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Food Snob

GBM 2009

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I'm really enjoying this show. I know that marks me out as a total tool but I am hooked. (I fast forward through much of it, mind...)

Am excited about results tonight. I'm assuming Prue and Oliver's sneers ("A disgrace!") were directed at Shaun's shellfish cocktail so looks like Nathan's in with a good chance.

That said, I ate at Bohemia about a year ago and it was superb. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Shaun pulled it out of the bag last minute. "his flavours are great" as they say.

The week's highlight for me was Nathan's daughter: "I like chicken arms"

Go Nathan! and for next week, Go Tristan!

Sorry to disappoint, next weeks chefs,

James Sommerin

Ex Marco Man Stephen Terry

Guest chef Bryn Williams

Welsh Rarebit v Chicken & Pea ravioli, Caws Mynydd Du cheese

Oh boy-yo

Devastating. I will have to wait for Tristan.

Am pleased for Shaun R but hope to see Nathan O back on the telly again. I thought he was a find.

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I thought the judges were a little harsh on Nathan's main, OK we can't taste it, but I couldn't really see the problem with its concept. However, Shaun's main looked very good.

Nathan seems like a really great person, the really nice comment on Shaun's dessert, saying it needs to be the one served at the dinner, after he had lost was really genuine.

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I suspect Mark summed it up well: entree and fish to Nathan, main and dessert to Shaun. Given the main tends to be a key dish I think Shaun will get it.....but it is going to be close especially if Nathan reworks his pud.

We are booked into Nathan's on Saturday night and I will be more than happy to try all four of his dishes if they are on the menu. Although I think he has a tasting extravaganza that may need to be ordered instead!

I'm very much looking forward to reading your review.

Will you try to have a word with the great man, if he can find the time?

Enjoy.


Edited by david goodfellow (log)

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I suspect Mark summed it up well: entree and fish to Nathan, main and dessert to Shaun. Given the main tends to be a key dish I think Shaun will get it.....but it is going to be close especially if Nathan reworks his pud.

We are booked into Nathan's on Saturday night and I will be more than happy to try all four of his dishes if they are on the menu. Although I think he has a tasting extravaganza that may need to be ordered instead!

I'm very much looking forward to reading your review.

Will you try to have a word with the great man, if he can find the time?

Enjoy.

It was a really great meal - full report here. I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

The Brill dish is similar to the Turbot he did on the show. It is really, really good. The meat course was also very good, but interestingly one weak spot was the use of gels in the desserts which was one of the weaknesses the judges highlighted - they really are not very nice. But that said his Peanut Mouse was a superb dessert.

We didn't manage to speak to the big man but it looks like they are doing pretty well. Apparently they served 22 set menus on Saturday in a restaurant dining room with approx. 30 covers. They have been pretty full since the beginning of March and this weekend they were full (with some added tables) and turning lots of enquires away. The hotel manager told us that Nathan has been offered a few other TV slots, and he really enjoyed doing the show. Hopefully we will see more of him....although we don't want to lose him from the kitchen.

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I suspect Mark summed it up well: entree and fish to Nathan, main and dessert to Shaun. Given the main tends to be a key dish I think Shaun will get it.....but it is going to be close especially if Nathan reworks his pud.

We are booked into Nathan's on Saturday night and I will be more than happy to try all four of his dishes if they are on the menu. Although I think he has a tasting extravaganza that may need to be ordered instead!

I'm very much looking forward to reading your review.

Will you try to have a word with the great man, if he can find the time?

Enjoy.

It was a really great meal - full report here. I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

The Brill dish is similar to the Turbot he did on the show. It is really, really good. The meat course was also very good, but interestingly one weak spot was the use of gels in the desserts which was one of the weaknesses the judges highlighted - they really are not very nice. But that said his Peanut Mouse was a superb dessert.

We didn't manage to speak to the big man but it looks like they are doing pretty well. Apparently they served 22 set menus on Saturday in a restaurant dining room with approx. 30 covers. They have been pretty full since the beginning of March and this weekend they were full (with some added tables) and turning lots of enquires away. The hotel manager told us that Nathan has been offered a few other TV slots, and he really enjoyed doing the show. Hopefully we will see more of him....although we don't want to lose him from the kitchen.

