Monday, April 02, 2007

Great British chefs in France!

Last year the Great British Menu competition was a competition to cook for the Queen’s 80th birthday dinner party at Mansion House. This year the new challenge facing our British chefs is to win a chance to cook a fabulous British meal for the British ambassador to France at British embassy in Paris. I’d been looking forward to the cookbook (isn't this a brilliant cover?) because I was very keen to see who was competing this year. I knew Mark Hix was because he told us at Divertimenti evening and Jeremy Lee bashfully conceded he was also at the last Blueprint Café cookbook event. Unfortunately my cookbook got lost en route and I am waiting a replacement but I have had a chance to see who’s competing this year and I think it will be an interesting competition again. I see Atul Kotchhar is competing again, obviously I am utterly biased as I not a fan of Indian food but as good as I am positive he is I still can't convince myself that his cooking is truly representative of traditional British food. But I also know that many would disagree with me and I'm sure it will make for some lively discussions again. Atul went head-to-head with Gary Rhodes last year who I think is a tremendous advocate of all that is good about British food and was very sorry he didn't succeed. I don't believe that Gary is having another go this year. Perhaps he was as unhappy as I was?

It all starts tonight on BBC2 at 6.30 pm (luckily I have Sky+) with Galton Blackiston and Sat Bains cooking the first starters for the Central region. It should be fun! This time I want Richard Corrigan, Galton, Bryn Williams, Marcus Wareing, Stuart Gillies, Mark Hix and Jeremy Lee to win and as naughty as that is, I made my decision before I've seen the menus as I'm basing it on personalities. So I hope your menus are excellent, don't let me down boys!

And let's hope it's a fantastic final menu as maybe D and I will have to have a another British themed extravaganza later this year as my Christmas threat never came to fruition! What do you reckon D?


Anonymous said...

Having just viewed the first episode (courtesy of Virgin V+), I can only say that I'm looking forward to long as Galton wins!
D xx

rleader said...

I have mixed feelings about this programme - firstly, is this series still presented by Jenny Bond? I can't stand her... She witters on about all sorts of stuff and there's not enough focus on the actual food IMHO.
Also, I have a problem with it going to a viewer vote - how can viewers vote on a dish they haven't tasted?

And I want to weigh in on the Atul debate... I've never eaten his food, I grant you, but I love the idea of this kind of food being seen as 'traditional' British. Spices from India and beyond have been part of British cooking for centuries - reading books such as The Forme of Cury (a cookbook from the 14th century), spices such as pepper, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and cardomom appear in high status British cooking often. Indeed, one of the things that sets us apart from our continental cousins is the variety of spices used in our traditional cooking. Just a thought...