On 22nd March 2024, Kirk Haworth, a plant-based chef from Blackburn, England, won the “Champion of Champions” title on the Great British Menu (GBM) competition, a popular BBC cooking show in which top British chefs compete for the chance to cook one course of a four-course banquet. He has made history on the show by being the only plant-based chef to both make it to the final and be named champion of champions.

The dessert that brought him the title consisted of sour cherries from Europe ‘sitting in the middle of a sponge ring, plus a cacao gateau with cherry gel, vanilla caramel sauce and Australian toasted macadamias.

Haworth shifted to plant-based food when he was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2016, and discovered a diet without meat, gluten, refined sugar or dairy reduced the intensity of his symptoms.

He said, “When my name was called it felt amazing. It feels great but overwhelming. It has been an intense week with a lot of people messaging. My emails are going crazy – but I am very grateful. The competition was great – but it was a lot to deal with mentally, physically and emotionally. People have been saying so many beautiful things on social media. I don’t think anyone has ever cried so much over a GBM winner before. So many people have been in touch and said I made them cry tears of joy. I think they could see how emotionally invested in this I was… The show is hard enough even when you cook using all ingredients. The fact I have won this as a plant-based chef is a bit unbelievable to some people, I think. I believe that anything can be done and [records] can be broken.”

Haworth will be opening a London-based restaurant, Plates, in June 2024, where he might serve the dishes he brought to the BBC Two show.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.