The Big Family Cooking Showdown begins on BBC Two

One to Watch: The Big Family Cooking Showdown is a major new competitive food show that celebrates favourite family recipes, meeting a diverse variety of home cooks from across Britain over the 12 part competition.

“It’s time to celebrate passionate foodie families all over the country and this series will show us home cooking at its best, even if it’s using old pans and mismatched crockery! We’re meeting 16 very different families over the course of the show and witnessing their team dynamics.” – Zoe Ball

Tonight BBC Two launches one of a number of replacement cookery programmes to fill the void left by The Great British Bake Off leaving the beeb for another channel elsewhere. The Big Family Cooking Showdown, presented by Zoe Ball and Nadiya Hussain, will delve into kitchens up and down the country, showcasing family food that creates the heart within the home and brings generations together.

Judging their efforts are renowned cookery teacher Rosemary Shrager and top Michelin starred chef Giorgio Locatelli, In search of Britain’s best family of cooks, the two judges will set challenges in both the studio kitchen and home kitchens, whittling down the 16 teams of cooks over eight heats, three semi-finals and one grand final. In each episode, two families represented by three family members will go head to head, tested by three challenging rounds:

Round 1 – The £10 challenge. Showcasing the very best the teams can do to feed 4 with a budget of £10, in 1hr 15 minutes. Round 2 – Home visits challenge. Both families must cook a main course and a dessert for Rosemary and Giorgio in their own homes in 90 minutes. Round 3 – Impress the neighbours challenge. Both families return to the studio for the deciding round, creating a starter and a main course in 2hrs 15 minutes.

“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!” – Nadiya Hussain

In episode one, at 8pm this evening, its heat one; The Charles Vs The Marks. The Charles Family from Yorkshire are Betty (29) and her mother Jean (59), originally from Bedfordshire but moved to Bridlington in Yorkshire with their family’s work. It was here that Betty met her husband Dan (32) 12 years ago. They married in 2015 after Dan proposed to Betty while on holiday in Rome.
Jean works for a children’s centre, Betty works in pay roll for a construction company and Dan works for his family’s bookmaking business. He’s been known to leave betting slips scattered around the house with new recipes scribbled on!

They take inspiration for their food from their travels across Europe and Asia, to come up with new and exciting dishes for their family and friends. They don’t consider it a proper meal unless “there’s at least a starter and main” which they’ll cook fresh and from scratch. The greenhouse in Betty and Dan’s garden is their pride and joy and a focal point of the house for the family. Dan loves being able to pick fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables that they’ve grown and use them in his dishes.

Up against the Yorkshire clan are The Marks Family from London. Torun (86) was born in Sweden, came to the UK when she was 30 years old and worked as a fashion designer. In her spare time enjoys going to her community church to socialise and for the tasty pastries people make. Torun has a real lust for life; she enjoys dancing in the kitchen and having a gin and tonic every day at 6pm. Torun’s daughter Jessica (55) is a mother of three and lives in London. Jessica had a successful career in retail before becoming a nutritional therapist. She specialises in meal planning, health coaching and nutrition education.

Jessica’s eldest child, son Oskar (29), works at an independent record company. The Marks family enjoy cooking Swedish dishes that Torun has passed down to her family. Oskar tends to adapt the recipes using more exotic ingredients.

“It’s wonderful to be meeting families with their own recipes and to be judging good honest family food. I’m hoping to be inspired and surprised by the dishes these families cook at home to put a smile on each other’s faces.” – Rosemary Shrager

The cooking will be judged by Rosemary Shrager and Giorgio Locatelli. Rosemary is an accomplished chef with a career including restaurant kitchens, cookery schools and TV appearances. She has recently appeared on BBC series The Real Marigold Hotel and The Real Marigold on Tour. Rosemary is an experienced judge having featured on The Chopping Block and Rosemary’s School for Cooks – and has also been a haute cuisine teacher on reality television programme Ladette to Lady.

As a judge, Rosemary is looking for a family with food at its heart that shares both the kitchen duties and recipes between the generations. Michelin star chef Giorgio has had a number of series on TV including Tony and Giorgio, Sicily Unpacked and Italy Unpacked on BBC Two. As a young boy Giorgio dreamt of being a waiter but he discovered his love for cooking while working alongside chefs in his family’s hotel kitchen. He now runs one of the finest restaurants in London and was recently awarded the Commendatore OMRI by the Italian Ambassador for services to Italian gastronomy. As a judge, Giorgio is particularly looking forwards to experiencing the different family’s heritages through the dishes that they serve.

“I strongly believe that cooking at home is at the base of healthy family relationships. For Rosemary and I to be given the opportunity to taste people’s family dishes within their home is such an honour.” – Giorgio Locatelli