When does Great British Menu 2023 start?

All you need to know ahead of series 18 of the culinary BBC Two show

Ed Gamble, Andi Oliver, Nisha Katona, Tom Kerridge Great British Menu 2023
(Image credit: BBC)

The BBC cooking competition that delivers the best starter, fish dish, main and dessert fit for a banquet is back as fans ask when does Great British Menu 2023 start?

If you love shows like the Great British Bake Off, or MasterChef you're in for a treat with Great British Menu.

Season 18 is almost here with host Andi Oliver bringing you the judges, contestants and dishes for the new season featuring the return of comedian Ed Gamble, chef Tom Kerridge and Nisha Katona chef trainer on Cooking with the Stars 2022.

The Great British Menu is yet to announce its full line up of chefs for this season but the first-leg of the contest will see four chefs go head-to-head, as we look at all you need to know about the culinary show...

When does Great British Menu 2023 start?

Great British Menu 2023 starts at 8pm on Tuesday 31st January on BBC Two with three one-hour ling episodes screened on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week for nine weeks in a row for an expected total of 27 episodes.

The show announced its return on its Twitter page with a preview pic and captioned it, "Starting date KLAXON!!!! Set your New series of Great British Menu starts 8pm Tuesday 31st January!" And show bosses have kept the judging and presenters - much to the delight of fans.

One fan tweeted, "Excellent news! So pleased to see same line up of judges / presenters too."

Another fan agreed, "One of my favourites and so glad you’ve got the same judges"

And a third fan added, "Hallelujah! I so need this to make the transition from winter into spring bearable!"

What is the Great British Menu 2023 theme?

The Great British Menu 2023 theme is in celebration of Paddington Bear's 65th birthday, so the chefs will be taking inspiration from the best of British animation and illustration when creating their dishes, from cartoons to video games. And fans are delighted with the news. One fan tweeted, "What a great theme! Can’t wait to see what the chefs come up with!"

Another fan added, "Brilliant and the brief sounds amazing. Can’t wait to watch"

A third excited viewer added, "Can’t wait and what a marvellous theme this year".

The show teased what kind of dishes can be expected from the season including a crocodile shaped beef wellington and a Desperate Dan cow pie...

Great British Menu 2023 chef line-up

The chefs confirmed to be taking part in the Great British Menu so far is Gareth Bartram, head chef at Winteringham Fields, Rory Welch, head chef at Träkol, Will Lockwood, head chef at Roots, and Cal Byerley, head patron of Pine.

For the first time this year, the show will release the chefs taking part each week - with the line up being revealed week by week rather than having the line up all at once, and over the course of the series 32 chefs will represent eight different regions in the UK.

Gareth Bartram, Will Lockwood, Rory Welch, Cal Byerley Great British Menu 2023 chefs

(Image credit: BBC)

Do the chefs on Great British Menu get paid?

The chefs on Great British Menu don't get paid to take part in the show, instead the restaurants they represent have to supply a budget, although it's expected that they make more money in return for the exposure they get on the show. Some contestants spend extra money on the props they use to present their dishes.

Avril said, "There are some chefs who spend a lot of money on props." In the past contestants like Lisa Goodwin-Allen made an edible snow globe in the 2020 Christmas Special. 

But if they're not part of the dish they can become too elaborate or expensive, compromises end up having to be made when it comes to the banquet.

"I remember when we were doing Adam Simmons ration box for D-Day," Avril said. "His box cost an absolute fortune and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, we’re not going to be able to replicate that’ and we spent so much time trying to find an alternative that looked just as good.

"We did, and it was great, and he was just as happy with it.”

Andi Oliver, Ed Gamble, Rory Bremner Great British Menu 2022

(Image credit: BBC)

How long does it take to film Great British Menu?

The Great British Menu takes approximately nine weeks to film in Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire. The filming schedule is said to be "tight" with no two days the same. 

Speaking about the schedule, Great British Menu producer Avril Welch told The Grilled podcast with Richard Bainbridge, that each heat is filmed over the course of a week; on Monday, the chefs get settled in, meet the veteran and cook the canapés; on Tuesday, they cook their starters and fish courses, followed by their main courses and pre-desserts on Wednesday. Thursday is dessert, then, on Friday, it's time for the judges chamber, and the chefs have to cook their entire menu in one go.

"That Friday with the judges is a long day," Avril said, and not just for the chefs. For judges Nisha Katona, Tom Kerridge, Ed Gamble and their guest, "now it’s 12 courses they’re eating, because we’ve added canapés and pre-desserts in.”

Previously the show was filmed over two days, with two courses made each day.

"Those days were absolutely brutal because if you’ve had a bad score on the starter or main course, you’ve got to pick yourself up and start again to do fish and dessert," Avril explained.

It is hard work for the chefs and the whole team behind the show. “Long, long days, it’s hard work, and even though they’re only cooking three dishes on those days for each course, it’s still really draining.”

Gareth Bartram, Cal Byerley, Rory Welch, Will Lockwood Great British Menu 2023

(Image credit: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown)

When did Great British Menu start?

The Great British Menu first started back on 10th April 2006 with top British chefs from around the UK tasked with competing to produce a menu that is served at a prestigious banquet for special events and prominent guests. The first series was presented by Jennie Bond, Susan Calman and Andi Oliver.

You can watch clips from previous seasons on the official Great British Menu YouTube channel

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Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)