The TV landscape is once again peopled by some of our favourite chefs. From her little kitchen in Paris to bustling London, Rachel Khoo is back on our screens. And we have The Great British Wedding Cake as well as MasterChef Australia inspiring the Nigella Lawson and Gordon Ramsay in all of us, writes Debashine Thangevelo.
FOOD channels are continuously scouring the talent pool for their next TV celebrity chef while also milking the popularity of their in-house cash cows.
After all, viewers are gorging themselves on every food-related show. That’s not forgetting the noticeable surge in home cooking, with viewers spurred on by their favourite TV chefs.
Starting this month, viewers get to see The Great British Wedding Cake with celebrated baking writer, Mary Berry, returning with baker Paul Hollywood to explore a specific category of cakes.
They also explore how various eras from the Tudor to the Victorian influenced the design of wedding cakes.
Of course, the best part is that three finalist from the 2010 Bake Off series are put through their paces to deliver two out-of-this-world wedding cakes – one traditional, the other contemporary. And they have to do it in just 16 hours.
Next up is Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London. One of my fav- ourite things about this vibrant and pioneering chef is how she allows her setting to influence her dishes. She also deconstructs traditional dishes and gives them her own spin. Bold move. And it always seems to pay off for her. Now that’s sheer skill and ingenuity.
She blew audiences away with her debut series, The Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking With Rachel Khoo.
Now that she has whet viewers’ appetites, Rachel ups the culinary ante and plans to change the perception that British cuisine is bland and unexciting.
In an interview, she said: “When the BBC suggested the series, I was so excited: ‘I can show my French friends that London’s really exciting’. In the past eight years, it’s all kind of exploded in London. I was in and out anyway, but it’s been great coming back properly and having some time to learn about what’s going on – looking at the street food and enjoying the fact that the city’s so multi-cultural.
“The way the first TV series and book happened for me in the UK was that I knocked on some doors and somebody took a risk. But, in London, that same attitude applies to people who are starting up their own food companies.
“There’s this lady who makes Yum Buns, which are soft Asian buns with different fillings. She’s Japanese-British, I think, and just started off with a Saturday stand and then it grew and now it’s a full-time job for her. People can just try out stuff and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and you do something else. I love that about London!”
In the 10-part series, Khoo is inspired by London’s fashion scene to revamp a classic ’70s dessert; visit an iconic 24-hour bagel shop, take a trip down memory lane at a little Austrian Café sampling strudels; explore the comfort of “fast food” and look at the culinary delights of China Town, among many other tantalising exploits.
Finally, our favourite judge – suave food critic Matt Preson, easy-going restaurateur and chef, Gary Mehigan, and playful chef, George Calombaris, reprise their roles in the fifth instalment of MasterChef Australia.
This time it starts with a Girl vs Boy theme, among others. Filmed at the Royal Melbourne Show- grounds in Flemington, Victoria, the show sees renowned chefs Frank Camorra, Maggie Beer, Will Woods, Curtis Stone – just some of the names on an extensive list – making guest appearances.
In episode one, 22 contestants are divided into two teams and tasked with putting together a three-course meal for their new “family”.
The girls curried favour for their Middle Eastern chicken dish, while the boys wowed with their chicken pie. Pretty much evenly balanced in their hits and misses with the challenge, the contestants started to feel the pressure mounting. As for who wins? Well, you have to wait and see!
• The Great British Wedding Cake airs on BBC Lifestyle (DStv channel 174) tonight at 9pm, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London airs on the same channel tomorrow at 9pm. MasterChef Australia starts on M-Net on February 19 at 6.30pm.