BBC Two’s ‘Great British Menu’ is returning to TV soon and, this time, the nation’s top chefs are competing for the chance to cook a banquet in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s ‘Great Britons’.
The show will make history as the Palace of Westminster opens its doors for the first televised banquet to be held in the House of Commons Members’ Dining Room.
The chefs will be challenged to create dishes which could be a fitting legacy to our Modern Elizabethan Age. In the year the country celebrates the Queen’s 90th birthday, the chefs have been inspired by the transformation in British food throughout her reign, and by the achievements of Her Majesty’s ‘Great Britons’.
These are ordinary, everyday people who have been recognised on the Queen’s birthday and New Year’s honours’ list over the years for their extraordinary achievements in different walks of life.
Some of these Great Britons have been given OBEs, CBEs, MBEs or BEMs for going above and beyond for their community, charity or country. Others have won the VC – highest military honour – or been given medals for gallantry for courage at home and overseas.
The competing chefs are:
Michael Bremner, 64 Degrees, Brighton
Adam Handling, The Frog, London
Ally McGrath, Osso, Peebles
Josh Eggleton, The Pony and Trap, Chew Magna
Jude Kereama, Kota, Cornwall
Chris Wheeler, Humphry’s at Stoke Park
Adam Reid, The French at The Midland Hotel, Manchester
Kim Woodward, The Savoy Grill, London
Matt Worswick, Thornton Hall, The Wirral (Matt is now at The Latymer, Pennyhill Park)
Adam Bannister, Slice, Swansea
Andrew Birch, Fishmore Hall, Ludlow
Phil Carmichael, Berners Tavern, London
Danny Gill, The Flitch of Bacon, Essex (Danny is now at The Bell at Coleby in Lincolnshire)
Andrew Scott, Restaurant 56, Oxfordshire
Daniel Smith, The Ingham Swan, Norfolk
Russell Bateman, Colette’s at The Grove, Hertfordshire
Mark Froydenlund, Marcus, The Berkeley Hotel, London
Ronnie Murray, Hix Restaurants (Please note Ronnie is now at Peckham Manor)
Chris Archer, The Cottage in the Wood, Cumbria
Tommy Banks, The Black Swan at Oldstead, North Yorkshire
Mini Patel, The Pointer, Buckinghamshire
Mark Abbott, Midsummer House, Cambridge
Eddie Attwell, Ardtara Country House (Eddie is now at St Kyrans County Cavan, Eire)
Chris McGowan, Wine & Brine, Country Armagh, NI
In regional heats, the chefs’ dishes will be judged by eight ‘Great British Menu’ veteran judges. They are Daniel Clifford, Simon Rogan, Phil Howard, Richard Corrigan, Michael O’Hare and Angela Hartnett, Tom Aikens and Michael Smith.
The two chefs scored most highly by the veteran judges will then present their four-course menu to a panel comprising award-winning restaurant critic Matthew Fort, doyenne of British cookery, Prue Leith, and acclaimed restaurateur Oliver Peyton.
Each week the panel will be joined by a guest judge who has been feted in his or her field. They include award-winning food writers and critics as well as chefs and restaurateurs honoured for their services to the hospitality industry.
The guest judges are John Williams, executive chef of The Ritz; Tim Hayward, award-winning food writer; Grace Dent, restaurant critic; Amol Rajan, food writer, restaurant critic and journalist; Lady Claire MacDonald, award-winning cook and food writer; Enam Ali, food entrepreneur; Rosie Birkett, food writer and journalist; and Kevin Gould, award-winning food writer.
Together with the Great British Menu judges, they will decide which chef will be the champion of their region, and worthy of potentially becoming an ambassador for contemporary British cuisine.
The eight regional winners will then compete in the National Finals for a chance to cook at the Great Britons Banquet at the Houses of Parliament.
Adrian Padmore, commissioning editor of BBC Daytime & Early Peak: “It’s hard to believe the quality of cooking on the ‘Great British Menu’ could get any better and yet this year’s chefs have taken the competition to a new level.
“They have remarkable talent and I’m sure viewers will be astounded by their fabulous creations for our honourable guests.”