Great British Menu 2023 chefs: Will Lockwood, North East heat

The Staff Canteen

will lockwood, head Chef of michelin-starred restaurant roots, is one of four chefs competing for the north east 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.

Will is going head to head with chefs Gareth Bartram, Rory Welch and Cal Byerley in a bid to represent the North East in the regional finals, and ultimately cook a dish at the final banquet. This is Will's debut on the programme.


Will always knew that he wanted to cook, having avidly watched Rick Stein programmes in his bedroom with the curtains closed from a young age.

Will Lockwood went to college for three years before heading to university to study Forensic Science. However, deciding it wasn't for him, he dropped out and took on various hospitality roles in local establishments in the Huddersfield area.

He applied for a job at the Black Swan at Oldstead, in 2014, and was offered a position as a demi chef de partie. 

Knowing the opportunity was too good to pass up, he took the job without a second thought, and moved to York.

He has remained with Tommy Banks and his team ever since, climbing the ranks at The Black Swan, where he was named head chef in 2017.

After taking some time out in 2020, Will returned to work with Tommy Banks at the end of 2021 when he was hired as the head chef of The Black Swan's sister restaurant in York, Roots, replacing his predecessor, Sean Wrest.


Roots was built in a public house dating back to the 19th century, previously called The Bay Horse.

Thought up by the duo of chef Tommy Banks and restaurateur Matthew Lockwood, the restaurant was their bid to bring a taste of the chef's flagship to the city.

The name 'Roots' is a nod to the chef's origins in Oldstead, and likewise, the menu mixes classical dishes from the restaurant with new ones, developed in partnership with the team.

Upon visiting the restaurant, The Guardian critic Grace Dent said it was "another surefire hit" for Tommy Banks, "one of the loveliest lunches of 2018."

Roots was awarded a star in the Michelin guide for Great Britain and Ireland in 2021.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 19th January 2023

Great British Menu 2023 chefs: Will Lockwood, North East heat