The Big Family Cooking Showdown is here and venturing into kitchens up and down the country in search of Britain’s best family of cooks. The contestants are put to the test in three challenges, showcasing family favourites, budget meals and dinner party showstoppers. Standards are high, the heat is on and so are the aprons. Here’s what we know about the teams vying for gastronomic glory…
The Charles family
Who are they: Betty (29), her mother Jean (59) and husband Dan (32)
This Yorkshire-based family take inspiration from travels across Europe and Asia for their exotic dishes. They always cook from scratch and it isn’t considered a proper meal unless there’s “at least a starter and a main”. Dan loves using fresh ingredients from their beloved greenhouse in his dishes.
The Marks family
Who are they: Torun (86), her daughter Jessica (55) and her son Oskar (29)
The Marks family love cooking Swedish dishes passed down through the family by Torun while Oskar enjoys adding a contemporary flourish with unusual ingredients. As a nutritional therapist, Jessica’s speciality is planning nutritionally balanced meals with plenty of health benefits.
The Dawes family
Who are they: Sam (30), his girlfriend Ellie (31) and her mum Sue (60)
For Sam, it’s all about precision and the science behind food, so he’s always experimenting with new cooking methods. His father’s Chinese cooking has also influenced his culinary repertoire. Ellie and her mum Sue have a flair for the dramatic, hosting themed dinner parties for friends and family.
The Karim family
Who are they: Zakila (48), her niece Sumiya (18) and sister-in-law Rizwana (36)
Expect a plethora of cooking cultures and Instagramable desserts from this kitchen. Sumiya has an eye for detail and always takes charge of presentation. Rizwana’s traditional Pakistani dishes melded with Zakila’s Moroccan-inspired cooking could be a recipe for success.
The Hilliard family
Who are they: Jeanne (61) and her daughters Katie (34) and Charlotte (29)
With a mix of traditional dishes passed down through the generations and daring vegan twists courtesy of Katie, this family are aiming for crowd-pleasing results. Charlotte also enjoys cooking a range of cuisines such as Caribbean and Asian and has a keen eye for detail.
The Pigott family
Who are they: Brothers Matt (28), Ed (25) and Sam (22)
Describing themselves as a “triple threat”, these brothers love nothing more than planning elaborate meals together and trying out new techniques and ingredients. They’re in it to win it and are ready to dazzle with something spectacular.
The Gangotra family
Who are they: Bobby (42), her sister Lorna (41) and sister-in-law Monika (33)
This Birmingham-born family grew up on home-cooked traditional fare, but that doesn’t stop them getting creative with the classics. This family draws their influences from Thai cooking, Italian cuisine and Lorna’s love of Yotam Ottolenghi.
The Massaccesi family
Who are they: Teresa (53), partner Giordano (54) and daughter Niamh (16)
Teresa’s Irish roots mean she’s used to hearty dishes cooked from scratch and is always looking for new sources of inspiration. Italian Giordano is experienced on the restaurant scene, but only in front of house, having worked as a waiter. He’s keen to step up and create food that he’d be proud to serve.
The Ayoubi family
Who are they: Mahmoud (53) and his daughters Mirna (26) and Lydia (21)
In the Ayoubi family, food is life and their earliest memories are being in the kitchen as a family. They believe their traditional Syrian dishes have the necessary wow factor. Many of their recipes have been passed down from their grandparents.
The Herbert family
Who are they: Brothers Charlie (32) and Archie (23) and their sister-in-law Anna (38)
The Herbert family bakery has been up and running in the small market town of Chipping Sodbury since 1920, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to take risks and modify their cooking. Their mix of creative flair and precision presentation could be the key to success.
The Codougan family
Who are they: Jacqueline (45), her daughter Chantal (24) and son Dom (23)
Many of Jacqueline’s Caribbean-inspired recipes have been handed down through the generations. Each family member has a distinct role: Jacqueline is head chef, Chantal has a nose for seasoning and Dom is a hands-on, practical cook.
The King family
Who are they: Pat (67), her husband Mark (68) and their daughter Jackie (38)
With Pat’s experience in the party planning industry, organising important dinners and events is no problem. Her love of cooking has grown over the years and Mark enjoys using local butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers to get the best produce possible.
The Bellamore family
Who are they: Brother Mark (52), sister Jo (45) and Mark’s nephew Ross (29)
These Welsh food aficionados are a competitive bunch. They frequently hold cook-offs against each other and get their 26-strong family to judge. Self-confessed foodie Mark recently bought chickens that roam freely in his garden and allegedly lay the very best eggs.
The Bellamy family
Who are they: Mojgan (48) and her daughters Ocean (19) and Faith (15)
Originally from Iran, Mojgan learned traditional Persian cooking from her mother and passed this knowledge down to her two daughters. Faith is known as a brilliant baker who is always keen to show off her creations on social media.
The Boyes family
Who are they: David (46), his partner Sam (37) and their daughter Ellie (17)
This Liverpool-based clan are keen on their kitchen kit, have every foodie gadget under the sun and love fine dining. The couple love reading cookbooks and magazines for inspiration and dedicate a corner of their kitchen to exotic spices. Dave is particularly proud of his homemade pork pies and Scotch eggs.
The Rignall family
Who are they: Cousins Sunita (38), Usha (33) and Usha’s mum Jassi (65)
Cousins Sunita and Usha are the new generation of cooks in their family and love experimenting with food, while Jassi takes a more traditional approach. Jassi draws on her youth growing up in Uganda, Kenya and Zambia, as well as her travels as a flight attendant, for flavour inspiration.
What’s your favourite family recipe? Let us know in the comments below…