Long before the Bake Off, the words “Great British” would mean only one cooking show – Great British Menu.
Now the long-running culinary classic is adding a new judge as Andi Oliver moves to the presenting role – and she’s certainly qualified for the job.
“I want to be a fair judge,” Rachel Khoo told Radio Times. “I offer constructive criticism – I encourage the contestants to push themselves and improve. But I trained as a pastry chef in Paris so I’m very picky when it comes to dessert!”
So as Khoo prepares to become the fifth judge to grace Great British Menu, here’s everything you need to know about the cook, writer and broadcaster.
Who is Rachel Khoo?
A TV producer, presenter, writer, and, of course, cook, Rachel Khoo’s life has been a whirlwind of travel, TV shows, and cookbooks. After several years as a pastry chef and baking teacher in Paris, Croydon-born Khoo received her first publishing deal for two French books, later translated to Rachel Khoo’s Muesli and Granola, and Rachel Khoo’s Sweet and Savory Pâtés.
Keen to test recipes for an English cookbook, Khoo set up a two-person restaurant out of her Paris flat, eventually attracting a large enough online fanbase to prompt the BBC to commission The Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo in 2012. The series was a success, receiving over 1.5million viewers and widespread critical acclaim, and the book of the same name sold over 120,000 copies.
From there there was no stopping Khoo – she has since released eight bestselling books, including follow-ups My Little French Kitchen and The Little Swedish Kitchen. She has travelled all over the world with her TV series such as Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook and A Cook Abroad, including to Sweden, Turkey, and her ancestral home of Malaysia. She has also filmed several cooking shows for Australian TV, and in 2016 became a judge for the Australian show My Kitchen Rules.
More recently she has been making shows for Food Network UK, including Rachel Khoo’s Simple Pleasures in 2020, and is a co-host on Australian baking competition Zumbo’s Just Desserts.
“I got to meet so many incredible people,” Khoo told Radio Times of her experience as a Great British Menu judge. “We had such a wide range of guests – an astronaut, architects, designers. All I had to do was sit and judge the best restaurant food the UK has to offer, without travelling anywhere. I was absolutely spoiled – I’d eat eight courses in a day! I literally rolled home afterwards. I kept thinking, ‘How did this happen? It’s so cool.'”
Rachel Khoo recipes
Now we can’t have a profile on Rachel Khoo without highlighting some of her delicious recipes. Here she is tackling a British classic, the roast chicken, with a twist – her homemade crunchy slaw:
Drawing on her many travels, Khoo also has the perfect answer for leftovers with these pan-fried dumplings:
For more recipes, we recommend trying one of Khoo’s many cookbooks. Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook includes over 100 recipes from a ham hock tiffin box to chocolate cherry cookies, and rhubarb and custard millefeuille to duck ragu – enough choice for everyone to try something new.
Who is Rachel Khoo’s husband?
Rachel Khoo’s husband is Swedish chef Robert Wiktorin. The two split their time between London and Stockholm, and have two children together.