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BBC Great British Menu Winner 2024

Cornish Chef Ben Palmer has put Cornwall talent back on the map for 2024 by becoming the first ever Great British Menu winner from the County. The award-winning Chef impressed the judges and surpassed some of the best in the South West with his fantastic Golden Beetroot starter, which he went onto recreate in the BBC show’s famous Banquet in Paris.

But this isn’t the first time Ben has appeared on our television screens, his passion in the kitchen saw him reach the quarter finals of Masterchef: The Professionals in 2011. It has always been a dream of his to take part in the Great British Menu series – and this year has already proved to ‘dream come true’ moment for Ben.

Ben returned to his hometown of Looe to open The Sardine Factory Restaurant in July 2018. The team were delighted to receive the prestigious accolade of a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2020. The Sardine Factory has 80 covers overlooking the stunning harbour with a menu reflecting the ethos of Looe and a passion for local seasonal produce, with an abundance of sustainable fish dishes.

In 2022 Ben went onto open Yamas, a modern Greek restaurant in the same Cornish town, offering a superb array of traditional Greek cuisine which Ben developed through a close personal relationship with the country. Benjamin lives in Looe, Cornwall with his wife Francesca, and his three children Molly aged 13; Bobby aged 10; and Loa aged 6.

History

In 2018, Benjamin went back to his roots and purchased The Sardine Factory – a genuine sardine factory used to process and can pilchards straight off the fishing boats in Looe back in the 19th Century – locals would shout “HEVA!” when Sardines were spotted in the sea. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2020 and Benjamin’s obsession with all things Sardine continues to grow, with him becoming known for his infamous Stargazey Pie. 

By 2022 Ben has opened up Yamas – a Greek restaurant inspired by his frequent and lengthy visits to his favourite region Kalamata. After growing a deep bond with the area, and the food, Ben spent months working with local chefs to develop a modern yet traditional menu for the Looe restaurant, offering a taste of ‘the real Greece’ in Cornwall. 

In 2023 Ben was invited to compete in the regional heats for BBC flagship show Great British Menu and saw off competition from three other chefs to take his winning dish all the way to Paris for the shows famous Banquet.

Porthleven 26-28 April 2024

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