According to your review Michelin are spot on with their opinion of Nathan's cooking skills, and he may perhaps gain the other star?

Its interesting to note your comments about tasting portions, I know entirely where your coming from.

When I taste some delightful morsel, only to have it evaporate,so to speak, before I can fully appreciate its magnificence, its a complete let down.

More and more my wife and I want proper plated portions to fully appreciate the dish.

I know tasting menus are designed to show the range and quality of what the chef can do, however after two or three forkfuls some dishes do not deliver, quantity wise.

Subject to how the menu reads I think we shall go down the "carte" route and perhaps add a dish or two.

I notice by your photographs that some of Nathan's portions looked pretty much on the small size.

It is sometimes frustrating when you have exquisite food that leaves you somewhat panting for more

Its fantastic that Nathan is busy, due to the seasonality of his location, its extremely important to make the most of the good times.

Long may it continue.

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From a personal point of view, I was not really wowed by tonights efforts.

James's dish seemed to lack that something special

Stephen's dish looked ham fisted and completely lacked finesse, its very clear that he turned his back on Michelin style some long time ago.

Don't want to be unkind, what do you think of it?

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Don't want to be unkind, what do you think of it?

I thought tonight was very dull, I guess a boiled egg is no more exciting on paper than toasted cheese but I thought last weeks guys were far more inventive, far more humour.

I will be eating at Nathan's in a couple of weeks and am really looking forward to it.

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I suspect Mark summed it up well: entree and fish to Nathan, main and dessert to Shaun. Given the main tends to be a key dish I think Shaun will get it.....but it is going to be close especially if Nathan reworks his pud.

We are booked into Nathan's on Saturday night and I will be more than happy to try all four of his dishes if they are on the menu. Although I think he has a tasting extravaganza that may need to be ordered instead!

I'm very much looking forward to reading your review.

Will you try to have a word with the great man, if he can find the time?

Enjoy.

It was a really great meal - full report here. I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

The Brill dish is similar to the Turbot he did on the show. It is really, really good. The meat course was also very good, but interestingly one weak spot was the use of gels in the desserts which was one of the weaknesses the judges highlighted - they really are not very nice. But that said his Peanut Mouse was a superb dessert.

We didn't manage to speak to the big man but it looks like they are doing pretty well. Apparently they served 22 set menus on Saturday in a restaurant dining room with approx. 30 covers. They have been pretty full since the beginning of March and this weekend they were full (with some added tables) and turning lots of enquires away. The hotel manager told us that Nathan has been offered a few other TV slots, and he really enjoyed doing the show. Hopefully we will see more of him....although we don't want to lose him from the kitchen.

According to your review Michelin are spot on with their opinion of Nathan's cooking skills, and he may perhaps gain the other star?

Its interesting to note your comments about tasting portions, I know entirely where your coming from.

When I taste some delightful morsel, only to have it evaporate,so to speak, before I can fully appreciate its magnificence, its a complete let down.

More and more my wife and I want proper plated portions to fully appreciate the dish.

I know tasting menus are designed to show the range and quality of what the chef can do, however after two or three forkfuls some dishes do not deliver, quantity wise.

Subject to how the menu reads I think we shall go down the "carte" route and perhaps add a dish or two.

I notice by your photographs that some of Nathan's portions looked pretty much on the small size.

It is sometimes frustrating when you have exquisite food that leaves you somewhat panting for more

Its fantastic that Nathan is busy, due to the seasonality of his location, its extremely important to make the most of the good times.

Long may it continue.

That is exactly why I am never keen on tasting menus... Off the top of my head, it is only the Square and Le Gavroche who have offered decent sized tasting portions (and in the case of the Square... overly large ones) and tend to go for 4 courses instead (split with the other half we can form our own 'tasting' menu)

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I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

yes , the difference between one and two stars is nearly always tablecloths :laugh:


you don't win friends with salad

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So obviously Nathan Outlaw is the 'in' chef of the moment? Excellent chef, down to earth bloke. No quibble. But come on, his food does not stand above Le Champignon or Martin Wisharts.

