Jodrell Bank hosts TV banquet special

The culminating episode of The Great British Menu takes place at Jodrell Bank and is set to air on BBC Two at 8pm Friday 21st May.

For nine weeks, chefs from across the UK have been competing for the honour of representing their region in the Great British Menu final -The Banquet, where one will be crowned Champion of Champions.

Presented by Andi Oliver, the series has challenged the UK’s leading chefs to prepare dishes on the theme of Great British Science and Innovation and what better location for the final banquet than the UK’s latest UNESCO World Heritage Site and icon for British science, Jodrell Bank.

For over 75 years, The University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory has pioneered world-leading research in the science of radio-astronomy, making ground-breaking discoveries and helping to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Its award-winning Discovery Centre is widely regarded a centre for excellence in public engagement and the team were thrilled to be asked to host the final.

The famous site joins an iconic list of previous banquet venues including Abbey Road Studios, St Paul’s Cathedral, and The Royal Albert Hall.

Professor Teresa Anderson, Director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre has said: “We were honoured to be asked to host the banquet in celebration of Great British Science and Innovation. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to share our contribution to science and to inspire new audiences with the pioneering story of Jodrell Bank.”

Professor Teresa Anderson
It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to share our contribution to science and to inspire new audiences with the pioneering story of Jodrell Bank.
Professor Teresa Anderson

Taking place amid the government’s Covid restrictions, the episode is also the first ever outdoor banquet where a 70-strong guest list of the UK’s leading scientists and innovators dined outdoors beneath of the mighty Lovell Telescope.

The team transformed Jodrell Bank’s Wolfson Auditorium, usually a space for public events and school workshops, into a full working kitchen. Meanwhile, an open-sided marquee was erected in the grounds and the sun shone as guests dined outside.

Teresa Anderson continues: “It was a beautiful day and a real treat to be able enjoy the views of the Lovell Telescope with incredible food alongside inspirational guests”

Banquet guests included Jodrell Bank’s Professors Tim O’Brien and Teresa Anderson who joined leading scientists and science communicators from around the UK including Professor Sarah Gilbert from Oxford’s successful Covid vaccination programme and Professor Maggie Aderin-Pocock from BBC’s The Sky at Night.

Designers were represented by Thomas Heatherwick, the brains behind London’s 2012 Olympic Cauldron, and Sophie Conran. They were joined by comedian and trained engineer Phil Wang, podcast stars James Acaster and Ed Gamble, mathematician Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and YouTube phenomenon and madcap inventor Colin Furze, who arrived on a two metre high, socially distanced bike!

The Great British Menu: The Banquet airs on BBC2 at 8pm Friday 21st May.

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