Matt Worswick, the executive chef at Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa in Wirral has been crowned the North West champion in BBC 2’s Great British Menu.
Matt will now compete for a place cooking one of four courses at the Great British Menu banquet, which this year is in honour of 100 years of The Women’s Institute.
News that Matt will fly the flag for the North West follows a gruelling week long battle in the kitchen, which pitted his culinary skills against two other North West chefs – Mark Ellis from Peckforton Castle an Eve Townson from The Eagle and Child.
Scoring a total of 29 points over his four course Great British Menu debut, some four points above his nearest rival Eve, Matt hopes to secure his place at the banquet, which takes place at the historical Drapers Hall in London. Matt’s lobster dish was described as ‘faultless’ by judge Prue Leith and it scored a total 38 out of 40 marks.
Matt Worswick said: “That’s a week of my life I will not forget in a hurry, what an experience. I’ve never felt pressure like it, particularly standing in the judge’s chamber, but I’m delighted that my dishes might make it to Women’s Institute banquet. I’ve just got to hold my nerve, keep cooking well and make it through another round in front of the judges first!”
Matt’s competition menu comprises four courses, each one inspired by the creativity, resourcefulness and culinary skill of the Women’s Institute and, quite significantly, his late grandma. Matt said: “When I learned the brief was about the Women’s Institute I felt a real connection with it. My grandma was incredibly involved with the WI so it seemed a fitting way to remember her, particularly as I never got the chance to cook for her.”
Matt’s menu included: Game Old Bird – Partridge with bread sauce and blackberries; Grandma’s Garden – Butter poached Lobster, baby turnips, peas, mint and nasturtium flowers; Shall I Be Mother – Lamb loin, hotpot and stock pot vegetables and Grandma’s Orchard – Apple crumble with spiced bread and cider brandy ice-cream.
To celebrate Matt’s GBM debut and success, the new Great British Menu tasting menu will be available from 25th September to 31st October in Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa’s three AA rosette fine-dining restaurant, The Lawns. Priced at £80 per person, or £120 per person with an accompanying wine flight. The first diners to book will be offered the complete Great British Menu dining experience, complete with props from the programme, at no extra cost.