Great British Menu 2019 chefs: Andrew Sheridan, Wales heat

The Staff Canteen

The penultimate heat of this year’s series of Great British Menu will hit the airwaves tonight at 8pm on BBC Two.

The programme pits the country’s top chefs against one another for the chance to serve one of their dishes at a banquet. This year, the competition celebrates fifty years of British music and the reception will be held at Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded most of their albums in the 1960s.

This week will see chefs Andrew Sheridan, Cindy Challoner and Tom Westerland representing Wales.

Andrew Sheridan is the head chef atThe Stargazy Inn in Cornwall. When he was cast for the series, Andrew ran Sosban in Llanelli; but he and his entire team - potwashers and all - have since relocated to Port Isaac. 

This year was the chef's second time on GBM and he was determined to make it through to the final. 

What was it like to be back?17851958 low res great british menu

It was great. I enjoyed it this time, I wasn’t so nervous. Brand new kitchen, equipment, there was a lot more room than last year’s kitchen. The whole production was better this year.

How did you get on with Cindy and Tom?

We were all on the same boat. The thing with GBM is that you’re in a competition and you want to win, so you get on but you also want to beat them. 

That’s why I hate it when people taste my dishes, because I know they’re eating it and thinking: “mine is better than yours.”

I remember on one of the courses I came in and I asked them what they thought, and they said it was way too salty, which was disappointing. But the judge didn’t think it was too salty and I didn’t think so either so I was like "yeah, whatever."

Image: From left to right, Andrew Sheridan, Cindy Challoner, Tom Westerland. Credit: BBC Pictures 

Were you happy to have Phil Howard as your veteran judge?

I actually said that I didn’t want Phil Howard, and he walked in the door, and I was like: “oh, shit.”

But the only reason I didn’t want him is that he’s been one of the best chefs in Britain for so long. Out of all of them, he was always going to worry us as a judge.

I didn’t want him or Tom Aikens, because I know he's really critical as well.

But he’s a really cool guy. In the end I was glad to have him.

What did you think of the brief?

Loved it. When I first got it I actually thought it was the best brief they’ve done in years. I wouldn’t say it was easier than last year, but it was better than trying to match food with sickness. 

Food and music are very similar, they’re both really creative so in that respect you could link it with loads of stuff, things that you listen to at certain times in your life and while you’re cooking in the kitchen.

So it was slightly easier than last year, but it was still bloody hard.

17851997 low res great british menuThere was lots of crossover between you and the others in terms of the names of your dishes etc. Was it hard to differentiate yourselves with your food?

I think this year when I went on I just had that instinct, I didn’t care what anybody else was doing. I just concentrated on my dishes. I wasn’t bothered what their food was like, all I was bothered about was cooking my food and making it the best it could be.

Image: This week's guest judge, musician and farmer JB Gill. 

What were you hoping to showcase with your menu?

I was hoping to show how far I’ve come in a year. People always ask you if it’s easier coming back the second time; well it’s not, because there’s more pressure on you.

Not even in a horrible way, I was just concentrating on the food that I cooked, because last year one of the things that I noticed was that every time a chef cooked a dish, I doubted myself. This year, I thought “I know my food is good so I don’t care what they’re cooking.”

Which of your dishes were you hoping to take through to the banquet?

I think starter and main. They met the brief, people understood what they meant; I think I had a real strong connection with the starter and the main.

I probably put the most into the starter. And it’s weird because I changed it a week before I went on the programme. There were certain ingredients I couldn’t get for the first one, so the week before the deadline I was like “right, I’m changing my dish.”

So I submitted it without really practising it and it was good.

What would you say the benefits of taking part in competitions like GBM are?

GBM chooses the best chefs in the country of a generation, they choose the most up and coming chefs and compared to other competitions, you have that added pressure of having people watching you. 

Did it affect your business last year?

Oh God yeah, I still have the rice pudding that I did last year on the menu. I’ve moved from Wales to Cornwall and people still come to try it. It definitely benefits the business, it’s a massive platform. 

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st May 2019

Great British Menu 2019 chefs: Andrew Sheridan, Wales heat