Lowdown on the Great British Menu judges

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The Great British Menu judges have returned to the kitchen for 2023 and are in the midst of ranking the country’s culinary big-wigs, deciding who should have a place at this year’s banquet.

If you were a fan of the last series, you’ll be happy to know that the same Great British Menu judging panel is back again. If you’re a year or so out of the game, you might be wondering, ‘why did Oliver Peyton leave?’, ‘did Matthew Fort quit’, and ‘what does Andi Oliver think of it all?’…

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about the Great British Menu 2023…

Who are the judges on Great British Menu 2023?

The Great British Menu judges for 2023 are Tom Kerridge, Nisha Katona and Ed Gamble.

But why were they chosen to determine the fate of each heat and what are their credentials?

READ MORE: Where is Great British Menu filmed and can I visit? 

Let’s find out a little more about this year’s Great British Menu judging panel…

Tom Kerridge

tom Kerridge is a great british menu 2023 judge

Chef Tom Kerridge is a Great British Menu 2023 judge (Credit: BBC)

An esteemed chef and former Great British Menu contestant, Tom needs no introduction.

He first took part as a contestant back in 2010 and returned again in 2011, winning main course on both occasions.

As well as releasing several best-selling cookbooks, the chef owns four restaurants, including two Michelin starred The Hand and Flowers and one Michelin star eatery The Coach.

Nisha Katona

who are the judges on great british menu nisha katona

Restaurateur Nisha Katona is another expert on the GBM judging panel (Credit: BBC)

Food writer, chef and restaurateur Nisha is famed for having founded the Mowgli Street Food chain.

READ MORE: Celebrity Best Home cook judge Angela Hartnett reveals shock history with Gordon Ramsay

Nisha is also a TV presenter and author of five cookbooks, including titles like The Mowgli Street Food: Authentic Indian Street Food and The 30-Minute Mowgli.

Ed Gamble

who are the judges on great british menu ed gamble

Comedian Ed Gamble completes the Great British Menu judging panel (Credit: BBC)

Ed is not only an esteemed comedian but he also talks about food for a living on Off Menu, a podcast he co-hosts with James Acaster.

Having made a name for himself on the likes of Mock The Week and Russell Howard’s Good News, Ed has since gone on to star on shows like Taskmaster, and sell out comedy tours worldwide.

Why did they change the judges on Great British Menu?

The decision to change the Great British Menu judges in 2022 came 17 seasons in, so it is unsurprising they wanted to keep things fresh. However, the BBC never formally issued an explanation as to why it made the move.

Announcing the new lineup last year, Julie Shaw, commissioning editor for the show last year, simply stated: “I am very excited that Tom, Nisha and Ed will be joining the next series of Great British Menu, between them they bring a huge wealth of knowledge and experience of the UK’s contemporary restaurant and food industry, and we can’t wait for them to get started.”

READ MORE: Game of Thrones fans may recognise the narrator of Best Home Cook

When the shake-up was announced, each new judge also proved they had the chops to take part.

“What an absolutely delicious privilege it is to make the ranks of judge on the Great British Menu,” Nisha said last year. “As a chef with restaurants across the country I have always been so invested in the sublime skills of our culinary regions.

“Their virtuosity and artistry has always blown me away and to join the happy GBM tribe is nothing less than a dream come true. Pass me a fork!”

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about GMB’s Andi Oliver

Meanwhile, Ed told viewers: “It’s a great honour to be asked to judge on this shining jewel in the BBC’s crown. I’ve been in strict training for the show by eating full meals every hour. Good news: I love food. Bad news: I eat with my mouth open.”

Tom added: “I am so thrilled to be judging Great British Menu. It holds such a special place in my heart having cooked at the banquet twice.

“I’ve been through it, I know the pressure, the highs and the lows, which is what makes it such a brilliant competition and a great show. I can’t wait to meet the chefs and see some of the UK’s finest talent shine.”

Who were the previous judges on Great British Menu?

Before Tom, Nisha and Ed came along, you might remember there were a few other faces in the judging panel.

Like our current judges, their backgrounds were varied, but they were all experts in their fields. They were:

Matthew Fort

who are the judges on great british menu matthew fort

Matthew Fort was a panel mainstay for years (Credit: Alamy/Neil Spence)

A former mainstay of the Great British Menu judging panel, Matthew Fort featured on the show since 2006.

Fort was the Food and Drink Editor at The Guardian newspaper for over 10 years, and continued to be a major player in the British food scene thereafter. 

