Announcing the chefs from Great British Menu 2021

Announcing the chefs from Great British Menu 2021

by Great British Chefs 10 March 2021

It’s back! A new series of Great British Menu that shines a light on the best and brightest chefs found across the UK. Get to know more about every chef competing, as well as when the series starts and what this year’s theme is all about.

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Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Menu has been a yearly treat on our screens for over a decade now, and for its sixteenth series 2021 looks set to bring us all the leftfield plating, mind-boggling culinary wizardry and delicious looking dishes that we’ve come to love from the show.

This year’s roster of chefs spans the whole spectrum, from chefs that have already reached the heights of Michelin stardom to up-and-coming stars of the future. Find out when the show starts, what this year’s theme is and a little bit more about every chef competing in Great British Menu 2021 below.

When does Great British Menu start?

The 2021 series of Great British Menu starts on Wednesday 24 March on BBC Two at 8pm. There will be three episodes a week for eight weeks, covering each regional heat before the finals week culminating in the Banquet.

What’s the theme?

This year’s theme is all about British innovation, as 2021 marks thirty years since Sir Timothy Berners-Lee first made the internet widely available, as well as Helen Sharman becoming the first British astronaut to go into space. We’re expecting a hefty dose of technical cooking to match the brief, and no doubt we’ll see plenty of sous vide, perhaps the odd pinch of molecular gastronomy and some seriously impressive plating that pays homage to all manner of British inventors, innovators and public figures.

What’s changed from last year’s series?

The format stays the same, but previous judge Andi Oliver is taking on the presenting role from Susan Calman, who got in amongst the chefs during the 2020 series. That means we need to welcome a new judge, which comes in the form of Rachel Khoo, who rose to fame with her own cookery series The Little Paris Kitchen.

The chefs competing by region in Great British Menu 2021

Central

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Sabrina Gidda, The AllBright, London

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Sabrina is back for a third crack at the competition. After being runner-up for the Central region three years ago, this time she is determined to go all the way. Whilst studying for a degree in Fashion PR, Wolverhampton-born Sabrina worked part-time in a café. After the chef there injured himself, she volunteered to finish the service and has never looked back. Despite having no formal training Sabrina has worked in the Dorchester and was twice a Roux Scholarship finalist in 2014 and 2015. She’s now executive chef at all-women’s member’s club The AllBright, which has outposts in London’s Mayfair, Fitzrovia and in West Hollywood Los Angeles.

Combining the eclectic flavours of her Punjabi heritage, British upbringing and her love of classical French and Italian influences, Sabrina’s menu celebrates her region’s most well-known scientists and inventions dear to her heart.

Shannon Johnson, Hicce, London

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Lincolnshire-born Shannon is a newcomer to the competition who has trained under some of the best female chefs in the UK. The 27-year old worked for three years at Murano under Great British Menu veteran Angela Hartnett, training up in modern Italian cuisine. She then became head chef at Hicce in Coal Drops Yard, London, for Pip Lacey, who was starter course Banquet winner four years ago. Shannon oversees a modern British menu with a focus on woodfired cooking and has helped maintain Hicce’s Michelin plate rating.

Shannon’s culinary style is influenced by her travels as well as the restaurants where she’s worked. For the competition she’s drawing on her modern British style to celebrate significant women in science including Rosalind Franklin and her significant contribution to the molecular structure of DNA.

Stuart Collins, Docket no 33, Shropshire

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Staffordshire-born Stuart is new to the Great British Menu kitchen and, as chef patron of his own establishment, he’s fighting fit for the competition. 37-year old Stuart has worked under some of the biggest names in the industry. After a working-stage under Gary Rhodes at City Rhodes, he worked with Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park for over four years and then went onto Gordon Ramsay at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay for a year before being part of the brigade that helped set up Gordon’s New York restaurants, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Maze, where he became Gordon’s head chef.

