Great British Menu 2021: North East and Yorkshire preview

The North East and Yorkshire produce some of the finest chefs in the UK – get to know more about the four representing the region in this week's Great British Menu.

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 as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Alex Bond, Alchemilla, Nottingham

Alex Bond
Alex Bond

Proud Yorkshireman Alex is returning 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 has been inspired by the scientific pioneers of the North East and presents dishes with wit and playfulness.

Ruth Hansom, The Princess of Shoreditch, London

Ruth Hansom
Ruth Hansom

Darlington-born 25-year old Ruth was a finalist in last year’s competition cooking the amuse bouche; this time she is hoping to go one better and become the first woman to cook at two Banquets. She’s won a plethora of awards and as the first woman to win the Young Chef of the Year Award in 2017, she prides herself on staying calm under pressure.

Ruth moved to London to pursue her love of cooking aged just fifteen and has been unwavering in her pursuit of success. She trained at Westminster College Kingsway and was mentored by Master of the Culinary Arts Frederick Forster. She worked at the Boundary Restaurant for a year before securing a position at The Ritz where she remained for five years and rose to chef de partie. Whilst working at The Ritz and winning the Young Chef of the Year award, The Ritz won its first Michelin Star in its 110-year history.

In 2020 Ruth became head chef at The Princess of Shoreditch in London. Ruth’s style is modern British underpinned by a classical French training. Her menu for the competition embraces regional produce and scientific breakthroughs significant in the North East.

Tom Spenceley, Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs, London

Proud North Yorkshireman Tom is competing for the first time and up for the challenge. He has an impressive pedigree, having worked for Sat Bains at Restaurant Sat Bains during the time when it received its second star, and was head chef at Typing Room under Lee Westcott where he held four AA rosettes in London. Tom then went to work for James Knappett at Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs in London and in 2018 became his head chef. Kitchen Table offers diners an immersive experience and a daily changing menu of twenty courses – their modern British cuisine was awarded its second Michelin star in 2019.

Tom would describe his food as modern British with a desire to evoke memories. His menu for the competition is packed with creativity, flavour and pays homage to early inventions such as the first steam locomotive.

Gareth Bartram, Winteringham Fields, North Lincolnshire

Hailing from Grimsby, Gareth is a newcomer to the Great British Menu kitchen and is here to compete. He fell in love with food working in a local butcher’s shop aged sixteen with his mother and hasn’t looked back since.

Gareth studied at catering college in Grimsby and then landed a job in London at Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café at the age of nineteen. He went on to work for three years at Jack’s Restaurant in Corsham, Bath under Jamie Hirst and then moved to North Lincolnshire to work for Colin McGurran at Winteringham Fields. Over the last six years he worked his way up to head chef and in 2019 the team won a Michelin star.

Gareth’s culinary style embraces local, seasonal produce and champions use of the whole animal. His menu takes inspiration from great pioneers such as British Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole.

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