Innovation is on the menu in Gordon Ramsay’s Future Food Stars

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Thursday: Gordon Ramsay’s Future Food Stars (BBC One, 9pm)

It feels as though every sphere of activity has its own televised search for the Next Big Thing. For years entertainers have been propelled to fame and fortune via shows such as New Faces, The Voice or Britain’s Got Talent.

And Lord Sugar has been loudly sifting through the ranks of high-achieving entrepreneurs to hand one lucky winner the business equivalent of the Golden Ticket, so it was only a matter of time before the food industry got in on the act.

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Sure enough, last year the curtain went up on this series, as renowned chef Gordon Ramsay took a leaf out of Sir Alan’s books and began looking to invest a hefty £150,000 of his own hard-earned cash in someone he believed had the chops to make it.

The participants faced a range of challenges aimed at testing everything from their business acumen to their creative ability, and all the while the series criss-crossed the country, making it as much a travelogue as a competition.

Gordon explains: “The aim really is to shine a light on some of the amazing places, people and their businesses making the UK food and drink industry so exciting right now.

“It really does showcase the UK beautifully, the places we visit, the people we meet. And of course the good, the bad and the downright ugly – sometimes – of the challenges each week really make it a good watch.”

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At the end of series one, Londoner Victoria Omobuwajo and her plantain-based snack brand Sunmo was awarded the cash prize. When asked about how she had been faring since, Gordon says: “Victoria continues to be really pushing forward with her Sumno brand. She’s growing her UK distribution and now growing her footprint internationally and developing new lines that continue to help people eat nutritious food without having to compromise on taste.”

He’s equally as enthusiastic about anyone else who wants to launch their own food business. “If you’ve got a great idea, give it a go! Don’t be the person who 20 years later regrets not giving something a chance. Research your market, properly plan your costs, think big, start small and believe in yourself,” he says.

It’s good advice for the remaining hopefuls in series two, which is already at the half-way stage and in this episode, it’s all about innovation. The contenders hot-foot it to Oxford, where they must replicate a platter as demonstrated by a Sushi master.

Next, Gordon wants the teams to embrace the world of canned cocktails and seltzers. Not only must they create a brand that will stand out among the crowded supermarket shelves, it’s also going to be launched at the world-renowned Royal Henley Regatta.

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Which team’s drink will go down a storm and whose will be a damp squib?

Gordon Ramsay with sushi chefGordon Ramsay with sushi chef
Gordon Ramsay with sushi chef

As always, Gordon has a raft of undercover experts constantly reporting back to him on everyone’s progress, before he gathers the hopefuls together and offers his verdict about their performance during the week.

As always, the big question is: who lives to fight another day and who is going home?

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