He returned to the UK as Michael Caines’ executive chef for the Abode Hotel in Cheshire and then moved to Doha, Qatar to work on various restaurant concepts before returning back to the UK in 2017 to open his own restaurant – Docket No 33 in the market town of Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Stuart’s style of food is modern British using the best regional produce. His menu for the competition celebrates a broad range of scientific innovators from Stephen Hawking to Edgar Hooley, the man who invented tarmac.

Liam Dillon, The Boat Inn, Lichfield

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Lichfield lad Liam is very proud of his origins and very competitive. His love of food goes back to spending evenings with his nana, making stews and baking while his parents both worked all hours to grow their own business. Liam has worked in some of the UK’s top kitchens such as Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, Five Fields in Chelsea and Story by Tom Sellers in Bermondsey, London. He also travelled the world with stints at Quay in Sydney, Noma in Copenhagen, and at Eleven Madison Park and Gilt in New York.

In 2017, Liam returned to his hometown of Lichfield as chef owner of The Boat Inn. Since then he and his family have worked endlessly to convert the tired roadside pub into an award-winning modern British restaurant. It’s now the only restaurant in Staffordshire to hold 3 AA rosettes. Liam’s menu for the competition is creative, innovative and pays homage to local pioneers such as Lichfield-born Samuel Johnson who wrote the early Dictionary of The English Language.

London and South East

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Kim Ratcharoen, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London

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Originally from Thailand, Kim is a competitive newcomer with her sights firmly set on the Banquet. She grew up in Thailand where she learnt to cook with her grandmother, then moved to the UK in 2006 to live with her mother, before graduating with an Economics and Business studies degree from Sussex University. It was here that she fell in love with cooking.

After studying, Kim decided to enter the hospitality industry. She worked with Michael Bremner at 64 Degrees and then went onto Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, London. She has worked at this iconic three-Michelin-starred restaurant for five years and climbed the ranks under chef patron Matt Abéto become senior sous chef.

Kim’s unique cooking style combines her Thai heritage with French classical training in a menu of exciting dishes honouring scientific visionaries from London and the South East.

Oli Marlow, Roganic and Aulis, London and Hong Kong

Hampshire-born Oli is on a mission to follow in his boss’s footsteps, veteran Simon Rogan, and go all the way. 30-year-old Olidid his apprentice at Chewton Glen in Hampshire and then went on to work in world renowned restaurants such as The Fat Duck, Eleven Madison Park and Maaemo in Oslo.

For over four years Oli has been working for Banquet winner and veteran Simon Rogan and is the exec chef for Aulis London, an eight-seater chef’s table dining experience, and Roganic London which closed in December 2020 due to the pandemic (but is scheduled to reopen later this year). He is also the exec chef for Roganic Hong Kong which won its first Michelin star in January 2021, along with Aulis Hong Kong.

Oli’s cooking style is very seasonal, deceptively simple and based on classical English flavours. His menu for the competition is inspired by modern technology from underground farms to the invention of the internet underpinned by unique flavour combinations and classical techniques.

Tony Parkin, Tony Parkin at The Tudor Room, Surrey

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Tony comes from Reading and is ready to face the challenge of the competition.

Tony always knew he wanted to be a chef as he grew up with his parents in the industry. Since the age of nineteen Tony has worked in some of the best kitchens in the world including Copenhagen’s Noma under Rene Redzepi, Kommendaten, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Northcote Manor in Lancashire.

In 2019 Tony became head chef at The Tudor Room in Surrey. Tony had the opportunity to run this restaurant and firmly put his own stamp on it, turning it into Tony Parkin at the Tudor Room – within five months of reopening he was awarded one Michelin star.

Tony is classically trained and has a French style of cooking which includes modern techniques and Thai influences. For the competition, Tony is bringing his depth of flavour to dishes inspired by pioneers such as Florence Nightingale and Jane Goodall.

Ben Murphy, Launceston Place, London

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30-year-old Ben hails from North West London and is confident his unique modern British cooking style will give him the edge.

Ben has worked in many prestigious kitchens over his career such as Épicure at Le Bristol in Paris, Les Prés d'Eugénie, Michel Guérard, Per Se, Eleven Madison Park and also four years working for legendary chef Pierre Koffmann at his eponymous restaurant at The Berkeley.

