Daniel McGeorge won the judges over with a dish inspired by the Guide Dogs charity

Liverpool-born chef Daniel McGeorge proved his cooking skills are the dog’s bollocks as he was crowned Champion of Champions in the grand finale of BBC's Great British Menu.

The dessert 'Give A Dog A Bone' had all of the judges straining at the leash

Viewers of the 16th series of the hit BBC television show saw Dan claim the last course at the banquet finale with his dessert, “Give A Dog A Bone”. The dish featured a bone shaped milk chocolate mousse, with a miso caramel centre, sprayed in chocolate, served with a miso caramel sauce, salted caramel ice cream, honeycomb miso tuile and yuzu gel and zest. No bones about it, that sounds like a perfect pawsome pud.

The doggy-themed dish celebrated the training of the first four guide dogs by Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond at their modest lock-up garage in Wallasey, Merseyside, in 1931. Since then, Guide Dogs has transformed over 36,000 lives thanks to their dedicated staff and volunteers and the vital support of the public.

Great British Menu Daniel Mc George Plating Dessert Guide Dogs
Labracadabra - a magical doggy dessert Optomen Television / BBC

British innovation

The competition was something of a rollercoaster ride for the 30-year-old from Broad Green who is now head chef at Rothay Manor in Ambleside. In the North West heat, Dan made it through to the final two to cook his British innovation menu for the judges; food writer Matthew Fort, restaurateur Oliver Peyton, broadcaster Rachel Khoo and guest judge Wayne Hemingway MBE, designer and co-founder of fashion brand Red or Dead.

Dan‘s starter, called “Doctor’s Orders”, celebrated Lucy Cradock, Liverpool’s first practising female doctor. A deconstructed take on the classic Liverpudlian dish, scouse, made with Herdwick lamb loin, black garlic, carrot tops, confit pink fir potatoes, finished off with a sauce served from a giant syringe.

His fish course, “Deep Blue Sea”, was a nod to early submarine designer Reverend George Garrett and featured barbecued monkfish served with cockles, kohlrabi and a silver submarine flavoured with Xo sauce, which when dropped into a dashi sauce submerged and dissolved in the process.

Great British Menu Daniel Mc George Chef Plating Up Food
Bone appetite - Dan plates up in the GBM kitchen Optomen Television / BBC

Miso caramel surprise

Dan’s main course, “The Amazing Adventures of Isabella Bird”, marked the achievements of this intrepid explorer, orientalist and first female member of the Royal Geographical Society. The course was made up of six Asian dishes, one from each of the countries that Isabella visited, including Korean fried lamb sweetbreads with a sticky BBQ sauce, Japanese tempura vegetables, Vietnamese morning glory with oyster sauce, soy marinated quail eggs, stir fried lotus root and barbecued char siu pork.

But it was his final dessert course, “Give A Dog A Bone”, which had all of the judges straining at the leash for more. 

“Two words. Miso caramel,” enthused Oliver Peyton, while Wayne Hemingway commented: “I could eat it until I was sick.”

Jodrell Bank final

The series finale, broadcast on Friday 21 May, was itself a little unique, as viewers tuned in to witness GBM's first ever socially distanced outdoor banquet, held at Jodrell Bank Observatory. Once the invited guests had finished dining they were asked to vote for their favourite dish, with Dan McGeorge’s pudding creation proving to be a firm favourite, resulting in him being crowned the Champion of Champions.

Dan stepped away from a law degree in 2011 to pursue his passion for cooking at Liverpool Community College. Now known as The City of Liverpool College, it’s the only higher education institution to partner with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, which delivers the highest standard of chef training in Europe with graduates going on to earn Michelin stars.

Since graduating, Dan has worked in several high-profile kitchens including The Bath Priory under exec chef Sam Moody, and under Ben Mounsey at The Lawns at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa. For over three years, Dan has been head chef at Rothay Manor in the Lake District and earned the restaurant 3 AA Rosettes and a Michelin Plate.

Champion of Champions

Dan said: ‘‘I still can’t quite believe that I’ve had the opportunity to represent the North West, my hometown of Liverpool and my adopted home, the Lake District, on a show I’ve followed for years. It’s been a rollercoaster journey, really exciting to be involved with but also pretty challenging, especially being on camera with so much going on while you’re trying to do your job and cook food to a really high standard. 

“Having a camera on you all the time is a very different way of working that’s for sure. To be recognised as Champion of Champions is just mind blowing, especially after having cooked alongside some really amazing chefs who’ve produced some incredible food. It hasn’t sunk in really and won’t for a bit yet, but my family, my partner and daughter are over the moon for me and that means everything.’’

Now that the dog days are over, a visit to Rothay Manor is definitely on our bucket list. Until then, Dan - don’t stop retrievin. Hold on to that feeling.

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