Great British Menu 2020 air date and contestants from series 15

Great British Menu air date and contestants from the new series

Great British Menu 2020 has arrived – here’s all you need to know about the new series.


The heat has been well and truly turned up in the Great British Menu kitchen as more chefs than ever before compete for their chance to cook for famous names from the literary world in series 15 of Great British Menu.

The Great British Menu 2020 will start on Wednesday, March 18 at 8PM on BBC Two.

Episodes will continue on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8PM on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

32 chefs will be sharpening their knives and curating their perfect literary based menus, in the hope that they will be chosen by an expert panel of judges to cook at the Great British Menu banquet at the end of the series.

Located in Exeter College, Oxford, the city that inspired Phillip Pullman, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and Lewis Carroll, the banquet will feature the very best dishes from across the series and will see celebrity judges, authors and more vote on their favourite dish so one chef is ultimately crowned champion of champions.

There are also some format changes for the new series that make the competition more intense than ever, with any mistake potentially leading to an early exit for even the best of chefs.


Great British Menu will also be reflecting a more contemporary tasting menu this series, with an amuse-bouche and pre-dessert palate cleanser added to the courses, challenging the chefs’ skills and creativity even further.

For now, meet this year’s contestants below…

Great British Menu 2020 contestants


Great British Menu central
(L-R) Niall Keating, Sally Abé, Alex Claridge and Dom Robinson

Sally Abé – Originally from Mansfield in Nottingham, Sally is Head Chef of the only Michelin starred pub in London, The Harwood Arms (1*).

Niall Keating – Proudly representing Stoke on Trent, Executive Chef of The Dining Room at Whatley Manor (2*) in the Cotswolds, Niall is no stranger to competitions and already has a string of accolades to his name.

Alex Claridge – Proud Brummie Alex is the Head Chef and Owner of The Wilderness in Birmingham City Centre renowned for its modern British food intended to excite, provoke and taste delicious.

Dom Robinson – Originally from Derbyshire, Dom is the Chef and Owner of one Michelin starred The Blackbird (1*) in Berkshire.

London and South East

Great British Menu London and South East
(L-R) Ivan Tisdall-Downes, Kerth Gumbs, Steve Groves and Karl O’Dell

Steve Groves – Essex born Steve is a highly accomplished British chef inspired by classical French cooking. In 2019 he was crowned Craft Guild’s National Chef of the Year.


Kerth Gumbs – Originally from Anguilla in the Caribbean, Kerth was inspired to start cooking by his mother who was a chef.

Karl O’Dell – Karl hails from Peterborough and is a chef who loves competing. Most recently he beat 32 other chefs to become a finalist in 2019’s Craft Guild’s National Chef of the Year.

Ivan Tisdall-Downes – Greenwich born Ivan was initially self-taught and started his career in food markets and pop-ups.


Great British Menu Scotland
(L-R) Ross Bryans, Roberta Hall, Amy Elles and Gordon Jones

Ross Bryans – Irvine born Ross Bryans is returning after a two year gap more determined than ever to get all the way to the Banquet.

Roberta Hall – Edinburgh born Roberta is a newcomer to the competition who is determined to represent her home country.

Amy Elles – London born Amy has made her home on Scotland’s East Coast with her family and runs her restaurant The Harbour Café in Fife.

Gordon Jones – Maverick chef Gordon is returning for another crack at the competition after he was runner up at the regional finals last year.


Northern Ireland

Great British Menu northern ireland
(L-R) Leigh Ferguson, Paul Cunningham, Shauna Froydenlund and Alex Greene

Alex Greene – After narrowly missing out last year, Alex is returning for his second time in the competition. Born and bred in Dundrum, Northern Ireland, Alex grew up on a farm where he drew culinary inspiration from his granny who used to cook for workers on the farm.

Shauna Froydenlund – After reaching the regional final two years ago, Shauna is back to compete for a second time. Originally from Londonderry in Northern Ireland, Shauna hails from a family of restauranteurs.

