Monday 17th March at 9pm on five

This brand new series offers the nation’s most ambitious cooks the chance of a lifetime – to turn their signature recipes into winning products fit for the shelves of Tesco, the largest supermarket in Britain. Every week, four hopefuls meet their mentors and test their new dishes on the public. The products featured in the series range from left-field concepts like ‘soup in a bun’, to more traditional fare such as meat pies and some hearty British faggots.

Last year, Tesco broke the £46billion revenue barrier, taking one pound in every seven spent on UK high streets. This year, the supermarket giant is giving a group of amateur cooks an unprecedented opportunity – to share space with market-leading brands on the shelves of Britain’s biggest retailer. The item that will stake a claim in this multi-billion pound industry could be a simple homemade dish, but there is only one contract up for grabs. As the 20 contestants battle it out over the coming weeks, they will be guided by two experts at the top of their game.

The first mentor to help the contestants in their bid to create a successful product is Allan Leighton, one of Britain’s most formidable businessmen. Allan began his illustrious career at Mars before going on to turn around the fortunes of Asda, later becoming President and CEO of Wal-Mart Europe. He is currently chairman of the Royal Mail Group plc. The second mentor in the series is pre-eminent chef and award-winning restaurateur Simon Rimmer.

Viewers are given the opportunity to see exactly what goes into creating the food we buy –from perfecting the concept, to testing the feasibility, sourcing the ingredients, refining the recipes, facing the Tesco taste-test panel, scaling-up for mass production and ultimately filling the supermarket shelves.

Supermarkets pour thousands of pounds into developing the products they sell in a process that can take years. However, these amateurs have just two weeks to learn the trade and prepare a pitch to be delivered to Tesco’s retail powerbrokers. “You’re going to hear things you don’t want to hear,” warns Simon Rimmer. But before Simon can help his protégés perfect their recipes, the products are evaluated by two Tesco food developers –Stephanie Bacon and Nicky Gorman, who are happy to provide realistic and constructive feedback.

Having listened to the experts’ advice, carried out their own research and refined their products, the contestants go up against the real Tesco testing panel to learn if their creations meet the industry’s high standards for retail development. At this point, the weakest product and contestant is eliminated.

The final task for the remaining contestants is to pitch their ideas to the Tesco buyers – powerful business executives responsible for deciding what food the nation buys. It has been an eye-opening experience for the cooks, but this is only the beginning of a long, hard journey if they are to successfully break into Tesco.

Monday 17th March at 9pm on five

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