Great British Menu 2022: the finalists

by Great British Chefs 25 March 2022

Learn more about the regional finalists hoping to clinch a place at the banquet for this year's Great British Menu 2022.

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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 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.

South West: Olivia Barry, Adelina Yard, Bristol

Bristol-born Olivia grew up in a family for whom food was a big part of daily life and their Italian heritage. She cites her grandfather, who was a chef, as one of her greatest influences.

Olivia took an intense chef training course at Bournemouth College before undertaking work experience at London’s St Albans and The Wolseley. Olivia then worked at the prestigious Wright Brothers, Galvin Bistro and under Angela Hartnett at Murano.

Returning to Bristol, Olivia opened Adelina Yard in 2015 with her partner Jamie Randall. The restaurant has 2 AA Rosettes, a Michelin plate and a place in the Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants. This is Olivia’s second outing in the competition, having previously taken part in 2018. With old scores to settle, her menu this year pays a visit to Casualty and doffs its cap to Sir David Attenborough.

London and South East: Spencer Metzger, The Ritz, London

Twenty-eight-year-old Spencer hails from Chigwell in Essex and comes to the competition fresh from a promotion to head chef at The Ritz London. Spencer first entered the kitchen at the Ritz aged just fifteen on a work experience placement. He joined the brigade there as an apprentice shortly afterwards, and has climbed up through the ranks, taking in stints at l’Enclume in Cumbria and Frantzén in Stockholm.

Spencer has had his fair share of success in competitive environments, winning the Roux Scholarship in 2019 and being awarded The Caterer’s Acorn Award, celebrating the industry’s brightest talents under thirty. His background is firmly rooted in classic French cuisine but he has picked up some more contemporary flourishes along the way. His dishes in the GBM kitchen see him pay tribute to Sherlock Holmes and TV mentalist Derren Brown.

North West: Sam Lomas, Glebe House, Devon

Twenty-six-year-old Sam from Macclesfield is the head chef at Glebe House in Devon. Aged eighteen he won a competition as an apprentice at River Cottage with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall where his love for sustainable practices, foraging and seasonal cooking developed.

Sam’s dishes are creative, seasonal and locally inspired. He’s dedicated to having a close connection with local suppliers and helping to grow his own and raise livestock on site. He’s honoured to represent the North West, where his love of cooking began. His menu celebrating British Broadcasting champions radio legends and classic northern drama Happy Valley.

Northern Ireland: Chris McClurg, Paul Ainsworth at No. 6, Padstow

Chris is back in the GBM kitchen with a hunger to prove he has what it takes to go all the way to the banquet. He came so close last time he appeared on the show, with three of his four dishes coming second to the winners in Finals week – and this time, he means business.

Chris is proud to have worked with veteran chef Paul Ainsworth for over ten years and is now chef de cuisine at No. 6. He’s part of the team that won and have kept their Michelin star and 4 AA rosettes, and was named the Observer Food Monthly’s Chef of the Year in 2018. Whilst Chris has made Padstow his home, he was born and bred in County Down, Northern Ireland, and he couldn’t imagine representing any other region in the GBM kitchen.

Chris looked to Northern Irish comedian Roy Walker as inspiration for an engaging ‘Catchphrase’ inspired turbot dish, and uses the longest running entertainment show in the world ‘The Royal Variety Performance’ to influence what he hopes will be just one of his show-stopping dishes.

North West and Yorkshire: Luke French, Jöro, Sheffield

Cambridge-born Luke moved to Sheffield eleven years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Starting out as a kitchen porter at the age of fourteen, Luke has gone on to cook in the kitchens of Alimentum and The Fat Duck before relocating to Steel City.

In 2016, Luke opened Jöro with his wife, Stacey Sherwood, serving clean, pure flavours with a Nordic/Japanese inflection to rave reviews. A Michelin Plate, 3 AA Rosettes and placing 32nd in the National Restaurant Awards followed. More recently, their empire has expanded to serve up more casual east Asian-inspired offerings in Sheffield and Liverpool at Konjö and Nama. Luke’s menu to champion British broadcasting belies his youthful countenance, paying homage to early eighties classics Brideshead Revisited and Butterflies.

Central: Sally Abe, The Pem, London

Originally from Mansfield in Nottingham, Sally is the chef consultant at The Pem Restaurant in the Conrad London Hotel in St. James’s. After studying Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts in Sheffield, Sally worked at The Savoy and then Claridge’s before she began a formative five years under Brett Graham at two-Michelin-starred The Ledbury. In 2017 Sally took the reigns as head chef of The Harwood Arms in Fulham (after a few years working at Great British Chefs as a recipe editor!) where she developed a loyal team and maintained its Michelin star rating.

Sally opened The Pem in July 2021, the restaurant name inspired by Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, whose family used the pet name ‘Pem’ for her and celebrates generations of pioneering women leading from the front. Sally was also named SquareMeal’s Female Chef of the Year in 2021.

Sally’s style of cooking is British, seasonal, with a touch of elegance and a fondness for game. Her personal menu celebrates local produce and champions some of the UK’s most iconic programmes and landmark events.

Wales: Nathan Davies, SY23, Aberystwyth

Welsh-speaking chef Nathan is back in the GBM kitchen with his signature style of cooking over fire, and having missed out on the banquet last year despite being the second highest scoring chef ever in the competition, he plans to go all the way this time.

Nathan boasts a varied career from working for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, to being a private chef in France. More recently, he was Gareth Ward’s head chef at Ynyshir for four years. In 2019 Nathan opened SY23 in Aberystwyth where he showcases his ethos of locally foraged or sourced ingredients cooked simply over the fire. As a keen woodsman, Nathan makes his own pine oil – which is just one of the unique ingredients Nathan brings to the competition. Nathan’s menu celebrates BBC heavyweights Merlin and Coast, and is served up with a little magic!

Scotland: Adam Handling, Frog by Adam Handling, London

Competitive chef Adam Handling is back in the GBM kitchen, this time with even more drive and determination to hit the brief and showcase his unique style of cooking. Sustainability is at the heart of Adam’s approach to food, with a key emphasis on minimising food waste, and he’s created his flagship – Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden - with complete dedication to this ethos.

In 2016, The Adam Handling Restaurant Group was born and Adam went on to open The Loch and the Tyne in the countryside of Old Windsor, before opening up Ugly Butterfly on the beautiful Cornish coast in St Ives.

Adam has a number of impressive awards under his belt from Scottish Chef of the Year to most recently being voted Restaurateur of the Year at the British GQ Food and Drink Awards 2020. Adam credits his success to the rigorous training he received at Gleneagles sixteen years ago, as their youngest ever apprentice.

Adam will be celebrating British broadcasting with a dish that elevates the humble potato in honour of Scottish gardening show ‘Beechgrove Garden’ and he’s creating a touching lobster dish that takes inspiration from both Scottish kids TV show ‘Balamory’ and Adam’s own little boy, Oliver.