Pub owner through to finals of hit BBC2 show

Cotswold Journal: Emily Watkins Emily Watkins

A COTSWOLD pub owner said getting through to the finals of the BBC Two programme, Great British Menu was "absolutely amazing".

Emily Watkins, who runs the Kingham Plough, near Chipping Norton, said she was shocked when she was chosen to represent the south west region in the finals of the competition last Friday after a week of heats.

The 34-year-old beat stiff competition from Michelin-starred chefs Dominic Chapman and Josh Eggleton, with her menu which goes on culinary journey through the war with a bit of French influence.

She will now be cooking in the finals - airing the first week in June - for the chance to cook at a huge banquet marking the 70th anniversary of D Day.

"It's absolutely amazing, fantastic," she said. "I think I relaxed a bit by the end of the week and so I cooked better. I had made some rookie errors in the beginning because I was so nervous which is stupid, I did things I would never do back in the kitchen.

"It was pretty stressful. I think I was six or eight points between us, it didn't cross my mind I would go through."

This year the chefs have to produce 21st century dishes which evoke the wartime spirit of the generation who fought for the country as well as honour the bravery shown throughout the Second World War.

Mrs Watkins, who only got through to the judge's chamber stage in the Comic Relief-themed competition last year, said she is thrilled she has managed to go one step further this year.

And she said she was really pleased with the comments from the judges Prue Leith, Oliver Peyton and Matthew Fort and special guest judge and hero of the D-Day landings, 93-year-old war veteran Ken Sturdy.

"I was really pleased with how Ken the war veteran felt about the dish and it how it really took him back to that time," she added. "It just makes you even hungrier to get to the end when you get a step closer to it."

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