Dundee’s Adam Handling came out joint-first in the first of four all-Scottish episodes of Great British Menu tonight thanks to a perfect score for his fish dish.
The chef, who last month secured a Michelin star for his central London restaurant, scored 18 points alongside Edinburgh’s Stuart Ralston to advance to the next round of the BBC Two show.
The pair finished far ahead of fellow contestants Calum Montgomery, from the Isle of Skye, and Edinburgh’s Fraser Smith, who both scored 11 points.
Calum joined Adam and Stuart in the next round – due to air tomorrow – thanks to a superior canape dish.
Now in its 17th season, the Great British Menu asks talented chefs from the four corners of the UK to compete to present a themed menu of five courses.
This year, the theme is 100 years of British broadcasting, which gave the four contestants on tonight’s show the chance to delve into some TV favourites as they cooked canapes, starters and a fish dish for host Andi Oliver.
Adam’s three rivals for the Great British Menu’s Scottish representation congratulated the chef on his achievement, which was partly down to a perfect 10 in the fish course round from celebrity judge Richard Corrigan, a three-time winner of the Great British Menu.
Richard heaped fulsome praise on Adam’s lobster dish What’s The Story Josie Jump, which was inspired by children’s TV show Balamory.
Adam shed a tear as he presented the dish because it reminded him of bedtimes with his child, as well as the many times he was unable to be around for them because of work.
Adam got his start in cooking in Perthshire at Gleneagles, where he was the hotel’s youngest ever apprentice, aged just 16.
He’s come a long way since then, and now owns three restaurants – The Frog in London’s Covent Garden, the Loch and the Tyne in Windsor and the Ugly Butterfly on the Cornish coast.
Two weeks ago The Frog was awarded a Michelin Star.
Despite his strong credentials, which also include Scottish Chef of the Year, he was beaten to the Scottish regional crown of Great British Menu in 2016 by Michael Bremner.
In 2013, he was runner-up on MasterChef: The Professionals.
His canape of kimchi with lobster brain and cauliflower stalks was described as “elegant and nice, but easily forgotten” by Richard Corrigan.
Adam will now hope that his strong showing in the latter half of tonight’s episode with his starter, Tattie Planting Time which was inspired by Beechgrove Gardens, and his lobster fish course, will give him a boost all the way to the end.
His potato-based starter was served on top of a sack of tatties and he said he chose the show as the inspiration of his dish due to his grandma watching it in the summer when he visited as a youngster.
Also through to the next round is Stuart Ralston, the chef for Edinburgh restaurants Aizle and Noto and a returner to the show.
Calum Montgomery, 32, is the chef patron of the Isle of Skye’s Edinbane Lodge, a 16th century hunting lodge.
The Great British Menu continues tomorrow at 9pm on BBC Two where the three remaining chefs will cook a main dish and dessert.