Now the North East heats of the Great British Menu have been on the telly, I’m dedicating this column to sharing my dishes from the show with you.
This year’s show celebrates the NHS and I focused on the personal connections I have with the NHS in my menu. Our sous chef’s sister is an NHS doctor, and she inspired the starter, entitled I Signed Up Today, It Only Takes Two Minutes. Her heroes are blood and organ donors, so my dish included the finest cut of offal – veal sweetbread – and included a purée of French black pudding and a pastry cylinder filled with veal heart tartar.
My fish dish – My Cod, I Bet Me Mam Has Seen Some Trotters – celebrates my mum, who’s an NHS chiropodist. Cod is a family favourite, and the chiropodist reference was the skin from pig’s trotters, dehydrated and turned into a crispy scratching which accompanied the cod along with the trotter meat and a crab and sweetcorn purée.
My main course – Thank You Guys, You Saved My Mrs; I Would Love to Treat You to a Chinese Takeaway – is a tribute to the Great North Air Ambulance Service, which airlifted my partner to hospital after a serious road accident. Our favourite takeaway is Chinese and this was my version of her favourite dish, Chinese-inspired spicy beef and broccoli made with the finest Northumbrian Wagyu beef.
Finally, my friend’s daughter Bella, who has neuroblastoma, inspired my dessert. The dish – Bella’s Favourite – buttermilk rice pudding finished with roasted white chocolate, strawberries and meadowsweet – includes her favourite things; Caramac, strawberries and rice pudding. Delicious!