He has been head chef at Launceston Place in Kensington, London, since 2017 where his cooking style is playful, modern and packed with flavour. For Great British Menu, he is determined to recreate ambitious scientific advancements from the South East in surprising ways.

Scotland

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Roberta Hall-McCarron, The Little Chartroom, Edinburgh

Edinburgh-born Roberta is returning with steely determination after making it to the GBM finals last year. She started out in kitchens aged sixteen doing work experience and hasn’t looked back since, working for one of Scotland’s best chefs, Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin at The Kitchin before moving on to Castle Terrace with Dominic Jack.

Roberta is chef owner of The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh which she runs with her husband, who manages front of house. Her style of cooking is traditionally Scottish, influenced by French techniques, and her menu for the competition is inspired by Scotland’s rich larder and some of her favourite pioneers including the Edinburgh seven – the first women to be matriculated at any British university – and James Clerk Maxwell’s first demonstration of colour photography.

Amy Elles, The Harbour Café, Fife

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Returner Amy is throwing her hat into the ring again after being runner-up for Scotland last year. London-born, she has made her home on Scotland’s east coast with her family and runs her restaurant The Harbour Café in Fife.

Amy started her career at Harrods where she fell in love with the kitchen. She has also worked at The Fat Duck where she honed her skills in the pastry section, and at Moro. Along with her husband Jack, she is chef owner of The Harbour Café in Fife and Stocks Events private event catering. Amy prides herself on only using local Scottish ingredients and having a light, elegant touch without over garnishing.

Amy’s creative menu is inspired by Scotland’s finest produce and pioneers including Henry Faulds and his development of forensic fingerprinting.

Stuart Ralston, Aizle. Edinburgh

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Stuart grew up in Glenrothes Fife and, coming from a family of chefs, was always destined to enter the industry. Stuart has worked in some very prestigious places including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in New York, and for VIP clientele at the exclusive Sandy Lane luxury resort in Barbados.

Seven years ago Stuart opened modern Scottish restaurant Aizle, meaning a burning coal or spark in Scots. In 2019 it was rated the fifth best fine dining restaurant in the UK and first in Scotland that year from Tripadvisor. In 2019 Stuart set up sister restaurant Not To Edinburgh which has just been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide for its small plates with global influences.

Stuart is bringing his modern Scottish cuisine to the competition and celebrating scientists such as Sir Alexander Fleming and Mary Somerville, the first woman to be a member of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Scott Smith, Fhior, Edinburgh

33-year-old Scott is originally from Aberdeen and is now chef owner of Fhior in Edinburgh. After starting out as pot wash at a young age, he took a job with Eddie McDonald who had previously run the highly regarded Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen – he trained him up and helped set him on his way. Scott then became a protégé of chef proprietor Geoffrey Smeddle at The Peat Inn near St Andrews, which is a landmark for modern Scottish cookery.

In 2018 Scott opened Fhior as chef patron with his wife Laura. Fhior won Restaurant of the Year at the Edinburgh Restaurant Awards in 2019 and the same year Scott was voted The Scotsman's Chef of the Year. He has now opened a second site with farmland so he can grow and cook heritage Scottish vegetables for the restaurant.

Scott’s creative modern cooking showcases Scottish produce including foraged and home-preserved ingredients. For the competition, he is celebrating key Scottish pioneers including Sir Alexander Fleming and John Logie Baird.

Northern Ireland

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Paul Cunningham, Brunel’s, Newcastle, Northern Ireland

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Returner Paul hails from Newcastle in Northern Ireland and is back for another shot at the competition. He was inspired from a very early age by his grandfather who always took him foraging and it’s this passion for local, seasonal, fresh produce which informs his ingredients-led cuisine today.

Self-taught Paul is head chef anddirector at Brunels, an award-winning restaurant in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. Local ingredients are the most important thing to Paul who sources about eighty percent of his produce from a thirty-mile radius of his restaurant. His cooking style is led by local and foraged ingredients – he champions strong, wild flavours underpinned by modern cookery techniques.

