Great British Menu is back for a 16th series - Along with Masterchef, Great British Menu is a cooking show that all chefs want to be seen on and ultimately get to the banquet. 

Former Great British Menu judge Andi Oliver is now presenter, with cook, writer and broadcaster Rachel Khoo taking her place on the judging panel.

Previous winners include Michelin-starred chefs Marcus Wareing, Sat Bains, Jason Atherton and Tom Kerridge. This BBC television series was created as a celebration of the Queen's birthday - top British professional chefs compete for the chance to cook their recipe as part of a four course banquet.

The BBC's Great British Menu has become an important cooking competition among chefs and must-watch viewing for avid foodies. 

When does Great British Menu start?

Series 16 of Great British Menu begins on Wednesday 24th March at 8pm on BBC2 and will be available on BBC iPlayer. Episodes will then continue to air on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm, and Fridays at 8:30pm.

Who are the Great British Menu 2021 chefs? 

This series will start with the central region - see the full chef line up for series 16.

How many regions compete in Great British Menu?

There are eight regions with three competing chefs from each, the regions are; Scotland, South West, North West, Wales, Central, London and South/East, North East and Northern Ireland.

Who are the Great British Menu judges?

In the regional heats, the chefs’ dishes will be judged by eight competition veterans who are now among the most accomplished and successful chefs in the UK. They include Daniel Clifford, Simon Rogan, Phil Howard, Richard Corrigan, Michael O’Hare and Angela Hartnett.

The two chefs who are scored most highly by the veteran judges will then present their four-course menu to award-winning restaurant critic Matthew Fort; doyenne of British cookery, Andi Oliver; chef owner of Andi's Restraurant, television and radio broadcaster, and singer, and acclaimed restaurateur Oliver Peyton.

Prue Leith, OBE, one of Great British Menu's three judges before she was replaced in 2017 by Andi Oliver, explained to The Staff Canteen how no one thought the concept would work. "It was so successful the producers thought we could do this annually with different banquets," she explained. "I didn't think it would work. The Queen's banquet's special. But it's been extraordinary - they always think up something brilliant."

Each week the panel of three will be joined by a guest judge who has been feted in his or her field. They include award-winning food writers and critics as well as esteemed chefs and restaurateurs honoured for their services to the hospitality industry.

Together, with the Great British Menu judges, they will decide which chef will be the champion of their region, and worthy of potentially becoming an ambassador for contemporary British cuisine.

 The eight regional winners will then compete in the National Finals for a chance to cook at the banquet.

Great British Menu judge Oliver Peyton

Oliver Peyton told The Staff Canteen: "What's obvious is GBM's been a great incubator for cooking talent and a big influence on producers and young chefs particularly regarding ingredients.

"Food programming's mixed but GBM gives a snapshot of current British food. When I started the only food reference was France because the only people training chefs in this country were from French restaurants. Some of this year's GBM chefs may have never even been to France, nor consider it their culinary cornerstone. Their food reference is currently British, Indian, whatever. Young chefs' inspiration's completely changed in a generation - I really like our indigenous cooking culture embedding itself in new chefs.

 "The national focus is great - taking things away from London's very important. Many chefs recognise if they're on GBM, win or lose, their restaurants will become busier. It's important to many restaurants outside London, more if they're good and get through."

Keep up to date every year with all the Great British Menu news including a weekly blog to help you catch up and individual interviews with the finalists plus all the recipes from the show.