The inspirational Derbyshire chef has moved on to the second regional round of television’s Great British Menu

Mark Aisthorpe, from The Bulls Head, Holymoorside, is now one of three contenders from the north of England and Yorkshire in contention for a place in the national final.

At the end of his first national television appearance, Mark said, “I’m really, really glad I’m not coming out. I’m only a few points behind, so I’m really going to put my all into the main course and hope to get there with the best points.

This morning Mark told the Derbyshire Times: ‘It was pretty gritty seeing yourself on TV. Our dog was a bit confused hearing me on TV and talking in the room.

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Mark Aisthorpe with Great British Menu presenter Andi Oliver (Photo: BBC/Optomen/Ashleigh Brown)

Viewers learned on last night’s show that Mark, who is partially deaf and has to read lips, was born with cystic fibrosis. He regularly spends weeks in hospital but works in his restaurant between treatments.

Mark, who bought The Bulls Head in 2016, told the program his ultimate goal was to earn a Michelin star.

Veteran chef Michael O’Hare scored last night’s competitors on starters and fish dishes, with Mark earning a total of 13 points, three points behind table chef Luke French of Joro in Sheffield.

Embracing the theme of 100 years of British broadcasting, Mark based his entry on Heartbeat, serving fried pigeon wing lollipops and hand-roasted pigeon breast with wild garlic and pheasant mousse. For the fish dish, he was inspired by the Chuckle Brothers and served smoked trout with new potatoes with seaweed, mashed spinach and langoustine pie.

Mark Aisthorpe, left, and Luke French in the Great British Menu kitchen (Photo: BBC/Optomen/Ashleigh Brown)

This evening the competitors will be noted on the main course and the dessert. In a preview of the programme, viewers were asked to search for ‘one of the toughest days ever in the kitchen of the Great British Menu’.

Great British Menu comes out on BBC2 at 9pm tonight (March 9) and tomorrow at 8pm.

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Andi Oliver with regional candidates Mark Aisthorpe, Luke French, Bobby Geetha and Liz Cottam clockwise from left. Bobby was knocked out after scoring the lowest marks in the first run (Picture: BBC/Optomen/Ashleigh Brown)

Karl M. Bailey