Great British Menu starts tonight on BBC2, marking the beginning of an intensive few weeks of cooking, arched eyebrows and increasingly elaborate props; this year with added jam (possibly). Series 10 begins with Scotland, and with Glasgow being my alma mater it seemed appropriate to take a closer look at the culinary contestants - and attempt to tease some spoilers out of Graham Campbell.
First up is Jak O’Donnell, who runs The Sister restaurant in rapidly-gentrifying Finnieston, Glasgow and its sister restaurant (sorry) in well-to-do Jordanhill. She is the only competing Scot with previous GBM form and last year demonstrated that she was certainly not to be underestimated, beating Stevie McLaughlin (of two Michelin star Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles) in the final of the Scottish heats. Donning her pink apron once again, Jak’s no nonsense approach, traditional Scottish food and strong family values should prove useful attributes in tackling this year’s brief.
In his first year competing is Jimmy Lee of Lychee Oriental. Growing up in the Scottish town of Hamilton, Jimmy Lee now works in Glasgow’s city centre at his Cantonese fine dining restaurant, which won the award for Best Asian Restaurant in Scotland just a year after it opened in 2012. Combining influences from his family (who have roots in Hong Kong) with a passion for Scottish produce, the chef promises to bring something fresh to the competition.
Also new to the Great British Menu studios is Great British Chefs’ own Graham Campbell, who became the youngest Scottish chef ever to be awarded a Michelin star at the age of 25. Graham Campbell, who is set to take over a new restaurant in Dundee later this year, is known for his innovative use of flavour combinations but claims he took influence from his mum's 'grounded approach to cooking' when planning his banquet dishes.