The BBC is piloting a new format for Saturday Kitchen that could turn it into a stripped weekday show.

The programme is being developed under the working title Monday Kitchen, Tuesday Kitchen etc and pits top professional chefs against each other in a competition to create the best dish.

Saturday Kitchen host James Martin will not front the new format, although he may be involved in other specials and spin-offs. He is currently working on a new BBC series unrelated to cookery.

In a twist on other cookery formats, chefs on the weekday shows will judge the dishes and decide the winner themselves. There will also be a “unique format point” around how they choose their ingredients, although Cactus TV, which is producing the show, would not go into detail.

The pilot episode saw Michelin-starred chefs including Nick Nairn, Marcus Wareing, Nicholas Watt, Gennaro Contaldo and Jun Tanaka going head to head.

“Because of Saturday Kitchen we've got very good contacts,” said Cactus managing director Amanda Ross. “This is a completely different format to Saturday Kitchen. It's much more about the competition.”

BBC controller of daytime Liam Keelan added: “We've got two very successful brands with Cactus so it makes sense there should be a continuing dialogue about other, related shows for midweek.”

The move follows a strong performance for Saturday Kitchen, which has grown ratings for its 10am BBC1 slot from around 600,000 to peaks of over 2 million. In 2006, it grew an average of 1.3 million viewers (22% share) compared with an average of 1.5 millon (24.4% share) last year.