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 19 March 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 the newest series of MasterChef already in full swing, Great British Menu is also about to return to our screens 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 with everything going on at the moment. 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.

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

To keep you in the loop, we have put everything we know so far about Great British Menu 2020 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?

Series 15 of Great British Menu begins on Wednesday 18 March at 8pm on BBC Two.

What is the Great British Menu format in 2020?

Although the format is largely similar to past years, there have been a few tweaks announced. While 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-dessert 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 three 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 famed teen novelists Jacqueline Wilson and Malorie Blackman.

Who are the veterans on Great British Menu?

It has been confirmed that this series' line up of veteran judges will include Tom Aikens, Angela Hartnett, Paul Ainsworth, Tom Brown and more. Out of all of these, the only brand new veteran is Tom Brown who, as mentioned above, was the main course champion back in 2018.

Who are the Great British Menu chefs this year?

There will be 32 chefs in total competing over eight different regions. Here is a list of every chef competing by region, alongside the restaurants they own/work at and whether they have any Michelin stars.

Central Region:

  • Dom Robinson - Head chef and owner of The Blackbird, Berkshire (one Michelin star)
  • Alex Claridge - Head chef and owner of The Wilderness, Birmingham
  • Sally Abé - Head chef at The Harwood Arms, London (one Michelin star)
  • Niall Keating - executive chef at Whatley Manor Dining Room, Cotswolds (two Michelin stars)

London and South East:

Scotland: 

Northern Ireland:

  • Alex Greene - Head chef at Deanes EIPIC, Belfast (one Michelin star)
  • Shauna Froydenlund - Chef patron at Marcus, London (one Michelin star)
  • Paul Cunningham - Head chef at Brunel's, County Down
  • Leigh Ferguson -  Head chef at Clenaghans, Moira

North West:

South West:

  • Joe Baker - Owner and head chef at Number 10, Jersey
  • Guy Owen - Executive chef at St Enodoc Hotel, Cornwall
  • Harriet Mansell - Head chef at Robin Wylde, Lyme Regis
  • Thomas Carr - Owner and head chef at Thomas Carr at The Olive Room, Devon (one Michelin star)

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.