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New BBC Three Young MasterChef judges announced

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BBC Three’s Young MasterChef (w/t) has announced today (WEDS) that Michelin-trained internet cooking sensation Poppy O’Toole and renowned London chef Kerth Gumbs will become judges for the debut series, which is the newest incarnation of the hugely popular MasterChef format.

Poppy and Kerth will join the brand new ten-part series from Shine TV (part of Banijay), which will transmit in 2023. Presiding over the competition for up-and-coming food talent aged between 18 and 25, the new judges will also be joined by exciting foodie guests throughout the series.

Shine TV’s Executive Editor for MasterChef, David Ambler, says: “We’re delighted to welcome Poppy and Kerth to the MasterChef judging family. They’re both highly skilled chefs who each have unique take on British food today. We know they’ll both inspire and be great mentors to the next generation of young MasterChefs to walk through our kitchen’s doors.”

Fiona Campbell, Controller, BBC Three, says: “It’s brilliant news that we have Poppy and Kerth on board for Young MasterChef on BBC Three. Their experience in the industry speaks for itself and we know that they will be great guides for this next generation of culinary talent from across the UK.”

Known for creating easy-to-follow, restaurant style, recipe tutorials for her audience, Poppy (aka Poppy Cooks) amassed a following of over two million followers online after losing her job because of the pandemic in 2020. After almost a decade in professional kitchens, Poppy has taken everything she has learnt in fine dining and breaks it down for people to use in their own kitchens at home. She also launched her debut cookbook, Poppy Cooks: The Food You Need in September 2021.

Originally from the tiny island of Anguilla in the Caribbean, Kerth was inspired to start cooking by his mother who was a chef on the island catering weddings and funerals. Kerth came to London to train and pursue a career in fine dining – quickly rising through the ranks of some of the city’s most celebrated kitchens, including the Michelin-starred Tom Aikens, Texture, and the two-star L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, before eventually taking the reins to launch Ormer Mayfair, which was recognised by Harden’s as one of the top five restaurants in capital under his charge. He has also worked in Singapore for four years with Jason Atherton and was the London and South East champion on BBC Two’s Great British Menu (2020). Kerth’s approach to cooking is vibrant, colourful and above all fun, with a genuine passion for local produce and international influences running through his dishes.

Poppy O’Toole says: “I’m so excited to be judging Young MasterChef and getting to discover the amazing young cooking talent we have in the UK. Having worked my way up through the ranks of professional fine dining kitchens to now teaching millions of amateur cooks online, nurturing the next generation with MasterChef feels like a perfect new role. I can’t wait to eat some incredible food along the way – and just hope I can stop after a few forkfuls of the amazing dishes I’m going to see!”

Kerth Gumbs says: “I’m humbled to be joining such a highly esteemed team on MasterChef. Guiding the best upcoming foodies with some very cool cooking challenges is a huge opportunity. I’m buzzing with excitement to get started on what should be an incredible show.”

Applications to take part in Young MasterChef (w/t) are currently open to anyone 25 and under and can be found here.

The series of 10 x 30 is made by Shine TV, part of Banijay UK, in association with Ziji Productions, and the Executive Editor is David Ambler. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Sarah Clay.