"I have been asked to be on Great British Menu twice now which has been great. Every step I have made, I have learnt something along the way."
Great British Menu (GBM) returned to the nations screens in March for season 15 and puts the nation’s most talented chefs to the test. Women in the Food Industry are continuing their series of interviews with the strong female line-up of chefs from across Britain competing to serve their dish at the final banquet. Co-founder, Mecca Ibrahim, interviewed Samira Effa, senior production chef for TRUEfoods and CHEFStable.
Samira was at school when she first realised that she wanted to be a chef and took food technology there. After getting work experience in a local restaurant, she stayed on worked my way around the restaurant for about three years during school and at Huddersfield College.
This is Samira's second time on Great British Menu and she was asked if this put extra pressure on her to represent her region. "Definitely", she said "Especially with all of the new aspects. The extra courses, the fact that you could go home after the fish course, it all adds up to be more pressure than last year."
But there were also benefits from being on the show before: "Most of the camera crew was the same as last year, so I was quite used to it and the studio kitchen. It was really nice to see the crew again and it all felt pretty relaxed."
The children’s literature theme on Great British Menu has proved to be popular and lends itself to the theatre of a banquet. Samira explained how she prepared for it:
"At first it was pretty hard as many chefs spend more time reading cookery books rather than anything else. I hadn’t read children’s books since I was young, so I re-read a lot of favourites. There were some books which really stuck out to me when I was younger. Most of my inspiration came from books that were North East based or the authors were from the region.
"My dessert was the hardest, as I found it hard to stick on what I was going to make and kept changing what I was going to prepare! But in the end I really liked it."
Great British Menu is well known for its props and Samira was asked if she embraced them. "Well in order to meet the brief, we knew that kids were going to be at the banquet so we needed to make it fun. We needed to make it interesting, so I used props on pretty much every dish."
Samira will be appearing on Great British Menu from Wednesday 6th May 2020 representing the North East. You can read the full interview with Samira Effa on Great British Menu here and find out more about her background and who inspires her in the food industry.