Dish of the Day: The downsides to cookery shows

Dan Doherty

DuckWaffle columbian eggs f 300x225 Dish of the Day: The downsides to cookery showsWhen you switch on the TV these days you are never more than a tap away from a cookery show. Sure it gets people interested in the food on their plate and in their mouths. But there is another side to things.

Most of those shows have a highly competitive element to them – there is sometimes that sense cooking is best left to some else, to the pros or wanna-be pros. Which is a shame because cooking shouldn’t be scary or a traumatic clock-counting process.

Home cooking is completely different to working as a chef of course. The hard part about that is quite simple: getting other people to do what you are good at (aside from suppliers, environmental health, business levels, logistics, paperwork). For example, let’s say you make the most perfect of omelettes. Now, you tell someone else how to do that; they make it; and then by necessity I judge them on it. Multiply that by 40 and you have the crux.

At home it is different. I’m not say cooking’s easy but let’s be honest, it’s not the most important task in the world. You make a cake at home, it’s not cooked, make it again next week, and remember what you may have done wrong. Ask advice, use the internet, whatever floats your boat. What cooking needs to be and all-to-often isn’t shown to be is fun. You should be able play around and experiment.

When it works, enjoy boasting to your friends that your shepherd’s pie with sweet potato mash is the best they’ll ever taste. Don’t worry about ingredients, as Fergus Henderson rightly says, they can smell your fear. I’ve seen guys who are like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting but when cooking a steak with the pan smoking and the steak burning, they panic. Turn the heat down, move the pan off the flame, take the steak out. Chill. When it comes to cooking it is really all good.

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  • Nostradamus_1

    The downside to cookery shows, is that they try too hard to be good TV. There is a clear difference between being a decent cook and being a “good” chef. However the distinction is blurred in most of these shows, partly due to the verbal sexing up of some bland and at times uninviting dishes, cooked by presenters, whose alleged skill is merely being able to follow a script and use a thesaurus.

  • Roger Stowell

    There is a dreadful dullness and predictability about these shows which has stopped me watching them altogether.

  • David Jefferis

    Love shows with a cookery/travel/background combo.

    Don’t like competitions, as my cooking is all about relaxation and enjoyment with friends and family.

  • Squrrl_Lvr

    Cookery competition shows are as much about food as Big Brother is about modern architecture.

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