His menu reflects his locality and passion for pioneers in his region including Belfast-born Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s refloating of the SS Great Britain in Dundrum Bay.

Gemma Austin, Alexander’s, Holywood

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28-year-old Gemma is Carryduff born and bred and ready for her first time in the GBM kitchen. She owes her love of food to her mother, who was a chef in a local Belfast restaurant.

Gemma went into cheffing aged twenty-one, taking her first job at Slims Kitchen on the Lisburn Road where she cut her teeth for a year while doing a Culinary Masters Course. For four years Gemma continued studying and working full-time at a variety of great establishments and rose through the ranks from commis chef to sous chef of a two AA Rosette kitchen. Gemma worked at the Fitzwilliam hotel in Belfast where she rose to head pastry chef, before moving to luxury hotel The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn where she worked all the sections and eventually became sous chef.

In 2019 she set up A Peculiar Tea which is a pop-up that does themed dinners, teas and events. She is also co-owner and executive chef of Alexander's in Holywood where she has been for over a year. Gemma loves bringing her imagination to dishes and will be drawing on this for the science and innovation brief this year.

Phelim O’Hagan, Brown Bonds Hill, Londonderry

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Londonderry lad Phelim is very competitive and wants to keep Northern Ireland at the Banquet.

Phelim started out as a pot wash at the age of fourteen and has never looked back. As a chef he has worked at House which is the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel in Ireland, and then at Restaurant Andrew Fairley in Gleneagles. For the last six years, he has worked at Browns Bonds Hill in Londonderry as the head chef under chef patron and former GBM competitor Ian Orr.

Phelim would describe his cooking style as modern Irish using modern techniques with the best produce that Northern Ireland has to offer. His menu is inspired by the pride of scientific advances in his home country.

Andy Scollick, The Boat House, Bangor

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27-year-old Andy is Bangor born and bred and the youngest competitor from Northern Ireland. Following in his father’s footsteps, Andy decided at a young age that he would train to be a chef. After a short stint at SERC studying Hospitality & Catering, Andy decided to concentrate full-time on cooking and started as a commis chef at The Salty Dog in Bangor, where he rose to the position of chef de partie. When his head chef Tim Brunton moved to take over the Boat House, Andy joined him as his sous chef. In 2019 Andy stepped up and took charge as head chef.

Andy is passionate about local produce and likes to create dishes that challenge people’s perceptions and expectations – he likes using techniques such as dehydration and spherification to intensify flavours and change textures.

North West

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Kirk Haworth, Plates, London

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Blackburn-born Kirk is the first plant-based chef to ever compete on the Great British Menu. While growing up Kirk was influenced by his father, Nigel Haworth, who was chef patron of Northcote Manor in Lancashire. He won North West Young Chef of the Year at seventeen and kickstarted his career working with his dad at Northcote as an apprentice.

Kirk then went on to work at other leading Michelin-starred restaurants including The French Laundry, Restaurant Sat Bains, Sydney’s The Quay and The Square under Phil Howard. With his Michelin training under his belt, in 2016 Kirk was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which led him to overhaul his lifestyle and explore a plant-based diet. After discovering that removing meat, gluten, refined sugar and dairy reduced the intensity of his symptoms, he created his own ethos for his plant- based restaurant, Plates, in London, with his sister managing front of house.

Kirk’s culinary style is modern, plant-based food, delivered with high-end execution and a focus on sustainability and wellbeing. His menu is inspired by innovations in the North West such as Vimto popular in his childhood as well as the vegetarian movement.

Dan McGeorge, Rothay Manor, Lake District

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30-year-old Liverpudlian Dan is new to Great British Menu and thrives in a competitive environment, having been semi-finalist twice in National Chef of the Year. After studying for a law degree, in 2011 Dan decided to attend Liverpool Community College and develop his passion for cooking.

