Cooking will be the subject of Simon Cowell’s latest talent search as the X Factor judge launches a new prime-time competition to discover the best British dish.
The ITV1 series, Food Glorious Food, aims to find Britain’s “best-loved recipe”. The winner will get a £20,000 prize and their meal will be produced by Marks & Spencer and sold on the retailer's shelves.
The series will be produced by Cowell’s Syco company in partnership with Optomen, which makes Gordon Ramsay’s cookery programmes. However Cowell is not expected to appear on screen.
The programme, which could become a rival to the BBC’s MasterChef , will involve a series of regional heats before televised finals, planned for February of next year.
The cooks would have to convince a panel of experts that the dish had a strong British story behind it.
Budding chefs are invited to scour the cupboards for family recipes. “Grannies with Cornish pasties and youngsters with a recipe for jellied eels,” could be among the contenders, sources said.
But the recipe, which contestants will cook and prepare themselves, must be demonstrably original or “a recipe that you have made your own”, to avoid the threat of plagiarism charges over the winning dish.
As with The X Factor, the producers are searching for “characters” with a strong “likeability” appeal, who can exhibit “pride and passion” for their dish.
Proceeds will go to charity from sales of the winning recipe, which M&S representatives will help choose and then “adapt” for stores.
The series is that latest addition to Cowell’s roster which includes Britain’s Got Talent and a new format aimed at finding skilled DJs.
Cowell, who has indicated he will retire from appearing in front of the camera at some point, also wants to make a Question Time-style show which would bring politics to a new audience.