Cooked with Cannabis hosts and judges, Leather Storrs and Kelis
PICTURE: Netflix
Cooked with Cannabis hosts and judges, Leather Storrs and Kelis PICTURE: Netflix

I've just realised one thing - I don't enjoy cooking competition shows

By Buhle Mbonambi Time of article published May 26, 2020

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Being a food writer, my life revolves around eating and drinking. Like, a lot. Before the pandemic forced us to stay home, I used to spend most of the week going to restaurants as either a guest of the chef/owner or going out to check out what's happening. And that led to me not cooking as much.

And now with the lockdown and the pandemic requiring us to be self sufficient and find inspiration in the kitchen, I have often turned to cooking competition shows to see just what is happening in the world of gourmet food and try and pick up some hacks from the amateur cooks and chefs. You know, something to impress my difficult to please the palate and give myself a challenge.

But I soon realised one thing - these shows make me anxious. So anxious that I do not enjoy them and I find myself turning off the TV or changing the channel whenever I feel like a contestant is either failing at what they do or the judges didn't get what they were trying to do with their dish.
A scene from Masterchef Australia's latest season. PICTURE: Supplied
Food shouldn't be something that gives us anxiety and yet it does. We have become so particular and finicky with our food, that it becomes rather irritating to cook for more than three people.

The last time I cooked up a storm was New Year's Day. I invited some of my closest friends over for lunch and laid out a spread. But at the back of my mind I realised that I had to have options for those who don't eat other foods. It got exhausting after a while and I didn't even enjoy the meal afterwards. My friends were happy though. But I was so anxious, that I couldn't stomach my own food.

And that brings me to food shows. Most of the meals those cooks have to make should take longer than they do. You can cook a three course meal in two hours and actually pull it off. The shows always set these guys up for failure and I honestly find that environment to be so nerve-wrecking, that I don't see myself wanting to even continue watching the show.
Scene from Come Dine With Me South Africa PICTURE: BBC Lifestyle
I am probably one of the few people who can't finish an episode of a cooking show, even a fun one like 'Come Dine with Me'. These food competition shows take out the fun in cooking, make it so technical and remove the show that comes with making food.

Of course with a lot of money at stake, there has to be almost impossible challenges. But is it really entertaining?

I don't think so.

I probably won't stop watching. I will dip in and out, especially when it's something interesting like 'Cooked with Cannabis', which explores how the herb has been embraced by the culinary industry and has these experienced cooks and chefs show just how they have infused into these gourmet dishes, giving the herb a chance to shine as food's newest superstar.

While it is interesting to watch, the judging and also seeing just how panicked the contests are, makes it a very un-fun experience, the antithesis of what the whole point of the show is-to have fun.

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