5 culinary delights for your TV diet

Last updated 10:08 14/06/2012

Cooking shows just aren't really my thing, if I'm being honest. I mean, I didn't watch a single minute of the latest season of Masterchef NZ - though if Lucy Corry can be believed, the show is "as much about cooking as The Sopranos was about waste management", so I probably didn't miss too much. Besides, Stuff did a great job covering the finale, and interviewing each losing contestant as the series went along. I had nothing important to add to the conversation, so stayed quiet.

20120614Besides, I'd rather watch a scripted show than a reality show; as I've written before, the sheer commercialism of most so-called reality shows is off-putting. Most seem like an extended advertisement for some product or brand that I'm probably not interested in anyway - even though I know the shows couldn't exist without some kind of product tie-in.

The madness doesn't stop either. The schedule is loaded with cookery, and that's before Masterchef Australia starts playing every day starting from Monday.

But while I'm not a fan of cooking competitions like Masterchef NZ, or tutorial style, "here's one I prepared earlier" shows fronted by the likes of Nigella Lawson or Rick Stein, there are a few food-related shows I do like. You can keep your Hell's Kitchen and your Top Chef, I'd much rather watch ...

1) Come Dine With Me UK: There is something terrifying about inviting people over for dinner, let alone having a group of randoms come over and rate the meal you put in front of them. Come Dine With Me is fun, it's a bit of a laugh, and it's interesting to see how a bunch of relative amateurs approach hosting a dinner party. Plus, it makes me feel better for having thought about buying restaurant food and passing it off as my own.

2) The F Word: While Gordon Ramsay comes across as a twerp on Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares USA (which would actually be interesting if he wasn't more concerned with swearing at Americans), his broader family show The F Word was an entertaining watch, combining filmed segments with celebrity interviews, games and recipes. At its best, you could call it the Top Gear of food.

3) What's Really In Our Food: Local culinary fare is good too, as proven by this documentary series fronted by Carolyn Robinson (previously Petra Bagust) which investigates how food is made and prepared before hitting shelves and stores. Sometimes surprising, usually eye-opening and always interesting - the first series is repeating over on new Freeview channel Choice TV, Thursdays at 9.30pm.

4) Masterchef UK, the original: Believe it or not, I actually liked it when Masterchef UK was just a half-hour long, with 3 contestants cooking their butts off and the winner going through to the next round of the competition. Short, to the point, and focused solely on the cooking. Unlike the long, drawn-out mess that is Masterchef in 2012.

5) The Food Truck: Another local dish, Chef Michael Van De Elzen tries to create and sell healthy alternatives to popular food choices from the back of his truck. The latest series covered everything from Indian food to ice-cream, from sushi to soft drinks - and the best part is most of his tasty recipes are on the website, linked above.

What are your favourite food-related shows? And what did you think of Masterchef NZ, if you were watching?

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Johan   #1   10:14 am Jun 14 2012

Can't say they appeal to me, I have better things to do. Even if I did like them I don't know if I could watch Masterchef considering it was sponsored by Countdown.

However full contact cooking shows could be the go where you are allowed to damage your fellow competitors

David   #2   10:16 am Jun 14 2012

Hell's Kitchen USA!

Karlos   #3   10:21 am Jun 14 2012

"Besides, I'd rather watch a scripted show than a reality show..."

There's a difference?

Regan   #4   10:21 am Jun 14 2012

I've been (loosely) following The Hairy Bikers' Bakeation on ChoiceTV. I find it very interesting as they travel across Europe discovering its culinary history and the famous dishes from each country. I also actually enjoy the Rick Stein shows and the original Masterchef UK

susushack   #5   10:25 am Jun 14 2012

Iron chef yay yay yay my fav

PS   #6   10:33 am Jun 14 2012

Come Dine UK-with Dave Lamb's voiceover and brilliant comments, it is must see.

What about Heston's shows? The guy is mad (in a good way). He cooked mice on one show-a tail too far for the guests.

I agree about masterchef UK. Like you I did not watch one minute of the 2012 NZversion (aprt from the inevtiable promos-and with our new TIVO we can zip through those now)

hastley   #7   10:43 am Jun 14 2012

I LOVE Hells Kitchen. If anyone's seen Hells Kitchen Raw (I think it's called) it does show more of the mentoring that Ramsey does with his chefs, they just cut it out of the actual Hells Kitchen because... well that's what we watch it for?! When I was off sick after a back op there was a shortlived show called Iron Chef... it's a UK show, on daily. Look it up, I loved it or maybe the mad Asian person who introduced it hahaaa. Becuase of that show I've discoverd Gizzy Erskine, an amazing easy to follow chef who also has a personality! She appears to be v popular over in England. I agree 100% with UK Masterchef thoughts :)

D   #8   10:53 am Jun 14 2012

I enjoyed 'The Great British Bake Off' http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013pqnm - the format was simple, the contestants are all amateur home bakers; not a chef among them, and each weekend the show went to a region in Britain famous for a particular dish... scones, pasties, shortbread etc... the first day of the weekend was contestant created recipes, and the judges challenge - contestants got given the ingredients, but no instructions on how to create a version of the theme dish. On the second day of the weekend, the contestants would have to create several different 'types' of the theme dish... each episode interwoven with the history of that week's dish. Each week one of the 12 was voted off by the judges. This was oddly compelling viewing.

J   #9   10:56 am Jun 14 2012

Love Come Dine with me UK! Dave Lamb is hilarious! Aso a big fan of Heston Blumenthal, he just has such fun while he's creating these crazy dishes, and you get a bit of a history lesson too! Other than that, I don't bother with cooking shows!

El Jorge   #10   11:02 am Jun 14 2012

Supersizers go..... FTW!! Sue Perkins and Giles Coren spend a week eating food from a certain era from the Restoration period through to the 70's. Fun and educational. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Supersizers...

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