BBC Two's Great British Menu is back and, this year, it makes history as the Palace of Westminster opens its doors for the first televised banquet to be held in the historic House of Commons Members’ Dining Room.
In a bid to cook at this ultimate banquet, the competition reaches new highs in the kitchen as past record scores are equalled then smashed.
The regional heats see one newcomer achieve the highest mark ever given in the competition’s history.
This year, the chefs are competing to cook at the banquet in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s ‘Great Britons'.
At a time when British cuisine is respected and revered around the world, the chefs are challenged to create dishes which could be a fitting legacy to our Modern Elizabethan Age. In the year the country celebrated the Queen’s 90th birthday, the chefs have been inspired by the transformation in British food throughout her historic reign, and by the achievements of Her Majesty’s Great Britons.
These are ordinary, everyday people who have been recognised on the Queen’s birthday and New Year’s honours' list over the years for their extraordinary achievements in different walks of life.
Some of these Great Britons have been given OBEs, CBEs, MBEs or the BEM for going above and beyond for their community, their charity or for their country. Others have won the highest military honour, the VC, or been given medals for gallantry for courage at home and overseas.
In the regional heats, the chefs’ dishes will be judged by eight competition veterans who are now among the most accomplished and successful chefs in the UK. They include Daniel Clifford, Simon Rogan, Phil Howard, Richard Corrigan, Michael O’Hare and Angela Hartnett.
The two chefs who are scored most highly by the veteran judges will then present their four-course menu to award-winning restaurant critic Matthew Fort; doyenne of British cookery, Prue Leith; and acclaimed restaurateur Oliver Peyton.
Each week the panel of three will be joined by a guest judge who has been feted in his or her field. They include award-winning food writers and critics as well as esteemed chefs and restaurateurs honoured for their services to the hospitality industry.
Together, with the Great British Menu judges, they will decide which chef will be the champion of their region, and worthy of potentially becoming an ambassador for contemporary British cuisine.
The eight regional winners will then compete in the National Finals for a chance to cook at the Great Britons Banquet at the Houses of Parliament.