The Great Cookbook Challenge judges: Georgie Hayden, Jamie Oliver, Louise Moore and Jimi Famurewa.

The Great Cookbook Challenge judges, from left: Georgie Hayden, Jamie Oliver, Louise Moore and Jimi Famurewa. Photo: © 2021 Jamie Oliver Enterprises Ltd. By Steve Ryan

From Monday, 31 January, 18 unknown cooks will square off on The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver, a nationwide search to find the next cookbook star, and it was announced today that Penguin Michael Joseph’s very own Managing Director Louise Moore will feature as the show’s head judge.

Hosted by Jamie Oliver, the show will seek to find “untapped new talent” as they compete in tasks that reflect the real-life challenges of publishing a cookbook: preparing dishes, refining their ideas, and readying them to be shared widely. Over seven episodes, the contestants will aim to convince the judges that their ideas, and their food, are worthy of the grand prize: a publishing deal with the same publisher that has been releasing Jamie’s cookbooks for decades.

Louise Moore will head a panel of judges including Evening Standard restaurant critic Jimi Famurewa and award-winning recipe writer and author Georgie Hayden.  

"It has been an amazing opportunity to work with Jamie – a long-time friend and Penguin Michael Joseph author – as well as Jimi and Georgie, on The Great Cookbook Challenge,” Louise Moore says. “I was so inspired by the talent and professionalism of the contestants, and how passionately and creatively they talked about what their book would be and why they wanted to connect their food with potential readers.

“I hope and believe that this show offers an opportunity to showcase one area of publishing to a wider audience in a positive and genuine way. That it can start to help demystify the publishing process, because it is essential and necessary now for us to drive the challenge and diversify our industry so every prospective author or employee feels they can have a place at the publishing table. I can’t wait to welcome another Penguin Michael Joseph author to the fold.”

Jamie Oliver adds, “I have been crafting cookbooks for over 20 years and I know the dedication, skill and intuition it takes to create recipes people want to buy and try at home. Breaking into publishing is incredibly difficult – an impossible dream for so many amazing cooks out there – so I am just so excited to get out there and discover incredible new talent, new perspectives and new approaches to cooking and food. We know the talent is out there and I’m thrilled to be able to help them fulfil their potential.”

The first episode of The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver will air on Monday, 31 January at 8 p.m. on Channel 4. Penguin Michael Joseph will publish the winner’s cookbook later this year. You can follow along using the hashtag #CookbookChallenge.

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