Andi Oliver named new judge on BBC Two’s Great British Menu

Broadcaster and cook Andi Oliver has been revealed as a new judge on BBC Two’s ‘Great British Menu’.

Her appointment comes as Prue Leith CBE made her last appearance last Friday’s show (October 28) show – after 11 series judging of some of the best chefs in the country.

Andi Oliver, who is a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Kitchen Cabinet’ and appears on BBC One’s ‘Saturday Kitchen’, will join judges Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton when ‘Great British Menu’ returns to BBC Two next year.

Andi Oliver said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining the judging panel of ‘Great British Menu’! It’s such an iconic programme and I have watched it religiously from the very beginning.

“I love that it celebrates the extraordinary levels of culinary excellence in this country, so being part of that, and having the chance to taste some truly incredible food from the best chefs in the country is hugely exciting! Who wouldn’t want to do this job?”

Prue Leith said: “Being a judge on ‘Great British Menu’ has brought me huge pleasure over the years and I’m conscious of the great fortune I have had in eating and judging the very best in modern British cooking.

“From the first ‘Great British Menu’ for the Queen’s 80th birthday to honouring those who fought on D-Day, I’ve been repeatedly amazed at the inventiveness and skill of the chefs.

“I’m very proud of the banquets we’ve put together. However, with 11 banquets under my belt in more ways than one, I think it’s time for a change and, with much hesitation, I’ve decided to relinquish my seat in the judging chamber.

“I’m sure Andi Oliver will be terrific. And I hope she’ll continue my good work in keeping Matthew and Oliver under some sort of control.”

In Friday night’s episode, Great British Menu’s four winning chefs, Mark Abbott, Tommy Banks, Mark Froydenlund and Adam Reid – who have five Michelin stars between them – served their dishes at a banquet celebrating everyday Great Britons who have been decorated by the Queen.

In the year of her 90th birthday, the challenge was to produce plates of food which showcase the transformation of British cuisine since her coronation. The series has seen the competition reach new heights, as Starter course winner Mark Abbott achieved the highest ever score of 37 out of 40 during the regional heats.

Over the past 11 series some of the UK’s finest chefs have taken part including Tom Kerridge, Marcus Wareing, Angela Hartnett, Nathan Outlaw, Richard Corrigan, Sat Bains, Mark Hix, Jason Atherton, Michael O’Hare, Glynn Purnell, Lisa Allen, Daniel Clifford, Simon Rogan, Phil Howard and Tom Aikens.

Banquets have included an Olympics dinner to mark London 2012 hosted by Sir Steve Redgrave, an evening celebrating molecular gastronomy hosted by Heston Blumenthal in The Gherkin, and an event to commemorate 70 years since D-Day at St Paul’s Cathedral, attended by then Prime Minister David Cameron.

‘Great British Menu’ will return to BBC Two for series 12 in 2017. The first episode of the next series will be the 500th since the show began.

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