Tommy Banks, Head Chef of The Black Swan at Oldstead, is set to appear in the 11th series of
BBC Two’s Great British Menu, competing to represent the North East.
This year, chefs are competing to cook at a banquet held at The Palace of Westminster to honour
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s ‘Great Britons’, and with record breaking dishes and veteran
judges such as Michael O’Hare, Daniel Clifford, Simon Rogan and Phil Howard, it’s set to be an
The chefs are challenged to create dishes which could be a fitting legacy to our Modern
Elizabethan Age. In the year the country celebrated the Queen’s 90th birthday, the chefs have
been inspired by the transformation in British food throughout her historic reign, and by the achievements of Her Majesty’s Great Britons. These are ordinary, everyday people who have been
recognised on the Queen’s birthday and New Year’s Honours list over the years for their
extraordinary achievements in different walks of life.
About Tommy Banks
Tommy has a unique cooking style; cutting edge and modern yet influenced by tradition; ideal for
this year’s Great British Menu brief.
Tommy heads the kitchen at The Black Swan at Oldstead, which he and his family have owned
and run for the past 10 years. They have lived and farmed around Oldstead for many generations;
it’s very much their creation, and very much Tommy’s passion. With his farming background
naturally he wanted to grow his own produce in Oldstead so there is now a 2 acre kitchen garden
in the field next to the restaurant. Both kitchen and front of house are very closely involved in the
incredibly short journey from field to plate.
“A lot of chefs who start up have worked for all sorts of big names, and they have influences that
probably come from their training. Having not had that, I started looking at my background and
where I’m from. I’ve always lived here, and my background is in farming, so the two sort of go
together, and as we’re right in the middle of the countryside, we can give visitors a taste of the
area, and a taste of what’s around them.”
“We want our guests to feel part of it and experience it with us. It’s not just a job for us, it’s a
. We have recently simplified our style a bit and tried to let the ingredients express
Tommy has achieved great attention and national recognition. At the age of twenty-four, he
became the youngest Michelin-starred chef in Britain when The Black Swan retained its star in
September 2013. The Black Swan gained a 4th AA Rosette in January 2016, making it unique as
the only restaurant in Yorkshire and the North East to hold a Michelin Star and 4 AA Rosettes.
Tommy will be writing behind the scenes blog posts about each of his dishes and the stories
behind them on The Black Swan’s Blog-
Made In Oldstead
The North East heat will be transmitted from 10th – 14th October @7.30pm on BBC Two