Norfolk oyster company featured in BBC show

Ben Orpwood in the kitchen using Nitrogen for his canapes.

Ben Orpwood in the kitchen using Nitrogen for his canapes. Insert: An oyster from Thornham Oyster Co. with lemon, black pepper, beluga caviar, limoncello, and Aperol perfume. - Credit: BBC/Optomen Television Ltd/Ashleigh Brown/Denise Bradley

A Norfolk oyster company has been featured in an episode of the BBC show Great British Menu.

Oysters from Thornham Oyster Co. were used by Ben Orpwood, one of four contestants on the cookery show competing to cook at a banquet.

The episode aired on February 1 saw chefs prepare canapes, starters and fish courses from the central region. This year's banquet has a theme of 100 years of British broadcasting.

The Brancaster-sourced oysters were showcased in the canape round, with top chef Andi Oliver asking for them to be 'bite-sized' and 'full of flavour'.

Programme Name: Great British Menu S17 - TX: n/a - Episode: Great British Menu S17 - Central Generic

The Executive Chef at the Lucky Cat in London, Ben Orpwood, is originally from Norfolk - Credit: BBC/Optomen Television Ltd/Ashleigh Brown

Contestant Ben Orpwood served shucked raw oysters with a mandarin vinaigrette and flash-frozen mandarin puree pearls with shiso oil.

Mr Orpwood spent 15 cooking in restaurants in Australia and Asia before joining the Lucky Cat in London. He has been executive chef at the Gordon Ramsay restaurant for the past three years.

Josh Cooper, co-owner of Thornham Oyster Co. said: "Great British Menu got in touch with us, which we had to keep a secret for over six months.

Oysters by the Thornham Oyster Company at the first Holt Street Feast. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Oysters by the Thornham Oyster Company at the first Holt Street Feast - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

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"They put us in touch with Ben and I went to meet him at his restaurant in London. I took him some of our oysters and he prepared them the way he was going to for the show so I got to try them.

"This is really exciting, it's great exposure for our company.

"Ben is originally from Norfolk so he wanted Norfolk oysters. The oysters from here are much like the people, they never leave.

"So Ben's always found it hard to find them in London. They have such a distinct flavour and they're totally different to what you find elsewhere."

Jack Rushton, Josh Cooper and Max Inkson (L-R) who run The Thornham Oyster Co. in Norfolk Picture: S

Jack Rushton, Josh Cooper and Max Inkson (L-R) who run The Thornham Oyster Co. in Norfolk Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Two of the other contestants, Liam Dillon and Harvey Perttola, made cheese and onion-inspired canapes. The other, Sally Abe, made chicken liver mousse and elderberry tartlets.

Thornham Oyster Co. is run by three friends from Norfolk, Jack Rushton, Josh Cooper and Max Inkson. They sell oysters, lobster and crab as well as langoustines, prawns and samphire. Also on offer are complimentary alcoholic drinks.

The company has been doing hampers since the pandemic began but is now getting back into weddings and events.