Spencer Metzger has been crowned the 17th Great British Menu champion of champions 2022.
The 29-year-old is Head Chef at The Ritz, and joins a prestigious line-up of past winners including Niall Keating, Lorna McNee and James Cochran.
Spencer battled against 31 of the most talented and skilled chefs from across the nation, in eight weeks of tasks revolving around this year’s theme of 100 years of British Broadcasting.
Competing chefs from each area were whittled down to just two before going head-to-head in front of the judges, as they sought a place in the finals.
Having secured his place as a finalist, Spencer went on to become one of only a handful of chefs in the history of the competition to win two dishes to serve at the banquet, which was attended by a host of famous faces from TV and radio.
His imaginative dishes included the fish course, Be Careful What You Fish For, based on Sherlock Holmes and his main course, First Impressions, based on Pride and Prejudice.
In the judging chamber, special guest judge and soap royalty, EastEnders star Anita Dobson joined award-winning chef Tom Kerridge, restaurateur Nisha Katona, and comedian and host of foodie podcast Off Menu, Ed Gamble in sampling the final two chefs’ dishes.
On tasting Spencer’s Be Careful What You Fish For, Anita described it as ‘heaven’ and Ed called it his ‘favourite sauce of the day’.
The judges were even more impressed by his main course, which Tom labelled ‘magic and amazing’ with Nisha adding that the ‘flavour is phenomenal’.
In a gruelling Finals Week, Spencer was up against seven other strong chefs from across the nations and regions, hoping their dishes would have what it takes to impress the judges and make it to the banquet.
At the banquet, Spencer’s fish dish was served with a recyclable cardboard magnifying glass around the plate that contained a hidden message revealed under UV light in true Sherlock-style.
For his Austen-era main, the hall was set to resemble an 1800s-style banquet, with guests including Alison Steadman, the original Mrs Bennet from the TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as well as Julia Sawalha, who played Lydia Bennet.
Julia remarked that the presentation looked ‘exactly like what we would have had on our table, on set on Pride and Prejudice,’ and that the display ‘brought back goosebumps.’
Despite Spencer admitting it was ‘one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,’ other famous faces including Dame Merry Berry and BBC journalist and Mastermind host Clive Myrie also shared admiration of his cooking.
Ed summarised all their thoughts with: ‘This Spencer guy, I think he’s pretty good at cooking, I think he could go far!’
With a win like this, it’s clear he will.
Spencer first entered the kitchen at the Ritz aged just 15, on work experience, before joining as an apprentice and climbing up through the ranks.
Great British Menu is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.