Wednesday, 23 April 2008

'Television Killed The Chef De Cuisine'

Bonsoir mes expressos excitables!

I hope you are all well this fine day. Here in Cheshire the Sun has graced us with its presence, eminating its delightful glow over the flowing waters of the Thropshire/Debenham Canal, brightening the flora and fauna of the gardens and promtly braising my herb patch as it had recently been doused with a gallon of Evian. I have decided that Chefs' are not green fingered. We relish the thought of having an abundance of freshly grown herbs and then the realisation hits us after killing numerous plants purchased from the Garden Centre. Also the fact that most kitchens will go through a colossal amount of the green stuff that within a day you have exhausted your supply and end up back at the Garden Centre searching for more!

What a fun filled week it has been. Vast amounts of blog-worthy news over the last seven days but, unfortunately, most of it has become dull, mediocre and lifeless. Another Chef is in trouble with the courts. This time Ramsay and the production company are being accused of staging certain events on the TV program 'Kitchen Nightmares US'. The 'Chef in shining armour' has found himself at the centre of a scandal that could cost him and his holdings company around $1 million to a disgruntled employee from a New York restaurant. Even if the case does go back to court, I am certainly positive that the egotistical and foul-mouthed Chef Ramsay would be able to withstand the loss of such a small amount of money from the vast fortune he has worked exceptionally hard for. With the upsurge of more and more reality shows appearing on TV, should we not be asking whether these programs are actually genuine or have they become staged and setup just to boost ratings for the TV and production companies that seem to have jumped on a bandwagon?

What will the next selection of hard-hitting, fly-on-the-wall documentaries be? How about Dishwashing Nightmares with Ainsley Harriot as he guides uneducated young adults with a brood of juvenile delinquents on the Top Ten Fairy Do's and Don'ts with a crash course in rattling pots and pans while wearing stupidly loud coloured shirts and grinning inanely. Or how about, Jamie's Guide to Rhyming Slang (or 'How to Insult Londoners and Patronise Your Viewers') - Jamie Oliver guides his viewers on the meaning of words such as 'Pukka', 'Blinding' and 'Tukka' while educating viewers on pronunciation, grammar and the promise of transforming into a complete 'Mockney Pukka' by the end of the season. Finally, Delia Cheats! Well no surprise here as Delia Smith manoeuvres her way through a selection of dishes and snacks while putting the new Norwich City manager through his paces where he makes her look even more sour-faced by saying "Its not the winning, Its the losing gracefully that counts". Actually, this is already on your current TV schedules, make a point of being out when its on. How many more cooking programmes and culinary reality shows can one nation take?

For a long time we have realised these type of shows have been increasing in number creating an epidemic of cooking disasters and culinary catastrophes. What the general public fail to realise is that many of these 'shows' are presented by trained Chefs, star trained Chefs and employ trained ex-Chefs to assist in the overall production of a majority of the programs on the TV. Christ, we even have numerous Food Network channels! Whole channels dedicated to shopping for food, equipment to help make food, making food and even selling food to other food-minded people.

I remember one instance on a popular cookery programme when two Chefs and two members of the general public, who claimed they could not cook, produce a mediocre piece of chicken with a sauce, potatoes and vegetables all the while trying to copy the same dish created by a Chef of some 25 years experience with his own restaurant and kitchens. Fantastic for the lovers of daytime telly until they get delusions of grandeur, try to replicate said dish at home for a select few of their closest friends and realise they should have ordered out to Dominoes instead of attempting to massacre a perfectly decent chicken and the rest of the collective ingredients. Trying to create these types of dishes at home is possible, I am not denying anyone that, but to get them to a standard worthy of a restaurant within an alloted timescale and for fifty people. Well that takes a trained individual. Even if the cook is trying to produce this exquisite masterpiece for only six people, it will become a nightmare within the first ten minutes of preparation. Or at least, when they realise they have either forgotten an ingredient, have set the oven to high, received an epiphany that they should have used Dolmio or purchased Jamie Oliver's 'Flavour Shaker' (I believe the correct term is 'Pestle and Mortar')to decimate the flavoursome and earthy herbs into a mushy substance which would probably taste better on your beef paste sandwiches.

Would I want to be on TV? NO! Would the majority of my colleagues in the Inustry want to be on TV? No! Would we be on TV if it was us that had been offered £50,000 a year, a mass marketing deal and as much Foie Gras and Black Truffles as our stomaches could handle? YES, of course we would, who wouldn't, but would we become that wrapped up in our own self-importance that the reasons we actually thrive on this job would evaporate just like an over-boiled pan of Conchigelle Fromage? I hope not.

My time is now at an end, my little madelines and I must bid you farewell once more. So, until next time......

Au revoir mes escargots furtifs

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