Meet the three Northern Ireland chefs aiming to impress the judges in this week’s Great British Menu

Great British Menu judges (L-R) Kevin Gould, Oliver Peyton, Prue Leith, Matthew Fort. Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

Great British Menu judges (L-R) Kevin Gould, Oliver Peyton, Prue Leith, Matthew Fort. Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

Three of the best chefs from Northern Ireland are competing this week in the regional heats of Great British Menu.

These culinary wizards will be on BBC Two every night this week as they aim to cook their way into the next round of the competition and on to the ultimate banquet.

Mark Abbott. Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

Mark Abbott. Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

The chefs who’ll be competing in the Northern Ireland heats are:

Mark Abbott

Mark moved to Cambridge in 2010 to work at Daniel Clifford’s Midsummer House. He has worked for big names such as Michael Deane, Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles and Paul Kitching at 21212.

Eddie Attwell

Eddie Attwell. Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

Eddie Attwell. Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

Now at St Kyrans in Co Cavan, Eddie had previously made a name for himself at Ardtara Country House in Co Londonderry.

Chris McGowan

Chris is the only of the three chefs currently based in Northern Ireland at Wine & Brine in Moira. He first appeared in the Great British Menu cook-off back in 2014 when he won the regional heat for Northern Ireland. The following year he came runner up in the regional heat.

In the regional heats, the chefs’ dishes will be judged by eight competition veterans who are now among the most accomplished and successful chefs in the UK. They include Daniel Clifford, Simon Rogan, Phil Howard, Richard Corrigan, Michael O’Hare and Angela Hartnett.

Chris McGowan. Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

Chris McGowan. Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

The two chefs who are scored most highly by the veteran judges will then present their four-course menu to award-winning restaurant critic Matthew Fort; doyenne of British cookery, Prue Leith; and acclaimed restaurateur Oliver Peyton.

Each week the panel of three will be joined by a guest judge who has been feted in his or her field. They include award-winning food writers and critics as well as esteemed chefs and restaurateurs honoured for their services to the hospitality industry.

Together, with the Great British Menu judges, they will decide which chef will be the champion of their region, and worthy of potentially becoming an ambassador for contemporary British cuisine.

The eight regional winners will then compete in the National Finals for a chance to cook at the Great Britons Banquet at the Houses of Parliament.

Great British Menu will makes history as the Palace of Westminster opens its doors for the first televised banquet to be held in the historic House of Commons Members’ Dining Room.

This year, the chefs are competing to cook at the banquet in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s ‘Great Britons’.

These are ordinary, everyday people who have been recognised on the Queen’s birthday and New Year’s honours’ list over the years for their extraordinary achievements in different walks of life.