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Chef Tom Barnes to compete on prime-time cooking show

Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes, Executive Chef for Simon Rogan restaurants in the North West, will proudly represent the region in this year’s series of BBC Two’s Great British Menu.

The 31-year-old, who grew up in the Cumbrian town of Barrow-in-Furness, will showcase his cooking-style and creative culinary flair as he embarks on the rigorous process, involving a total of 32 chefs from around the UK.

Tom’s heat will see him go head to head against three talented chefs, all originally from the same region of the UK. The first episode of the series will air on Wednesday, March 18th.

Now in its fifteen year, the 2020 series of Great British Menu is themed around iconic food from children’s literature. Chefs will be tested on their ability to represent this theme, by initially creating six unique courses to include a pre-starter and amuse bouche.

The lowest scoring chef will leave after the starters and fish course at the beginning of the week. On day two, the three remaining chefs will battle it out over main course and dessert. The two highest scoring chefs cook for the judges in the final Friday episode with just one getting the chance to represent their country or region in the national finals. At the end of the week, one chef will make it to the second round.

Against Tom in the initial round will be chefs Sam Buckley, of Where The Light Gets In in Stockport, George Farrugia of the Fenchurch Restaurant in London and Hrishikesh Desai of the Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, also in the Lake District.

Tom Barnes commented: “I am so proud to represent the North-West in this year’s series. Luckily the area has some incredible links with children’s literature, so I’ve found some great inspiration from the surroundings and the history here. It’s also been a joy to showcase the excellent produce available in the Lake District. It was an incredible honour and a great challenge to be involved.”

This year’s judging panel will be made up for Matthew Fort, Oliver Peyton and Andi Oliver. Guest judges will include comedian and children’s author David Baddiel, teen novelists Malorie Blackman and Jacqueline Wilson, and award-winning writer of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson. The series will be presented by Susan Calman.

Tom Barnes has worked within the Simon Rogan restaurant group since 2011, overseeing two Michelin-starred L’Enclume, one Michelin starred Rogan & Co as well as chef’s table Aulis, all located in the Lake District village of Cartmel. Tom also oversees Simon Rogan’s newest restaurant venture Henrock, located overlooking Lake Windermere. Here he has been working closely with Simon, to create a series of dining experiences that celebrate the natural landscapes whilst incorporating ingredients from Simon Rogan’s very own farm, Our Farm.

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