Sunday, February 07, 2010

Cooking shows spice up reality TV

Remember about 10 years ago when we Aussies were obssessed with home renovation? Every time you turned on the telly there was some berk changing a room or blitzing a backyard (usually Jamie Durie), the entire population seemed to instinctively know the difference between a frieze and a mural and previously normal people became disconcertingly over-enthusiastic about water features.

This may have had something to do with it. Hi, Jamie.

Well clearly we all finished our home renos a while back because now it seems all we want to do is obsess about our kitchens. At least, that seems to be all we're interested in watching on television these days – people doing things in kitchens. Preferably with food. And preferably not in a creepy way.

In the last few years we've had Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Hell's Kitchen, The Chopping Block, Come Dine with Me Australia, and everything Jamie Oliver has ever done - Jamie's School Dinners, Jamie's American Road Trip, Jamie's Fowl Dinners, Jamie's Ministry of Food, Jamie Saves Our Bacon, Jamie Picks Up A Knife, Waggles It Round A Bit And Puts It Down Again But It Still Rates Its Socks Off...

Of course there was also the grand daddy of them all, Masterchef. (There was also Celebrity Masterchef, otherwise known as the Masterchef We've All Agreed to Pretend Never Happened.) And this week saw the hotly anticipated launch of My Kitchen Rules, to be followed later this year by Junior Masterchef, otherwise known as Ch 10 Flogs A Gasping Horse (And Then Turns It into Dinner).

Clearly cooking-themed shows can do no wrong with the Australian people right now. And so, just like throwing a handful of salt on a piece of rotting beef makes it slightly more palatable, here are some ideas to spice up some other reality shows that may have gotten a bit “on the nose”.


Replace Dicko, Marcia and Jay-Dee with Matt Moran, Maggie Beer and Neil Perry, turn the stage into a giant wok and make the contestants literally sing for their supper. Losers are forced to chop onions for the winners, who get to eat a three course meal cooked by host Gabriel Gate.


Chuck 12 chefs in a house fitted out with hidden cameras and force them to make a 20 metre tall dessert in 12 weeks. Rename the show 'Big Pavlova'.


Lock a bunch of skinny models in a Westfield food court and force them to live on KFC, Wendys and Muffin Break for a month. Whoever is still able to secure a modelling contract at the end wins.


A bunch of women must vie to win the hearts of some cattle, sheep and chicken farmers by slaughtering, preparing and cooking their livestock. A croquembouche is involved at some point.


Take 12 aspiring cooks, chuck them in 12 separate trendy pubs around the country and rename the show 'The Apprentice Chef Australia'. Whoever manages to create a menu that doesn't include salt and pepper squid is the winner.


Rename the show “So You Think You Can Skin a Chook”. The rest writes itself.

This article was first published in the Adelaide Sunday Mail's TV Guide on February 7, 2010.


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