Vegan Chef Wins Fish Challenge On Great British Menu

The chef showed the judges that you don't need animal products to make world-class food


3 Minutes Read

Kirk Haworth on Great British Menu Kirk Haworth is the first plant-based chef on the Great British Menu - Media Credit: BBC

A vegan chef has made it to the national finals of the BBC’s Great British Menu, stunning judges with his plant-based creations.

Kirk Haworth won the north west England heat last week. He secured his place in the finals with a vegan lasagna, a “fish” dish, and a dessert judges called “phenomenal.”

Haworth, co-founder of vegan restaurant Plates in London, is the first plant-based chef to compete on the programme. His 38/40 score in this round of the competition is the joint-highest in the history of the Great British Menu regionals.

No fish needed

Kirk Haworth's Feast of Farah dish
BBC The Feast of Farah by Haworth

To make it to the finals, the contestants had to create a series of dishes in the theme of the Olympics and Paralympics.

Haworth’s main dish was named The Feast of Farah after the athlete Mo Farah. It featured a lasagna made with beans served under a shoe box to symbolize Farah’s achievements as a runner. Judge Michael O’Hare, who is also a chef, said that he didn’t “miss for a second the lack of dairy or the fact that it is plant-based.”

The judges were especially impressed by Haworth’s efforts in the fish round of the challenge. The second course in his menu was titled “a celebration of table tennis.” He made it using whipped crème fraiche, fermented cheese, seaweed caviar, and crackers. It gained him a perfect score of 10 out of 10 from O’Hare.

“The presentation was excellent,” O’Hare told Haworth. “The skill you have implemented in this is extraordinary.”

A perfect finish

Haworth’s dessert for the challenge also scored a 10. He took inspiration from the five Olympuc rings, with each one in the dessert flavored to represent a different continent. 

O’Hare said the dessert “looked and tasted incredible” and praised Haworth’s “world-class” cooking.

“This has turned the competition on its head because it is the first ever fully plant-based menu through to finals week of the Great British Menu, so congratulations,” said judge Ed Gamble, the comedian and food podcaster.

Haworth started on his plant-based journey after being diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2016. “Who I am now as a chef is determined by my health challenges,” he has said. “It has completely changed the way I create, cook, work. At Plates what I am trying to do is create a new genre of cookery to showcase fruits and vegetables in a new way, with lots of creativity, innovation and deliciousness.”

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