James Cochran, head chef and owner of 1251 in Islington, London, will be cooking the starter at a banquet celebrating 70 years of the NHS at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, having beaten eight other finalists on BBC Two’s competition Great British Menu.
He narrowly beat Dan Fletcher from Fenchurch at the Sky Garden in London to the accolade.
Judges Matthew Fort, Andi Oliver, Oliver Peyton and guest judge GP Dr Ronen Chatterjee were won over by Cochran’s starter ‘cep-tional’, which featured four mushroom elements: cep brioche, a cep custard-filled cylinder, savoury soil, sliced cep and truffle mayonnaise.
The dish was described by Andi Oliver as “so beautiful it made us all feel quite emotional”. She added: “We loved the tribute to your mother.”
The finalists are: Ellis Barrie, Marram Grass on Anglesey (North West); Tom Brown, Cornerstone, London (South West); James Cochran, 1251, London (London and South East); Dan Fletcher, Fenchurch at the Sky Garden, London (North East); Chris Harrod, the Whitebrook, Monmouthshire (Wales); Tommy Heaney, Great House, Bridgend (Northern Ireland); Marianne Lumb, Marianne, London (Central region), Lorna McNee, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Perthshire (Scotland), Craig Sherrington, Virginia House, Cumbria (North West).