Great British Menu returns for its 17th series as chefs across the country fight to earn a spot at the coveted banquet.
This year, there is a new judging team and a new brief for chefs to tailor their dishes to.
Here’s what you need to know.
When does the Great British Menu Start 2022?
Episode one of the Great British Menu begins on 1 February 2022 at 8pm on BBC Two.
The show will air over eight weeks, with one-hour long episodes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The finals will take place over a week where the chefs who make it to the banquet will be revealed.
What’s the theme for 2022?
To commemorate BBC’s first-ever radio broadcast in 1922, this year’s theme for the Great British Menu is to reflect "100 Years of Great British Broadcasting" and how we have evolved in the way we have consumed British media and culture during this time.
This is quite a wide brief, but this week’s dishes are inspired by iconic British shows such as Dad’s Army, quiz show Blockbusters, and Peaky Blinders.
Three contestants will serve up homages to Blue Peter’s time capsule, Fawlty Towers’ well-known Waldorf Salad episode and the famously appetising Bushtucker Trials from I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
Who are the judges?
Whilst Andi Oliver will still be host, there is a whole new judging panel. They are:
Tom Kerridge, 48, is a Michelin-starred chef who attended culinary school at the age of 18.
With his wife, Beth Cullen-Kerridge, he opened The Hand & Flowers in 2005 - the first pub to have won two Michelin Stars.
He later opened another pub in Marlow called The Couch which has also won a Michelin Star.
Kerridge said: “I am so thrilled to be judging Great British Menu, it holds such a special place in my heart having cooked at the banquet twice.
“I’ve been through it, I know the pressure, the highs and the lows, which is what makes it such a brilliant competition and a great show. I can’t wait to meet the chefs and see some of the UK’s finest talent shine."
Nish Katona, MBE, 50, is most known for founding the Indian cuisine Mowgli Street Food Chain across the UK.
Previously, she was a child protection barrister and worked in that role for 20 years.
Katona has published three cookbooks: Pimp My Rice, The Spice Tree, and The Mowgli Street Food: Authentic Indian Street Food.
Her fourth book, The 30-Minute Mowgli will be released on November 9, 2021.
Katona said: “What an absolutely delicious privilege it is to make the ranks of judge on the Great British Menu!
“As a chef with restaurants across the country I have always been so invested in the sublime skills of our culinary regions. Their virtuosity and artistry has always blown me away and to join the happy GBM tribe is nothing less than a dream come true. Pass me a fork!”
Ed Gamble, 35, hosts a podcast called Off Menu with fellow comedian James Acaster.
They invite special guests into their restaurant to choose their favourite starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink.
Off Menu has won multiple awards including The Guardian’s 20 best Podcasts of 2019 and 2020.
Speaking about the programme, he said: "It’s a great honour to be asked to judge on this shining jewel in the BBC’s crown. I’ve been in strict training for the show by eating full meals every hour. Good news: I love food. Bad news: I eat with my mouth open.”
The BBC has not confirmed the line-up of veteran judges for 2022.
Who are the contestants?
The line-up of all 32 chefs competing throughout the series will be revealed just before each week’s regional heat.
The show sees chefs from eight regions of the UK compete against each other. The regions are:Scotland, the South West, the North West, Wales, Central, the London South/East area, the North East and Northern Ireland.
One chef will be eliminated at the end of the first day of cooking each week.
This week, chefs from the central region are competing against each other. The contestants are:
Ben has been the executive chef at Lucky Cat, in London, for the past three years - a venture he started with Gordon Ramsay.
He has a particular love for Asian cuisine, having worked in countries across Asia.
Liam is chef-owner of The Boat Inn and has worked in some of the UK’s top kitchens such as Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, Five Fields in Chelsea and Story by Tom Sellers in Bermondsey, London.
Sally is the chef consultant at The Pem Restaurant in Conrad London Hotel in St James’s.
She opened The Pem in July 2021 and was named SquareMeal’s Female Chef of the Year 2021.
Harvey is the new head chef at Restaurant Six at the Trent Bridge cricket ground, set up by Great British Menu alumnus Tom Sellers.
He began his career at the age of 14, as an apprentice chef in Opus, Birmingham. Ten years later, he became Birmingham’s youngest head chef at the Maribel Restaurant.
He was a runner up in the 2017 Chef Stagiaire, as well as a finalist in the 2018 British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year.
Great British Menu 2022 will air on 1-3 February on BBC Two at 8pmA message from the editor:
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