Fred Sirieix has returned for the second series of BBC Two’s Million Pound Menu which airs tonight (8 January) 8pm. Here is the full list of this year’s contenders.
BBQ Dreamz – Lee Johnson and Sinead Campbell (seeking £350,00)
Currently trading across London at sites like KERB King’s Cross and West India Quays, the BBQ Dreamz food van offers fresh Filipino family cooking. This couple’s concept comes from recipe’s handed down by Johnson’s grandmother, a style of food Campbell fell in love with at various family events. Last year the truck ranked number two in Time Out’s Top 50 Street Food Companies 2018.
The Duck Truck – Edd Farrell (seeking £250,000)
The Duck Truck serves Spitalfields Market seven days a week, offering grab-and-go casual dining dishes from its all-duck menu. Farrell has focused on the meat with good reason – having worked as new product development manager for renowned duck supplier Gressingham Foods. Starting as a side project, the Duck Truck soon snowballed into a fully fledged business.
Skaus – Dan Cameron and Josh Lundon (seeking £210,000)
This pair’s Nordic-style cuisine – initially inspired by Magnus Nilsson’s episode of the Netflix series Chef’s Table – has run as a series of pop-ups across Liverpool over the past two years – including a residency at Baltic Market and their most recent offering at HUS. The two offer a synergy between Liverpudlian and Scandinavian food. The two met at Liverpool’s Free State Kitchen – where Lundon served as sous chef, while Cameron worked front of house as general manager.
Oxalis – Max de Nahlik and Nick Ross (seeking £200,000)
This pair’s seasonal, ingredient-led British concept has operated as residencies across London at sites like the Shrub and Shutter on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton and Platform1 in Dulwich. De Nahlik and Ross first worked together at barbecue concept Walter and Monty as head and sous chef respectively.
Devi’s – Tanya Gohil (seeking £1m)
An economics graduate looking to champion female chefs and suppliers, Gohil’s work in street food spurred on the launch of her own venture at Maltby Street Market at the start of 2015. She was a finalist in the Young British Foodies awards 2017, and Devi’s was listed in Time Out’s ‘London’s Best Street Food’ in 2017 and 2018.
Coracle – Adam Wood and Gethin Davies (seeking £750,000)
Wood and Davies have been friends since aged 11, and both cut their teeth on some of the UK’s top restaurants (Adam at the Square and Gethin at Portland and its sister restaurant Clipstone). Now with Coracle, the two are hoping to showcase Welsh heritage with their seasonal modern cuisine.
Jah Jyot – Ranie Sirah, Paul Jacobs and Adam Venn (seeking £707,000)
Sirah grew disillusioned with his work as a BMW salesman, but after a chance meeting in a pub with Venn and Jacobs (both former employees of the Clink Charity, which helps train inmates in hospitality skills), the three began to trade in Punjabi curries and dosas at markets and events based on Sirah’s mother’s recipes.
XXVI – Joseph Allen and Aaron Thomas (seeking £500,000)
Having met at Westminster Kingsway College, this pair decided to combine their love of Indian and Nepalese cuisine into a casual but refined dining style. The pair have hosted six pop-ups of the concept to date, while Allen holds an annual fundraising dinner with support from Brett Graham, Phil Howard, Mark Jarvis and others to raise money for Meningitis Now in honour of his brother, who died from the illness in 2012.
Hodge and Huggett – Steve Huggett and Claire Hodgson (seeking £530,000)
Huggett and Hodgson’s relationship began on his stall, Muffin Man & Co, as did their culinary journey together. Huggett, formerly head pastry chef at La Trompette, and Hodgson, formerly head chef at Ottolenghi in Islington, currently operate their seasonal zero-waste street-food concept at festivals and food markets, as well as pop-ups across the country.
Baba G’s – Alec Owen, Liz Selway and son, Abe (seeking £300,000)
This Indian fast-food concept and family affair featuring the couple’s six-year-old son started life after Owen could not get past the waiting lists for London markets to sell his ‘Bhangra Burgers’ , and so started his own, the Brixton Bazaar. It was there he met Selway, who later quit her job to serve as the brand’s co-owner and manager, which is listed in Harden’s and has featured on many of the capital’s top food markets.
Sustainable Food Story – Abi Glencross and Sadhbh Moore (seeking £300,000)
In a perfect match of green credentials Glencross, a lab-meat scientist turned grain farmer, and Moore, a former Greenpeace activist, use their supper clubs to connect diners with each other and their food while spreading the message of sustainability focused dining.
KraPow LDN – Paul Ambrose and Richard Oakes (seeking £300,000)
Ambrose and Oakes left behind their executive business careers (in finance and advertising respectively) to launch KraPow after Paul was introduced to Northern Thai street food in Chang Mai. In working to replicate the flavours of krapow and other Thai dishes, the pair now operate in a residency on Chatsworth Road, east London, and regularly trade at Victoria Park market as well as various festivals. Their Clapton pop-up won Time Out‘s Love London Award 2018.
The Blue Caribou Canteen – Graham Gartside Bernier and Vincent Bernier
This French-Canadian and Mancunian couple draws on Canadian diner culture to sell poutine and the nation’s pogo corn dogs to a British audience. The brand has traded for two years now at markets in Manchester and Liverpool as well as ad hoc events across the UK.
Really Rice – Kyle Parker Graf and Damian Grisi (seeking £250,000)
This pair of university friends offer rice-based flexitarian dishes inspired by nations across the world with all the diversity the grains can offer. Parker Graf’s credentials come from time managing the restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Doha and Peyote in London’s Mayfair, while Grisi has 10 years of experience in hotels right through to the Michelin-starred Enoteca Paco Pérez in Barcelona as well as work in hospitality real estate.
Burmese Kitchen – Wincie Wong (seeking £100,000)
Born and raised in New York, Wong’s skill with Burmese cuisine came from learning recipes from her mother over the phone after moving to London in 2009. Having trained as an accountant, her supper clubs around London restaurants began in 2016.
Matr – Jonas Lorentzen and Naina Gupta (seeking £970,000)
This husband-and-wife team first met in Denmark and quickly formed a formidable and creative professional partnership. Lorentzen went on to develop his cuisine in vegan fine-dining restaurants in Brighton, combined with his studies in ancient Nordic history to create his own brand of Michelin-style ‘new Nordic historic cuisine’. Gupta meanwhile draws on the skills from her PhD in forging sustainable modernity and research in applied environmental philosophy to serve as the firm’s strategist and executive director. The two operate five- and seven-course tasting menu pop-ups throughout the year.
Tiger Bites Bao – Scott de Lima and Lacey Miles (seeking £575,000)
Selling Taiwanese bao buns with American fillings and vegan options, this former couple have run their concept across pop-ups and festivals and currently operate their casual urban dining concept as a residency at Birthdays in Dalston, east London.
Pilgrim – Jamie Duffield, Dave Bone and Anthony Power (seeking £400,000)
The inspiration for this high-end Spanish and Mediterranean concept came from the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage to Northwestern Spain. Clearing his head on the trek, Islington cocktail bar manager Duffield called chef Bone, who in turned called former Oxo Tower sous Power, and the three set about starting Pilgrim. They currently run three pop-ups based on locations on the journey Duffield took.