What’s happening on Food TV from a very opinionated perspective

John Harris – food, knowledge, experience


What’s happening in food TV from a very opinionated prospective

What’s hot?

Man V Food (on The Food Network UK channel)

It’s politically incorrect, in a time when everyone is paying lip service to health and sustainability. It drives a gas guzzling SUV through the lot. Adam Richman the presenter spends his time going from town to town in the US, from West to East coast, picking up the most horrendous food challenges you can think of and more. If you haven’t seen it yet you must, it will either make you ill or die laughing.

Two Hairy Bikers

The great thing about it in my humble opinion is it looks at food and the all sorts of people who make it without pretensions of grandeur. Most of the time it features local food producers and local people predominately mums’ cooking what they have done for years, or had passed down from their mum.   Yes with my over-superior professional cook’s head on, sometimes the techniques used aren’t strictly pro kitchen, but it shows genuine enthusiasm for the produce and the people cooking.   When the two of them first sprung onto our TV screens I really wasn’t sure, they can come across as a pair of giggling Northern elf’s. But just recently I’ve started watching more and more of what they put out and there is something very watchable about their approach.  Yes, I know, face it – it’s all been done before, originally by Keith Floyd but, hey, if you’re going to take ideas from someone you might as well make it the master of his profession….nobody has come near him since.

Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets

I know strictly speaking it’s not on at the moment but it’s my list so I can kind of do what I want. If you didn’t catch either of the two series find someone who recorded them. If you love food in any way this is a must. What he gives in these two series is just amazing, funny, and genuinely informative, as this exceptionally knowledgeable French Anglophile gives you genuine instruction on how the best restaurant food is made (and the food that his Mama used to make) with love and passion, giving the knowledge built up out of years of experience. Young chefs would kill to get this level of knowledge and it’s on TV for free, so go watch and learn something.

And so in my humble opinion…

What’s not?

Chick flicks and food

Ok, first a cover all for a number of different series that all take a similar approach. Take a hot chick, normally an ex-model, whose spent a couple of years (or months not sure which) learning the trade.  Then they have all the knowledge they need to teach all us poor incapables of how, with virtually no effort at all, we too can turn out some really indifferent food for your family to coo over. Oh please, has it really come to this? Jamie and Gordon you have a lot to answer for. Surely this is production companies looking at what was done with Nigella and taking it to its logical conclusion. Why bother checking if any of them can cook at all, they look great and can smile their way through the rest?! Let’s go to Barcelona to buy some chocolate. Yes, just that, fly to Barcelona to get a shot of the shop, buy the chocolate and head home…what for?  Sorry I’m sure the girls are perfectly lovely people, but to then turn around and try and say they have useful information to pass on to the great British public, come on it’s stretching credibility just a bit.  In reading this back it sounds a bit sexist; it’s not meant to be, there are male versions of the same format. It’s all about eye candy; “ok, we know all the people who watch cookery shows are going to watch, but who else?” Some of the best shows in the past have featured women doing the cooking, the difference being they had some knowledge to pass on; this little thing called genuine experience that they could show others.

Enough of that – next:

Almost anything with ether Jamie or Gordon in it. Boys, don’t you think it’s about time you hung up your aprons and shuffled of the screen for a while, a long while? I’m not saying they’re bad cooks, they are certainly very talented both in the kitchen and putting it across in a positive way. Its just enough no more! Whether it’s 30 minute cooking that couldn’t be done by an experienced chef without a couple of kitchen porters chopping, peeling and clearing up after, which then spawns an accompanying  book turning it into the biggest non-fiction selling book of all time. Then we have Gordon cooking in a prison. I don’t know whether he is serious or using a scandalous ploy to get people to watch something else with him in it, I just don’t want to see him anymore. It’s boring whether it’s in a school, prison, fat town or wherever – it’s been done and done to death. Please guys you are both very successful; go home and spend some time with your families – leave the rest of us alone, no please.

Others that just make me feel slightly queasy and again ask the question why would anyone watch this?:

–      Market Kitchen

–      Saturday Kitchen

–      Let’s do lunch with Gino and Mel (it’s in the name, why would I care what Gino and Mel want for lunch)?

–      Iron Chef UK, USA and the original Japan; is this cookery or Kung Fu?

–      Can’t Cook ,Won’t Cook, not sure how this saw the light of day

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