The line-up for the 15th series of BBC2’s Great British Menu, which will run for nine weeks from Wednesday 18 March, has been announced.
Among the brigade of chefs hoping to do their region proud are well-known faces including two-Michelin-starred Niall Keating of Whatley Manor, Cotswolds, who will represent the Central region, and competing for London & South East is classically-trained Steve Groves of Roux at Parliament Square, London, who was crowned the Craft Guild’s National Chef of the Year in 2019.
A shake-up in the show’s format this year will feature more courses and four chefs competing in each regional heat instead of the usual three. Of the 32 chefs competing, eight are women and include Sally Abé of the only Michelin-starred pub in London - The Harwood Arms in Fulham - and Ruth Hansom of Pomona's, London, who became the first ever female winner of the Young National Chef of the Year title in 2017. She will be the youngest chef competing for the North East.
The chefs will compete in heats across eight regions and then the final, with hour-long episodes every Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a half-hour regional final every Friday.
The theme of this year’s competition is children’s literature, to mark 150 years since the death of Charles Dickens and every Friday the judges will be joined by children’s authors and novelists to help decide the best dish from each region.
Returning judges - Matthew Fort, Oliver Peyton and Andi Oliver – this year will be joined by a presenter, Susan Calman, who will be tasked with chatting to the chefs, guiding the audience through the episodes and, of course, trying the food.
The chefs according to region are as follows:
North West:Hrishikesh Desai, Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Cumbria; Tom Barnes, Rogan & Co, Cumbria; George Farrugia, Fenchurch Restaurant at Sky Garden, London; and Sam Buckley, Where The Light Gets In, Stockport