Photograph Credit: BBC/Optomen TV/Andrew Hayes-Watkins.
Foodies far and wide have been glued to their TV screens every evening for the last few weeks
as the UK’s top chefs battle it out in the latest series of Great British Menu. Here at Sosban,
we’re waiting with baited breath for the Welsh regional heats to see our own Head Chef,
Andrew Sheridan, take up the challenge! Make sure you tune in at 7.30pm – Monday 10th to
Friday 14th September on BBC Two.
This year Great British Menu is paying tribute to 70 years of the NHS and tasking 24 chefs
from around the UK to create exceptional dishes for a banquet as a thank you to NHS heroes
from around the country.
Andrew will go head-to-head against Chris Harrod from The Whitebrook in Monmouthshire
and Jason Hughes from Chateau Rhianfa, Anglesey. The chefs are tasked with preparing a
starter, fish course, main course and desert which are judged by a formidable veteran chef –
only two of the three chefs will go forward to the regional final on Friday to be judged by Andi
Oliver, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton OBE.
We caught up with Andrew to find out about the pressure of taking part in Great British Menu
and what inspired each of the four dishes he created to pay tribute to the NHS.
The brief this year was to pay tribute to the NHS. What was the inspiration behind your
It wasn’t easy – it was a tough brief this year. It was only when I started thinking about the
history of the NHS that I remembered I had a strong family connection with the NHS through
my great-grandmother, Rebecca Mulligan, who worked as midwife in Liverpool until the grand
old age of 82!
Rebecca was born in 1894 in Omagh, Northern Ireland and moved to England to train as a
nurse in 1914 when she was 20 years old. She finished her training at Mill Road Hospital in
Liverpool where she went on to work as a midwife. After she was married in 1927, she had
two children and dedicated herself to bringing them up and cooking them good nutritious
But during the Second World War, Rebecca returned to nursing and carried on working as a
Sister at Stapley Hospital in Liverpool until 1976! That’s 62 years working in the NHS – a
lifetime’s commitment and a true inspiration to me when I was designing my dishes!
How did you cope with the pressure of being on Great British Menu?
The pressure is intense but also incredibly rewarding! I met some amazing people and it has
also made me release how far I have come in my career.
What was the best part?
All of it! It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and the most enjoyable.
What was the toughest thing?
Being judged by my fellow chefs. It’s such a critical profession and when you have spent
months creating dishes and to get good feedback from the chefs your competing against
means a great deal.
How do you look back on the experience?
It was both the hardest and the best thing I have ever done in my life. It proved to me that I’ve
still got what it takes to be truly creative in the kitchen and took me straight back to my roots.
At Sosban I run a team of chefs, on Great British Menu I am Head Chef, Sous Chef and
Commis all at the same time!
Would you do it again?
If I was offered the opportunity – yes without hesitation!
Only two chefs will make it through to the Friday regional final where they’ll need to convince
the expert panel of judges that their dishes deserve a coveted place in the national finals –
and a potential spot on the final banquet menu. You’ll have to watch to find out how Andrew
gets on in the competition!
Great British Menu is on week day evenings at 7.30 on BBC Two.
The Welsh heats start on Monday 10 September.