I too have been to all three and if I were to judge, Outlaw would come third. Unfortuneatly, my overiding memories of Fowey was Mrs being extremely sick in the early hours of the morning, following meal. Yes, I fully realise could have had nothing to do with restaurant! That said I have to really think hard as to what I ate, which is not the case for LCS or Wisharts. Had one of the best dishes of my life at Wisharts last year. God knows why the place hasn't two stars.

For me, Outlaw is a good solid one star restaurant, which I honesty (not the popular opinion) believe is no better or worse than any other strong one star, with or without tablecloths!

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I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

yes , the difference between one and two stars is nearly always tablecloths :laugh:

Gary - although it was a tongue in cheek comment from me, it may be a more serious point than you give credit for. The psychology of dining is complex, and even "highly trained" Michelin inspectors will find it hard to overcome first impressions. OK Michelin is "all about what is on the plate" but the set up of the meal which includes the staff, room, and supporting paraphanalia does make a difference. IMO it will never disguise bad food, but can lift good food.

Food1 - Wishart would be my 2nd best meal, we had a superb meal there as well, and I would agree that it also deserves more. We had a dire experience at LCS, all I really remember is the frosty reception, the amateur service and very brightly lit dining room. As I said above the psychology of dining has a major impact and LCS was all wrong that night.

I was reading Mattbites recently and he linked to a bloggers code of conduct which makes the valid point that we should visit a restaurant more than once or twice before making a definative comment. I wish I had both the cash and time to do that. A number of visits would even out and peaks and troughs in the kitchen, hopefully balance any emotional highs and lows, and ensure spouses are not unwell. I am keen to revisit LCS as our experience seems very different to some (but not all); did we simply catch the FOH team on a bad night?

Nathan may be in the news this week, but I had been hoping to get there for 18 months and had been following some good reviews like Duncan's. On this visit he was on top form, it is a pity he is so far away from most people as it would be good to get a broader range of opinions.

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I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

yes , the difference between one and two stars is nearly always tablecloths :laugh:

Gary - although it was a tongue in cheek comment from me, it may be a more serious point than you give credit for. The psychology of dining is complex, and even "highly trained" Michelin inspectors will find it hard to overcome first impressions. OK Michelin is "all about what is on the plate" but the set up of the meal which includes the staff, room, and supporting paraphanalia does make a difference. IMO it will never disguise bad food, but can lift good food.

Food1 - Wishart would be my 2nd best meal, we had a superb meal there as well, and I would agree that it also deserves more. We had a dire experience at LCS, all I really remember is the frosty reception, the amateur service and very brightly lit dining room. As I said above the psychology of dining has a major impact and LCS was all wrong that night.

I was reading Mattbites recently and he linked to a bloggers code of conduct which makes the valid point that we should visit a restaurant more than once or twice before making a definative comment. I wish I had both the cash and time to do that. A number of visits would even out and peaks and troughs in the kitchen, hopefully balance any emotional highs and lows, and ensure spouses are not unwell. I am keen to revisit LCS as our experience seems very different to some (but not all); did we simply catch the FOH team on a bad night?

Nathan may be in the news this week, but I had been hoping to get there for 18 months and had been following some good reviews like Duncan's. On this visit he was on top form, it is a pity he is so far away from most people as it would be good to get a broader range of opinions.

I like your link to the bloggers code of conduct, it all makes perfect sense, however (as you rightly point out) its almost impossible to make multiple visits to some of these restaurants given the distances involved.

Nathan Outlaws is a prime example, for me its about five hours away.

In a couple of weeks time Edinburgh beckons, thats five hours drive.

We may end up flying there.

The Fat Duck next week is thankfully closer at just under three hours.

You certainly need dedication, time, and financial clout just to make one visit, never mind multiple ones.

