Of all the cooking programmes on television the Great British Menu is the one we chefs enjoy the most.

Masterchef: The Professionals is great of course but there’s something particularly great about the Great British Menu.

I think it’s down to the challenge of cooking four courses to a theme, with the prospect of being able to cook one, or more, of your dishes at a banquet for the great and good.

You only have to look at the quality of chefs who compete on the Great British Menu to see how seriously it is taken. You don’t see Michelin-starred chefs on Masterchef but heavyweights of the culinary world like Angela Hartnett, Daniel Clifford and Tom Kerridge have all appeared on the Great British Menu.

One of the chefs competing this week is Tommy Banks, who runs the Michelin-starred restaurant The Black Swan in Oldstead, Yorkshire.

I ate at Tommy’s restaurant recently and was bowled over by the food.

The Banks’ family have their own farm and a two-acre ‘garden’ where they forage and grow their own produce/ingredients. The kitchen team actually spend a great deal of time outside so they get to understand the food they are growing and how it best fits onto the plate.

And because they grow pretty much everything themselves, the farm to plate approach means the ever-changing seasonal menu is second to none.

I don’t have a two-acre garden at home, unfortunately, but I do believe strongly in being sustainable and we grow as much as we can. It’s certainly a great way of getting children interested in food at an early age.

I have a three-year-old boy and he loves picking the food we grow and then sitting down to eat the peas he has podded or the carrots he has helped to peel. I suspect if I had just presented said two-year-old with peas and carrots I had bought from my local supermarket, then the response may have been very different!

So, that’s just one of the many reasons I am rooting for Tommy this week!

John Connell
About John Connell
Development & Innovations Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.