Which chef will be cooking the Great British Menu banquet main course?
Last night saw the main course revealed for the Great British Menu banquet celebrating the best of British animation and illustration, inspired by Paddington Bear's 65th birthday.
2018 Acorn Award winner and central region finalist Tom Shepherd will be cooking his version of Desperate Dan's cow pie, based on The Dandy character. His dish included a braised beef cheek, potato and onion pie, served with roast sirloin, maple-glazed carrots, mushroom ketchup and chive emulsion.
The dish received straight 10s across the board from all judges, with Nisha Katona describing it as "one of the best carrots I've ever tasted".
"Everything about it is what Desperate Dan would want. It's bold, it's robust, it's muscular, it's flavoursome. The flavour is just so, so good," said judge Tom Kerridge.
"It's just the most surreal feeling. I'm privileged, honoured, and I've enjoyed every second of this journey," said Shepherd, who opened his own restaurant above his father's jewellery shop in Lichfield in 2021.
Named Upstairs by Tom Shepherd, the restaurant won a Michelin star last year after just four months of trading, making it the first and currently only restaurant in Staffordshire to hold the award.
He was formerly head chef at Michelin-starred Adam's in Birmingham and worked as development chef at two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham, with Michael Wignall at two-starred the Latymer restaurant at Pennyhill Park hotel in Bagshot, Surrey and as sous chef at the Samling hotel in Windermere.
The winners from the regional heats of the BBC's Great British Menu competition are competing this week to earn a place at the six-course banquet, with dishes influenced by cartoons, comic books and computer games, ranging from Horrible Histories to Heartstopper.
Earlier this week, Avinash 'Avi' Shashidhara's Gruffalo-inspired ‘scrambled snake by the lake' was selected as the starter for the banquet, and Nick Beardshaw will be cooking his fish course, ‘A moon shaped pool', a tribute to the artwork of Radiohead's 2016 album of the same name.