During his career, he wrote several best-selling books about food and travel. Some of his best known include Eating up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa  and its sequel Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons. Fort also won the 1993 Restaurateurs’ Association Food Writer of the Year prize.

Oliver Peyton

who are the judges on great british menu oliver peyton

Oliver Peyton was a veteran judge, too (Credit: Alamy/ Stills Press)

Like Matthew, Oliver was fixture of Great British Menu from 2006 until the switch-up. He has also received an honorary OBE for his services to the catering industry.

The Irish restaurateur made his name as a businessman, opening a slew of successful restaurants and bars across the UK.

READ MORE: What happens to the cakes on Bake Off: The Professionals?

Some of his most successful projects include Mash and Isola in London, as well as National Dining Rooms and National Café at the National Gallery.

In addition to his experience setting up restaurants, Peyton also famously advocated for the use of British meat in restaurants. He even once went so far as to claim that his native Ireland was nothing more than an “airport for meat” in an interview with Channel 4.

Rachel Khoo

former great british menu judge rachel khoo

Rachel Khoo was a judge for one year (Credit: Alamy)

Rachel Khoo joined the 2021 judging panel, and had a one year stint before its reboot.

She found fame creating food content for audiences around the world, and travelling everywhere from London to Australia via Paris.

She first found fame after fronting the BBC series Little Paris Kitchen, and went on to star in series such as Zumbo’s Just Desserts and My Kitchen Rules, as well as a handful of others.

Why did Oliver Peyton leave Great British Menu?

Speaking to Great British Chefs, Oliver explained that while he enjoyed being a Great British Menu judge, the job did not define his career.

He said: “I love doing Great British Menu and I look forward to doing it, but it’s not my career, none of us rely on Great British Menu.”

When it was announced that Oliver would not be returning to the show after a 13 year stint, neither he or the BBC provided a formal explanation of whose decision it was or why it made.

READ MORE: What happened to the restaurants on Kitchen Nightmares?

However, the BBC’s commissioning editor made it clear there was no bad blood: “I would like to thank Matthew and Oliver for their incredible contribution to Great British Menu over many years, and Rachel for her role last year.

“They have been a big part of the show’s success, and we wish them all the best for the future.”

The former Great British Menu judges back in 2021

The former Great British Menu judges back in 2021 (Credit: BBC)

Did Matthew Fort quit Great British Menu?

Like Oliver, Matthew exited Great British Menu after 13 years, and the move is thought to have been the decision of the BBC.

He hasn’t spoken publicly on his exit from the series or whose decision it was, but he continues to champion the show and its host Andi Oliver on his social media, suggesting he left on good terms.

Since leaving the show, Matthew has started his own podcast alongside his daughter, Lois, cleverly named Forts on Food. In it, the pair talk to big names about the foods they love and reflect on some of their culinary memories.

“There are recipes and tips and hints. There are stories, memories, reflections,” said Lois on the podcast. Sign us up.

What is Rachel Khoo doing now?

Since her one year stint on Great British Menu, Rachel Khoo has been continuing her food related content creation.

She regularly shares recipes on Instagram so that her 388,000 followers can try them for themselves, with everything from a quick turkey stew to toffee amaretto truffles showing up on her feed.

Rachel’s Insta also includes food guides of several different areas, in keeping with the travel content you’d expect from her.

READ MORE: Why did Adam Richam leave Man v. Food?

She’s also released an e-cookbook called Rachel Khoo’s Simple Pleasures, and works as a creative consultant, with clients including IKEA, Clas Ohlson and Cuisinart.

Looks like Great British Menu’s loss is Instagram’s gain.

who are the judges on great british menu andi oliver

Andi Oliver is a former judge and now hosts (Credit: BBC)

What has host Andi Oliver said about the former Great British Menu judges?

The current host, Andi Oliver, is always one to speak out if any of her fellow TV stars face heat. In fact, we’ve seen her defend the previous judging cohort on numerous occasions.

When viewers accused Oliver Peyton and Matthew Fort of being “miserable” when she starred alongside them on the judging panel, Andi told Radio Times: “People say Matthew and Oliver are miserable, but they are simply sharing their opinions.

READ MORE: The 9 ultimate Come Dine With Me episodes 

“I hated the first dish I ever tasted and gave it a low score. Oliver said, ‘The new girl is harsh!’ We cracked up and that was it, we were a team”.

She added that: “Matthew is one of the best human beings on the planet. When I speak to him, I start speaking like the Queen! I get a weird, contact posh thing.”

Great British Menu airs Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm on BBC2.