Cooking doesn’t get more hardware than this

It’ll be Mam vs Machine at Manchester Science Festival as Great British Menu’s Mary-Ellen McTague takes on robo-chef in a futuristic cook-off.

The ex-Aumbry chef will pit her cooking skills and years of accumulated culinary knowledge against a pre-programmed robotic chef during one of the many events at this year’s Manchester Science Festival.

Award-winning Mary-Ellen, who currently heads up the kitchens at the revamped Manchester Art Gallery café, will go head-to-head with Foxdog Studios’ robot chef at the Robots Late event at the Museum of Science and Industry.

The former Great British Menu judge has admitted that she is nervous about being “rendered obsolete” by her robot counterpart.

Mary-Ellen, a highly acclaimed human, who spent four years working for Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck said: “I am feeling a bit nervous about going up against a robot. What if the robot is better than me? What if it goes into production and I am rendered obsolete?....Although, the prospect of an early retirement has its appeal, so maybe I'll let the robot win...”

170209 Robots Msf
Robots Late at the Museum of Science and Industry

Festival director Antonio Benitez said: “We’re so pleased that Mary-Ellen has agreed to put her culinary reputation on the line to take on our robot chef – perhaps this will even lead to Manchester’s first Michelin star.”

The event, on Wednesday 25th October, will also feature a robot barman pulling the perfect pint and a robot dance-off, along with the opportunity to discuss where this incredible technology might be heading and what this means for the human race. As well as finding out if tops chefs can be reproduced in mechanical form, the event will attempt to find the answer to pivotally important scientific and culinary questions such as “are sausages best served from a cannon?” and “does it matter if an electromagnet interferes with your beans?”

There will also be the chance to see the blockbuster exhibition Robots, which features more than 100 robots from across the world and investigates humans’ long quest to recreate their likeness in mechanical form.

Tickets are to the event are free, but advanced booking is recommended. Doors open at 7pm and the event will end at 10pm. This year’s Manchester Science Festival runs from Thursday 19th - Sunday 29th October and incorporates various creative, playful and surprising science events at venues across Greater Manchester. It is the largest science festival in England.