Dan has worked in several high-profile kitchens including The Bath Priory under exec chef Sam Moody and under Ben Mounsey at modern European restaurant The Lawns at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa. For over three years, Dan has been head chef at Rothay Manor in Ambleside, a boutique hotel and restaurant in the heart of the Lake District and in that time, he has earned the restaurant 3 AA Rosettes. Dan also recently received a 2020 Acorn Award which recognizes the brightest stars in hospitality under thirty.

Dan’s culinary style uses the finest regional produce and his menu is inspired by local pioneering ventures such as George Garrett’s early submarine, launched in Birkenhead.

Dave Critchley, Lu Ban, Liverpool

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Proud Liverpudlian Dave has been in kitchens since he was fifteen, although he trained at university as a graphic designer and children’s book illustrator. After university, Dave felt that cheffing was for him and he trained on the job.

Dave ran some of Liverpool’s and the North West’s flagship restaurants including Alma de Cuba, The Noble House and Australasia, and became executive head chef at The London Carriage Works. In 2019 Dave took a different direction and was selected as the last ever apprentice of a world-famous Chinese chef, Master Wu, and spent time in China exploring traditional Chinese cookery. He is the executive chef of Liverpool’s Lu Ban, a fine dining Chinese restaurant inspired by the region of Tianjin.

Dave’s eclectic menu celebrates his personal love for his home city’s innovators and free thinkers with nods to all of his culinary experiences so far.

Ashwani Rangta, Gupshup, Altrincham

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Originally from Shimla in northern India, Ashwani is a newcomer to the competition and has been in the kitchen since his teenage years.Ashwani was mentored in north west frontier cuisine at the Bukhara restaurant in Agra and Delhi before working at Kebabs and Kurries Restaurant in Hotel ITC Gardenia, Bangaluru, under chef Imtiaz Qureshi, who is known as the grand master chef of Indian cuisine in India. He was then headhunted to run Asha’s restaurant in Manchester. He has won multiple food awards such as City Restaurant of the Year 2017, Best Indian Restaurant in Manchester and in 2018 he won Best in North West Asian Curry Awards at Asha’s.

Ashwani is currently exec chef at Gupshup Restaurant in Altrincham and his style of food is pan-Asian with modern British influences. He brings his Indian heritage to his menu and celebrates important Manchester based scientists, notably Alan Turing OBE.

South West

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Jude Kereama, Kota and Kota Kai, Porthleven, Cornwall

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Jude is returning to the Great British Menu kitchen for the fourth time determined to go all the way. Born in New Zealand, Jude has lived in the UK for over twenty-four years. He runs Kota and its sister restaurant Kota Kai in the fishing village of Porthleven, Cornwall.

After training under acclaimed chef and fellow kiwi Simon Gault, Jude spent many years working in London at a number of top restaurants. His last position was with Antony Worrall Thompson – it was there he met his late wife Jane and together they decided to make the move to Cornwall. 'Kota' is Maori for shellfish and Jude’s take on classic seafood with a twist has resulted in 3 AA Rosettes and a Michelin Bib Gourmand. The restaurant was also named in the Top 50 Summer Restaurants in Britain and Patron chef Jude has been awarded ‘Chef of the Year’ in the 2019 Trencherman’s Guide Awards.

Jude’s cooking style is influenced by his Maori, Chinese and Malaysian heritage and inspired by Cornwall’s finest produce. He is celebrating innovations from his beloved region including Cornishman Henry Trengrouse’s safety rocket line that saved countless lives at sea.

Elly Wentworth, The Angel, Dartmouth

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28-year-old Elly grew up in the South West and has been cooking since she was thirteen. No stranger to competitions, she took part in the prestigious Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and was one of four chefs to receive an Award of Excellence. She has worked at some of the best restaurants in the South West: at the 3 AA Rosette Tanners Restaurant in Plymouth under Chris Tanner and James Tanner and then in three Michelin-starred kitchens: The Elephant under Simon Hulstone, The Bybrook at the Manor House under Richard Davies and Restaurant Hywell Jones at Lucknam Park.

