Great British Menu

Image:Great british menu logo.jpg



Jennie Bond (2006-7, voiceover 2008-)


Judges: Matthew Fort, Prue Leith and Oliver Peyton


Optomen for BBC Two, 2006 to present


Fourteen top chefs compete for the honour of cooking for an illustrious banquet (notably for the Queen's 80th birthday bash in the first series). There are seven regional heats between two chefs, each of which unfolds over five weekday programmes. From Monday to Thursday, the chefs prepare and refine one course each day (starters, fish, mains and desserts) and on Friday, both chefs present their full menu to the judges who choose which will progress to the final public vote. The two chefs in each heat work on opposite sides of the same kitchen, giving them the opportunity to engage in crosstalk as they cook, and there are also filmed inserts going into how the chefs come up with their dishes and source their ingredients (some of which must be regional). Much is made in the first round about how the judges are choosing between the two menus as a whole and as such will want to choose dishes that work well together, but when we get to the public vote in the final week, the menus are broken up anyway which seems to defeat the object.

Image:Great british menu judges.jpgJudges Oliver Peyton, Prue Leith and Matthew Fort deliberate, cogitate and digest.

We can't honestly say it floats our boat, particularly as the only payoff on Monday to Thursday is the chefs tasting each other's dishes, which is a bit limp. This makes these programmes essentially redundant since all the judging is done on Friday. Nevertheless, it should fill a gap for the foodies missing Masterchef Goes Large.

Image:Great british menu jennie and chefs.jpgJennie Bond flanked by series 1 champions Nick Nairn, Marcus Wareing, Bryn Williams and Richard Corrigan

The four winning chefs from the first series returned for Great British Christmas Menu in December 2006. For the second series proper, the seven regional winners from series one returned to face new challengers, with the winners cooking a banquet in France to impress their top chefs. Series three added a perfunctory qualifying phase to proceedings, and culminated with a feast in London's Gherkin for top chefs from around the world, presided over by culinary mad scientist Heston Blumenthal (whose name Jennie Bond had to say in every episode, but never did learn to pronounce correctly). The climax of the fourth series is to be a banquet for troops returning from Afghanistan, and a fifth series has been commissioned for 2010.


For some reason, in series 1 poor Jennie Bond was only given one outfit to wear for the whole of the week. Bless. The third series eliminated the wardrobe issue altogether by banishing her to the voiceover booth.

Theme music

Daniel Pemberton

Web links

BBC Food website


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