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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chef Talk


I don't know about you but I'm finding The Apprentice a tad dull this year. Do you know, last night I didn't even watch it...I was with Hell's Kitchen and the surprisingly touching departure of Bruce Grobelaar. You may have noticed that I haven't been blogging about each episode of The Apprentice as I did previously (hello Katie!).

It's just too much the same. Same challenges, same type of people and same conclusion.

Having mentioned Hell's Kitchen I'm staying with kitchens and chefs to report on one programme I am enjoying, The Great British Menu. It's a delightful little daily soupcon.

The premise is: the nation's finest chefs compete to honour the men and women from all three forces serving in Afghanistan with a glorious homecoming dinner that captures the authentic tastes of home.

This week's Northern Ireland regional heat is particularly fascinating. The two competing chefs are worlds apart. Clare Smyth is head chef at the Michelin three starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsey in London, and Danny Millar runs a gastro pub called Belloo House. He was the winner of this heat last year, but this is Clare's first time and her classical training and use of luxurious ingredients shows her pedigree.

The fascinating thing to see will be the judging tomorrow. Even Clare seemed thrown by Danny's delicious looking (and apparently tasting) steak, oyster and ale pie yesterday. I would have preferred it to her spring lamb on a solid bed of Irish stew. Tonight it's desserts and he is preparing an interpretation of rhubarb and custard (not a favourite of mine), while Clare is preparing an intricate Irish coffee. That's more up my street.

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