On flicking through the program guide for Lifestyle Food, you could be forgiven for thinking that no food show concept is rejected. Renegade ice sculptors! Dude food! There’s even a show about getting a food show… I guess this means that 2010 Masterchef contestent, Hayden Quinn, should be congratulated for his particular genius in identifying a “concept” that got the thumbs down.
The whole concept is I travel around and show people some of the really amazing food and recipes you can get from all over the world.
I still really want to do it and I’m looking at other options so we can make it happen as food and travel are two things I am really passionate about.
Two things, Hayden. First, that’s not really a concept. Second, food and travel are things a lot of people are passionate about, but they don’t expect to be paid for it. As Mr Rufus said, “that’s not a show, that’s a junket”.
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Reality Ravings’ take on the story is here. She also has a piece on Curtis Stone’s new show, which perhaps fills the need for surfie-foodie-travelling types.
Some of the best Great British produce is under threat and in this campaigning series, ten of the BBC’s best-known chefs and cooks are on a mission to bring our traditional produce back from the brink.
I’m a sucker for any food show with “Great British…” at the beginning of the title, so I am predisposed to like this. Having Michel Roux Jr as one of the chefs in this episode is an almost unnecessary additional drawcard. Let’s see how it goes…
Continue reading Food TV – Great British Food Revival
Marco’s Kitchen Burnout is long finished, yet the post on that has been my most recent here for over a month. It’s not that I haven’t been watching any TV, it’s just that I’ve been uninspired to write about it. There are some recordings from weeks ago on the IQ that I saved there so I could write them up, but… it just isn’t happening. Here’s why.
Unlike the previous two seasons, I’m not watching this every night. When the cast list was announced I was really looking forward to tuning in. The presence of two (some people have suggested more, but Billy and Mat were the ones I had read) food bloggers and George in the same space promised a volatile mix. The launch publicity indicated a return to the “basics”, which I misinterpreted to mean “this lot have a really firm grasp on the basics of cooking so will be presenting a high standard of food”, rather than “we’ve had to teach them how to separate eggs”. My level of frustration is such that I only watch now when Reality Raver asks if I’ll recap1. Otherwise, I read her site to keep in touch with how things are going in the Masterchef kitchen. It’s not about food, it’s about drama and manipulation. But it’s also about influencing how people talk about food, and how new Food TV is framed. Which brings me to…
Marco Pierre White puts three celebrities to the test in a busy London restaurant. Their challenge: to run its professional kitchen single handedly.
There are three words that have me automatically adding an unheard-of show to my viewing schedule. Marco. Pierre. White. There is something compellingly menacing about him, which makes you wonder where the line is between the “real” Marco and the kitchen performance without questioning that there is such a line. His two seasons of Britain’s Hell’s Kitchen featured regular segments where Marco, in a tone that always suggested barely controlled rage, would share his philosophies and anecdotes. Unfortunately I can’t remember any of them, but perhaps I recorded some when I blogged it here and over on Reality Ravings way back when. Great British Feast was an enjoyable ramble around the countryside with Marco and his “devoted sidekick”, Mr Ishii.
Unfortunately, this show is really a lukewarm remake of the UK Hell’s Kitchen – which was always a celebrity beast – and unfortunately provides neither a showcase for Marco or his guests. The format is slightly different to HK – each “celebrity” (I haven’t recognised any of them so far) is playing for him/herself. Marco doesn’t provide Masterclasses to his celebs, he just watches them get into the weeds during service, repeats phrases such as “where are your herbs, your herbs, your herbs, your herbs, your herbs, your herbs”, and tries to encourage them to “buy” his time. At one point per minute, buying Marco’s time will take a chunk of the maximum 100 points available from the diners.
I’ve watched the first two episodes, and I’ll keep watching as it’s on at a good “background” timeslot, but it’s certainly not great food TV, reality TV, or MPW.
Marco’s Kitchen Burnout is on Lifestyle Food, Sundays at 5.30pm.
From the simplest of meals to more sophisticated recipes, MasterChef’s Justine Schofield will inspire you to get more from your home cooking experience.
As season three of Masterchef revs up, I have to wonder what direction its contestants will head in once it’s all over. Maybe – just maybe? – some of them will actually go on to work in restaurants. Season two’s lot seems to have been content with filling our supermarket shelves with packaged food, whilst season one’s ambitions appeared limited to churning out TV shows. “Look! Oi’m famous!”
Poh was the first to make the transition from contestant to TV cook, and has been the best by a country mile. Her show is fun, she has a real TV presence, and she interacts with her guests in a really natural way. She even brought Andre (of the famous risotto) along for the ride for a couple of episodes. A (very) distant second was season one’s winner, Julie Goodwin, whose mediocre food makes Donna Hay look like Heston Blumenthal. In last place, Julia’s Delish showed that it is possible to make to make food TV dull. She had assistance from another season one alumnus, Josh the fish boy, who was equally as charisma-free in his al fresco pieces. Julia seems to have realised that her strengths do not come across on the screen, and has opened a restaurant with fellow season one contestant, Chris Badenoch, who I spotted in an advertisement for Peter Berner’s new show on the Comedy Channel1.
