The Great Cookbook Challenge With Jamie Oliver: Release Date, Judges, And More - What We Know So Far

Jamie Oliver's got a new place to focus his energy; which is good, because he's got a lot of it. The celebrity chef and father of five is known for his exuberance — that big grin and indefatigable cheeriness has been popping into your living room for years now to share the tricks of the culinary trade. The Jamie Oliver Group has been trying to keep up with Oliver since he came on the scene over 20 years ago, promoting the chef's cookbooks, TV shows, products, and restaurants across the globe.

Now, as Eater reports, Oliver's people are (presumably) rolling up their sleeves and approving all overtime requests, because the chef has his sights set on a new challenge. "The Great Cookbook Challenge," that is; a TV program from the U.K.'s Channel 4, which will present Oliver and a panel of experts with a bevy of cookbook author-hopefuls and present one lucky winner with a publishing deal. Expect to see plenty of posts on Oliver's social media over the coming weeks, because the advent of "The Great Cookbook Challenge With Jamie Oliver" is upon us, and the titular chef is pumped about it.

'The Great Cookbook Challenge With Jamie Oliver' release date

According to Eater London, "The Great Cookbook Challenge With Jamie Oliver" is set to air on the U.K.'s Channel 4 network on January 31, at 8 p.m. local time. When The Bookseller reported on the show's creation in September of last year, there was a famous name (Oliver's), a huge publishing company (Penguin Michael Joseph), and seven episodes planned... but little else. "Breaking into publishing is incredibly difficult," Oliver said then. "We know the talent is out there, and I'm thrilled to be able to help them [potential contestants] fulfill their potential."

In the months since, Oliver and Co. have put their money (and presumably some great food) where their mouth is, delivering 18 cooks from "the British public" and varied tasks over the promised seven episodes, all with the aim to "demystify the publishing process" and take one special contestant to the next level, per The Bookseller. While there is no word yet on when or whether the U.K. program will air on U.S. streamers, Channel 4 intends to drop the series in its entirety at the end of this month, which means that if you have access to Channel 4, you can watch all seven episodes starting on Monday, January 31 (per What to Watch).

Louise Moore will represent the publishing world

Though Oliver's is arguably the most well-known name attached to "The Great Cookbook Challenge With Jamie Oliver" (hence the title), it takes a whole lotta chefs to make an omelet. Or, wait, if you can't stand the chef, get out of the kitchen? No, that's not it. Luckily, a knowledge of culinary axioms is not a prerequisite to participating (or watching) Oliver's new show; contestants must simply have a whisk and a dream. More specifically, they should have a handful of their best recipes, a solid book concept, and the ability to navigate all the non-food stuff that goes along with promoting a killer cookbook, according to The Bookseller. That may be why Louise Moore, the managing director of Penguin Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House, was tapped for the judges panel.

"I can't wait to welcome another Penguin Michael Joseph author to the fold," Moore told The Bookseller, referencing her current relationship with Oliver (PMJ has been publishing his stuff for years), and hopefully making both a literary and a cooking pun with the word "fold." She emphasizes PMJ's desire to "diversify our industry," adding that she "hope[s] the TV show will [...] open up our amazing, intricate and multi-talented creative industry to a much wider and more inclusive pool of employees and authors."

A food critic and a cookbook author round out the judges panel

If there's anyone better for the judges panel of a turning-cooking-into-cookbooks show than a food critic for a daily newspaper, please let us know. Journalist Jimi Famurewa feels like the perfect choice to join Oliver and Moore in the judging booth, as his background in writing and role as the chief restaurant critic for the U.K.'s Evening Standard give him particular insight into what it takes to translate food onto page. Plus, according to Eater London, he's a frequent guest judge on "MasterChef," so he doesn't even need to buy a new gavel.

Finally, and probably so that contestants on "The Great Cookbook Challenge With Jamie Oliver" will feel like they have a friend on the judges panel, the series tapped Georgina Hayden to round out the team. Hayden is a recipe writer herself, having gone from working for Oliver's food team for over a decade to publishing two of her own cookbooks. As Hayden herself said on a recent Instagram post, this show has "got a publishing/ food/ recipe writing family of dreams." To watch this food-loving family adopt a new member, you'll have to tune in to Channel 4 at the end of the month.