'Great British Menu' season 17: release date, what happens, interviews, episode guide and all about the TV-themed 2022 series

'Great British Menu' series 17 host Andi Oliver, with new judges Ed Gamble, Nisha Katona and Tom Kerridge.
'Great British Menu' series 17 host Andi Oliver, with new judges Ed Gamble, Nisha Katona and Tom Kerridge. (Image credit: BBC)

Great British Menu returns for its 17th season on BBC2 with a new batch of professional chefs competing. This time the star prize is to cook a course at a banquet celebrating 100 years of British Broadcasting. There’s a brand new judging panel, too, made up of restaurateur and TV presenter Nisha Katona, comedian and food podcaster Ed Gamble, and Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge.

"This year it’s a real celebration of television and radio," says Tom. "There are highs and lows. There are some  dishes that don't work at all, but then some of the cooking, the techniques, skill set and the ingredients are absolutely outstanding."

Here's everything we know about the TV-themed Great British Menu on BBC2...

'Great British Menu' season 17 — the TV theme for 2022

Great British Menu season 17 kicks off with host Andi Oliver oversees proceedings as chefs from the UK’s central region battle it out by theming their dishes on some of the area’s most iconic actors and shows. 

There are two culinary interpretations of Dad’s Army, and a reimagining of Peaky Blinders, which involves a smoky veal sweetbread served from 1920s-style packing crates. Even classic kids’ quiz show Blockbusters gets a look in with chef Ben Orpwood presenting his starter on a light-up Blockbusters board!

But Tom Kerridge has a warning for the chefs who choose style over substance…

"I’m not overly impressed by the props and the tricks," he says. "Thinking of something to be clever for the sake of it, I'm not looking for that. "I'm looking for technique, I'm looking for flavour, I'm looking for representation of the brief. And above all else, I'm looking for outstanding cookery. It’s such an exciting show to be part of!"

Also in this series, look out for an Absolutely Fabulous scallop creation and a dish paying homage to Fawlty Towers’ infamous 'Waldorf Salad' episode. Would Basil and Sybil Fawlty be impressed, and how would Manuel serve it up?

Cillian Murphy in 'Peaky Blinders'

What 1920s-style 'Peaky Blinders' cookery creations will be on the 'Great British Menu'? (Image credit: BBC)

Fawlty Towers cast - Andrew Sachs in Manuel's white jacket.

In 'Great British Menu' one chef will try to create the Waldorf Salad which featured in a classic 'Fawlty Towers' episode. (Image credit: BBC)

Absolutely Fabulous cast

An 'Absolutely Fabulous' treat is in store in episode one of 'great British Menu'  (Image credit: BBC)

'Great British Menu' season 17 release date

Great British Menu starts on Tuesday February 1 2022 at 8pm on BBC2 with three episodes shown each week (Tues Feb. 1, Weds Feb. 2, Thurs Feb. 3). The series of 29 episodes, finishing with the grand final this spring, will also be launched on BBCiPlayer after each air date. 

The new judging panel in 'Great British Menu' season 17

Andi Oliver with judge Tom Kerridge getting to grips with series 17 of 'Great British Menu'.

Andi Oliver says judge Tom Kerridge is 'a God among chefs!' as they work together on series 17 of 'Great British Menu'. (Image credit: BBC)

Great British Menu series 17 will see Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, restaurateur Nisha Katona and food podcaster Ed Gamble joining forces to cast their expert opinion over the dishes, replacing outgoing judges Oliver Peyton, Matthew Fort and Rachel Khoo.

"Tom is a God among chefs!" says Andi Oliver, who returns to host the BBC2 show. "Nisha is like a palate ninja! And Ed, with his brilliant human energy, understands food and is incredibly funny. They’re a joy."

Tom Kerridge says: "I was fortunate to win the main course round twice back in 2009 and 2010 and have been involved in the show in some respect since then, so it feels a lovely part of the journey to be asked back as one of the judges. 

