“When I see all these people booking my restaurant three months in advance… well I just can’t believe it. I find it really overwhelming and I just stay down in the kitchen.”
These words were spoken by Richard Bainbridge just a few weeks after the Norfolk-born chef entered the exclusive group of chefs who have been chosen to cook two of the four courses for the banquet meal at the culmination of the television show, Great British Menu.
For Bainbridge, 2015 has been a year he will never forget. First, he made the momentous decision to leave Michelin-starred Morston Hall, where he was head chef and on the verge of becoming a director, to set up his own restaurant on a “shoe-string”; then he decided to face his demons by returning to the television show where he had suffered three devastating defeats in the past.
“It was actually 20 years to the day between me starting work as a 13-year-old pot washer in a pub to me picking up the keys to my own restaurant,” says the amiable chef, who seems genuinely and constantly amazed at his own good fortune.
“Galton [Blackiston, owner of Morston Hall, Blakeney] first put my name through, and I got through the screen test. I was just 26 that first year and I was like ‘Hey, who wouldn’t want to be on telly?’ Then I found myself up against Daniel Clifford [Midsummer House, Cambridge] and Will Holland [formerly of La Becasse in Ludlow] and I was like a fish out of water. I should never have gone into the competition that young.”Buy Now