Great British Menu 2023: North East heat preview

by Great British Chefs20 January 2023

Series eighteen of Great British Menu is kicking off in the North East, with four of the region's brightest talents taking part in the first week of heats. Find out more about the four chefs taking part.

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 as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Gareth Bartram

Gareth returns to the Great British Menu kitchen, previously having just missed out on cooking for the judges. This time, he hopes he’s got the resolve to go all the way to the banquet.

He fell in love with food working in a local butcher’s shop at the age of 16 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 19. 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 (1*). He worked his way up to Head Chef in 2018, and that same year they were awarded one Michelin star for the 2019 guide - which they have held ever since.

Gareth’s culinary style embraces local, seasonal produce, describing his food as modern but hearty and full of flavour. His menu takes inspiration from modern comic Heartstopper.

Rory Welch

Proud Geordie, Rory Welch is Head Chef at Träkol, which, in 2021, received its Michelin plate status.

Rory was bit by the cooking bug at a young age, taking influence from his father Steve Welch. Classically trained in French cuisine, he worked his way up in various kitchens before becoming Head Chef aged 23. He moved to Träkol as Head Chef in 2019.

He is no novice to competitions having won the 2013 NECTA Junior North East Chef of the Year title while still a chef de partie. He was the youngest chef to win the more senior 2017 North East Culinary and Trade Association (NECTA) Chef of the year, so believes he has a good shot in the GBM kitchen.

Rory has developed his open fire cooking style through his passion for outdoor cooking and BBQ, with an ethos of using the finest local produce cooked simply over the fire. Rory’s style of cooking takes a lot of inspiration from Scandinavia, showcasing seasonal and ethical cooking with a focus on preservation and cooking over fire.

His menu draws inspiration from classic northern comic strip Andy Capp created by cartoonist Reg Smythe.

Will Lockwood, Roots, York

Enthusiastic newcomer, Will Lockwood, is Head Chef at Michelin star restaurant Roots in York.

Will started his career at the Black Swan at Oldstead (1*) in 2014, where he worked as a demi chef de partie. He has remained with Tommy Banks and his team ever since, climbing the ranks at The Black Swan, where he was named head chef in 2017. He moved to Black Swan’s sister restaurant Roots in 2021, where he has been running the kitchen ever since.

Will’s culinary style is creative, modern and produce led, using food predominantly grown on the Bank’s family farm, supplemented by local suppliers and ancestral techniques to help preserve it.

Will’s menus draws inspiration from classic British animation The Clangers.


Cal Byerley, Pine, Northumberland

Born and bred in Northumberland, Cal comes from a family of farmers who have been working the land since 1805.

Cal enjoys cooking with ingredients he can forage from his own garden, as well as a focused use of local products and suppliers.

After entering the hospitality industry aged 16, Cal has worked in some of North East’s best restaurants including working under Kevin Tickle at Rogan and Co for two years and then as Head Pastry Chef at (1*) Forest Side for five years.

In May 2021, Cal opened his restaurant Pine with great success, becoming Northumberland’s second Michelin starred restaurant, whilst also receiving a Michelin green star and new restaurant award, amongst its accolades.

His menu is inspired by Northumberland based writer and illustrator Charles Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox & the Horse.

Get in touch

Please or register to send a comment to Great British Chefs