So I’ve recently become enslaved by the world of cookery reality shows! And I’m not referring to the ones where you watch a famous chef mulling about a fancy kitchen making things you’ve never heard of, but the competitive ones. My top two shows currently are Masterchef and Around the world in 80 plates. They shouldn’t excite me because well, they always make me hungry and secondly they show dishes that I’d probably need to attend chef school to do.
When I was younger though, my family and I would watch “Ready, Steady, Cook” hosted by Ainsley Harriott where the contestants would have to whip up a sensible meal in 30 mins with the same ingredients and the most creative and edible one wins. Oh and you have to talk about what you’re doing throughout. Some of the combinations of ingredients were just ridiculous! For example they could give you a banana, apricot, lamb and beans then leave you to it. I’d probably just eat the fruits, fry the lamb, boil the beans, and call it a day. Guess that’s why chefs are on those shows and not me.
But back to Masterchef…
The presenters are an odd bunch: Gordon Ramsey who’s SO SERIOUS I’m sure should be in the military (yesterday he put out an oven fire and acted like he does it all the time), Graham Elliot…the nice guy and Joseph Bastianich who’s more like the Simon Cowell of the show (is ALWAYS unimpressed and has a permanent scowl on his face). So as fas as I’m concerned the presenters alone could be the show. You should hear them talk about flavours and presentation or sauteing vs searing….it makes you take a second look at your dinner.
The contestants are so passionate too! It’s endearing even for skeptical people like me. You’d swear their lives depended on cooking, and its the show or the true death for them! Tears, speeches and such – it’s like watching Idols. This season (3) there is a contestant who is blind. Yes blind. I don’t even know how that works. She has an aid to help her physically pick ingredients and locate things but other than that she’s solo. And no she didn’t get kicked out in the first challenge either.
Around the world in 80 plates requires their contestants to work in teams, take over restaurants in a different country per episode and they have to serve local dishes to the locals from that area. What I like about it is that they can’t half ass it, if it’s not proper Chinese Chow mein or Italian risotto, the locals will call you out. To an audience that doesn’t know any better, it wouldn’t matter.
So what has brought about my obsession? Well first it’s because I’m more adventurous in the kitchen these days and these shows give me ideas or at the very least entertain me. Secondly, the ability to whip up a fancy shmancy meal in an hour boggles my mind. I’m sure we can all whip up a meal in an hour or less but would it be seared duck breast with a Chinese 5 spice sauce, grilled egg plant and sweet potato chips that looks like this….?
Nah, not a chance! At least not with the skills I currently possess anyway.
But one day I will slay in the kitchen like these amateur chefs! Till then….I’ll watch the shows.
And by the way, they cooked risotto in episode 3. Hmmmm risotto you say? Challenge accepted!! *Notes it down on grocery list*