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Posts tagged ‘cooking’

Out of the frying pan (71)

Image from waferboard's Flickr photostream

You might know this already from a previous post, but i’m going to tell you again. I’m a bit of a cooking show fan. And what falls under my cooking show spotlight tonight? Well ‘Out of the frying pan’ of course.

Each year I watch The Restaurant with interest. This year James and Ali were the partnership who came as runners-up, and just missed out on opening a restaurant with Ramond Blanc. *Insert sympathetic face here* It is debatable whether they should have won. The chef side of the partnership that did win was, in my opinion, severely lacking. He had never cooked anything really. He was more of a cocktail mixer, which i’ll admit he did to good effect. James is a high standard, cooked everything, trained chef. On food standard alone, James and Ali should have won.

They have one problem. Basically it’s Ali. Don’t get me wrong, he’s nice and everything, but he is stressy, hot headed and forgets things. He has a harder job than James in some ways because James is doing what he loves from the safety of the kitchen. And watching Out of the frying pan has highlighted this to me. I almost agree that they deserved to come second, they are not a strong enough team.

Out of the frying pan is a spin off programme. Apparently James and Ali were offered jobs by Ramond Blanc at the end of The Restaurant series, and now, at the end of teaching time with his team, they are trying to private cater. Not just any private catering, ridiculous places like Sandhurst and some Lady’s dinner party. Difficult, and yes it makes good viewing. If you liked The Restaurant i’d check it out.

Although the 60 second James-talks-you-through-his-cooking frames annoy the hell out of me. It’s not long enough to learn anything, and slows down the action. More shots of Ali’s team dropping things please. Thanks!

You can see the last Out of the frying pan episode on 12 May at 7pm on BBC 2, and you can catch-up on iPlayer.

Are you watching Masterchef Australia? (14 #oneaday)

I’m a bit of a sucker for reality tv style cooking shows. I love Great British Menu. I love Hell’s Kitchen (both the Gordon Ramsay version and Marco Pierre White’s). I thought the series where Jamie Oliver’s friend started a pig farm, that programme, that was GREAT. I have loved Jamie’s School Dinners, Top Chef, Kitchen Nightmares, Monty Halls Great Escape, Big Chef takes on Little Chef and even, on occasion, The F Word. And oh my gosh The Restaurant. I love that show.

There is however one exception. I have never been taken by Masterchef. It doesn’t do anything for me. I’m not saying this means it is a bad show. I’m sure plenty of people love it and I know my mum and sister do. It’s too safe for me, there is not enough extreme competition. I want to see people juggle knives. In Top Chef they have to BBQ high end food on the beach for surfers, they have to cater on yacht on a budget, they have quick fire challenges. Masterchef has ‘heats’. Yes, they have to work in a professional kitchen (i’m sure it’s hard) and yes they have to make the same ingredients look exciting and edible (also hard), but it does not make riveting viewing. I will watch it if nothing else is on.

On the other hand, Masterchef Australia is BRILLIANT. It is much more Top Chef and much less Masterchef UK. The first episode I watched gave a contestant the opportunity, early on in the competition, to win a free passage to the final. All they had to do is cook a plate of food better than a famous Australian chef. Easy right? Ok well maybe not, but it was great tv. (He lost and rejoined the rest of the gang).

Then they had to work in two teams in a high end sushi restaurant and arranged their teams in an Apprentice style with buyers, and chefs, and stuff. (I love The Apprentice but that’s another story). It was exciting and made you care about the individuals – the staple of a reality show.

And now i’m watching it; i’m learning. And, shock of shocks, I don’t mind i’m learning. It’s a miracle! The mentors are showing the team how to make a chocolate and olive oil mousse. I want to eat it. I want to taste raw egg (you would have to watch this episode to understand).

I love it. I’m Sky+ ing it. You should too.

Masterchef Australia is on Watch at 7pm everyday except Saturday.

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