his late wife Jane and together they decided to make the move to Cornwall. 'Kota' is Maori for shellfish and Jude’s take on classic seafood with a twist has resulted in 3 AA Rosettes and a Michelin Bib Gourmand. The restaurant was also named in the Top 50 Summer Restaurants in Britain and patron chef Jude has been awarded ‘Chef of the Year’ in the 2019 Trencherman’s Guide Awards.

Jude’s cooking style is influenced by his Maori, Chinese and Malaysian heritage and inspired by Cornwall’s finest produce. In his menu he celebrated innovations from his beloved region including Cornishman Henry Trengrouse’s safety rocket line that saved countless lives at sea.