Award-winning and celebrated chef, Tom Kerridge, Chef and Restaurateur Nisha Katona, and award-winning comedian and host of smash hit food podcast Off Menu, Ed Gamble join host, Andi Oliver in the 17th series of Great British Menu, produced by Optomen and starting Tuesday 1 February at 8pm on BBC Two.
Tom is a champion of British cooking, and for his work in training and encouraging the next generation of young chefs. Tom is also no stranger to the Great British Menu kitchen, having participated as a chef back in 2010 and 2011, winning the main course round both years, and returning again in 2012 as a veteran, helping to mentor and guide the chefs through to the judges table.
Tom Kerridge says: “I’ve been involved with the show in some respect now for 12/13 years and I know how much it means, not just to the chefs that compete, but also the British food scene in general. It has been hugely influential, in terms of letting everybody know how great chefs and cooking is up and down the country, in all the nations and regions.
Tom is ably joined on the judging panel by one of the UK’s most successful food entrepreneurs, Nisha Katona, and award-winning comedian and chart topping podcast supremo, Ed Gamble.
Nisha Katona says: “What’s fantastic about the Great British Menu is it’s not just a competition about food. It is about the very best chefs in the country, creating not just extraordinary dishes, but these real flights of fantasy. I know that having watched it in the past, these people pour their hearts into what they do and it’s just a complete privilege to taste that.”
Ed Gamble says: “Doing my food podcast (with James Acaster) for so long means that I am very qualified for this job and I know way more than Tom and Nisha who both kept complaining that nobody served chicken nuggets. (They might have edited that out). I can’t wait for people to see what the chefs have made this series – the brief is incredible and they really rose to the challenge. And I rose to my difficult challenge of stuffing my greedy face.”
Returning as host, Andi Oliver is on hand to encourage and support the 32 chefs representing eight different regions or nations to deliver their best for the competition. Each week, Andi will help veterans of the competition whittle the competing chefs for each area down to just two, before they go head-to-head in front of the judging panel in the hope of securing a place in Finals Week.
Andi Oliver says: “I feel really proud to be able to support our chefs and help guide them through the competition. Being able to be there to help them cope with how challenging the competition can be, and watch them develop their dishes – and their mental and culinary agility – is a sight to behold. It’s something extraordinary to see.”
This year’s theme celebrates 100 Years of Great British Broadcasting. In 1922 the BBC took to the airwaves with a radio broadcast, which was the beginning of a remarkable change in British cultural life.
Some of the most talented and skilled chefs from across the UK’s nations and regions will be tasked with cooking mouth-watering dishes which celebrate UK broadcasting across the decades, both on the BBC and other channels. Extraordinary dishes will be created that pay homage to nostalgic comedies and entertainment, such as; Fawlty Towers, Morecambe and Wise, Dinner Ladies, The Crystal Maze, Blackadder Goes Forth and Monty Python, more recent entertainment juggernauts such as; I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Eastenders and Desert Island Discs, as well as landmark broadcast moments, like Winston Churchill’s famous speech broadcasting to the nation that ‘We are at War’ with Germany, and the 1969 Moon Landing.
The competing chefs are all trying to win the honour of representing their nation or region during the finals episodes and then competing for the ultimate accolade, that of cooking a dish at a once in a lifetime banquet at Alexandra Palace, in North London. This magnificent building has historial ties to many of the landmark events in British Broadcasting and is a fitting location for the final episode attended by famous faces from all genres of television and radio.
The chefs will compete from nations and regions including: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions of SW, NW, NE, Central and the SE (including London).
In weeks one to eight, four chefs representing a nation or region will compete against each other each week to cook Canapés, Starters, Fish Dishes, Main Courses, Pre-Desserts and Desserts.
One chef is eliminated at the end of the first episode each week after cooking the Fish course. Another chef leaves the competition at the end of Desserts, which is the second episode of the week. This leaves only the two chefs with the highest scores who must cook their entire menu for the Judges in the final episode of the week.
The Judges must then choose one winner to represent their nation or region. Each week the regular Judges are joined by a fourth Guest Judge, connected to the theme.
During Finals week, the eight finalists compete against each other. One winner will be chosen each day to cook either their Starter, Fish Course, Main Course or Dessert. The highest scoring runner up not to have won either of the four courses, gets to cook the Canapé and Pre-dessert at the Banquet.