Great British Menu 2020: Everything you need to know

It's time for some of the nation's greatest chefs to battle it out on our TV screens

Updated on 11 February 2020 • Written By Henry Coldstream

Great British Menu 2020: Everything you need to know

As if we needed any more cookery shows to fill up our evenings with a new series of MasterChef beginning in the coming few weeks, Great British Menu is also set to return to our screens in the not-so-distant future for its 15th series. So for all you foodies out there, strap in as you’ve got a busy couple of months of TV incoming, and to be honest we aren’t complaining. Get ready for some wacky presentation, swearing chefs, and maybe even a few culinary firsts, in what is sure to be another classic Great British Menu series.

The most exciting thing about Great British Menu 2020 is that, unlike MasterChef, we get to see some of the UK’s most talented and well-known chefs up against each other and they are all desperate to win a spot at the prestigious Great British Menu banquet. In fact, it’s tough to think of many top British Chefs who haven’t been involved in Great British Menu in some form since it began in 2006, whether that be competing, or as a veteran. It has launched the career of certain chefs like Tom Brown to new heights; since winning the South West heat in 2017 and being the main course champion in 2018, Brown’s restaurant Cornerstone has become lauded as one of London’s finest restaurants.

Everything you need to know about series 15 of Great British Menu

Whilst we don’t have all of the details about the upcoming series of Great British Menu 2020 yet, we’ve put everything we do know so far together into a guide below so that you have an idea of what to expect roughly. Whenever we hear anything new we’ll update this page, so keep checking back for the latest info on series 15 of Great British Menu.

When does Great British Menu series 15 start?

Although the official start date is yet to be announced, based on when it’s started over the past few years, we imagine that the first episode will air on a Wednesday in early spring on BBC2.

What is the Great British Menu format in 2020?

Although the format is largely similar to past years, there have already been a few tweaks announced. Whilst in past series, the heats have each week seen three contestants competing per region, there will now be four. However, after the first hour-long episode on the Wednesday of each week, the chef with the lowest score will leave, meaning that they will only have had the chance to cook their starter and fish course, and will never get to cook their last two courses for the veteran chef judging their round. Then, after the last two courses another chef will leave, leaving two to go through to the half-hour long regional finals on the Friday where they will face the judges, with the winner going through to represent their region.

The finals week will stay the same as in previous years, with the winners of each region cooking all of their courses again for the judges, who will then select which chef will cook each course at the legendary Great British Menu banquet.

Another difference this year is that there are set to be two extra mini courses to better represent a contemporary tasting menu: an amuse bouche, and a pre-desert palate cleanser, which the chefs will also be competing to cook.

What is the Great British Menu 2020 brief?

The chefs' brief changes every year on Great British Menu depending on what the banquet is celebrating, and this year’s banquet is celebrating 150 years of children’s literature. Therefore, the chefs competing will be theming their dishes around kids’ books. Expect dishes inspired by everything from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party to Willy Wonka’s everlasting gobstopper.

Who is the Great British Menu presenter?

In the past there hasn’t been a presenter outside of the veteran and judges, however in another big change for this series, Scottish comedian Susan Calman will be presenting the show. She will be chatting to the chefs, guiding the audience through the episodes and of course trying some of the food. Talking about her new role Calman said: “I've been a super fan of Great British Menu for years and I can't quite believe I'm being transported from my sofa into that famous kitchen.”

Who are the Great British Menu judges?

Andi Oliver, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton will return as judges, having all been on the panel for the past 3 series. They will also be joined each week by a different guest judge who will be related to the theme of children’s literature in some form. So far, we know that guest judges will include comedian and children’s writer David Baddiel, author of The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson, and iconic teen novelists Jacqueline Wilson and Malorie Blackman.

Who are the veterans on Great British Menu?

Although no veterans have been officially confirmed to be judging the chefs in the first two episodes of each week, there are certain staple veterans who we’d be shocked not to see. These include Phil Howard, Richard Corrigan, Angela Hartnett, Daniel Clifford, Tom Aitkens and Michael O’Hare. Paul Ainsworth has also been a regular face for the past two seasons. You should also expect to see at least one of the winners from the past few series stepping up to become a veteran with Tommy Banks making his debut last year. Our main guesses for new veterans would be Lorna Mcnee, who was crowned champion of champions last series, or Ellis Barrie who won the fish course back in 2018 and has since then become a TV regular on the reboot of Ready Steady Cook.

Who are the Great British Menu chefsthis year?

There will be 32 chefs in total competing over 8 different regions. No specific names have been announced yet, but there is likely to be a mixture of chefs who have competed on the programme before unsuccessfully, a few brand new faces, and maybe even a couple of chefs who’ve made it all the way to the banquet in the past and have come back for more.

Fancy watching something a little more trashy but still vaguely food related? A new series of popular Channel 4 show First Dates will also be hitting our screens in the coming months and they've recently announced that from the next season onwards the First Dates restaurant will no longer be in London.