Great British Menu 2023 chefs: Gemma Austin, Northern Ireland Heat

Alex South

Alex South


Gemma Austin, Chef Patron of A peculiar Tea, is one of four chefs competing for Northern Ireland region on Great British Menu 2023.

Series 18 of the competition starts on January 31 2023 on BBC Two at 8pm and will air for eight weeks.

Gemma is going head to head with chefs Matt Jordan, John Hollywood, Kerry Roper in a bid to represent Northern Ireland in the regional finals, and ultimately cook a dish at the final banquet.

This is Gemma's third time competing in Great British Menu, after she took part in the competition in 2022, and 2021.


Gemma had originally planned to become a nurse when a spinal injury left her unable to complete the training. She then began a software programming course, thinking she had found her passion, but was once again disappointed.

In a eureka moment, she took on a kitchen job, transferred to a Culinary Arts management course at The Ulster University where she was already enrolled, and spent the next four years studying and working full-time.

During that time, she worked at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, where she rose to head pastry chef, before moving to The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn, climbing the ranks from commis chef to senior-sous chef at the 2 AA-Rosette hotel. She then transitioned to a role as the executive chef and co-owner of Alexander's and Co. in Holywood.

Last year, she opened a permanent site of her own following the success of her 'A Peculiar Tea' pop-up, serving themed dinners and afternoon tea with a twist.

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 12th March 2023

Great British Menu 2023 chefs: Gemma Austin, Northern Ireland Heat