Apr 2022 | Blog

Sitting at home this week, like most people, I was flicking through the channels on the television. It was about 7.30pm at night, and I wanted to see what was on later. Like most TV menus it starts with the channels that have been around the longest in at the top of my screen ie. BBC1, BBC2, ITV…….and what was coming up on the BBC for the rest of my evening was a surprise even to a foodie like me.

At 8pm there was the Great British Menu for an hour on BBC2 and then as soon as that finished there was a new programme on BBC1 starting at 9pm and also lasting an hour called Gordon Ramsey’s Future Food Stars.  It wasn’t too hard to decipher what the show was about and who was hosting it from the title, and after watching it I deduced that it was basically a food-based version of The Apprentice, with a bit more swearing in it. Entertaining enough, but it got me thinking…..

With the proliferation of programmes devoted to the culinary arts, certainly in recent years, is food and drink the new rock n roll? Is it the new Cool Britannia? Are chefs the new stars adorning bedroom walls for a new generation? Are Michelin stars the new number one albums or the new Champions League winners medal? Those who accrue them are lauded accordingly. Rightly so too, as they will have worked tremendously hard, long hours to get to that stage of their career. It’s how it should be.

I’ve probably gone a bit too far with the above, but I think you get my point?

What we have seen is the rise of the Super Chef. The likes of Kerridge, Hartnett, Lawson, Ainsworth, Harriett, Pierre White, Oliver etc etc…. are household names and are big business not only in the kitchen, but also when it comes to the world of entertainment, too. Indeed, such is their popularity is that many now are given the ‘First Name Only’ treatment – it’s Gino, Fred, Marco, Ainsley and the like – say that name and people will automatically know who you are talking about.

Turn on the television at any time of the day and somewhere you’ll find a programme devoted to food and drink. Indeed, stick on BBC1, and the whole of Saturday morning is literally dedicated to it. Now, I’m not moaning about that, but we all know that too much saturated food isn’t good for you – will that be the same with the increasing saturation of our TV screens with a plethora of cooking programmes?

Luckily, it seems that many of the programmes, and indeed the chefs on them, have a personality and character of their own. Even if they are competition-based, most have a different feel and ethos to them.

Let’s face it – there is nothing better than sitting down and watching course after course of sumptuous food on your screens. As long as you’re not there staring down at a hastily-concocted fishfinger sandwich. Not that there is anything wrong with a fishfinger sandwich, of course! No, it’s great that the industry and sector that we at Umami Search work within is so popular, and it’s great that the vast majority of the television programmes are excellent and as stated before, have a vibe all of their own. But we must make sure that it doesn’t become overkill, because it would be quite ironic if too many cooks spoiled the broth.


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