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BBC Two’s most popular and longest running cookery series, Great British Menu, reaches its finale this Friday with their most ambitious Banquet to date, which will be held in Paris, home of the Olympics 2024.

Generously hosted by the British Ambassador to France at the 18th Century British Embassy Residence in Paris, the winning chefs are preparing a good luck Team GB Banquet for some of Britain’s greatest Olympians and Paralympians to wish them success for the Paris 2024 Games.

The chefs are challenged more than ever before to keep the Banquet for 70 guests on track: their complex dishes themed around the Olympic and Paralympic Games must be delivered in record time as the athletes are on a tight timetable with a return day trip from St Pancras to Paris.

The finale banquet to wish British athletes competing in Paris 2024 good luck is attended by past and present Olympians and Paralympians including: Dame Katharine Grainger, Colin Jackson OBE, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Ellie Simmonds OBE, Dame Mary Peters (1972 Champion pentathlete), defending modern pentathlon champion Joe Choong MBE, wheelchair rugby champion Stuart Robinson MBE, and a representative of the newest sport to be inaugurated at the Olympics this summer, Breaking star, B-Boy Karam.

There are also athletes from a wide range of sports including taekwondo, hockey, rugby sevens, badminton, sailing, rowing, gymnastics, archery, para-archery, para-high jump, para-cycling.

Sarah Eglin, Executive Producer at Optomen, said: “It’s hard to over-estimate the logistics involved in organising this year’s Banquet that were unlike any we’d encountered before. We worked closely with our exceptional colleagues at Team GB, Eurostar, and the British Embassy, to transport the athletes over and back in a day and ensure that we had everything in place to run the Banquet like clockwork. There are always surprises when filming a shoot of this size – and this is no exception as viewers will see.”

Andi Oliver, Presenter, says: “We’re kicking off the banquet actually on the Eurostar to get it all completed in time, with a canape being served on the train and the clock isn’t going to stop ticking at the British Embassy Residence either, as our guests need to catch the train home at the end of the day and the chefs have a four course feast to serve them!..

"But I’m incredibly proud of each chef for getting to the final and don’t doubt that we have an exceptional banquet this year to share with the Ambassador and all her Team GB guests. The Ambassador and her team made us feel so welcome, it really is an exceptional finale to our series.”

Tom Kerridge, Michelin starred chef and Head Judge, says: “If our winning chefs can pull this one off, they really are superstars. They’ll have to show their British dishes can hold their own in Paris, the home of classical fine dining and cooking in the kitchen at the British Embassy Residence is a huge honour for any professional chef, I’m a little bit envious of that.”

The British Ambassador to France, Dame Menna Rawlings, says: ““As Ambassador, it’s my job to promote the UK in France, so I was delighted to host the Great British Menu banquet at the British Residence in Paris. It was a fantastic celebration of great British cuisine, thanks to the four winning chefs. Even our French guests were impressed – praise indeed from a nation of food-lovers! And it was an honour to meet some inspiring Team GB and Paralympic GB athletes past and present, ahead of the Paris Games this summer."

“The Great British Menu banquet was inspiring and impressive. I’m honoured to have been part of it. Congratulations to all the winning chefs, and onwards to the Olympics and Paralympics!”

This year’s 29-part Great British Menu competition on BBC Two has seen chefs creating exciting, new dishes including a karate black belt pickled kohlrabi starter, an ode to Colin Jackson fish course, and an edible tennis ball cheesecake.

Which dishes will grace the final Banquet menu to celebrate Team GB and which chef will overcome the many hurdles they face on the day to become the overall winner? It will be down to the Team GB athletes and the Ambassador and her guests to cast the final vote. All of the chefs want the gold medal so this promises to be a tight run race full of excitement in the home of French culinary gastronomy.

The Great British Menu Banquet episode will air on BBC Two at 7pm on Friday 22 March 2024 and all episodes are available on BBC iPlayer.


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