When is the Great British Menu final? The 2021 Banquet is on the horizon

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The Great British Menu final is on the horizon now that the heats are all done and dusted.

No less than 32 chefs have had a crack at this year's competition, with only the top eight making it to round two. Now, all that remains is to decide which regions will be represented at the banquet.

Before then, however, there's the small matter of an intense, week-long cook off. Only then can the very best chefs in the 2021 contest earn their place.

The heats may be over, but there are still plenty of twists and turns left. Here's everything viewers need to know ahead of the series' conclusion.

Great British Menu Winning Great British Menu is a massive achievement (Credit: BBC)

When is the Great British Menu final?

The Great British Menu final is set to be broadcast on Friday, May 21st at 8 pm on BBC Two.

Just as in previous years, the winning chefs will be cooking a course or more for a select group of special guests. Then, at the end of the night, one of the cooks will be chosen as the overall champion of champions, marking them as the winner.

READ MORE: Great British Menu results so far – here are the chefs through to the final cook-off

This year, the banquet is being held in honour of Britain's greatest innovators. As a result, the meal will take place at Jodrell Bank observatory in Chesire, in keeping with the scientific theme.

The guest list includes the likes of vaccine designer Professor Sarah Gilbert from the University of Oxford, British space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE and British designer Thomas Heatherwick.

Comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster, hosts of the popular Off Menu podcast are also in attendance.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, filming this year's banquet actually took place outside. However, thanks to some cunning kitchen improvisation, chefs were able to cook their menus as normal.

Great British Menu North West The North West chefs on this year's Great British Menu (Credit: BBC)

What is the prize for winning the Great British Menu?

Unlike many other cooking competitions, the winner of Great British Menu does not receive a cash prize. Instead, the reward is a mixture of incredible press coverage and the opportunity to cook at one of the most prestigious events of the culinary calendar.

Over the years, some of the biggest names in British food have won the competition. Therefore, having the chance to join this illustrious list is a great opportunity for any chef.

READ MORE: Who is Sophie Michell? Beat The Chef star and UK’s youngest female Executive Chef

However, the real incentive is the great publicity it gives to all the cooks and restaurants involved. For instance, a previous contestant once told Staff Canteen: "It is like having the best PR possible... Yes, you have to put a lot of work in but the rewards are brilliant.

"I think with something like GBM you have to see the big picture. I have spent a lot of time practising and filming, which takes you away from the restaurant but the increase in business has meant I am now able to employ more staff and buy better equipment.

It just goes to show that cash isn't always the be-all and end-all.

Niall Keating Great British Menu Niall Keating won the show in 2020 with his fish dish (Credit: BBC)

Who won the Great British Menu in 2020?

Whatley Manor excecutive head chef Niall Keating won the Great British Menu in 2020.

Last year's competition was one of the toughest in recent memory. The gruelling contest saw cooks attempting to get their dishes to a banquet celebrating 200 years of British children's literature.

READ MORE: Meet the Great British Menu judges

Keating eventually triumphed over his fellow competitors, cooking a stellar Philip Pullman-inspired fish course, featuring a black tortellini in the shape of a witch's hat.

Other chefs in the final included Tom Barnes of L'Enclume and Alex Greene of Deanes Eipic in Belfast.

Great British Menu results The Great British Menu judges (Credit: BBC)

How can I apply for the Great British Menu 2022?

Taking part in Great British Menu certainly isn't straightforward. The show has a rigorous application and vetting process to ensure that only the best chefs make it through.

In fact, you really only stand a chance of making it on if you're one of the top chefs in the country. Unlike MasterChef, Great British Menu doesn't accept all-comers.

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

However, even if you do make it onto the lineup, competing isn't always a boon to cooks. For instance, several past competitors have complained that the show includes plenty of hidden costs, from props to equipment.

As one anonymous chef told The Staff Canteen: "I thought it would be fantastic for the business and my profile, but I didn’t think about how much it would cost until I started to think about what I needed to put into it.

"The costs quickly rise and it’s only paid for if you get through to the final."

It might be a fantastic opportunity, but it's clear that Great British Menu can come at a cost.