Yes Chef!

If you are a human being who owns a TV set, you’ll be aware of the phenomenon of televised competitive cooking. And you’ll have noticed that chefs these days seem to have quite a high opinion of themselves.

In the same way that politicians, billionaires, and Saudi princes have quite a high opinion of themselves.

With their ‘yes chef!’, and their ‘produce’, and their ‘timing issues’, and their ‘passion’, and their weird pride in the fact that they never see their family due to the 18 hour shifts.

Some seem to think they’re a cross between Einstein and Lennon, and that we should gasp and fawn appropriately. Which, by watching them cook food on TV, I suppose we are.

So maybe it’s our fault?

If I have to sit and watch one more bearded twenty-something ‘showcase’ his ‘twist’ on fish and chips I’m liable to embark on a reckless and ill thought out hunger strike just to purge myself of the memory.

Just to be clear, I’ve had my fill of televised cookery.

I do like a good old fashioned restaurant critic though.

Quite frankly, I’m impressed by anyone able to earn a living from eating. A few snarky comments and a withering put down from Jay Rayner in the Guardian newspaper really gets my Sunday mornings off on the right foot.

I particularly like it when critics visit some stylised and excruciatingly hip street food/fine dining fusion outfit in London. They usually have a kooky name like ‘Trough’, or ‘The Pig and Swill Bucket’.

The best reviews are when said food outlet turns out to be laughably inept.

I only enjoy this so much because of the flim-flammery involved in these places – they know the game, and they’re choosing to play it.

Liberal use of words like ‘provenance’ and ‘rare breed’ on the menu, and décor consisting of distressed wood and exposed plumbing, should not be enough to part wallet from cash.

Don’t get the wrong idea – I like eating out, I like new things, and I even enjoy a spot of well-directed pretension from time to time. But if I shell out serious cash I expect something in return that I would struggle to do at home with a few pots and pans and a positive attitude.

When I head to my local pub for a spot of grub I seem to be paying through the nose to experience the chefs ‘creative vision’ on a plate. I blame the televised cooking and the chef worship. I am paying to keep him up on his pedestal.

If it tastes really good, then fine. Dress it up all you want. In fact just chuck it at the plate and I’ll pay the going rate.

If it’s nothing more than a cutely presented list of obscure ingredients that don’t go together, then the distressed woodwork and exposed plumbing gets annoying.

Now, how do I go about getting a job as a restaurant critic?

(Image: via



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