For the last two years, Elly has been head chef at The Angel in Dartmouth where she has gained a Michelin plate in the guide, 2 AA rosettes and Taste of the West’s Best Fine Dining Restaurant 2021. Elly’s menu showcases the best local ingredients in a modern style with inspirations including Dorset -born William Henry Fox Talbot and his pioneering paper photography methods.

Nick Beardshaw, Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, London

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37-year-old Nick is originally from Somerset and is determined to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Tom Kerridge, to get to the Banquet.Nick has worked with Tom for almost ten years and is the head chef that launched The Coach in Marlow, which won a Michelin star in 2017. In 2018 he moved to Tom Kerridge’s first London restaurant as head chef at Kerridge’s Bar and Grill, where he has ambitions to get another Michelin star. Prior to being with Tom, Nick worked with Daniel Clifford at Midsummer House.

Nick is classically trained and prides himself on making sure every dish is packed with flavour and showcases the best regional and seasonal produce. His menu for the competition is creative and celebrates South West pioneers from Ida Mary Roper to Christopher Merrett, who put the sparkle in sparkling wine.

Nat Tallents, The Box, Plymouth

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Newcomer Nat is from Oldham originally but proudly calls the South West home after spending seven years here. She is the executive chef of The Box Kitchen & Bar which is a new museum and arts centre in the heart of Plymouth. Previously she was exec chef for The Lewinnick Lodge and The Plume of Feathers in Mitchell, Newquay.

Nat was a semi-finalist in National Chef of the Year in 2019 and 2021. She would describe her food as ingredient-led and visually exciting. Her menu for the competition pays homage to female scientists and innovators such as botanist Mary Ida Roper and fossil hunter Mary Anning.

Wales

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Hywel Griffith, Beach House Restaurant, The Gower

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Returning to light up the Great British Menu kitchen is patriotic Welsh speaker Hywel who narrowly missed getting to the Banquet last year. Hywel grew up in North Wales and has been a chef since he was seventeen. He honed his craft at Coleg Menai in Bangor before graduating to the Lanesborough Hotel in London and The Chester Grosvenor before returning to Wales as sous chef at Ynyshir. During his time there the restaurant achieved three AA Rosettes and a Michelin star. He then opened his own restaurant Beach House in Oxwich Bay in 2016 which has won several awards including a Michelin star.

Hywel’s cooking style is modern Welsh and champions all Welsh produce. For his menu, he draws on bold inspirations linked to Wales from the discovery of our nearest galaxy, Andromeda, to Martha Hughes Cannon, a pioneer in medicine and sanitation.

Nathan Davies, SY23, Aberystwyth

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30-year-old Welsh speaker Nathan has lived in Wales since he was six – his father and grandfather are Welsh Italians. Having worked at some of Wales’s finest restaurants, including with Steven Terry at The Hardwick in Abergavenny and as head chef at Ynyshir under Gareth Ward for four years, he has a huge amount of experience behind him.

In 2019 Nathan opened SY23 in Aberystwyth with an ethos of using the finest local and foraged produce cooked simply over a fire. Nathan takes regional produce very seriously, trying to source a lot of his ingredients from the SY23 postcode – from meat to flour to the wood he puts on the fire to cook with.

Nathan’s style of cooking takes inspiration from San Sebastian, Scandinavia and Japan. His menu for Great British Menu is inspired by Welsh pioneers linked to forestry and meteorology.

Ali Borer, The Nutbourne, London

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Originally from Anglesey in Wales, newcomer Ali believes Wales has the best larder in the world and is out to prove it in his menu. Ali has spent the last ten years in London working in some top kitchens with a range of cuisines including French restaurant Le Pont de la Tour, Anna Hansen’s The Modern Pantry, Jinjuu with its unique Korean dining, and as head chef and co-owner of Smoking Goat in Shoreditch. Ali is currently the head chef of Nutbourne Restaurant in Battersea, London, which is part of the Gladwin Brothers, and focuses on local and wild cookery. Ali’s food inspiration comes from his travels to Australia, South East Asia, and Malaysia. He is a firm believer in using the whole of the animal and likes to combine British ingredients with Thai flavours. His menu for the competition is eclectic with inspirations such as Enigma codebreaker Mair Russell Jones and the first suspension bridge which was in Anglesey.

