First chef through to 2023 Great British Menu banquet

28 March 2023 by
First chef through to 2023 Great British Menu banquet

The judges of BBC competition Great British Menu selected the starter last night for a banquet celebrating the best of British animation and illustration, inspired by Paddington Bear's 65th birthday.

Avinash 'Avi' Shashidhara will be cooking his dish, ‘scrambled snake by the lake', inspired by Alex Scheffler's illustrations in The Gruffalo, for the banquet starter. The dish, papri chaat with roast Delica pumpkin, chutney, pomegranate and beetroot, scored highly in the regional heats, where he won the chance to represent London and the South-East in the finals this week. This year's competition brief meant that all starters were plant-based.

Presenter Andi Oliver described it as a "spectacular dish, full of flavour, bursting with colour", while judge Tom Kerridge said it was "a true celebration of vegetables, just like it should be".

Indian-born Avi has previously worked at Claude Bosi's two-Michelin-starred Hibiscus as a chef de partie and spent a decade working at the River Café. In 2020, he became head chef of Pahli Hill Bandra Bhai in London's Fitzrovia, serving Indian dishes inspired by traditional recipes, which was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand last year.

The winners from the regional heats of the competition are competing this week to earn a place at the six-course banquet and dishes have been influenced by cartoons, comic books and computer games ranging from Horrible Histories to Heartstopper.

(Image: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown)

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking