Bloody TV Chefs: 5 reasons their recipes fail to live up to the hype

funny-cooking-showsBloody TV chefs. With their 30 minutes preparation time, pinches of exotic spices, dashes of gourmet oils and freshly chopped herbs sprinkled with an effortless, artistic flourish. In my world it’s a 2 hours marathon with kids that want to join in and nothing prepared earlier. There are bottles of ingredients, picked by virgins and blessed by the Pope that are destined to remain full and unused in my pantry for millennia. And there’s food, crash landed onto plates and delivered to the the table, the pile of chopped garnishing herbs forgotten on the chopping board.

Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking. Thanks to a mum that got me involved when I was young and a wife that’s happy to let me look after the Illiterate house-holds catering needs I get to create and prepare regularly.What’s frustrating me at the moment is my inability to get anything resembling the an Oliver-like result in Oliver-like time, or food prepared in anything resembling a flash.

Karen Martini - pea and ham soup

Honestly Kaz, I’m sure it user error. Your’s looks lovely

It came to a crescendo last Sunday night when I decided to have a crack at Karen Martini’s Pea, Ham and Barley soup. If you look at her picture, you’ll note the near sexy deliciousness portrayed. Now imagine mine, a similar colour but a more sloppy, breast fed infant consistency. It tasted fine but looked…

So what happened? Well my inability to focus on any project that lasts more than 30 minutes might have had an impact. I may have also suffered from a case of “nah, I don’t need to do it like that” at a few key stages. I may have also been overly enthusiastic with the stab blender but in the end I served up something that looked drastically different from the picture shown.

So why? Why does my effort yield such a different result? Could it be?

1) Preparation space. How many cooking shows have the chef squeezing their chopping board between a pile of unsorted laundry, this morning’s un-washed dishes, a pile of mail and the bag of ingredients that you haven’t put away yet?

2) “…place the onion in the pan and cook gently until JOHNNY! get down from there and put that knife down. STOP! don’t eat that onion! CAREFUL that pan is hot”. No I haven’t heard a cooking show go like this either. Seriously, these guys cook with one thing going on. They’re not dealing with a “little helper(s)” or the washing machine and dryer that’s beeping alarmingly in the background, the Mormons that have come to the door or the war on silence that your other children have declared in the lounge room.

3) Your lack of enthusiasm for cleaning up. Have you noticed how many dishes, bowls, knifes and spoons these guys use per recipe? I’m not sure about you but I watch and read recipes now and am already mentally washing up. I’m also aware that if I’m slightly unenthusiastic about washing up then Mrs II is 110% completely #$@#%$ over it. This attitude results in corners being cut, bowls being re-used or overfilled or whole sections of recipes skipped.

4) Vinno Cotto. Verjuice. Extra Virgin, virgin picked with virginity preserved olive oil etc etc etc. Have you noticed that the $10 meal advertised by a certain chain of super markets assumes you already have $30 worth of condiments in the cupboard. Or that the one particular ingredient that makes the dish you want to cook unique is only available in the local totes amazeaballs deli where hipster, cardigan wearing foodies congregate? And that when you google said ingredient for more recipes the only thing that comes up is the recipe you just made?

5) TV Chef: Years of experience, successful food empire, chain of restaurants, condiments range, publishing deal. Kev: Cooks once per day, maybe more on weekends. Enthusiastic but (very) limited in skill, will resort to store bought pizza bases and pre-made pasta. No book deal, no restaurants but bucket loads of verjuice.

So – how about you. Are you a TV chef waiting to break through or free-styling with occasional success. Have you had a good results following a celebrity chef’s recipe or would you like to let my two readers now about a particularly hilarious failure.

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Sharing my Tuesday with Jess over at  EssentiallyJess.com for I Blog on Tuesday

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24 Responses to Bloody TV Chefs: 5 reasons their recipes fail to live up to the hype

  1. I always say that the true Masterchefs of Australia are the parents cooking with ticking times at their feet, washing to do, and juggling acts worthy of a circus…….in fact, this one time, I made a video about it ;-)
    http://keepingupwiththeholsbys.com/2012/10/03/holsby-tv-the-true-masterchefs-of-australia/

  2. Sarah says:

    I LOVE verjuice! Hahaha. I completely agree. For my birthday last month I not only asked for a food processor, I was super excited when I opened it, purely because it means less time standing at the kitchen counter chopping when I do my fortnightly cook up.

