Niall Keating, Executive Chef of Whatley Manor in the Cotswolds, has secured a coveted place at the BBC Two’s Great British Menu banquet in honour of 150 years of children’s literature in the UK.
Impressing judges, his successful dish for the fish course – the striking and dramatic ‘Witches of the Northern Lights’, inspired by author Philip Pullman, features black tortellini in the shape of a witch’s hat and a small cauldron of dashi broth.
Thrilled at the opportunity to showcase his dish at the final banquet, Niall said: “I’m so delighted with the Judges’ comments, especially when the competition is this strong. We were particularly lucky with the brief this year – it gave us so much creative scope which really fired my imagination. It was my dream to be able to cook at the Banquet and I am really happy to have achieved that goal.”
Staffordshire-born Niall is representing the Central Region of the UK for the series. That Great British Menu episode was aired on Tuesday, 12 May, and saw Niall compete against seven other chef candidates to serve a dish from their four course repertoire at the banquet, which will be aired on Friday, 15 May. Two more courses are yet to be revealed – the main course and dessert – in subsequent episodes this week.
Chef Alex Deane of Deanes Eipic in Belfast was the first chef in the final to succeed with his starter, in the episode that aired on Monday, 11 May.
While Niall Keating narrowly missed getting his ‘Farmer Maggots Mushroom’ starter to the banquet (he came second out of the eight candidates), the judges were full of praise, commenting on the dish’s ‘delicacy of touch’ and ‘contrasting textures and flavours’.
Niall Keating joined Whatley Manor in late 2016, and quickly achieved a first Michelin star in 2017, then a second star in 2019, for his contemporary Asian-inspired cuisine in The Dining Room at the luxurious country house hotel. His background encompasses prestigious international experience, including at Kong Hans Kælder in Copenhagen (two Michelin stars), in San Francisco at three Michelin-starred Benu, and at Sat Bains in Nottingham (two Michelin stars).
Earlier this year we spent Five minutes with… Niall Keating. It was a culinary delight.