Great British Menu Season 18 Episode 01 Description
Great British Menu begins a thrilling week with the North East heats (which for the competition stretches from Yorkshire and the Humber to Northumberland). Competing for the top spot are four chefs who are a mix of exciting new talent and one popular returner – all with top industry accolades to their name.
Gareth Bartram from Grimsby, who is head chef at one Michelin-starred Winteringham Fields in Scunthorpe, is returning, determined to light up the competition and get to the banquet. There are also three new chefs on the block: Yorkshireman Will Lockwood, head chef at one Michelin-starred Roots in York with his modern, ingredient-led cooking; Northumberland’s Cal Byerley, the creative, seasonal chef behind Pine with two stars to his name – a Michelin star and a green star; and Newcastle’s Rory Welch, head chef at Tra¨kol in the city, with a Michelin plate, who brings his passion for cooking over open fire.
Presenter Andi Oliver welcomes them to the kitchen, where the theme for this year’s competition is inspired by Paddington’s 65th birthday and a celebration of British animation and illustration – from cartoons to comics and computer games. One of the four must leave the competition at the end of the episode, which will be decided by the veteran judge of this week’s competition – a previous winner who remains a surprise to the chefs until the moment they walk into the kitchen to taste their first course canapés.
Veteran and Michelin-starred Angela Hartnett OBE MBE tastes the canapés and tells Andi her initial impressions, but the rankings will only be used in the event of a tiebreak later. The scoring depends on how well the chefs do with the following two courses: the starter and the fish.
The starter this year is a vegan course, and dishes are brilliant takes on the brief with an interpretation of stop-motion animation classic The Clangers, involving a watercress velouté to conjure up the nourishing green soup of the Soup Dragons. Other dishes include: a mushroom broth served with barbecued lions mane mushrooms and fresh tin loaf, inspired by north east author illustrator Kylie Dixon and her magical mushroom adventure series; a potato and truffle spiral with Jerusalem artichoke puree – a tribute to The Cribs’ animated music video Mirror Kissers; and a celebration of Hartlepool cartoonist Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp, in the form of a rich broth enriched with local stout and grains served with a working man’s cap. The question is which will Angela score the highest?
One chef leaves the competition after the fish course and the pressure is on to impress Angela further. Which of the two Paddington dishes will she prefer – a buried treasure dish, layering shellfish and sheep’s cheese emulsion, or a risky stuffed whole plaice, cooked over the barbecue and honoring an animated fishing adventure with Paddington? There is also a brill dish dedicated to the whistling Clangers and another inspired by South Shields’ illustrator Sheila Graber’s Just So Stories, with pan-roasted plaice and a potato and trout roe sauce. Who will lose out in this strong field and be sent home?
Episode 01 | Episode 02 | Episode 03 | Episode 04 | Episode 05 | Episode 06 | Episode 07 | Episode 08 | Episode 09 | Episode 10 | Episode 11 | Episode 12 | Episode 13 | Episode 14 | Episode 15 | Episode 16 | Episode 17 | Episode 18 | Episode 19 | Episode 20 | Episode 21 | Episode 22 | Episode 23 | Episode 24 | Episode 25 | Episode 26 | Episode 27 | Episode 28 | Episode 29
Great British Menu Show Summary
Series one and two were presented by Jennie Bond, the former BBC Royal correspondent, whereby each week, two chefs from a region of the UK create a menu. In series three and four, both narrated by Bond but with no presenter, three chefs from a region of the UK create a menu; only the two with the best scores went through to the Friday judging. In series five and six, the fifth narrated by Bond while the sixth is narrated by Wendy Lloyd, three chefs from a region of the UK create a menu, with in kitchen judging undertaken by a past contestant chef; only the two with the best scores go through to the Friday judging.
In each series, the Friday show is when chefs present all courses of their menu to a judging panel, tasted and judged by Matthew Fort, Prue Leith and Oliver Peyton. One chef each week goes through to the final, where the judges taste the dishes again and award them marks out of ten.
In the first and second series, the three dishes that have scored the highest for each course of the finals are then shortlisted for public vote via televoting. In the third and fourth series, the shortlisting rule was dropped, so all dishes scored by the judges are then sent to the public vote. Judges’ scores represent one half of the overall score, and public vote represents the other half. The Guardian critic Karina Mantavia in May 2007 criticised the public vote system as incompatible to food that viewers could see onscreen but not taste in-person.
Starting from the fifth series, a fourth judge, usually either a veteran chef or a guest related to a brief, is introduced, replacing public vote. Since the eight series, the fourth judge addition extends to regional heats.
Up until series six, the finalists can replace only one course dish of their own menus with a newer one. They can adjust or tweak other dishes but cannot completely change them.
On 28 October 2016, it was confirmed that Prue Leith was leaving the show and would be replaced by Andi Oliver for series 12 in 2017.
On 1 October 2019, Susan Calman was announced as the new presenter for series 15. Filming took place in Stratford-upon-Avon and was completed in November 2019. The show was broadcast in spring 2020. For Christmas 2020 special series and thereafter, Andi Oliver stepped down as a judge and has replaced Calman as the presenter.
On 7 February 2021, it was announced that Rachel Khoo would be joining as a new judge when the series returns in spring 2021.
On 6 September 2021, it was announced that the whole judging panel would be changed with Matthew Fort and Oliver Payton leaving after being on the show since the beginning and Rachel Khoo after one series. The new judging panel will consist of former GBM champion Tom Kerridge, chef and restaurateur Nisha Katona and comedian and food podcaster Ed Gamble.