So, where does season one sweetheart, Justine, fit in to this hierarchy? Let’s find out…
Continue reading Food TV – Everyday Gourmet with Justine Schofield
Students: Two student friends from Durham want to improve their cooking skills and learn to make delicious, easy and cheap Chinese food to replace their usual mince dishes.
I was interested to see how this English show covered Chinese food. It’s presented as an introduction to ingredients and techniques for a couple of budding cooks each episode and the lovely Ching-He Huang selects accessible recipes and introduces any specialty ingredients well. In this episode, she takes a couple of students to a local supermarket to shop for produce. I’m sure her heart must’ve sunk when they admitted to not being able to distinguish between a marrow and a cucumber, although I suspect they weren’t quite as clueless as this makes out. They were, after all, shown sitting down at the dinner table in their share-house to eat one of their aforementioned “mince dishes” with a glass of wine each. Anyway, their admission didn’t put her off her game, and she happily cooked up a storm with chinkiang vinegar, chilli bean sauce, yellow bean sauce and shaohsing wine.
The cooking is billed as “in minutes”, and our host certainly races through the script swiftly enough, however these things do take time. When the cooking started in the outdoor kitchen in Chinatown (Durham has a Chinatown? – I guess the filming must be done in London, although I was surprised to see that Newcastle has one!), the sun was blazing in the sky. By the time we get to the second dish, it is very dark and the students and cook were all rugged up and looking a little miserable. The food soon cheered them up and, after a demo, they were sent to do some cooking of their own.
Chinese Food in Minutes is on the Food channel on Sundays at 7.00pm and repeats are scheduled during the week. The website contains video links to individual recipes as well as printable recipes. It’s well worth a look.
Modern Classics: Donna revamps some classics with her chic and easy version of Steak and Three Veg and her special twist on Pasta Carbonara.
The televisionisation of food (sure, that’s a thing, right?) has been getting along just fine without my blogging, however I have been meaning to get back into a rhythm with posts. For some reason, I thought that the new Donna Hay show would be just the kick-start I needed. [Hollow laughter]
I’ll be brief. Dot point brief, in fact.
- adding cream to a pasta carbonara is Donna Hay’s trick to “lighten” it up and make it “simple”
- chocolate and cinnamon wontons make “perfect sense” to Hay
- to “lighten up” steak and three veg, choose sweet potato, potato and parsnip as your veg, then smother them in butter and parmesan and bake1
- the perfect condiment for this refreshing new take on an old classic is garlic mayonnaise, “or aioli, for the fancy ones”
- two of the four savoury dishes are based around skinless chicken breast fillets [yawn]
- make lemon mayo by adding lemon juice to mayo
There is nothing new about this show. It’s a televised Donna Hay book. It’s not that different to [insert small number here] Ingredients or Giada or Bill. She seems comfortable in front of the camera and it’s certainly not a disaster. It’s just… boring. The only really “fresh” part of the proceedings is a welcome lack of product placement. That doesn’t mean everything is made by Hay, but then she doesn’t claim it is; in fact, she starts off by saying that it is based on using fresh produce and bought products to create simple dishes. Instead, products such as mayonnaise and icecream are repackaged in plain containers. That is not enough to make me tune in again. If she starts doing something interesting, let me know in the comments.
Donna Hay – Fast, Fresh, Simple is on Lifestyle every Tuesday at 8.30pm
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1. That’s not to say I don’t fancy the idea of some potato strips baked with butter, thyme and parmesan, it’s just that I don’t see how that can be described as “lighten(ing) up” veg.
Romance: Sophie presents her perfect dishes for the three stages of romance.
Before we even get into this thing, I have to admit to being less than enthusiastic about it. That’s not to say Miss Dahl doesn’t have a decent food pedigree. Her grandfather wrote about an amazing chocolate factory, a giant peach and showed his love of food in the way he wrote about it in most of the books I can remember. Not only that, but he demonstrated the importance of food to his family with the release of a cookbook. Sophie is no stranger to celebrity – famous family, model, author – and will no doubt have a reasonable screen presence, but I doubt that she has anything new to bring to the genre.
“I’ve always been interested in food. Primarily because I’ve always been interested in eating it.” So says the eponymous Miss Dahl over the credit sequence of animated lip-smacking. She talks about having been both Rubenesque and a “mere slip”, and of learning to cook at her grandmother’s knee, thus establishing her credentials as a food show host, I guess.
Find out whether this is worth persevering with after the jump.
Continue reading Food TV – The Delicious Miss Dahl
Masterchef UK is down to the final three and, as is only proper for this end of the competition, is adding location porn to the regular food variety. In the first episode of the final three competition, our three contenders – Dhruv, Dr Tim and Alex – land in Jodhpur – stunning! As is customary at this point in the competition, there are challenges all week, but no eliminations until the final day.
Naturally, they haven’t made the journey alone. Gregg and John, looking more dishevelled than is really appealing, are waiting and bellowing that they’ve chosen India because it’s all about FLAVOUR. This seems to be particularly targeted towards Alex, who has been putting up stylish plates of food, but his lack of seasoning has been the grand narrative. Dhruv uses a lot of spices in his cooking, so hopes to do the cornucopia available justice, while Dr Tim merely notes that it is “not like Norfolk”.
The challenges, after the jump.
Continue reading Food TV – Masterchef UK: Finals Week