"I’ve been through the competition and know the pressures, so I hope the chefs feel they have someone kind of on their side on the judging panel. Saying that, I’m a chef, so they can’t pull the wool over my eyes – don’t disappoint me and try to blag it, because I’ve been in the industry 30 years and will find out! 

"I’m looking for technique, flavour, representation of the brief. Above all, I’m looking for outstanding cookery. It’s that simple. And I can tell you, some incredible cooking is coming up. It’s possibly the best year for food that I’ve seen in the 17 series."

Nisha Katona, chef and founder of Mowgli Street Food restaurants, says: "What I love about Great British Menu is the regional nature of it. It’s so good to be on a show which dedicates itself each week to a different pocket of the British Isles. There’s a real sense of ownership from the viewers with them rooting for their region. 

"This is absolutely the dream job for me. You’ll see it on screen as I beam insanely every time a dish comes in! I had no idea what the judging dynamic would be like. I knew one judge had two Michelin stars and one’s possibly the funniest man on earth – now we text each other every day! We’ve become like a brotherhood. 

"From the chefs, I’m looking for creativity and a sense of magic; the ultimate combination where something tastes phenomenal and is presented in an unforgettable way."

Ed Gamble, comedian and co-presenter of award-nominated podcast Off Menu, says: "I remember watching the first-ever episode of Great British Menu [in 2006] and have loved it ever since, so it was a shock and honour being asked to judge on this jewel in the BBC’s crown. I think they got halfway through asking me and I said yes! 

"It’s unlike other food competitions because of the camaraderie in the kitchen. It’s wonderful to see from chefs at the top of their game and this year’s broadcasting theme is inspiring some exciting, funny dishes. I’m wowed by things like props and presentation. Tom sees it as a bit of a cheat and gimmick, but I love all that. 

"The chemistry between the judges is great; obviously, Tom mentions every day that he won the main course twice! Nisha has an amazing taste and palate, and I’m here for a laugh in case anything tries to get too serious. I’m in strict training for the show by eating full meals every hour!"

'Great British Menu' series 17 episode guide

Here's a weekly episode guide to Great British Menu season 17. We'll update weekly as the series progresses...

WEEK ONE: Tuesday Feb 1 to Thursday Feb 3 — Central region heats
With a theme celebrating 100 years of British broadcasting, one chef this week bases his dish around a famous Dad’s Army episode where sausages were mistaken for £500! There's a smokey plate celebrating hit BBC1 drama Peaky Blinders, plus a Fawlty Towers-inspired Waldorf Salad and dishes paying homage to world famous naturalist David Attenborough and the late TV chef Fanny Cradock. Finally will the judges love the Absolutely Fabulous-inspired scallop dish?

WEEK TWO:  Tuesday Feb 8 to Thursday Feb 10 — North West region heats.
Competing for the top spot are four chefs who are a mix of exciting new talent and one of last year’s popular returners, Liverpudlian Dave Critchley, Exec Chef at fine dining Chinese restaurant Lu Ban. Sam is inspired by award winning drama Happy Valley and the moorland setting for his lamb dish. Dave pays homage to fellow Liverpudlian Cilla Black in his surprising pork belly and Shaoxing caramel. There’s a playful dish inspired by Monty Python’s surreal comedy sketch show with a fine dining recreation of spam as a pork terrine and Stevie celebrates northern comedy Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps in a dish of contrasting temperatures and textures. Later episodes see creations celebrating Ken Dodd and the Diddy Men, Brookside and Tommy Cooper. And in the final heat, they serve to the judges and Corrie legend Sue Cleaver, who plays Eileen in Weatherfield.

Eileen has finally had enough of Todd's lies.

'Coronation Street' star Sue Cleaver, aka Weatherfield's Eileen, will be a judge is episode 2 of 'Great British Menu'. (Image credit: ITV)

Is there a trailer for 'Great British Menu' series 17?

There's a trailer for Great British Menu released recently by the BBC, so click right here! So do give it give it a watch for a flavour of what to expect! 

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Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.