Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Food Fiesta

I'm addicted to cookery shows, which is ironic because I dislike cooking. I'm more accepting of the idea now than I was a couple of years ago - at times I even feel like cooking. But that's generally on weekends and I'm usually tired after making one dish. I could never whip up a meal!

So this fascination with cookery shows is strange. Why then do I like to watch them?

Well, I think there's something about food that comforts you and makes you happy. It's a combination of the various colors and textures coming together. The pink of the meat...the red, green, yellow of the peppers...the white of the garlic...the green of the chillies...the red of tomatoes...the translucence of onions. And then all these colors and textures come together in what you can imagine to be a heady concoction of subtle tastes and heavenly aromas. That is when professionals chefs or domestic goddesses are cooking. I am neither. So I just sit & watch.

Here's a list of my favorite cookery shows on TV:

1. Nigella Bites / Nigella Express / Forever Summer With Nigella - The first to be mentioned has got to be Nigella. Like there were two ways about it!

Nigella has three shows on Travel & Living - Nigella Bites where she cooks lunch, dinner, desserts...the whole hog, Nigella Express where she generally makes quick-bites that are even quicker to prepare, and Forever Summer With Nigella where she prepares light dishes that would be ideal for the summer.

Nigella's shows are visually very appealing, and no, I'm not referring to her assets. Enough and more men drool over her assets. As Rahul Khanna's famous tweet goes, "Nigella Lawson's cooking show is mouthwatering. And the food looks delicious too."

I'm referring to her pretty kitchen, the soft lighting, the crockery/utensils she uses, the colorful vegetables splayed on her cooking table, including the gorgeous huge bright yellow lemons, her impeccable make-up....everything. All very aesthetic and very easy on the eye.

The other reason I like her show so much is that she doesn't skimp on the fat or carbs while cooking! She'll use a generous amount of oil, won't separate the fat from the meat, won't skimp on the butter or the bread. And she eats what she prepares. It's very comforting to watch her dig into a huge slice of cheesecake or chocolate pavlova slathered with whipped cream or a bowl of chocolate pudding, in the middle of the night, without feeling guilty about it.

2. Top Chef - Top Chef is an American reality show in which chefs compete against each other in culinary challenges. They are judged by a panel of professional chefs and other accomplished people from the food industry and one contestant gets eliminated every week.

Top Chef is all about gourmet dining. The dishes - even the soups - are almost always exotic because there are professional chefs competing against each other and each chef would like to outdo the other. I envy the judges who get to sample all the dishes, but yes, one needs to be a seafood lover to be a judge on this show because some of the most exotic dishes are seafood based.

3. Masterchef Australia - I'm absolutely completely hooked on to Masterchef Australia! It's an Australian reality show - obviously - but unlike Top Chef, this show has amateurs competing to become Australia's Masterchef.

Some of the challenges include a face-off against some of Australia's biggest celebrity chefs. Masterchef Australia is a cookery show but it's no less gripping than a thriller. These three men are scary, believe me!

You also tend to get more emotionally involved with this show as compared to say, Top Chef, because the contestants are regular people with day jobs but with a passion for food. Many of them even want to give up their present jobs for a career in the food industry, so the show is kind of a means for them to make their dream come true.

4. Rachel Allen : Bake! - I once tried to convince The Knife to start watching Rachel Allen : Bake! She's got the goods, you know...pretty face, soft blond curls, blue (or is it green?) eyes. But he's a Nigella loyalist.

Anyway, Rachel Allen is an Irish baker. Dessert Goddess, rather. If you like baking this show is right up your alley. The focus is on desserts, but she also bakes breads, pizzas and other savouries. Her recipes are usually simple and not very labour-intensive. She even holds classes for people interested in baking, on the show, so you can jot the recipes down as she instructs the class. She also meets other bakers across the UK and gets recipes from them.

5. Tony Bourdain - Enough said.

Which are your favorite cookery shows?


The knife said...

I might have many faults but I'll never leave Nigella for anyone. The smile just melts me. And yes, ahem, one needs to keep an eye on the assets.

Bourdain is my guru, inspiration and lodestar. He is a poet.

Master Chef's growing on me

Anonymous said...

I love Bake! as well!

Rachel Allen also has another cooking show, Favorite Food at Home, currently airing on PBS stations around the country.

Kerrygold is giving away 10,000 Rachel Allen eCookbooks:


Redemption Code: KGLD-0319-2010-RACB

Moonshine said...

I love top chef and master chef!!! Whenever I get a chance, I watch both these shows - I love watching how creative people get with food - whether chefs or amateurs!!! Its really awe inspiring! I like Nigella bites (and all others), Kylie Kwong and Bourdain of course!!!

Besides these, I also like Chakh Le India, Highway on my plate, Foodie - these guys are real gluttons.. and I really enjoy watching them eat.

I love watching cooking shows - dont ask me why!

Moonshine said...

I find watching cooking shows very relaxing and de-stressing!!!!

The knife said...

I went to our building society meeting at night. We have moved out of there. A neighbour whom I had never spoken with so far came up to me and said, 'excuse me, don't you have a food blog?' :)

the-mommie said...

I love all of those shows you mention and totally love watching Bake! Nigella ofcourse is an institution no one can ignore. Even my dad-in-law's a little in love with her. Like I said somewhere before, I classify her in the soft food porn category. :D

I am a HUGE fan of cooking shows and the current turn my blog's taken is owing mostly to this obsession alone. :)

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - You're on your way to becoming the Indian version of Anthony Bourdain in terms of the cult following you're generating thanks to your blog :)

I really really like Masterchef. It's a food thriller!

@Anonymous - Thanks for sharing the info regarding Rachel Allen cookbooks. Will check it out.

Unfortunately, her other show that you mention isn't televised in India.

@Moonshine - Cooking shows do have a calming & de-stressing effect. I just love the colors of the various ingredients coming together.

@the-mommie - Oh God, you're so right! Nigella does equal soft food porn. And she should take that as a compliment :)

I like to read your blog for your recipes though I'm yet to try any of them at home. But the things you make, man...

The knife said...

my blatant hankering for praise worked :)

Supernova said...

Hellllo's something else we have in common!
I had written a post on this topic also sometime back...check it out at
You'll find our thoughts eerily similar! :)

Scarlett said...

@Supernova - Eerie!!! Shudder!!!

Moonshine said...

The interest in food - is it age thing you think? I mean when I was a teen / young adult.. I would hardly be bothered about food.. the taste.. or the shows!!!!

Scarlett said...

@Moonshine - These days I've started attributing every out-of-character behaviour/interest/action to age. It works! :P

Scarlett said...

@Moonshine - I hope it's not the "woman" in us that's decide to surface. B/c if that's the case, you know what would be next, right?