Food from the Telly

There’s a food show on telly tonight and I am not allowed to watch it!
My husband hates cooking shows or anything related to food on TV which is a pity and even though I regularly argue my case (inspiration, a chance to learn more etc..), I always draw the short straw. G’s profound dislike of this rather distinct form of entertainment is irritating yet kind of comprehensible. It is because likeable TV-chefs are pretty hard to find. Sure, there are shows such as the ingenious Come Dine With Me, but the majority of cooking shows are run by so-called ‘celebrity chefs’ who attempt to indoctrinate their views on food, while at the same time trying to sell their latest lines of pepper mills, crookery and dressing shakers.

Likeable telly chefs come once in a blue moon and Jamie Oliver certainly isn’t one of them.
Jamie-fans, don’t continue reading if you really love the chap. For all others, feel free to join the discussion.
When it comes to the pukka-puffing Essex lad, I am not a fan! Jamie does Sainsburys, a line of useless kitchen tools, cookbook after cookbook and many well-documented trips to other countries, where he tends to belittle the local food habits. Jamie might be a decent guy and obviously I have never met the man, but I keep seeing things of him that make me cringe, such as the aforementioned Sainsburys ads, for which I’ve never been able to forgive him. Most recently I read an article abut Jamie carrying the Olympic Torch ahead of the London 2012 games. I can only shake my head in disbelief.

There’s nothing people have to be grateful for when it comes to Jamie Oliver. Even though he genuinely wants to improve school dinners for kids on both sides of the Atlantic, the guy gets paid by supermarket giants for being their ad testimonial. It just doesn’t make sense.

I am seemingly not the only person who dislikes the Essex lad: Jim Shelley writes in an article in The Guardian, August 2007:

I’ve always hated the way Jamie Oliver plays up (or down) to the idea that he’s thick. He boasted to Michael Parkinson that he’d never read a book, for example. He seems happy to behave not so much like a performing monkey, as a kind of performing Cockney, enthusing about food as if he’d just discovered the potato.

Enough said about poor Jamie and swiftly moving on to the UK’s Masterchef. Oh the kick I used to be able to get out of this show. Its appeal to a generation of foodies and amateur-chefs is uncanny. Who doesn’t dream of making it big in the world of cookery-heroes?!

I have my very own story to share when it comes to Masterchef. In 2007, for whatever reason, I applied to take part in the show and – oh wonder – they called me back! I was so stunned by receiving their phone call and….. I never followed it through. The producer I spoke to wanted me to call back to arrange a meeting but I never did. I would have undoubtedly failed during the first round, but who knows… in a parallel universe I might be the deserving underdog-winner of the show…?! Who knows…!

Food shows have come a long way and really good ones tend to stick around. The Gordon Ramsey formats where the chef is shouting, cussing, slamming and ridiculing is probably the most successful of them all. Gordon goes to failing restaurants, or trains a pack of idiotic wannabe cooks in how to fry an egg sunny side up. Gordon is a character, he is vile to vegetarians, has supposedly had an affair, feuds with the in-laws, courts the media, lost a lot of money a few years back and has a wonderfully spent-looking face. Apparently Gordon and Jamie are known for their mutual dislike for each other, if this is true, I am definitely on team Gordon. There’s something real about the way he lives, looks, thinks about food and ends up cooking it.

Gordon Ramsay might be a bit of a foul-mouthed p**, but I personally think, there needs to be an island, on which we exile chefs like Jamie Oliver. Just because there is a pretentious portion of the population that wants to pretend his cooking and yes… his lifestyle is anything special, when really it is plastic fakery. His lifestyle that is…
Not many people will be able to live up to what he portrays. Even the English countryside in his shows never looks as lush in reality as it does on TV.  Jamie wants you, humble reader, to put down the Pizzas, Burgers and Turkey Twizzlers and start eating chicken and edible flowers that have been showered in rainbow dust and fairy glitter. The only way I can bear a Jamie Oliver outing on TV these days is when the dubbed version is on German telly. With a different voice, Jamie is just another TV chef who throws ingredients together as it suits him. Mediocre cooking without the ‘pukka’, ‘delish’ or endless pretentious Bob Geldof-like attempts to save the world from bad food.

Picture by Lord Jim via Flickr