Britain's Best Home Cook



Claudia Winkleman


Mary Berry (all series)
Chris Bavin (all series)
Dan Doherty (2018)
Angela Hartnett (2020)


Keo Films for BBC One, 3 May to 15 June 2018 (8 episodes in 1 series)

as Best Home Cook: BBC One, 2 January 2020 to present


Aiming to “test the real-life expertise of truly great home cooks”, Britain’s Best Cook “will celebrate the food people make for their loved ones every single day”. That was what a BBC press release promised in August 2017. The show turned out to be a knockout elimination, whittling ten cooks down to a single winner.

Tasting today's food.

Each episode begins with the judges (Mary Berry from The Great British Bake Off, chef Dan Doherty, and produce expert Chris Bavin) setting a themed challenge. For instance, create a fish main course with three side dishes. Two hours of cooking follows, compressed to a few minutes on screen.

After the tasting, each judge picks their favourite offering. Those cooks - or cook - choose from two key ingredients in the next round. The cooks have the evening to research dishes using that ingredient, but don't know the brief until they arrive the next morning.

At the judges' discretion, three or four cooks will take part in the final challenge. It's a very technical cook, they're given recipes and just enough ingredients, and just enough time to make the dish. The worst performer in this challenge leaves the contest.

The set decor.

There were some slight gimmicks to the format. All cooks lived in the same house, and the introductory videos spoke of how the cooks made food for their families. The atmosphere was supportive, different from the hostility on Masterchef.

Viewer reaction was muted: Britain's Best Home Cook followed straight after the Masterchef series, perhaps too much cookery in one sitting. Praise was for Claudia Winkleman and Mary Berry, the other judges were interchangeable.

Another problem came from each episode's structure - they slowly narrow the room to manouvere, going from the cooks' imaginations to the judges' requirements, and from showcasing excellence to the less brilliant. Bake Off always finishes with its show-stopper, Best Home Cook puts its best dish first.

Best Home Cook was an interesting diversion, but never came across as essential viewing.


2018: Pippa Middlehurst

Title music

Matthew Cracknell, credited for "Music".


Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is credited as a consultant.

Web links

BBC programme page

See also

Weaver's Week review


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