As unpaid "worker ants" to the restaurant trade, bloggers are sometimes chided by the very trade that we pay homage to, perhaps of course worried about unfair or biased opinion.

I personally never ever go to any restaurant looking for negatives, only positives.

My good or bad meal, can only be a snapshot in time of a very personal and mostly very pleasurable experience.

I know that a large number of members also eat at the places mentioned throughout the forum, but for one reason or another they don't post a comment.

That is a real shame because however few lines of script that is submitted its still valuable comment.

Please make the effort guys!

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From a personal point of view, I was not really wowed by tonights efforts.

James's dish seemed to lack that something special

Stephen's dish looked ham fisted and completely lacked finesse, its very clear that he turned his back on Michelin style some long time ago.

Don't want to be unkind, what do you think of it?

Back to the GBM.

I find Stephen quite interesting, and his decision to cook off menu for James wasn't surprising. Having eaten at The Hardwick we found his food to be good, but it is really only good rustic pub food, nothing more and nothing less.

He has the pedigree to do some great things, I thought his self analysis of the "Rabbit Rarebit" was very interesting, it will be interesting to see how he tweaks it for Friday. In comparison I suspect we saw that James still has some distance to travel. The contrast in experience will be insightful.

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I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

yes , the difference between one and two stars is nearly always tablecloths :laugh:

Gary - although it was a tongue in cheek comment from me, it may be a more serious point than you give credit for. The psychology of dining is complex, and even "highly trained" Michelin inspectors will find it hard to overcome first impressions. OK Michelin is "all about what is on the plate" but the set up of the meal which includes the staff, room, and supporting paraphanalia does make a difference. IMO it will never disguise bad food, but can lift good food.

if there's ever a chef that's in michelin's good books it's nathan, from the black pig onwards iirc he's got a star everytime within his first year of trading.

he was even rated rising two last year at fowey, but not this, so i'm sure they know exactly what they are looking for from him.

Good luck to him, i've not has his food since his black pig days but it looked excellent on GBM, he's got a new venture in padstow soon also launching at the st enodoc hotel too.


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I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

yes , the difference between one and two stars is nearly always tablecloths :laugh:

Gary - although it was a tongue in cheek comment from me, it may be a more serious point than you give credit for. The psychology of dining is complex, and even "highly trained" Michelin inspectors will find it hard to overcome first impressions. OK Michelin is "all about what is on the plate" but the set up of the meal which includes the staff, room, and supporting paraphanalia does make a difference. IMO it will never disguise bad food, but can lift good food.

Food1 - Wishart would be my 2nd best meal, we had a superb meal there as well, and I would agree that it also deserves more. We had a dire experience at LCS, all I really remember is the frosty reception, the amateur service and very brightly lit dining room. As I said above the psychology of dining has a major impact and LCS was all wrong that night.

I was reading Mattbites recently and he linked to a bloggers code of conduct which makes the valid point that we should visit a restaurant more than once or twice before making a definative comment. I wish I had both the cash and time to do that. A number of visits would even out and peaks and troughs in the kitchen, hopefully balance any emotional highs and lows, and ensure spouses are not unwell. I am keen to revisit LCS as our experience seems very different to some (but not all); did we simply catch the FOH team on a bad night?

Nathan may be in the news this week, but I had been hoping to get there for 18 months and had been following some good reviews like Duncan's. On this visit he was on top form, it is a pity he is so far away from most people as it would be good to get a broader range of opinions.

In and ideal world, going to a restaurant at least passing judgement would be ideal. This is especially true with restaurants which I had a less than stellar experience from and perhaps deserves the benefit of the doubt. However, I doubt many professional critics (you know the likes of AA Gill, Fay Maschler etc.) follow this 'code of conduct' and give restaurants the benefit of the doubt?

On the other hand, some restaurants simply do not offer enough incentives in terms of a constantly changing menu to make it worth going again. A good example of this would be the Fat Duck (and come June they won't even have an ALC menu available come July). After all, you can only his snail porridge that many times....

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Tonights menu,

Smoked eel, pigs trotters, cauliflower, maple and sherry vinegar.

