Great British Menu 2022: Northern Ireland heat preview

14 March 2022

Meet the talented chefs representing Northern Ireland in this year's Great British Menu.

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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.

Gemma Austin, A Peculiar Tea, Belfast

Gemma is back in the GBM kitchen for the second time running. Having made it through to the judges chamber last year, she is determined more than ever to get one of her dishes to the banquet this time around. Since appearing on GBM last year, and despite the current difficult climate within the hospitality industry, Gemma has opened her own restaurant – a lifelong dream and an incredible achievement in these circumstances. A Peculiar Tea is something of a wonderland – serving themed dinners and afternoon teas in Belfast, Gemma hopes it celebrates everything that is playful and fun, and a temporary escape from ‘the real world’.

Gemma owes her love of food to her mother who was a chef in a local Belfast restaurant. She went into cheffing aged twenty-one, taking her first job at Slims Kitchen on the Lisburn Road where she cut her teeth for a year while doing a Culinary Masters Course. For four years Gemma continued studying and working full time at a variety of great establishments and rose through the ranks from commis chef to sous chef of a two AA rosette kitchen. Gemma worked at the Fitzwilliam hotel in Belfast where she rose to head pastry chef, before moving to luxury hotel The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn where she worked all the sections and eventually became sous chef.

No stranger to themed dishes, Gemma looks to Northern Ireland’s biggest outside broadcasting event ‘Proms in the Park’ to create a sumptuous picnic-style dish, and uses a line from the inimitable Ted Hastings in Line of Duty to inspire her mackerel-led fish dish.

Marty McAdam, The Paget Lane, Eiskillen

After working in local restaurants in his hometown of Enniskillen, Marty’s career began to take off working under the legendary Tom Kitchin before moving back to Ireland to work with Neven Maguire in Macnean House. After four years he was hungry for a new adventure, so he travelled the globe cooking in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, including a year spent in Australia before cheffing on a superyacht which took him around the Med and the Indian Ocean.

On returning home to Enniskillen, Marty fulfilled a life-long dream by opening up his own restaurant, The Street Kitchen and Paget Lane. Serving daily lunch and brunch, The Street Kitchen offers bites from around the world, whilst Paget Lane offers a fifteen-course tasting menu by reservation. Marty hopes to make his friends and family proud with dishes inspired by breakfast radio and the ever-popular Belfast-based drama, Line of Duty.

Stephen Hope, Dawsons Restaurant, Castledawson

Belfast-born chef Stephen Hope began his career at Merchant Hotel, where he worked his way up to sous chef before moving to Michael Deanes eponymous Micheli-starred restaurant. He entered the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship along with 500 other hopefuls to claim the top spot, and has since cooked at many of Ramsay’s restaurants around the world.

Stephen describes himself as highly competitive, and at just eighteen he claimed a silver medal in Ireland’s Junior Chef of the Year before going on to be the youngest person to win Ireland’s Senior Chef of the Year just two years later. Stephen is now the proud owner of Dawsons, a small casual dining restaurant in Castledawson, and he plans to further his love of cooking over fire by opening a barbecue restaurant in the near future. A long-time fan of GBM, Stephen is thrilled to be representing Northern Ireland on the show that he has watched and enjoyed for many years.