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Local chefs to vie for Wimbledon glory on Great British Menu

By Rebecca Black

Three of Northern Ireland's top chefs are to compete for the honour of serving a dish at a national banquet that celebrates Wimbledon.

Antrim man Eddie Attwell, a chef at St Kyrans, Co Cavan, is returning to the Great British Menu contest this year for another attempt at making the final - but first he'll have to fend off stiff competition from Tommy Heaney and Netherlands-born Joery Castel.

Tommy currently works at The Great House in South Wales, while Joery is a chef at Saphyre on Belfast's Lisburn Road.

Joery said he was "very proud to be the first Dutch chef to participate in the show" and to represent Saphyre, while Tommy said he was feeling "delighted, nervous and excited".

This year the theme will be celebrating 140 years of the Wimbledon Championships.

The chefs' creations must fit the theme of 'A Taste of Summer', which encourages them to reflect the flavours, smells and colours of the season.

Some 24 chefs from every region of the UK will compete in heats and then face off against each other for the honour of having one of their courses picked for the banquet.

Local chefs have fought to the top of the show in the past, including Belfast's Chris Fearon who, in 2011, saw his starter - Season 'n' Shake Coronation Chicken, selected to be served at the ultimate street party, The People's Banquet.

However, he missed out when he returned in 2012.

Last year Antrim chef Mark Abbott wowed the judges with his potato three ways starter. Ordinary to Extraordinary included pomme souffle, champ croquette, buttermilk mash, bacon cone filled with purple potato salad, potato puffs and skins.

It was described by judges as "flawless".

The Great British Menu 2017 starts on May 1, BBC Two, 7pm.

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