The eleventh series of Great British Menu kicks off this week with the Scottish heats. Ally McGrath, Adam Handling and Michael Bremner are this year’s up and coming Scottish chefs who will be competing under the watchful eye of judge Daniel Clifford, chef-patron of Midsummer House in Cambridge and The Flitch of Bacon, Essex.
This year’s brief is cooking British Cuisine to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s ‘Great Britons’ and the chefs are competing to cook at the first ever televised banquet at the Palace of Westminster.
It’s set to be a dramatic series as past record scores are equalled then smashed. The regional heats also see one newcomer achieve the highest mark ever given in the competition’s history.
The series airs on BBC 2 at 7.30pm Monday - Friday.
Here’s a little more about all our Scottish chefs:
Ally returned to his native Peebles in the Scottish Borders and opened Osso in 2007 after earning his stripes under the likes of Richard Corrigan. He and his wife Helen bought out their partner in 2014 and run the restaurant as a relaxed, welcoming, family-friendly venue serving up local produce in an unfussy, natural way. Osso will be offering diners the chance to sample Ally’s competition dishes in the restaurant from September 2nd.
Ally is the only chef on this year’s Great British Menu currently cooking in Scotland, and Osso is the only Borders restaurant to hold a coveted Bib Gourmand Award in the 2016 Michelin Guide, the 6th year in a row!
Adam Handling, The Frog, London
Masterchef The Professionals 2013 finalist Adam Handling already has a luminous culinary career under his belt, apprenticing under Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles before moving to London and then on to Newcastle to head up his first brigade. He then returned to Scotland as head chef at The Fairmont St Andrews.
After moving back to London he led a brigade of twenty-two chefs at St Ermin’s Hotel in St James’ Park. In September 2014, Adam opened his own eponymous restaurant in Caxton Street, London, which won the title Best Newcomer UK Restaurant in the 2015 Food and Travel Magazine Awards. In June 2016, he opened The Frog in Spitalfields – a more casual, relaxed restaurant with playful dishes and Japanese-inspired cooking.
Michael Bremner, 64 Degrees, Brighton
Born in Aberdeenshire, Michael apprenticed at The Pittodrie House Hotel before moving down to London and gaining pastry experience at the Michelin-starred Orrery Restaurant. He then moved over to become head pastry chef at Quo Vadis when it was run by Marco Pierre White, before travelling around Australia.
After stints in Brighton and Canada he returned to Brighton in 2007 to become head chef of Due South. He opened 64 Degrees in October 2013. Focused on social dining it has gone on to win several awards and was listed at number twenty-four in the 2015 National Restaurant Awards.