• Ainsley Harriott and fellow chefs cook up a storm as they champion local food. (Great British Food Revival )
From apples to cheese, these top chefs and keen cooks are on a mission to show how good traditional ingredients can be.
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23 Feb 2018 - 9:53 AM  UPDATED 7 Mar 2018 - 9:02 AM

All of these keen cooks know a lot about good produce. But even they are learning new things as they set out to find out about heritage varieties and breeds and traditional methods of making and farming. From the Hairy Bikers (who cook up their "perfect cauliflower cheese") to Ainsley Harriott (who braves the bees to find out more about honey), these chefs are on a mission.

Watch it at 5.55pm weeknights on SBS.  Check back here for more recipes as the show unfolds. 

SEASON 1

James Martin on apples

Airs Monday February 26, 6pm on SBS

Chef and proud Yorkshireman James Martin takes on the challenge of reviving the British apple, which has been forced off supermarket shelves by fruits that have been shipped from as far away as New Zealand and Chile. Determined to show off the qualities of England's native varieties, Martin discovers that for some in the UK, that tree at the bottom of the garden could be one of several hundred varieties thought to be extinct. He also shows three delicious recipes – an apple charlotte; roast pork belly with spiced apple and cider sauce and mashed potatoes; an apple Charlotte; and an apple, custard and honey tart.

Glynn Purnell on cheese

Airs Tuesday February 27, 5.55pm on SBS

Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell rides to the rescue of British cheese. Purnell has his work cut out for him, thanks to cheap foreign imports, misleading labelling and a lack of public knowledge of the sheer variety of available British cheeses. But on his journey of discovery, he meets some truly passionate cheese makers, samples some great-tasting cheeses and shows off his own restaurant-quality dishes, including a baked cheesecake with berries and honeycomb.

 

Gary Rhodes on tomatoes

Airs Wednesday February 28, 5.50pm on SBS

Culinary legend Gary Rhodes wants everyone to appreciate the virtues of the seasonal tomato. Unlike their Italian or Spanish cousins, Englanders view the tomato as a year-round product, so they ignore the British growing season when their own fruit is at its best. To show why people should change their ways, Rhodes reveals the wealth of varieties out there, demonstrates how easy it is to grow them and creates a three-course menu that has great-tasting tomatoes at its core, including pan-fried salmon with tomatoes and herbs.

Ainsley Harriott on honey

Airs Thursday March 1, 5.55pm on SBS

One of the UK's best-known chefs, Ainsley Harriott, shows off his sweet side as he starts a campaign for the revival of British honey. With bees under threat from disease and a lack of awareness of England's native honey production, Harriott has to crisscross the country to find out how everyone can play a part in honey's revival. He also takes to the kitchen to show how honey can add its signature flavor to glazed duck breasts and other dishes.

Clarissa Dickson Wright on pork

Airs Friday March 2, 5.55pm on SBS

Clarissa Dickson Wright hangs her flag on the mast of rare breed pork. Never one to mince words, Wright believes that government meddling in the 1950s left England with flavorless commercial pigs that have none of the character of its native breeds. She meets some of the hardworking farmers battling to preserve the rare breed porkers and lets us in on some of her cooking secrets, including how to get perfect crackling on a Sunday roast (get her recipe for stuffed shoulder of pork with crackling here).

 

Matt Tebbutt on mutton

Airs Monday March 5, 5.55pm on SBS 

Leading the charge on behalf of mutton is chef Matt Tebbutt. Knocked out of favor by lamb, mutton has lost its place as a family staple. But Tebbutt's determined to win back its reputation and discovers that the cause is being taken up from the mountains of Wales to the markets of London. He also demonstrates how tasty and versatile this meat can be by cooking a North African-inspired tagine.

 

Michel Roux Jr. on bread

Airs Tuesday March 6, 5.55pm on SBS

Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr. gets passionate about the lost art of baking bread. Concerned that machine-made, bland tasting loaves have become the norm, he sets out to discover the secrets behind artisan bread and shares his own recipes that show how easy home baking can be, including an easy soft sandwich loaf and a diplomat pudding, which is a great way to use up those last stale slices of a loaf.

The healthy home made bread everyone will love
“Never, ever buy another loaf of that white sponge.”

Gregg Wallace on potatoes

Airs Wednesday March 7, 5.55pm on SBS

Former greengrocer and MasterChef host Gregg Wallace makes a case for the revival of the humble potato. All too often replaced by rice or pasta, potatoes deserve more respect, Wallace believes, so he tracks down some heritage varieties that are full of flavor. He also whips up three fabulous dishes, including a definitive shepherd's pie and his own favorite, Dauphinoise potatoes.

 

Angela Hartnett on crab

Airs Thursday March 8, 5.55pm on SBS

Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett delves into why crab is so unloved in Britain. Although Britain’s coastal waters are teeming with sweet-tasting brown and spider crabs, the majority of those caught by English fishermen are destined to be shipped abroad where they are highly prized. Desperate to turn around attitudes, Hartnett goes to great lengths, including a bout of seasickness, to make a case for crab. She also cooks fabulous recipes that show why this crustacean deserves its place on plates, including crab cakes and crab linguini.

 

The Hairy Bikers on cauliflower

Airs Friday March 9, 5.55pm on SBS

Popular cooks The Hairy Bikers bang the drum for the revival of the British cauliflower. It has fallen out of fashion as broccoli became viewed as a greener, healthier option, but the Bikers want to show that cauliflower is not only nutritious but delicious. They share mouthwatering recipes using the humble cauliflower as the star ingredient, including the “perfect cauliflower cheese”.

Watch Great British Food Revival weeknights 5.55pm, then on SBS On Demand

More British cooking
Strawberry and rhubarb crumble

Hot tip: Cooking crumble is a great way to make friends and also lure your neighbours into thinking your are a baking genius, just saying.

Crumpets

Forget the sort you get in a packet. Homemade crumpets look different (usually having way fewer holes), and taste far better. 

Queen of puddings

This traditional English pudding is quintessential nursery food – nurturing, soul-warming and economical. Feel free to replace the mixed berry jam with raspberry, plum or strawberry to ensure the sweet but subtle middle layer suits your tastes.

Cottage pies

I love great simple food with pure flavours and this pie is just that, with the best spuds you can find for your mash, decent, flavoursome beef and a layer of moist spinach. Cottage pie has a long history and one that has always been about using up leftover meat to create a new and filling meal. These ones are easy and can be made well in advance and popped in the freezer until you need them.