In this one-off Great British Menu special, three of Britain's leading chefs come face-to-face with one of the most pressing issues of our times: food poverty. Recent research estimates that nearly five million people in the UK are struggling to feed themselves properly and eat nutritiously.
Great British Budget Menu goes straight to the heart of the problem as James Martin, Angela Hartnett and Richard Corrigan live with three households where people are finding it hard to make ends meet. Food prices have risen by 25% in the last five years, hitting household budgets hard.
The chefs discover how tough it is for a pensioner to put food on the table and the difficulties working parents face cooking tasty, nutritious food for themselves and their children when supermarket offers on cheap convenience foods look tempting on their limited resources. Daily food budgets in households across the country can be less than many of us would spend on a cappuccino. Richard Corrigan visits a family of six in Mansfield who, on average, have just £1.66 per day to feed each member of the family.
The chefs have to eat just like the families do and need to call on every ounce of their professional skills when challenged to shop and cook on their households' budgets. Britain on the breadline is a wake up call for the chefs but, fired up by their experiences, they want to try and help by inviting the great and good to a special Budget Banquet where they willl raise the issues facing households in food poverty with the people who can do something about it.
The chefs' Budget Banquet challenge is to cook cheap nutritious meals on next to nothing for the Great British Menu judges - Prue Leith, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton - who are joined for this special event by the doyenne of home cooking, Mary Berry. Invited to taste the chefs' food and discuss the issues are politicians, high street supermarket representatives, well-known faces and movers and shakers from the charity world.
As a legacy beyond the programme, many of Britain's best known chefs - from the Hairy Bikers to Mary Berry - are also joining the challenge by helping to create low cost recipes for all us to cook at home. The recipes will be made available via www.bbc.co.uk/budgetmenu.