Future stars of the restaurant industry are put through their paces in a new CBBC show. 

“It’s really important that we keep attracting new talent. You want to get them in young, get them excited, get them realising that being a chef and being front of house are viable, exciting, professional careers – not something to be fallen into, but something to be chosen.” – Allegra McEvedy

Fred Sirieix and Allegra McEvedy are on the hunt for tomorrow’s chefs and restaurateurs, in new CBBC series Step Up To The Plate. The series will feature appearances by celebrity guests including Strictly‘s AJ Pritchard and EastEnders’ Jacqueline Jossa.

Fred and Allegra put teams of 10 to 14 year-olds through their paces as they set out to uncover a maître d’ and head chef who have the potential to be future stars of the restaurant industry.

The contestants are tasked with everything from dealing with ‘difficult diners’ to feeding a whole restaurant full of hungry customers, including celebrity guests AJ from Strictly, former EastEnders star Jacqueline Jossa, Blue Peter’s Lindsey Russell, CBBC’s Sam and Mark, Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh and You Tuber Olivia Grace.

Fred, who has spent more than 30 years in the industry, wants to teach children how to run a restaurant, and to inspire a new generation of professionals. Allegra, who has worked as head chef at some of the top restaurants in America and the UK, is also passionate about finding and nurturing homegrown talent.

“I’ve always wanted to showcase the hospitality industry in all its glory. This show is a unique opportunity to do that and to teach kids the art of service and the art of running a restaurant. It’s about inspiring and educating the next generation of professionals into the world of catering and hospitality because it is a wonderful industry and there are great career prospects there.” – Fred Sirieix

The ‘difficult diners’ who put the contestants on the spot are: Johnny Cochrane and Inel Tomlinson (The Johnny and Inel Show), Ken Cheng, Rosie Jones, Danielle Vitalis, Shappi Khorsandi and Stacy Liu (The Dumping Ground).

Throughout the heats, viewers follow the progress of the teams over two episodes. On an initial practice day, the restaurant crew come up with themes to dress the restaurant and the kitchen crew set out to cook a complementary menu. The themes vary from a classic ‘diner’ themed restaurant to tropical, magical, medieval and there is even a zombie theme.

The teams learn new skills from their mentors but then have to cope with ‘difficult diners’ – including comedians Shappi Khorsandi, Johnny Cochrane and Inel Tomlinson, who pose as purposefully demanding customers trying to trip them up with unexpected requests and tricky questions.

Step Up To The Plate is new to CBBC, weekdays from Monday 12th August.

“Celebrity guests and restaurant critics include AJ Pritchard, Dr Xand Van Tulleken, Millie Innes (Millie Inbetween), vlogger Nikki Lilly, Liam Charles, Grace Dent, Angellica Bell, Tom Parker Bowles, Jacqueline Jossa, Lindsey from Blue Peter, CBBC’s Sam and Mark, Christian Stevenson, aka DJ BBQ, Kimberley Walsh, Olivia Grace, Perri Keily, Jordan Banjo and a whole host of stars from The Dumping Ground.” – CBBC

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