Banbury chefs offered chance to follow in Gordon Ramsay's footsteps

If Banbury helped shape the early years of the superstar chef’s glittering career, then his latest TV venture could also prove the recipe for success for someone from his old stomping ground.

From Bretch Hill to the world... Gordon Ramsay's team is on the lookout for UK contestants for a new TV series, why not from Banbury?
From Bretch Hill to the world... Gordon Ramsay's team is on the lookout for UK contestants for a new TV series, why not from Banbury?

Gordon Ramsay’s rollercoaster early years – including living for a time with his family in Stratford, then on his own in Banbury as a teenager, before going on to train at what was then called North Oxfordshire Technical College – are familiar tales, including 2019’s Born Famous programme which saw his son Jack discover his dad’s old neighbourhood of Bretch Hill.

While many of his TV shows have been based in the States, producers are now looking for contestants for the UK version of one of the newest – Next Level Chef – so Banbury foodies should get their entries in now for a chance to emulate his rags-to-riches story.

Next Level Chef has already launched in the US and the British version will be coming to ITV channels next year.

The eight-part series uses three kitchen spaces set across three storeys and almost 50ft high.

Each floor will test the contestants’ culinary creativity, agility, flare, and expertise, as they bid to progress to the Next Level. From a state-of-the-art kitchen at the top level to the gloomy basement level ‘scraps only’ surroundings, the programme challenges the chefs to prove they can thrive in any environment.

Gordon will be joined by two elite names in food and the three judges will preside over and mentor the group of chefs who will compete against each other to prove they can handle the heat in any kitchen space that is thrown at them.

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Only one can be named Next Level Chef, and the winner will receive a cash prize of £100k and a one-year mentorship with all three of the experts.

ITV head of entertainment commissioning Katie Rawcliffe said: “Next Level Chef is a dynamic, edge of your seat cooking competition in a league of its own. We’re so excited to welcome Gordon back to the UK and get started on perhaps the most ambitious TV studio the world has to offer.”

Gordon added: “Next Level Chef is off the chart next level everything. A culinary competition that is epic on every level. From the size of the enormous structure to every challenge, every moment of jeopardy is huge. I want to see our chefs, social media stars, home cooks whatever their level, whatever their experience, show me what they can do.

"Whether they’re at the top cooking in the dream kitchen with every gadget and the finest ingredients or in the middle kitchen, good equipment, good ingredients but nothing fancy or, and this is where it gets really interesting, down in the basement kitchen. Super basic, minimal ingredients and left-over scraps then show me what you’re really made of.

"Talent and tenacity will absolutely shine through, and someone will walk away with an equally next level prize, I can’t wait to get started.”

Budding chefs can apply at: www.nextlevelchef.co.uk