Cotswold pub owner in hit BBC2 show

Chef Emily Watkins

Chef Emily Watkins

First published in News
Last updated

THE owner of a Cotswold pub has been chosen to represent the south west in the BBC Two programme, Great British Menu.

Emily Watkins, who runs the Kingham Plough, near Chipping Norton, will be fighting it out against chefs Dominic Chapman and Josh Eggleton in her category for the chance to cook at a huge banquet marking the 70th anniversary of D Day.

But to reach the banquet, which will be held in St Paul's Cathedral, in London, for guests including those who fought on June 6, 1944 as well as others who served on both the frontline and the home front, three chefs each week must first impress a veteran chef of the competition.

The top two will be put through to the Friday regional final and prepare their menus again for the regular judges Prue Leith, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton along with a special guest judge.

Mrs Watkins, who got through to the judge's chamber stage in the Comic Relief-themed competition last year, said she was keen to show them what she could do this time around.

"It's really exciting," she said. "I loved the brief. It's a great thing to be doing to honour them. It's totally all consuming but amazing to be invited to take part in it."

This year the chefs have to produce 21st century dishes which evoke the wartime spirit of the generation who fought for the country as well as honour the bravery shown throughout the Second World War.

The 34-year-old's, whose menu is a culinary journey through the war with a bit of French influence, was inspired after talking to people in the village of the war generation including John Cooper, who was 12 when the Second World War broke out.

"What I wanted to focus on was how they were so resourceful and the way they lived off the land," she said. "John Cooper was left to provide for his family and his mum was working in the munitions factory in the village. As a young lad he would finish at school and go to the allotments. He was really quite inspiring."

Great British Menu: The D Day Banquet starts on Monday, April 7 at 7.30pm and will run every weekday for nine weeks. Emily Watkin's week of programmes will air on Monday, April 21.

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