Each week host chef James Martin and his two invited TV chef colleagues each cook meals for the celebrity guest and the two winners of the weekly competition. Regular features include archive footage from various other TV chef shows and the omelette challenge, where the two invited chefs must cook an omelette as fast as possible. Finally, there is the Heaven and Hell test which requires the celebrity guest to name their most and least favourite foods. Viewers then vote for one of these foods and at the end of the show, James Martin, cooks a meal for the celebrity using the winning food item!
Mark Smith <[email protected]>
User Reviews: This programme used to be a light-hearted Saturday morning show that was interesting and informative, but did not take itself too seriously. However, since Anthony Worall Thompson departed to ITV1 to make a similar-style show, this has gone rapidly downhill.
James Martin is certainly no replacement since he makes it really obvious all his dialogue is coming straight off the autocue. Nor can he ad-lib – for example when he said he was making barbecue sauce because it is easier to do than buying it from a supermarket, someone asked him why it was easier to go there and buy the separate ingredients. After staring blankly for about ten seconds one of his guests had to rescue him.
His cavalier attitude to the realities of everyday cooking does not help me warm to him either. When criticized by Nigella Lawson for using far more crockery than was necessary he replied that he had people to do his washing-up for him. He might but the average viewer probably won’t. Indeed the edition was priceless when Nigella guested on the show as she managed to find fault with almost everything he did. Somehow I doubt she’ll be asked back in a hurry. Unfortunately a number of the other guest chefs on the show appear to be the sort who have very suspect Italian accents put on to make themselves look more authentic.
The inserted segments from other chefs are often entertaining, particularly the vintage clips of Keith Floyd who is always good for a laugh as he seems to know his stuff and has fun with it.
All in all, recently the show seems to have changed its target audience as even the average price of a suggested wine for the featured dish has gone up considerably since the switch, as has the cost of producing the dish on reflection. Producing something with lamb usually means about £20 worth of cutlets, again not something that is going to be very practical to the ‘normal’ viewer.