Michelin starred chef Josh Eggleton, from The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, will represent the South West in this year’s 9th series of BBC Two’s Great British Menu commemorating the 70th anniversary of D Day.
Josh Eggleton and 23 of the nation’s top chefs will fight it out to be named this year’s Great British Menu chef and win the chance to cook at a prestigious banquet set in the bastion of British wartime resilience, London’s magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral. Joining the celebrations will be those who fought on 6th June 1944 itself as well as others who served both overseas and on the home front.
This year’s challenge for Josh and the chefs is to create dishes that include inspiration from their families’ and communities’ contributions to the war effort. The programme will see Josh and his Nan take a personal voyage back to when she was a child evacuee during the war.
Josh Eggleton, Great British Menu contestant and Chef-proprietor at the Pony & Trap explains: “During the filming of the show I engaged loads with my Nan, and learnt so much about her life as an eight year old who was evacuated to Devon. The amazing thing about her is her memory, she remembers everything. Every time we spoke she had a new story to talk about. When we were filming, I said to the crew, I bet she will tell a story I haven’t heard of and true to form she did. It has been great to be part of the series this year.”
In 2006 Josh took over the Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, which made him one of the youngest restaurant proprietors in the country. Running the pub with his sister Holly, over the last eight years the Pony & Trap has gone from strength to strength and was this year named the third best gastropub at the Budweiser Budvar Top 50 Gastropubs Awards. Josh has held a Michelin star since 2011.
To reach the final banquet and represent the south west, Josh will compete against Dominic Chapman from The Royal Oak and Emily Watkins of The Kingham Plough. Each chef must first impress a veteran chef of the competition, who will put the top two through to the Friday regional final. It is then back to the preparation stage for the chefs as they get their menus ready again for not only regular judges Prue Leith, Mathew Ford and Oliver Peyton but also a special guest judge with a unique perspective on this period of British history.
Among the veterans is 93-year-old Ken Sturdy, who fought on the beaches of Normandy, Jim Radford who is thought to be the youngest serving in the Merchant Navy on D Day as well as Celia Sandy, Winston Churchill’s granddaughter. These special guests will bring their incredible experiences, personal memories and discerning taste buds to the judging chamber.
BBC Two’s Great British Menu: The D Day Banquet will starting at 7.30pm on Monday 7th April and will run every weekday for nine weeks with the final ‘banquet’ programme to be broadcast on 6th June, which celebrates the 70th anniversary of D Day itself. Our south west chefs’ week will air on Monday 21st April.
To celebrate the South West week, the trio have joined forces and will bring together their best dishes in a four course banquet to be hosted at each of their restaurants, starting at The Pony and Trap on Tuesday 29th April. The dinner will include 4 courses as seen on TV, coffee and petit fours at £100 per head.