Comic Relief: Tony Singh to battle Mark Greenaway

Award-winning Edinburgh chefs Mark Greenaway and Tony Singh will pit their skills against each other tonight in a culinary duel to decide Edinburgh’s funniest cook.

The pair have been cast as competitive rivals in the Scottish heat of BBC Two’s cooking series The Great British Menu, airing this week.

The show’s brief is to create a four-course menu fit for a banquet celebrating Red Nose Day’s 25-year anniversary, making food that is both gastronomic and witty.

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Mr Greenaway, who opened his restaurant on North Castle Street in Edinburgh last month, labelled the challenge of making food funny for Comic Relief as one of the toughest of his life.

The 35-year-old has turned to props such as helium gas and laughing red noses in a bid to make his dishes humorous and outdo Singh and fellow Scottish contestant and Isle of Skye chef Michael Smith. He said: “For a chef, if somebody’s laughing at your food you’re obviously doing something wrong, so the whole brief was a very difficult one.”

Mr Singh – a former Scottish Chef of the Year and owner of now-closed Edinburgh eatery Oloroso – described slugging it out with his fellow Edinburgh restaurateur as good fun. He said: “It’s always good to go up against your peers. I respect anyone who puts on a pair of whites.”

One of the three Scottish chefs is eliminated in tonight’s episode. Viewers then learn tomorrow whether either of Edinburgh’s culinary geniuses has earned a place in the final week of the competition.

Mr Greenaway is banking on his mains dish – an amusing take on a Scottish classic entitled “boil-in-a-bag duck” – scoring major points.

He said: “It’s called sous vide, but to the normal man on the street it’s boil-in-a-bag. You vacuum pack it and then you cook it slowly in a water bath. I then plate up the dish and serve it in a bag full of helium.

“You need to suck the helium out, quack like a duck and then enjoy the experience of eating an amazing plate of food.”

Mr Singh has put a spin on cheap cuts of meat to come up with his menu.

His starter involved a pig’s head and trotters cooked down and then served in a Spam tin.

Mr Singh said: “It was based on the Spam song – it is a classic sketch from Monty Python.”

Mr Greenaway’s menu will be sold at his self-titled Edinburgh restaurant from next Tuesday, with ten per cent going directly to Comic Relief.

Critical acclaim

TONY SINGH shot to fame on TV reality show Ready Steady Cook. He has run three restaurants – Oloroso, Tony’s Table and Roti – to great critical acclaim and has previously been named Scottish Chef of the Year at the Scottish Chefs Awards.