Meet the Great British Menu 2021 judges – Matthew Fort, Oliver Peyton and Rachel Khoo

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The Great British Menu is returning with new judges and big changes for 2021.

Unlike the usual competition, which all hinges around a huge, crowded banquet and regularly incorporates sharing plates and communal eating, this year's show is going to have to rethink things a little bit.

Great British Menu 2021 The Great British Menu judging panel for 2021 (Credit: BBC)

Great British Menu 2021 judges

To go with the new approach, Great British Menu 2021 will also feature a new judging line-up.

Alongside experienced, familiar faces, there is also some fresh blood in the dining room. All this means that the new series may be the most exciting for some time.

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Before the first episode drops, here's everything you need to know about the Great British Menu judges for 2021.

Great British Menu judges 2021 Rachel Khoo is a new judge for the 2021 Great British Menu series (Credit: BBC)

Matthew Fort

A mainstay of the Great British Menu judging panel, Matthew Fort has featured on the show since 2006. His longevity in the competition means that he continues to be one of the most respected voices in food.

While fans might know Fort primarily for his appearances on Great British Menu, there's much more to his career than eating banquet-worthy meals.

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For over 10 years, for instance, Fort was the Food and Drink Editor at The Guardian newspaper. Although he left his post in 2012, Fort continues to be a major player in the British food scene.

During his career, he has written several best-selling books about food and travel. Some of his best known include Eating up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa (2004) and its sequel Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons (2008).

Fort also won the 1993 Restaurateurs' Association Food Writer of the Year prize. Whether or not you agree with his opinions, his credentials are not in question.

Matthew Fort Great British Menu Matthew Fort has been a fixture on the show since 2006 (Credit: Alamy/Neil Spence)

Oliver Peyton

Unlike his fellow judge Matthew Fort, Oliver Peyton has built his career at the sharp end of the restaurant industry.

The 59-year-old Irish restaurateur has made his name as a businessman, opening a slew of successful restaurants and bars across the UK.

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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 has also 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.

Like Fort, Peyton has been a fixture of Great British Menu since 2006. He has also received an honorary OBE for his services to the catering industry.

Oliver Peyton Oliver Peyton is one of the UK's most successful restaurateurs (Credit: Alamy/Stills Press)

Rachel Khoo

New for the Great British Menu 2021 judging panel is broadcaster and chef Rachel Khoo.

Khoo's career to date has seen her travel from London to Australia via Paris, all while creating incredible food content for audiences around the world.

The 40-year-old Londoner first found fame after the BBC series Little Paris Kitchen. Since then, Khoo has gone on to star in series such as Zumbo's Just Desserts and My Kitchen rules, as well as a handful of other BBC series.

Speaking to the BBC after her appointment was confirmed, Khoo said:

“I am delighted to be taking on the role of judge at the Great British Menu! We have some extraordinary chefs in the UK and the programme does a great job of showcasing that homegrown talent.

"I’m so proud to be part of the series and I can’t wait for viewers to see what’s in store.”

Given the strange circumstances surrounding series 16, it remains to be seen whether she's picked a sensible time to join the show!

Rachel Khoo Great British Menu 2021 Rachel Khoo is a new judge for the 2021 series (Credit: Alamy/dpa picture alliance)

Where is Andi Oliver Great British Menu 2021?

With a new-look judging panel confirmed, fans may well be wondering where former judge Andi Oliver factors into the new Great British Menu series.

After taking over presenting duties for last year's Christmas special, Oliver will continue in this new role for 2021, vacating her judge's seat for Rachel Khoo.

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Oliver was a judge on the show for four series, following in the footsteps of none other than Prue Leith. She will replace Scottish comedian Susan Calman as the Great British Menu's presenter-in-chief.