Creative culinary competition. The nation's top chefs are competing for the ultimate prize - the chance to cook at a banquet held at the Palace of Westminster. It is the main course of the north east region and overnight there has been a dramatic development. It is a tough and emotional day for the chefs as they react to the news but they battle on in a bid to present a perfect dish with venison and wagyu-angus beef - the meat of the day. The veteran judge is seeking perfection and gives one chef the jitters after hearing he is planning to make venison buns using caul fat which can go stringy if not cooked correctly. But the crucial thing for the chefs is that the meat is cooked correctly and there is bad news for one competitor.
Creative culinary competition. The nation's top chefs are competing for the ultimate prize - the chance to cook at a banquet held at the Palace of Westminster. It is a highly emotional day for one of the chefs as he prepares a dish which is inspired by and a tribute to his own great Briton, his late grandfather. But all is not going to plan and the chef ends up making one key element three times in a bid to achieve perfection. On the other side of the kitchen, another chef is also challenging himself, attempting to make a meringue mountain with some unusual smoke effects. The battle is on to get the first ten of the week from the veteran judge.
Creative culinary competition. The nation's top chefs are competing for the ultimate prize - the chance to cook at a banquet held at the Palace of Westminster. Today, the two chefs are cooking for judges Matthew Fort, Prue Leith and Oliver Peyton for the very first time. Joining them as guest judge is John Williams MBE, the executive head chef at The Ritz, the only hotel to hold a royal warrant for banqueting. For one of the chefs, the chance to cook for John is a lifetime's ambition - he was one of his first culinary idols. It is a tough contest - both chefs excel with different courses and the judges must decide who should be north east champion.
This week, three top chefs from Northern Ireland are competing for a place in the national finals. After 20 years working at top restaurants in London, Chris McGowan has just opened his first solo venture - Wine & Brine in County Armagh. It is Chris's third time in GBM. He has made it to the national finals once but this time only the banquet will do. However, he is facing tough competition from Mark Abbott, head chef at Daniel Clifford's two Michelin-star restaurant, Midsummer House in Cambridge, and also from Eddie Attwell, who has just completed a year as head chef at Ardtara Country House in Upperlands.
There are some varied and exciting starters as the chefs get creative with pigs heads, potatoes and re-inventing the classic ploughman's. And there is real shock and emotion as the veteran chef delivers his scores - he is stunned by the quality of the cooking.
Today the atmosphere in the kitchen gets even more competitive as the three chefs from Northern Ireland dish cook their fish courses.
Mark Abbott is pushing himself again, plating up a complex fish course of the very finest produce. He is calling it shellsational but at the last minute he forgets a key element. Returning chef Chris McGowan is refining cod and chips and Eddie Attwell is getting classical with the king of the sea turbot.
The repartee is relentless as the chefs jostle for top place on the leader board. Once again there is plenty of emotion as the veteran chef delivers the scores.
It is the main course and returning chef Chris McGowan is feeling confident but part of his dish involves making his own venison sausages to serve with a venison rack, and getting it all done in time is straining his emotions. Chris is not the only one cooking venison - Eddie Attwell is also serving the meat but with a traditional Northern Irish dish called dock pudding. Mark Abbott is pushing himself again. He is using wagyu beef and serving it with tongue and corn cooked in a variety of ways.
Once again, the veteran chef is delighted. There are top scores and plenty of emotion but also disappointment from one chef.
The three chefs from Northern Ireland are cooking their desserts and one chef is on course for an historic score. He could beat his boss - a veteran of GBM - and achieve more marks than anyone has done throughout the history of the competition. But it is a hot kitchen and the chefs are tempering chocolate and working with sugar. One chef is heading for disaster after his cream splits and he loses valuable time.
There is so much at stake, but the chefs have to pull off a perfect dessert dish if they are going to win a chance to cook for the judges.
Today is the head to head. The two highest scoring chefs from Northern Ireland are cooking for judges Oliver Peyton, Prue Leith and Matthew Fort, who are joined by guest judge, restaurant critic and editor-at-large of the Independent, Amol Rajan.
From the starter onwards, the judges are impressed by the exceptional cooking. The scores are close and the judges are devastated that they can only send one of the chefs through to the national finals.
It is day one of the national finals. Before cooking starts, the eight champions are called to London's Southbank to get a sight of the prize - the chance to cook at a banquet held at the Palace of Westminster, in celebration of everyday great Britons honoured by the Queen. It has a huge impact on every one of the chefs, and each is determined to do all he can to get a dish to the banquet.
There are some shocks and surprises as the chefs' opinions differ from the judges, and one chef struggles to contain his emotions as the judges deliver the result.
It is day two of the national finals, and the eight champions must cook their fish courses. Two chefs have reason to be confident after scoring tens from every judge in the heats. Can they deliver a perfect dish second time round?
After disappointing scores in the regional heats, another couple of the chefs have opted to change their dish radically. It is a gamble, preparing an untested dish for the first time in the finals.
Judges Matthew Fort, Prue Leith and Oliver Peyton are joined by award-winning food writer Tim Hayward who previously judged the Scotland heat. Once again, opinions are divided, and it is a surprise to see which two chefs end up at the bottom of the leaderboard.
It is day three at the national finals and time for the main course, the one course every chef wants to cook at the banquet. Judging the chefs' dishes are Matthew Fort, Prue Leith, Oliver Peyton and guest judge John Williams MBE, executive chef of the Ritz.
It is a nerve-wracking day for three of the eight regional champions who have decided to cook new and untested dishes, and a fourth chef is turning what was his starter into his main course.
The day ends in crushing disappointment for one chef - after misjudging his timings, he ruins what could be a winning main course - but there is cause to celebrate for others.
It is up to the judges to decide who has done enough to get a dish to the banquet.
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