Over the past three years, Great British Menu has cooked for Her Majesty The Queen at her 80th birthday banquet, served a magnificent meal to the gastronomic elite of France and thrilled some of the world’s finest chefs with some of the very best, cutting-edge contemporary British food.
Now, as the fourth series begins on BBC Two, the chefs are competing to cook a homecoming banquet to honour men and women recently returned from active service in Afghanistan, along with their families, who have supported them. The competing chefs are all determined to win and cook a meal bursting with the tastes of home.
Alongside a few surprises, Great British Menu sees two great culinary talents battle it out in the kitchen each week, competing to create a magnificent British meal – a taste of home – that the judges and public consider fitting for the country’s returning heroes.
With a total of eight regions and 16 chefs across the series, week one sees Glynn Purnell (Purnell’s, Birmingham) up against Daniel Clifford (Midsummer House, Cambridge) in the Central heat.
Michelin-starred Purnell invites his father into his restaurant to have a taste of his version of a British icon – brown sauce – which Glynn names GP sauce, made in Birmingham. Meanwhile, Daniel visits a smoker in Bottisham to see their traditional kiln-fired smokery. He has an unusual ingredient he wants to smoke, one which they have never tried in 25 years of business.
Former Great British Menu Champion Sat Bains surprises the chefs and is in the kitchen throughout the week to offer advice and support.
Series four also introduces the service visit, in which each chef is given the opportunity to work in their opponent’s kitchen, providing both chefs with a chance to get up close and personal, under pressured conditions.
Each week the chefs also have the chance to experience life in the Armed Forces when they go on a reconnaissance mission to a local military base in their region. Glynn and Daniel are given a rare insight into the RAF when they visit RAF Conningsbury, Lincolnshire, which is home to the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert, which protects UK airspace. The base is huge and the military chefs have an enormous job to feed so many RAF personnel. Glynn and Daniel are soon put to the test in a cook-off for the pilots.