Clare Gage as seen on Great British Menu

The work of award winning Chesterfield ceramicist Clare Gage was a hit with celebrity cook and food school owner Prue Leith when it appeared in the Central region final of BBC 2’s Great British Menu recently.

Clare Gage’s signature porcelain cups and plates were chosen to display the culinary creation of top chef Pip Lacey in the popular professional cooking competition.

Pip presented a chiboust cream flavoured with scone, apple and pear jam and clotted cream ice cream on plate from Clare’s range and a cup of tea served in her signature cups, – to Great British Menu judges – Prue Leith, restauranteur Oliver Peyton and award-winning critic Matthew Fort. On seeing Pip’s dessert course, Prue Leith commented: “I love the cups,” when the dessert was presented.

Pip Lacey, head Chef at Murano London, Angela Hartnett’s Michelin starred restaurant in the Heart of Mayfair, was one of 24 talented chefs in competition to cater a banquet which will celebrate the centenary of the Women’s Institute at London’s historic Drapers Hall. Pip narrowly missed out on a place in the national final.

Clare Gage’s textile inspired ceramics celebrate the British tradition of afternoon tea, so were the perfect accompaniment to Pip Lacey’s very British dessert of scones. Clare Gage’s ceramics are designed and made by Clare herself in Chesterfield. Her work features lace, buttons, patchwork, cross stitch as well as knitted and woven fabric designs. The beautiful range includes cups and saucers, mugs, tableware, vases, jewellery and hanging decorations.

Explaining her decision to choose Clare Gage’s creations to display her menu, Pip Lacey said: “I chose to use Clare’s cups because of the link to the brief: Celebrating the Women’s institute. They are very unique, hand crafted and made by a woman. The Institute is all about learning new crafts and Clare’s style was perfect for the dessert I did – a play on scones. Scones are something that the Women’s Institute would eat at tea breaks when knitting, so the style of Clare’s cups tied in perfectly. Knitting and baking still go together now.”

Clare added: “It was an honour to have my work selected by Pip. My collection stems from a real affection for the quintessentially English tradition of afternoon tea, so to have my designs used for a dish that will celebrate the Great British Institution that is the WI seems very fitting.”