Great British Menu 2022 chefs: Larkin Cen, Wales heat

The  Staff Canteen

Chef owner of Woky Ko Larkin Cen is one of four chefs representing Wales on Great British Menu 2022

Series 17 of the competition starts on February 1st 2022 on BBC Two at 8pm and will air at the same time every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for eight weeks. The Welsh heat will take place on Tuesday 15th, Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th February 2022.

Larkin is competing against Tom Phillips, Mark Threadgill and Nathan Davies. This is Larkin's first appearance on the show. Before making it to the judges' chamber, the chefs' food is to be judged by veteran chef Angela Hartnett, who competed in the first series of the programme in 2006, then again in 2008 and 2010. 

As per the programme's new format which starts each heat with four chefs (as opposed to three, which was the case until series 15), Mark was eliminated after the fish course. Larkin was the next to go, leaving Tom and Nathan to face judges Tom Kerridge, Nisha Katona and Ed Gamble, as well as guest judge Steffan Rhodri on Thursday, 17th February 2022.

Neck-in-neck until the end, it was Nathan who won over the judges and made it through to represent Wales at the national finals.

Biography

Despite having been raised by restaurant owners, former HR and employment solicitor Larkin Cen only took the leap and changed careers after being a finalist on MasterChef in 2013. Shortly after the competition, Larkin opened a restaurant, Hokkei, with fellow finalist Dale Williams, but the duo struggled to make the restaurant commercially viable, so it closed after two years. 

Larkin then took on a job as a chef consultant at Celtic Manor, helping to devise a high-end Asian restaurant concept there, after which he moved to Britsol and opened Woky Ko. The restaurant group now has four branches, on Queen's Road, St Nicholas Market and two in Whapping Wharf, and the chef has a separate development kitchen to create new dishes.

Having grown up frequenting his parents' Chinese takeaway in Cardiff, Larkin's traditional Cantonese influences run deep in his food, but he is hoping to showcase his proficiency with a wider range of Asian flavours and techniques in the competition.

His dishes on Great British Menu this year will pay tribute to Welsh children's programme Fireman Sam and Dr Who. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th February 2022

Great British Menu 2022 chefs: Larkin Cen, Wales heat