The next culinary star from Banbury will have the chance to follow in the footsteps of Gordon Ramsay when he returns to his home town on the hunt for the best home cook in his new TV series Next Level Chef. 

Casting is under way in a bid to find the UK’s best chefs from amateurs to social media stars as Mr Ramsay’s US reality show makes its debut on UK TV screens. 

Mr Ramsay has said he “can’t wait to get started” on the new series which will air on ITV next year.

Mr Ramsay had turbulent early years, living for a time with his family in Stratford then on his own in Banbury as a teenager.

He trained at what was then called North Oxfordshire Technical College.



In the 2019 documentary Born Famous, Mr Ramsay took his son Jack to his old neighbourhood of Bretch Hill and described how his tutor in the college's catering department told him he would 'never get a distinction'.

He also told his son what life was like, how hard he worked doing a newspaper round and sorting papers and how felt secure living with his family in the maisonette in the town.

Next Level Chef is set across three kitchens on three different levels 50 feet high, from a top-tier kitchen “utopia” to a basement level with “scraps” – as contestants vie to progress to the next level.

It is set to challenge the contestants’ creativity, agility, flare and expertise and determine how the budding chefs fare under the best of circumstances – as well as what they can create in the worst.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Ramsay said: “Next Level Chef is off the chart next level everything. A culinary competition that is epic on every level. 

“From the size of the enormous structure to every challenge, every moment of jeopardy is huge. 

“I want to see our chefs, social media stars, home cooks whatever their level, whatever their experience, show me what they can do. 

“Whether they’re at the top cooking in the dream kitchen with every gadget and the finest ingredients or in the middle kitchen, good equipment, good ingredients but nothing fancy or, and this is where it gets really interesting, down in the basement kitchen.

“Super basic, minimal ingredients and left-over scraps then show me what you’re really made of.

“Talent and tenacity will absolutely shine through, and someone will walk away with an equally Next Level prize, I can’t wait to get started.”

Oxford Mail:

Ramsay will be joined by two other mentors who are the most “elite names in food” – who are yet to be named - who will each mentor a group of chefs who will compete against each other to produce the most mouth-watering dishes and avoid elimination.

One contestant will be crowned Next Level Chef and win a life-changing cash prize of £100,000 and a one-year mentorship under all three judges.

Budding chefs urged to apply via 


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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers celebrity and showbiz news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

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