Despite all good intentions to watch as little TV as possible, I always fall for (new) cooking shows on TV. Just can’t help it. German TV seems to know my Saturday schedule, because they run various shows when I usually return from doing groceries, starting with two hours of Jamie Oliver – OK, I’m definitely over that one. Not that I don’t like him (despite the horrible dubbing…), maybe I had an overdose, he has been on now for about two years without interruption.
What a relief when I finally discovered a change in program: Now it is just one hour of Jamie – which I skip anyways – followed by “Bill’s Food“! With quite a few foodblogs referring to his books, I was as curious as I could be. “Bill Granger is the god of Australasian cooking and his two restaurants are Sydney institutions.” (Time Out, London) – So he’s a well established chef, I have to give him that. Similar to Jamie’s German voice, the dubbing is rather annoying (why don’t they use subtitles?) and underlines his enthusiastic presentation almost to a comical extend. His kitchen is neatly designed and kept in pastels, including his shirts. The only thing that’s even brighter, is his million watt smile that oh so frequently beams at you, that you tell yourself to put shades on next time you watch him. On the first show, we clocked him – 21, 22, 23, 24,… SMILE 21, 22,…; an average of 10 seconds to recover in between. Hm, maybe I’m exaggerating a tiny little bit here, but I’m absolutely positive, that there is a guy standing right next to the camera man, holding up a big sign “SMILE INTO THE CAMERA, NOW!!!” The other thing that stands out is the sheer inexhaustible level of enthusiasm with which he explains some of the cooking steps – you could easily be led to think he invented them ;) One thing is for sure, he’s an excellent marketer…
Nevertheless it’s a fun show, the recipes are straight forward and simple. I’ll certainly watch it again, although RTL II doesn’t broadcast any episodes at the moment. (Perhaps – meanwhile – I should have a closer look at his cookbooks…)
My latest discovery is “Leas KochLUST” with Lea Linster. She runs a restaurant in Frisange (Luxembourg) and is a highly awarded chef de cuisine (among many other honors she received the “Bocuse d’Or” back in 1989). Owning and treasuring two of her books, I was eager to finally watch her show on TV. The concept is quite simple: She cooks with the help of a cooking apprentice, each show a different one. In the first show I watched, the audience was made acquainted with “Korbinian”, a rather tall and skinny guy.
Hmmm, how shall I put it? She is a dedicated woman and I have no doubts about her leading a restaurant’s kitchen. But one can easily recognize, that she isn’t very used to preparing a dish in front of a TV cam while talking about it. The prepared “pasta packets” looked anything but neat and even, in fact they were torn up and I couldn’t believe they were actually showing this. The way she chopped onions with a parer left me rather clueless… And the conversation between her and Korbinian…, well, better skip that part completely. Was he reading his questions from the autocue? Questions, a cooking apprentice would probably not ask in front of a camera. Such as “Why do you run the pasta dough through the machine more than once? ” Or statements like “Panna cotta is an easy dessert, because you don’t have to whip cream.” Pardon me? Maybe both had a bad day, I don’t know. Best moment: She asked him to remove the pasta from the oven and he stated, they would need a few more minutes. She snapped right back at him, in a don’t-you-dare-to-smartass-me tone, to take them out. She wasn’t amused, as one could easily tell… ;)
If I had to choose between her books and her show, I would without hesitation go for the books. On the other hand, I might give her show another try, if only for her cute French accent!
I guess it all comes down to what you are looking for in a cooking show? Well, for me it’s got to be a healthy mix of the following ingredients: Technique, congeniality paired with a good sense of humor and interesting recipes. Still looking…because, good chefs don’t necessarily have to be good actors ;)