Best Best: The Chefs

Monday, 31 October 2011, 5:00PM – 6:00PM

Fast, fun and full of drama, BEST DISH: THE CHEFS is the ultimate food challenge and sees for the first time professional chefs put through their paces in front of some of the country’s fiercest food critics to prove they have the nation’s best dish. 

From café owners to Michelin-starred chefs, the culinary standard in the studio has never been higher as some of the UK’s most celebrated chefs showcase their signature recipes, all created specifically for the show. 

Presented by MARY NIGHTINGALE, each day professional chefs from across the country go head-to-head in a series of keenly contested cooking duels to find out who has the Best Main Course and the Best Pudding. 

The competition is whittled down as the chefs do their best to impress BEST DISH: THE CHEFS judges ED BAINES, JOHN BURTON RACE and JILLY GOOLDEN, and esteemed experts from Britain’s best selling restaurant guide – The Good Food Guide. 

Regional winners are entered into the national finals where they will be pushed to their limits as they take on the fight of a lifetime. The pressure mounts as the chefs’ reputations – and the restaurants they represent – are on the line as they battle it out for the most coveted accolade in cooking. 

The competition culminates in a nail-biting grand final that sees the talented chefs face the ultimate test – cooking for the expert judges and a 100-strong studio audience to prove they have the Best Dish. 

All recipes from the series are available at 

Episode One – Monday 31 Oct: 

Four top chefs from the South West and Channel Islands Region battle it out for a place in Friday’s regional final. In the mains kitchen, Richard Davies from The Bybrook Restaurant in Castle Combe presents a mouth-watering dish of slow cooked pork belly served with crispy pigs cheeks, celeriac remoulade, crayfish and watercress puree. He’s up against Anthony McNamara from The Mill Tea & Dining Room in Lyme Regis, who’s cooking a venison mixed grill, served with seasonal accompaniments of parsnip cream, baby beets and pickled cherries. 

Meanwhile in the dessert kitchen, Russell Brown from Sienna Restaurant in Dorchester presents a salted toffee tart served with crème fraiche sorbet, cookie crumb and orange reduction. But he’s facing stiff competition from Eddy Rains from The Wheatsheaf in Combe Hay, Bath, who’s convinced his unusual take on apple and blackberry crumble with custard doughnut, jelly and sorbet has what it takes to win. 

Episode Two – Tuesday 1 Nov: 

Four more top chefs from the South West and Channel Islands region battle it out for a place in Friday’s regional final. In the mains kitchen, Tina Bricknell-Webb from Percy’s Country Hotel in Devon presents her home-reared loin of organic lamb, wrapped in bacon and served with seasonal vegetables and squash & potato mash. Up against her is Andy Appleton from Fifteen Cornwall, who’s hoping his roast Dexter beef, wrapped in coppa ham and served with oozy polenta, cavolo nero and a girolle dressing will have the winning touch. 

Providing the desserts today are award-winning chef Mark Jordan from Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel, Jersey, who is showcasing the humble English apple for his incredible mille-feuille of cider poached apples with Jersey black butter ice cream. Up against him is local rival Daniel Green from The Auberge in Guernsey who is competing with a dish which came to him in a dream; a delicious peach tarte tatin presented with lemongrass ice cream and a sesame seed, salt and chilli praline. 

Episode Three – Wednesday 02 Nov: 

Four more professional chefs from the South West and Channel Islands battle it out. Facing off in the mains kitchen are Craig Dunn from Michael Caines at ABode Exeter, whose rolled loin of local rabbit with confit rabbit leg and smoked potato puree takes nose to tail eating to new heights. Up against him is French chef Jean-Philippe Bidart from The Millbrook Inn in Devon, who is hoping to impress with his dish of turbot and lobster claw served with a delicious fennel risotto, finished off with a mussel broth. 

Over in the dessert kitchen, young up-and-coming chef Ashley Wright, from 22 Mill Street in Chagford brings the best autumnal ingredients to the table with his pumpkin tart served with fig carpaccio and walnut sorbet. But Ashley’s got stiff competition for that place in the regional final, as rival Matthew Mason from The Jack in the Green in Rockbeare, Exeter is determined to win, confident his white chocolate and Earl Grey tea ganache with grapefruit and lemon will take him all the way. 

Episode Four – Thursday 03 Nov: 

In today’s show, four top chefs from the South West and Channel Islands put their reputations on the line as they fight for a place in Friday’s regional final. In the mains kitchen, a former employee takes on his old mentor, as Mick Smith from Porthminster Beach Café in St Ives takes on his old boss – Grant Nethercott from Alba Restaurant in St Ives. Mick will have to hope his dish of red spice crusted hake, served with crab and shrimp cannelloni and white tomato veloute has what it takes to beat his opponents dish of smoked local sea bass, served with tagliatelle of leeks, sautéed girolles and a modern version of a steamed steak and oyster pudding. 

Over in the dessert kitchen two more chefs are trying to impress the judges with their very different creations. Brittany Manning from The Red Lion in East Chisenbury presents her latest creation – an apple and parsnip gâteau served with Enford honey, vanilla and candied walnuts. While her rival Olly Jackson from New Yard Restaurant on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall presents an overwhelming chocolate dish comprising milk chocolate honeycomb, bitter chocolate cake, white chocolate cream and a dark chocolate ganache. 

Episode Five – Friday 04 Nov: 

Today’s show sees the first Regional Final knockout round. All week professional chefs from the South West and Channel Islands have poured heart and soul into dishes to wow our judges. But only four will have made it through to cook another day and vie for a place in the quarter-finals.

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