Paul Cunningham – Paul is a newcomer to the competition and hails from Newcastle in Northern Ireland. 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.

Leigh Ferguson – First timer Leigh is new to the Great British Menu and is representing his home town of Lisburn in Northern Ireland.

North West

Great British Menu north west
(L-R) Sam Buckley, Hrishikesh Desai, Tom Barnes and George Farrugia

Hrishikesh Desai – Hrishikesh is determined to give the competition another go after achieving very high points in the regional final last year.

Tom Barnes – Cumbrian born Tom from Barrow is a newcomer to Great British Menu who thrives in a competition having won the Roux Scholarship in 2014.

George Farrugia – Manchester born and bred George decided he wanted to be a chef aged 21 after studying Law at university.


Sam Buckley – Mancunian Sam is a newcomer to the competition and has been in the kitchen since his teenage years. While at college he got a job in a kitchen with Gary Rhodes and that’s where he fell in love with cooking.

South West

Joe Baker, Guy Owen, Harriet Mansell and Guy Owen
(L-R) Joe Baker, Guy Owen, Harriet Mansell and Guy Owen

Joe Baker – Returner Joe from Jersey narrowly missed getting to the finals last year and this time he is determined to go all the way to the banquet.

Guy Owen – Newcomer to the competition, Guy is the steely Executive Chef of the St Enodoc Hotel overlooking the Camel Estuary in Rock, Cornwall.

Harriet Mansell – Newcomer Harriet grew up in Sidmouth, Devon and took an unconventional route into the industry. After studying Politics and History at university, she thereafter retrained to be a chef.

Thomas Carr – New to the competition is Birmingham born Thomas who was adopted and grew up in Woolacombe, North Devon.


John Chantarasak, Georgia Sommerin, Hywel Griffith and Tom Phillips
(L-R) John Chantarasak, Georgia Sommerin, Hywel Griffith and Tom Phillips

Georgia Sommerin – 20-year-old Georgia from Penarth, South Wales, is the youngest competitor ever on the Great British Menu. She’s not to be underestimated as she’s been working in a professional kitchen since the age of 13 and full time since 2016 under the watchful eye of her father, Michelin starred chef James Sommerin.

Hywel Griffith – New to the competition is patriotic Welsh speaker Hywel who grew up in North Wales and has been a chef since he was 17. Hywel opened his own restaurant Beach House in Oxwich Bay in 2016 which has won several awards including a Michelin star.


Tom Phillips – Originally from Newport, Wales, proud Welshman Tom started his career in London. He is currently Head Chef in London at Restaurant Story (1*) and is Tom Sellers’s right hand man.

John Chantarasak – Brought up in the Wye Valley, John is proud to be competing to represent Wales. His personal cooking project AngloThai which he runs with his wife is making waves with dishes that bring together British produce and Thai flavours.

North East

Great British Menu north east
(L-R) Alex Bond, Ruth Hansom, Samira Effa and Josh Angus

Samira Effa – Huddersfield-born Samira is back to compete for a second time after narrowly missing out last year to Tom Anglesea. Samira started her career in Yorkshire at Bradley’s Restaurant in Huddersfield and has a wealth of experience at high end restaurants having worked at Bohemia (1*) in Jersey and 21212 (1*) in Edinburgh.

Alex Bond – Proud Yorkshireman Alex has been a chef for over 20 years and has worked at many prestigious restaurants. In 2019 Alex was awarded a Michelin star for his restaurant, Alchemilla, in Nottingham, 4 AA Rosettes in February 2020 and a place in the Good Food Guide’s Top 50 for The Good Food Guide 2020 and prides itself on unique, imaginative, plant based fine dining.


Josh Angus – Hailing from Sheffield, Josh is proud to be competing to represent the North East in the first cookery competition he’s ever done. For the last 3 years Josh has been Head Chef at Hide (1*) in London working under Ollie Dabbous.

Ruth Hansom – Darlington born 24-year old Ruth is the youngest chef competing for the North East and is up for the competition. She has 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.

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