After weeks of intense competition, fans finally know who won Great British Menu 2021. It may have taken dozens of cook-offs, judging arguments and hours in the kitchen, but the wait was worth it.
With 32 of the UK's most talented chefs cooking head to head, there is always a fine line between success and failure. If they weren't already, this year's winning chefs can be seriously proud of their achievements.
Who won Great British Menu 2021?
30-year-old Liverpudlian Dan McGeorge won Great British Menu 2021.
Selected to cook the dessert at the final banquet, McGeorge blew the competition away with his Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond-inspired dish.
Based on their pioneering dog-training techniques, the dessert featured a bone-shaped chocolate mousse, yuzu gel, miso caramel and salted caramel ice cream. The dish won acclaim from across the board, including from McGeorge's own mother.
Despite valiant cooking from the rest of the quartet, there could only be one true winner.
Who else cooked at the Great British Menu 2021 banquet?
While McGeorge stole the show, he wasn't the only chef to win plaudits at the banquet.
Throughout the day, McGeorge cooked alongside three of his fellow competitors. It would actually have been four, were it not for an unfortunate case of COVID in the Great British Menu camp.
Here are the other cooks who made it to the banquet.
South West – Jude Kereama
One of the most popular figures in the competition, Cornwall-based Jude Kereama finally made it through to the final stage at the fourth time of asking.
Taking inspiration from his seaside home, Kereama's menu included top-quality fish cookery and a nod to the world-famous Cornish pasty.
Kereama currently owns and operates two restaurants in the foodie fishing village of Porthleven. Kota, meaning "shellfish" in Maori, specialises in high-end seafood and is a must-visit for anyone in the area.
At the banquet, he prepared both the canapé and pre-dessert courses.
North East – Alex Bond
Yet another returning face to this year's competition, Alex Bond admitted he had a point to prove this time around. In a tightly fought regional final, he more than delivered.
Both his fish course and duck egg-based starter won particular praise from the judges. Despite a close race with his friend and rival Tom Spenceley, these two dishes were ultimately enough to put him through to the national finals.
Bond is a rising star in British food, recently winning a Michelin star at his Alchemilla restaurant in Nottingham. Judging by his competition so far, his popularity is only going to go up.
Scotland – Roberta Hall-McCarron
Unlike Collins, Roberta Hall-McCarron is a veteran of the Great British Menu competition. Last year, she even made it to the national finals, before falling just short of the banquet. This year, she'll be hoping to go one step further.
The Edinburgh-based chef served up two stellar dishes in the heat – a Maxwell Colour Wheel cullen skink, featuring smoked turbot, and a pie that won particular praise from judge Rachel Khoo. In the end, it was the fish dish that made it through to the banquet.
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Hall-McCarron now owns her own restaurant, The Little Chartroom, in the heart of Edinburgh. However, her experience across some of the best kitchens in Scotland puts her in with a great shout of getting to the banquet.
London and South East – Oli Marlow
Oli Marlow maybe had more pressure than most coming into the competition, on account of his boss.
The 30-year-old has worked for previous winner Simon Rogan for four years, who will no doubt have been hoping that his protege can carry the flame. If his competition to date is anything to go by, he's certainly in with a chance.
While many of Marlow's dishes won praise, the judges were particularly fond of his "Special Delivery" picnic hamper.
Sadly, Marlow contracted COVID before the banquet, and so was unable to cook in person. His four fellow banquet chefs took up the slack.
Away from the competition, Marlow is executive chef at three of Rogan's restaurants, including two in Hong Kong.
Who were the other Great British Menu 2021 finalists?
While cooking at the banquet is the raison d'être for entering the competition, not all chefs made it through. Some fell agonisingly short at the final hurdle.
Representing the best of the best from the UK's eight regions, these cooks are still a diverse and talented portrait of what's brilliant about British food.
Here are the other cooks who made it through to finals week.
Central – Stewart Collins
Despite making his debut in this year's competition, newcomer Stewart Collins has shown that he has what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
His cooking won praise throughout the competition both from chef judge Lisa Goodwin-Allen and the regular judging panel. In particular, Collins' "Singularity" dish, made to mimic a black hole with a stylish squid ink cracker, won universal acclaim.
Away from the competition, Collins can be found cooking at his Docket No. 33 restaurant in Shropshire. No doubt after this competition he can expect to see a few more bookings.
Wales – Hywel Griffith
Much like his rival Hall-McCarron, Hywel Griffith narrowly missed out on a spot at last year's banquet. This time around, he's taking no chances.
Although his heat was full of stellar dishes, Griffith's chocolate mousse-based dessert, shaped like a flying machine, won the judges over and saw him through to the final cook off.
When he's not cooking up a storm on Great British Menu, Griffith can be found at his Michelin-starred The Beach House restaurant. He also has experience in several of Wales' top kitchens, including the much-vaunted Ynyshir.
Northern Ireland – Phelim O'Hagan
Following in the footsteps of his mentor and chef-patron Ian Orr, Phelim O'Hagan has openly stated his ambition to represent Northern Ireland at the banquet.
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Although some of the reaction to his cooking was mixed, the judges really enjoyed his "Uisce Beatha" main course, featuring a pithivier pie, côte de boeuf and generous lashings of whisky.
O'Hagan currently works as head chef at Browns Bonds Hill in Londonderry. Now that he's the last Northern Irishman standing, no doubt the whole country is behind him.