Central region

Great British Menu: Whitchurch’s Stuart Collins wins the Central Region Heat

Stuart collins

Stuart Collins, chef-patron of famous Docket restaurant no.33 in Whitchurch, wowed the judges with his quirky dishes on the Friday night show.

The celebrity chef, who opened Docket No.33 in 2017, was crowned the winner of the ‘Central Region’ Heat in the first week of the show, with this year’s theme ‘British Innovation’.

Stuart started the week with a solid 9/10 from veteran judge Lisa Goodwin Allen for her ‘Take it with a grain of salt’.

The ‘perfectly cooked’ pork cheek dish was inspired by Elsie Widdowson, the food scientist who revolutionized the way the world valued nutritional values.

His main course ‘Dissected Maps’ also impressed the judge, using a multitude of local ingredients, including Staffordshire rose veal, Walsall beer and Shropshire Vitelotte potatoes, receiving a score of 8 / 10.

Stuart’s main course

After Shannon Johnson and Liam Dillon were eliminated during the week, Stuart and Sabrina Gidda faced off in the regional final on Friday and served all their meals in the Judges Room to writer and food critic Matthew Fort, renowned restaurateur. Oliver Payton and cook, writer and presenter Rachel Khoo alongside guest judge Helen Sharman, who was Britain’s first astronaut in space.

Stuart Collins said: “My game plan was not to be the first to go because I really wanted to cook all my meals for the veteran judge. I had put a lot of effort into developing them all and I would have been extremely disappointed not to have served them to Lisa.

His “Radcliffe Road” dessert, inspired by Edgar Hooley who invented the smooth tarmac, consisted of dark chocolate, hazelnut praline, nougatine and Earl Gray tea. The dessert was presented in the form of a chocolate bar; the layering representing the layers of a road with a shiny glaze. This was accompanied by an Earl Gray tea sorbet, served in mini pewter cups as a nod to the “builder’s brewery”. The dessert was greatly appreciated by guest judge Helen Sharman.

Stuart’s dessert

Stuart added: “To be the Great British Menu Central Region Champion is amazing. It was such an exciting trip and one that I took class by class. I certainly did not go into the kitchen expecting this result! It is an absolute honor to have represented my native region, using the amazing products that surround us here in Shropshire.

His vast experience includes working with a multitude of famous faces including Gary Rhodes, Michael Caines and Gordon Ramsay before opening his own restaurant with his wife Frances in Whitchurch.

Docket No.33, which has been featured for two consecutive years in the prestigious GB & NI Michelin Guide, offers a tasting menu emphasizing local and seasonal ingredients.

Stuart and his team will reopen Docket No. 33 again on May 20. The restaurant will open from Thursday to Saturday evening from 7 p.m. The reservation is now online at docketrestaurant.com/no-33