Sea bass with cockles, bacon & laverbread.

Yum, Yum, could eat em both.

If you want to cook them, click on the links, but don't spoil your viewing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database...ter_91188.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database...sba_91192.shtml

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I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

yes , the difference between one and two stars is nearly always tablecloths :laugh:

Gary - although it was a tongue in cheek comment from me, it may be a more serious point than you give credit for. The psychology of dining is complex, and even "highly trained" Michelin inspectors will find it hard to overcome first impressions. OK Michelin is "all about what is on the plate" but the set up of the meal which includes the staff, room, and supporting paraphanalia does make a difference. IMO it will never disguise bad food, but can lift good food.

Food1 - Wishart would be my 2nd best meal, we had a superb meal there as well, and I would agree that it also deserves more. We had a dire experience at LCS, all I really remember is the frosty reception, the amateur service and very brightly lit dining room. As I said above the psychology of dining has a major impact and LCS was all wrong that night.

I was reading Mattbites recently and he linked to a bloggers code of conduct which makes the valid point that we should visit a restaurant more than once or twice before making a definative comment. I wish I had both the cash and time to do that. A number of visits would even out and peaks and troughs in the kitchen, hopefully balance any emotional highs and lows, and ensure spouses are not unwell. I am keen to revisit LCS as our experience seems very different to some (but not all); did we simply catch the FOH team on a bad night?

Nathan may be in the news this week, but I had been hoping to get there for 18 months and had been following some good reviews like Duncan's. On this visit he was on top form, it is a pity he is so far away from most people as it would be good to get a broader range of opinions.

In and ideal world, going to a restaurant at least passing judgement would be ideal. This is especially true with restaurants which I had a less than stellar experience from and perhaps deserves the benefit of the doubt. However, I doubt many professional critics (you know the likes of AA Gill, Fay Maschler etc.) follow this 'code of conduct' and give restaurants the benefit of the doubt?

On the other hand, some restaurants simply do not offer enough incentives in terms of a constantly changing menu to make it worth going again. A good example of this would be the Fat Duck (and come June they won't even have an ALC menu available come July). After all, you can only his snail porridge that many times....

Aren't they adding another tasting menu at the fat duck though? I remember there was talk of it (from Heston himself) a year ago but surely it would make sense to coincide with this?

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I would say solid 2 star cooking, possibly better. My guess is the lack of tableclothes is the only thing that stands between him and the next star.

yes , the difference between one and two stars is nearly always tablecloths :laugh:

Gary - although it was a tongue in cheek comment from me, it may be a more serious point than you give credit for. The psychology of dining is complex, and even "highly trained" Michelin inspectors will find it hard to overcome first impressions. OK Michelin is "all about what is on the plate" but the set up of the meal which includes the staff, room, and supporting paraphanalia does make a difference. IMO it will never disguise bad food, but can lift good food.

Food1 - Wishart would be my 2nd best meal, we had a superb meal there as well, and I would agree that it also deserves more. We had a dire experience at LCS, all I really remember is the frosty reception, the amateur service and very brightly lit dining room. As I said above the psychology of dining has a major impact and LCS was all wrong that night.

I was reading Mattbites recently and he linked to a bloggers code of conduct which makes the valid point that we should visit a restaurant more than once or twice before making a definative comment. I wish I had both the cash and time to do that. A number of visits would even out and peaks and troughs in the kitchen, hopefully balance any emotional highs and lows, and ensure spouses are not unwell. I am keen to revisit LCS as our experience seems very different to some (but not all); did we simply catch the FOH team on a bad night?

Nathan may be in the news this week, but I had been hoping to get there for 18 months and had been following some good reviews like Duncan's. On this visit he was on top form, it is a pity he is so far away from most people as it would be good to get a broader range of opinions.

In and ideal world, going to a restaurant at least passing judgement would be ideal. This is especially true with restaurants which I had a less than stellar experience from and perhaps deserves the benefit of the doubt. However, I doubt many professional critics (you know the likes of AA Gill, Fay Maschler etc.) follow this 'code of conduct' and give restaurants the benefit of the doubt?

