Meet Yorkshire's Great British Menu chefs

Liz Cottam prepares her starter on Great British Menu  

Liz Cottam prepares her starter on Great British Menu - Credit: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown

Yorkshire chef Liz Cottam heads to the Great British Menu kitchen tonight  (March 8) - appropriately enough, on International Women's Day. 

She will be cooking alongside a stellar line-up of chefs showing off the body of talent from restaurants across the county. 

The four newcomers to the programme competing this week are: Sheffield-based Luke French, who runs his Nordic/Japanese influenced restaurant Jöro; Yorkshire-born Liz, known for restaurants, Home and The Owl in Leeds and CORA in Boston Spa; Kerala-born Bobby Geetha, chef patron of Fleur Café in Leeds. Also competing is Mark Aisthorpe, chef patron of The Bull's Head in Holymoorside, Derbyshire.

In 2016 Liz she walked away from a successful corporate career to become a full-time chef, doing stints at The Star Inn the City in York and The Box Tree in Ilkley.

In 2017, she opened HOME and found herself the recipient of a Michelin Plate shortly after. More recently, she has gone on to open two more establishments; The Owl (also featured in the Michelin Guide) and CORA. She describes her food as 'progressive with traditional foundations, inspired by nature and using the best of Yorkshire produce'.

Liz Cottam in chef whites

Liz Cottam now has three restaurants in Yorkshire - HOME, The Owl and CORA - Credit: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown

On IWD, she also praised her strong team of females at CORA, saying on Instagram, 'Happy International Women's day. Cora senior management team includes Elizabeth Cottam (chef Patron) Audrey Colombe (FOH Manager), Rosie Wilkinson (baker), and Mary Jane Walker (pastry chef) we also have Imogen (commis chef) It is very unusual to have such a female-led restaurant.'

Liz’s GBM dishes see her paying tribute to classic British comedies with dishes inspired by The Last of the Summer Wine and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Luke French moved to Sheffield 11 years ago and has since become a big name on the food scene in Yorkshire 

Luke French prepares canapes on Great British Menu

Luke French prepares canapes on Great British Menu - Credit: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown

Starting out as a kitchen porter at the age of 14, Luke went on to cook in the kitchens of Alimentum and The Fat Duck before relocating to Steel City.

In 2016, Luke opened Jöro with his wife, Stacey Sherwood, serving clean, pure flavours with a Nordic/Japanese inflection to rave reviews. A Michelin Plate, 3 AA Rosettes and placing 32nd in the National Restaurant Awards followed. More recently, their empire has expanded to serve up more casual east Asian-inspired offerings in Sheffield and Liverpool at Konjö and Nama.

Luke’s menu to champion British broadcasting belies his youthful countenance, paying homage to early eighties classics, Brideshead Revisited and Butterflies.

Presenter Andi Oliver with Bobby Geetha

Presenter Andi Oliver with Bobby Geetha - Credit: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown

Kerala-born globetrotter Bobby Geetha has been based in Leeds for the last two years, developing menus for Fleur Café, Casa Peri Peri and Fine Indian Dining.

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Prior to settling down in Yorkshire, Bobby has graced many a prestigious kitchen with his cooking, having put shifts in at Noma, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. He takes great pleasure incorporating western techniques into his own cooking, describing his food as 'innovative Indian dishes with an international approach'.

Bobby is no stranger to competitive success, having won the Hozpitality Excellence award for Best Executive Chef in the Middle East, the LTG Best Indian Restaurant award in Dubai and the Prochef award for Best Indian Speciality Chef in the Middle East during his time working in the UAE.

Bobby’s first outing in the GBM kitchen has him cooking dishes that are homages to food travelogues, and coverage of Formula 1 racing.

The contestants, Mark Aisthorpe, Luke French, Liz Cottam, Bobby Geetha

The contestants; Mark Aisthorpe, Luke French, Liz Cottam, Bobby Geetha - Credit: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown

Tonight's show features canapes and starters which are inspired by the show's theme of 100 years of British broadcasting. It will be followed by mains and desserts shown tomorrow night on the show. 

GBM is on BBC Two at 8pm tonight and on BBC iPlayer