Family inspires Norwich chef Richard Bainbridge’s TV menu

Richard Bainbridge at Benedicts on St Benedicts Street, Norwich.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Richard Bainbridge at Benedicts on St Benedicts Street, Norwich.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Norwich chef Richard Bainbridge will be endeavouring to plate up perfection for harsh critics this week as he represents the region on BBC Two's Great British Menu.

Chef Richard Bainbridge with his wife Katja and their daughter Holly at Benedicts in Norwich. Photo

Chef Richard Bainbridge with his wife Katja and their daughter Holly at Benedicts in Norwich. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

This year's challenge is to produce 21st century dishes worthy of the custodians of first-class home cooking: the Women's Institute. Twenty-four of the nation's top chefs have been fighting it out for weeks for the chance to cook at a glorious banquet to mark the WI's centenary year.

Each week, three chefs from a region of the UK have created their own themed menu, presenting four dishes – a starter, a fish course, a main course and a dessert – to an expert judge who then chooses two of the chefs to serve their dishes to the final judging panel of Prue Leith, Oliver Peyton, Matthew Fort and a representative from the WI, this week former chairman Helen Carey.

Chefs from other regions have competed already and winners from each have been chosen for the final cook-off, to be aired next week. This week's chefs from central region are battling for the last place in the final.

A four-times GBM veteran, Mr Bainbridge, formerly of Michelin-starred Morston Hall, will pit his culinary skills against Pip Lacey from Nottingham, who is head chef at Murano in Mayfair, and Jason Hodnett, head chef at The Raven Hotel in Shrewsbury.


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'Our brief was to take inspiration from the women in our families and the women of the Women's Institute and create a menu that had familiar dishes with our own twist to them,' said Mr Bainbridge, who will be showcasing his GBM dishes on a new tasting menu at his St Benedict's restaurant, Benedicts from Friday.

'If it wasn't for the inspirational women in my life, I wouldn't be who I am or where I am today. My mum Jill, my nanny Ivy, my wife Katja, my sister Gemma, my daughter Holly – they are my inspiration and my motivation and I did this for them.'

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Richard's menus include a poussin dish inspired by a WI post-war marketing campaign, a starter based on the WI's Jerusalem anthem and a dessert which is a homage to his nanny and sister.

Great British Menu is on BBC2 at 7.30pm every day from Monday to Friday this week.

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