On the other hand, some restaurants simply do not offer enough incentives in terms of a constantly changing menu to make it worth going again. A good example of this would be the Fat Duck (and come June they won't even have an ALC menu available come July). After all, you can only his snail porridge that many times....

Aren't they adding another tasting menu at the fat duck though? I remember there was talk of it (from Heston himself) a year ago but surely it would make sense to coincide with this?

I'll ask him personally when I dine there next week :biggrin:

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Aren't they adding another tasting menu at the fat duck though?  I remember there was talk of it (from Heston himself) a year ago but surely it would make sense to coincide with this?

Yes, about a year ago it was reported that the ALC would be going, to be replaced by second tasting menu of "traditional" dishes. I think that the idea was that this would include the historical dishes that Heston has experimented with to a limited extent at the Hind's Head, such as "quaking pudding".

I'll ask him personally when I dine there next week

If you do find out any more please can you post this in the Fat Duck thread (probably more appropriate than this one)? We had been toying with the idea of going back to try the ALC for a change, so if it is going then we might need to try and book sooner rather than later...!

Edit: just looked at the Fat Duck website and it says "The A La Carte menu is available until the 30th June 2009", but it doesn't have any indication (that I can see) of what will replace it...


Edited by JudyB (log)

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haven't seen it since last thursday. more interested in sargeant / welsh head to head that's for sure.


you don't win friends with salad

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Its all very quiet with regards to the GBM, can I read into that?

1, No one is enamoured with the food? or,

2, There's no real vitality in the kitchen?

3, Or?

OK, who's the winner?

There isn't really anything stunning to be said about this week. As Bryn Williams said after the mains last night there is nothing yet which stands out - both meals look OK and there are no obvious disasters yet.

Personally I am getting very irritated with what seems like posturing by James - it seems like he has decided that Stephen is a country bumpkin who doesn't know how to cook "real" banquet-style food. What I can't decide yet is whether this is arrogance on his part, or if it indicates nervousness about what Stephen might pull off on Friday...

I see that Marcus Wareing is back next week as the "mentor" for the North-West, which is a pity since with the NE heat it looked like he thought he was mainly there to stir things up...

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I am quite intrigued by this week. Stephen seems quite analytical and has the confidence to keep improving the dishes, so I expect to see some interesting changes when he cooks on Friday. James on the other hand seems to be comfortable with what he is doing although his fish dish seems to be way off the brief (although similar to a standard dish he as on his menu).

Does anyone else dislike being served food on slate tiles rather than a plate?

I also agree with Judy about James' character. He does seem a bit up himself; I really didn't like his comment about Stephen's restaurant being "...a little bit slapdash".

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Its all very quiet with regards to the GBM, can I read into that?

1, No one is enamoured with the food? or,

2, There's no real vitality in the kitchen?

3, Or?

OK, who's the winner?

There isn't really anything stunning to be said about this week. As Bryn Williams said after the mains last night there is nothing yet which stands out - both meals look OK and there are no obvious disasters yet.

Personally I am getting very irritated with what seems like posturing by James - it seems like he has decided that Stephen is a country bumpkin who doesn't know how to cook "real" banquet-style food. What I can't decide yet is whether this is arrogance on his part, or if it indicates nervousness about what Stephen might pull off on Friday...

I see that Marcus Wareing is back next week as the "mentor" for the North-West, which is a pity since with the NE heat it looked like he thought he was mainly there to stir things up...

Nothing has me sitting on the edge of my seat, I must admit.

I met James after our recent meal at The Crown, and for a little guy he's not short on confidence, he has utmost belief in what he is/has done for Wales by being the only Michelin star. So much so that he is aiming for two!

Marcus Wareing is a big fan of Aiden Byrne's and Aiden of Marcus, be interesting to see if there is any bias.

Nigel comes across as a really laid back, nice kind of guy, so i don't think there will be much "niggle" in the kitchen.

Shame!!!!!!!!!!

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