The Stockport-based saucer-er will be a spellbinding addition to the popular TV show

The line up of chefs and theme for this year’s Great British Menu has been announced and it looks like it’s going to be an exciting one. 

Following in the footsteps of fellow Mancs Adam Reid, Mary-Ellen McTague and Aidan Byrne, is Stockport's own Sam Buckley. Sam, of eco-conscious fine-dining experience Where The Light Gets In (interviewed here) will compete against fellow chefs from the North West. He will be up against previous contestant Hrishikesh Desai of Hrishi at Gilpin Hotel, Tom Barnes of Rogan & Co. and Mancunian George Farrugia from Fenchurch Restaurant at Sky Garden in London.

With four successful years running his own restaurant under his belt, Sam Buckley has become something of a Northern treasure with the inimitable WTLGI impressing the national food critics - well of course. Our own Neil Sowerby described it as 'the most mind-expanding culinary experience'.

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Interior of Where The Light Gets In, Stockport

The fifteenth series of the show will this year be presented by Scottish comedian and writer Susan Calman. But that's not the only change. The show has gone large with an extra chef in each regional heat, heightened drama due to the chef with the lowest score (after presenting their starter and fish course) being sent packing with no chance to redeem themselves. More courses, including an amuse bouche and palate cleanser will be added. Master of the multi-course, Sam is likely to relish this chance to wow judges with his well-honed creativity with a touch of signature sustainability.

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WTLGI is known for its seasonal dishes inspired by foraging and fermentation

The 2020 showdown starts on March 18th with instalments on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Marking 150 years since the death of Charles Dickens, himself a renowned epicurean, this year’s theme is ‘children’s literature.’ So will it be ‘plum puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts (and) cherry-cheeked apples’ as depicted in A Christmas Carol or a meagre bowl of gruel and no second helpings? 

No doubt green-fingered Sam’s preparation for the show has had him leafing through his childhood favourites for inspiration. Will he turn Peter Rabbit and go foraging in Mr McGregor’s garden? Maybe he’ll look to Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes for inspo? Or perhaps it will be a more recent children’s book Things in Jars that gets his ideas fermenting. 

Either way, we know who we’re rooting for.

Read next: 'Our food culture is broken' - Interview with Sam Buckley, Where The Light Gets In

More from Sam Buckley: The 5 x 5: Sam Buckley, Where The Light Gets In