Chris Cleghorn, The Olive Tree, Bath

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36-year-old Chris is originally from Cardiff and works in Bath at The Olive Tree restaurant at The Queensberry Hotel. Before that, he worked at The Crown with James Sommerin, at Gidleigh Park under Michael Caines, at The Fat Duck and with Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House. Chris has been head chef at the Olive Tree for eight years. He has held a Michelin star since 2018.

Chris describes his food style as modern European and for his menu he has drawn inspiration from notable Welsh pioneers including Anne Maclaren’s IVF research and Pembrokeshire-born mathematician Robert Recorde.

North East

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Alex Bond, Alchemilla, Nottingham

Proud Yorkshireman Alex is returning after coming a close runner-up in the regional finals last year – this time he is determined to get to the Banquet. Alex has been a chef for over twenty years and has worked at many prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants such as 42 The Calls, Anthony’s, Restaurant Sat Bains, Auberge du Lac, Turners and The Wild Rabbit. In 2019 Alex was awarded a Michelin star for his restaurant Alchemilla in Nottingham, along with four AA Rosettes in February 2020 and a place in the Good Food Guide's Top 50 for The Good Food Guide.

Alex believes in using the best produce available and backing it up with depth of flavour. He has been inspired by the scientific pioneers of the North East and presents dishes with wit and playfulness.

Ruth Hansom, The Princess of Shoreditch, London

Darlington-born 25-year old Ruth was a finalist in last year’s competition cooking the amuse bouche; this time she is hoping to go one better and become the first woman to cook at two Banquets. She’s won a plethora of awards and as the first woman to win the Young Chef of the Year Award in 2017, she prides herself on staying calm under pressure.

Ruth moved to London to pursue her love of cooking aged just fifteen and has been unwavering in her pursuit of success. She trained at Westminster College Kingsway and was mentored by Master of the Culinary Arts Frederick Forster. She worked at the Boundary Restaurant for a year before securing a position at The Ritz where she remained for five years and rose to chef de partie. Whilst working at The Ritz and winning the Young Chef of the Year award, The Ritz won its first Michelin Star in its 110-year history.

In 2020 Ruth became head chef at The Princess of Shoreditch in London. Ruth’s style is modern British underpinned by a classical French training. Her menu for the competition embraces regional produce and scientific breakthroughs significant in the North East.

Tom Spenceley, Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs, London

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Proud North Yorkshireman Tom is competing for the first time and up for the challenge. He has an impressive pedigree, having worked for Sat Bains at Restaurant Sat Bains during the time when it received its second star, and was head chef at Typing Room under Lee Westcott where he held four AA rosettes in London. Tom then went to work for James Knappett at Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs in London and in 2018 became his head chef. Kitchen Table offers diners an immersive experience and a daily changing menu of twenty courses – their modern British cuisine was awarded its second Michelin star in 2019.

Tom would describe his food as modern British with a desire to evoke memories. His menu for the competition is packed with creativity, flavour and pays homage to early inventions such as the first steam locomotive.

Gareth Bartram, Winteringham Fields, North Lincolnshire

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Hailing from Grimsby, Gareth is a newcomer to the Great British Menu kitchen and is here to compete. He fell in love with food working in a local butcher’s shop aged sixteen with his mother and hasn’t looked back since.

Gareth studied at catering college in Grimsby and then landed a job in London at Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café at the age of nineteen. He went on to work for three years at Jack’s Restaurant in Corsham, Bath under Jamie Hirst and then moved to North Lincolnshire to work for Colin McGurran at Winteringham Fields. Over the last six years he worked his way up to head chef and in 2019 the team won a Michelin star.

Gareth’s culinary style embraces local, seasonal produce and champions use of the whole animal. His menu takes inspiration from great pioneers such as British Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole.