1. Great British Menu 2012 - South West Heat Preview

    Week Eight of the seventh series of The Great British Menu and the last of the regional heats ends with the South West. Over these eight weeks, twenty four of Great Britain’s finest chefs including many chefs from Great British Chefs site are competing in regional heats for the opportunity to create a four course menu at an Olympic banquet, hosted by sporting legend Sir Steve Redgrave with a guest list of British sporting greats.  This week (starting 28th May 2012) chefs from the South West will be competing to create the final banquet.

    At Great British Chefs we’ll be cheering on all three competitors Simon Hulstone, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw - who can all be found on our site.  Tom Kerridge  pictured above will be judging their efforts this week. 

    Paul Ainsworth is a frequent competitor on Great British Menu, wowing the judges with his Taste of the Fairground dessert in the final banquet in 2011.  His Toffee Apple and Marshmallow Kebabs were part of his fairground themed menu

    Toffee Apple and Marshmallow Kebabs by Paul Ainsworth

    Southampton-born Paul got his break courtesy of Gary Rhodes. After spending three years at Rhodes in the Square, Ainsworth moved to Gordon Ramsay’s organisation, working first at his flagship Royal Hospital Road restaurant and then with Marcus Wareing at Petrus.

    In 2006, the opportunity to open a restaurant with two friends brought Ainsworth to the West Country. Here they opened Number 6, set in a Georgian town house in the Cornish fishing village of Padstow.

    After three years emulating his culinary mentors, Ainsworth put his name above the door and re-thought his approach. Now Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 restaurant serves simpler, more affordable food – appealing to both tourists and locals, and achieving two AA rosettes.

    Boiled Egg and Soldiers by Nathan Outlaw

    Nathan Outlaw began his career at his father’s restaurant in Kent, perfecting his culinary technique at Thanet College. Following a decade of work with the likes of Peter Kromburg, Rick Stein, Paul Ripley and John Campbell, Outlaw opened Restaurant Nathan Outlaw at the St Enodoc in 2007 and the Nathan Outlaw Seafood and Grill in 2009.

    Since then, he’s garnered two stars from the critics at Michelin, and his eponymous eatery has been named Best Fish Restaurant and one of the UK’s top 10 restaurants by the Good Food Guide. Nathan has appeared on the Good Food Channel’s Market Kitchen, as well as the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and Great British Menu. 

    Tea and Cake by Nathan Outlaw

    His food can be very playful as witnessed by his tea and cake recipe and his Boiled Egg and Soldier recipe which both featured in Great British Menu in 2009. 

    Finally and with is first time to the show will be be Simon Hulstone. The son of a chef, Simon was a Roux Scholar, Knorr National Chef of the Year and World Junior Chef by the time he was 30. After working in kitchens like Cotswold House, Cheltenham’s Bacchanalian and the Bailiffscourt Hotel, he moved to Devon to head up the Elephant, having already attracted the Michelin panel’s attention.

    Mackerel pate and cucumber pickle by Simon Hulstone

    Simon was selected to redesign the menu for BA First Class in 2012 and was the star of its pop up venue in East London.  Like Nathan he has also contributed recipes to both of the Great British Chefs apps.

    On Monday’s episode,  Paul, Simon & Nathan will be presenting their starters.  On Tuesday, they move onto a fish course, on Wednesday main course and on Thursday it’s the turn of desserts.  For each of those days they will have to impress veteran judge Tom Kerridge before going through to Friday’s final.

    On Friday the two chefs who receive the most points from Tom for the week will cook their dishes again for restaurateur and cookery writer, Prue Leith, fellow restaurateur and businessman, Oliver Peyton, and food journalist and author, Matthew Fort.  Matthew is Great British Chefs strategic advisor who also blogs for us and writes the introductions for a number of our ingredient collections.  The winner will go into the finals (joining Alan Murchison who won the Scottish round,  Daniel Clifford who won the Central round, Colin McCurran who won the North East round, Chris Fearon who won the Northern Ireland roundSimon Rogan who won the North West round, Phil Howard who won the London & South East round and Stephen Terry who won the Wales round).

    You can see the full line up of chefs and judges for the Great British Menu 2012 here. Also catch up on last week’s Wales Heat Final Great British Menu judging on our blog.  This week Great British Menu will be on BBC2 at its regular time of 7.30pm.

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