We speak to finalist, Garry Seymour from The Jolly Sailor Inn in Looe, Cornwall.
Why did you enter the awards?
We had just taken over the pub and I received an e-mail asking if I wanted to enter. As I was getting great feedback on my salmon bombe I thought ‘why the heck not?’! We have never run pubs before and I have only worked in kitchens – never trained professionally – so thought it would be a great challenge.
How important is breakfast to your offer?
As we only offer breakfast to our guests as part of the B&B package, I feel it’s incredibly important. It sets them up for the day. It’s important to make it visually appealing, as well as combining flavours. Just because it comes free with the accommodation, it doesn’t mean it has to be a mediocre breakfast!
What are your breakfast best-sellers?
To be fair, all of our breakfasts are popular. When people have the salmon bombe, however, they are very complimentary – although some do ask where the scrambled egg is. I had one gentleman advise me that he had travelled the world and mine was the best he had tasted!
How did you decide on what dishes to cook for the event?
The salmon bombe was my signature dish, so that was a given. I also offered a Nutella and sweet chilli pancetta bagel and my Cornish bagel. I wanted something that combined sweet with spicy, so I cooked the pancetta in brown sugar and homemade chilli oil. Combined with the Nutella, which was supplied as part of the Technical round, it created a tasty but unusual flavour.
The bagel was chosen as I was the only entrant from Cornwall. It consisted of locally-caught smoked haddock, locally-made Cornish blue goats’ cheese, Cornish cream, harlequin tomatoes and rocket sourced from a local supplier.
How do you stay calm under pressure when competing?
Ha ha – I totally didn’t in the live round! However, the kitchen-bsed round was just like being in the kitchen back at The Jolly Sailor in Looe, so it felt no different. I’d done the signature dish many times over, so I wasn’t worried at all.
Did you enjoy the competition?
I loved the competition! It was great to compete with some big names and great professionals.
Would you recommend that other people enter the awards?
Absolutely! It pushes your game and makes you really think about what you’re doing in the kitchen. It gives you the confidence to experiment and allows you to see how others tackle their breakfasts. It was a wonderful day and I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from it.