  3. Angie says:

    I thought i could substitute baking soda for baking powder when making scones recently. grossest thing I’ve ever made, possibly eaten. im usually a decent cook but these were fowl!

  4. I have often said “Masterchef – you try making that FOR toddlers, and whilst looking after toddlers!”. I’d like to see that! Loved your blog, Alison #IBOT

  5. Jodi says:

    To be on Mastechef you have to be able to cry….a LOT! These shows are more about the dramatic tearful goodbyes than the food! It is a COMPETITION people!!!

    I am lucky my hubby loves to cook and cooks every night! I take care of the kids meals, and luckily for me, they love bangers & mash or scrambled eggs! :)

  6. Mel says:

    bahahaha, my hubs does most of the cooking for our mob too. I think a real pressure test would see them with 2 toddlers in the kitchen and a couple of moody teenagers and throw in a tween girl who has a new drama every day!

  7. Kerri Thomas says:

    Very good! I always seem to save my biggest cooking disasters for guests. I think it’s because I try to follow Celebrity chefs recipes :-)

  8. I love watching the cooking shows, but they’re pure fantasy to me. I have absolutely no hope of ever doing what they do, but I wouldn’t mind being one of the judges, imagine all that tasting.

  9. Ha, I agree with the part about ‘mentally washing up’ – many times I have considered making a certain dish, then thought about the washing up, and gone “Naaahhh”…

  10. JenSWight says:

    I always think when I see Jamie’s 15 minutes – yeah and about 45mins cleaning up you mockney numpty (actually I quite like Jamie so then feel guilty after thinking this). Also have you seen how much salt and oil he uses. Amazeballs indeed. If only they’d do a show which was – easy to shop, easy to cook, easy to eat AND easy to clean up after. I’d buy that book for shizzle.

    • Kevin says:

      Hi Jen and thanks for popping in to the illiterate infant. Firstly I need to congratulate you on the use of the words Mockney and shizzle in the same post – cudos. Secondly – I think your on to something with that book idea!!

  11. The cleaning up is the sole reason I don’t cook much at all! In fact these days the only time I actually cook is when Dave is doing his two night shifts a week and for at least one of those shifts he’s already made and frozen my dinner, so all I have to do is re-heat and maybe cook some pasta to go with it! I don’t even cook for Punky, if she needs something cooked for her because Dave isn’t here it’s usually toast or some scrambled eggs. In fact scrambled eggs with ham is exactly what we are having for dinner tonight!

    And if you read Mr Oliver’s 15 or 30 minute meals books he tells you at the beginning that you need to have all sorts o things done and ready to go before you start the 30 minute timing of your cooking, things like already having pots of water boiling, kettles boiled, etc. So the whole 15 or 30 minute meal claim is actually a crock of shit because you can only do it in the allotted time if you spend extra time before hand getting everything prepped and assembled. I still love to watch cooking shows though, I just don’t like to actually cook!

  12. Oh Kev, you crack me up.
    My problem is not the making of said master chef meals, but rather the fact that none of them appeal to me in the first place. I think I am quite possibly the world’s fussiest eater

  13. The other thing is they have all their ingredients sitting at the ready in little glass bowls, already pre-measured … imagine the washing up afterwards though!

  14. marleisa says:

    I agree and I always find their recipes cost me a million dollars to make as I have to by all these ingredients that I don’t have and then I never use them again!!

  15. Chantel says:

    I love cooking and I love to prepare food from celebrity chefs – my downfall? My taste tester -aka as 3 year old – refuses pretty much everything I slave for hours preparing for him. The amount of times he ends up with baked beans on toast because what I prepared is not edible in his world :) I feel your pain!!!!!

    Hello from #teamIBOT

  16. Emily Morgan says:

    I would definitely watch that show – in fact, it would give “Masterchef” a whole new meaning. Put them in a room full of toddlers and lock the door, filming all the while. I like. Keep it up, love your work! mamagoingsolo :)

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