Tensions will rise in Big family Cooking Showdown

Nadiya Hussain co-presents the new BBC series The Big Family Cooking Showdown but the Bake Off winner insists it's not a replacement for the flagship show. Susan Griffin takes a closer look at the programme that's already got everyone talking.

[The Big Family Cooking Showdown is being hailed as the new Great British Bake Off but Nadiya Hussain, who co-presents the series with Zoe Ball, is adamant it's nothing of the sort.

iorgio Locatelli, Zoe Ball, Nadiya Hussain, Rosemary Schrager

iorgio Locatelli, Zoe Ball, Nadiya Hussain, Rosemary Schrager

"People think it's a replacement, they're saying it's the new Bake Off but it's not," says Hussain, who won The Great British Bake Off in 2015.

"The new Bake Off (which begins on Channel 4 later this summer) is the new Bake Off. This is a cookery show. Having been through a food competition as an amateur cook myself, I know exactly how tough it can get and so I'll be there for them, alongside Zoe, as the pressure really builds."

Ahead of its debut on BBC Two on Tuesday, August 15, we take a closer look at the new show which is set to celebrate favourite family recipes across the nation.

:: WHAT'S THE FORMAT?

Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain

Over the 12-part series, 16 teams of cooks will be whittled down over eight heats, three semi-finals and one grand final. In each episode, two families represented by three family members, go head-to-head in three rounds.

Round one is the £10 challenge, where teams show what they can do to feed four within the budget in just over an hour.

Round two is the home visits challenge, where each team must cook a main course and a dessert in their own home for judges Rosemary Shrager and Giorgio Locatelli.

Round three is the "impress the neighbours" challenge where the families return to the studio for the deciding round, creating a starter and a main course in little over two hours.

Zoe Ball

Zoe Ball

:: WHO'S PRESENTING?

Zoe Ball swaps the glitter of Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two for presenting duties in The Big Family Cooking Showdown studio. Ball, a mum-of-two, doesn't describe herself as the world's best cook but has enjoyed learning some handy new kitchen tips from the families.

"We get to go into family homes and see them cooking in their own home space. It's really quite wonderful seeing all these recipes that have gone back through the families, handed down and taught from generation to generation, adapted slightly as people are modernising them, and these are recipes that you'd never find in a cookbook," says the 46-year-old.

"Also seeing people take a slightly different take on a recipe depending on where they come from - perhaps they've got an Italian father and an Irish mother - it's fascinating!"

Giorgio Locatelli

Giorgio Locatelli

As mentioned, Ball is joined by Hussain, a mum-of-three, who's now a published author and popular TV presenter following her Bake Off win.

"It's not just about the food but it's also about the dynamics of the family because we've got so many different types of families, the array of food is unreal," explains the 32-year-old.

"And it's not one person cooking, so it falls on everybody to have a role in the group and that's really interesting to watch because it's no different to most family homes when you're all in the kitchen together."

:: WHO'S JUDGING?

Chef Shrager, 66, who's appeared on The Real Marigold Hotel, The Chopping Block and Rosemary's School For Cooks, as well as Ladette To Lady, is looking for a family with food at its heart that shares both the kitchen duties and recipes between the generations.

"I think it's a combination of families cooking, achieving lots of great stuff together, doing lots of unusual food that even I haven't seen before," she remarks. "This competition is family set against family and that is very different."

Rosemary Schrager

Rosemary Schrager

She is joined by Michelin star chef Locatelli, who owns Locanda Locatelli, and has appeared in Sicily Unpacked and Italy Unpacked.

He's particularly looking forwards to experiencing the different families' heritages through the dishes that they serve. "I was born on the second floor of a restaurant so all my life it has been about culinary tradition," he notes. "I think the viewers will enjoy the intimacy of going to the house of the families, see their kitchen and see what food means to them. This is about the people and how they cook, where their ideas come from, whether it's heritage or history or knowledge."

:: WHO'S TAKING PART?

In total there are 16 families, two taking part per episode, and representing all corners of the country, including Buckinghamshire, Birmingham and Liverpool.

In heat one, we're introduced to the Charles and Marks families, who hail from Yorkshire and London respectively.

The Charles team is made up of Betty, 29, her husband Dan, 32, and her mother Jean, 59. They take inspiration for their food from their travels across Europe and Asia and don't consider it a proper meal unless "there's at least a starter and main", which they'll cook from scratch.

The Marks team is made up of Swedish-born Torun, 86, her daughter Jessica, 55, and grandson Oskar, 29. Together they enjoy cooking Swedish dishes that Torun has passed down to her family, with Oskar adapting the recipes using more exotic ingredients.

:: DOES IT DESERVE THE BAKE OFF COMPARISONS?

In short, no it doesn't. There might be two judges and two presenters, one of which won The Great British Bake Off, but that's really where the similarities end. In The Big Family Cooking Showdown, there are teams of three so unlike Bake Off it's a group effort. The contestants are also asked to create entire meals not focus solely on cakes, buns and breads. But with the new series of The Great British Bake Off set to begin in the coming weeks in its new home at Channel 4, it'll be interesting to see how the two shows fare.

:: The Big Family Cooking Showdown begins on BBC Two on Tuesday, August 15

The Charles family

The Charles family

The Marks family

The Marks family

Giorgio Locatelli, Nadiya Hussain, Zoe Ball and Rosemary Schrager

Giorgio Locatelli, Nadiya Hussain, Zoe Ball and Rosemary Schrager