Yet another unreality food show has hit our Australian telly screens. My Kitchen Rules, where teams representing five states vie for the title of most-self-confident but not-quite-expert home entertaining maestros. People showing off to each other isn't exactly my idea of fun cooking viewing, but hey, maybe there's something to enjoy in it.
The first episode surprised me with the ageist comments of some dinner guests (and co-competitors) about their advanced-middle-age hosts. So, like, wrinklies aren't meant to be able to cook like pros? I wonder what granny might have to say about that…
The competitors, mostly 20-somethings, show a startling lack of humility (except for the lovely, warm Queensland sisters), but if the second episode is anything to go by (perhaps best subtitled The Guys Who Couldn't), viewers might be in for more lashings of hubris and patchily competent execution. You know you're watching quality TV when overconfident lads have a range of high class restaurant chinaware on which to serve up their leathery ravioli, burnt pinenuts and (thankfully) excellent chocolate cake, all the while observing that their performance just wasn't up to their normal standard (what does it take to boil your pasta to the right consistency when you're competing for food show-offs of the year?).
It's good that each pair is locked into whatever menu they submitted before the filming started, otherwise the strategic menu designing would perhaps lead to the last couple having a distinct advantage. But of course, that couple will still be able to correct some of delivery problems that the first two pairs have experienced.
Such a pity that the last couple (some episodes away yet) are the most putridly bitchy pair from Adelaide. May their custards curdle, their fish be dry, their spices stale and their dishes greasy. They seem to deserve little better.
We have yet to endure the we're-perfect meltdown of the Perth team, and (I hope) a fine performance by the only people who seem truly nice: the aforementioned Queenslanders.
Something tells me that out there in high-end-food-mag-land there are in fact obnoxious people actually engaged in this sort of repulsive pseudo-culinary exhibitionism. I'm glad it's been a long while since I've been to any such "event".
Meanwhile, I was sitting in front of the telly happily, quietly, unexhibitionistically consuming a delicious plate of rigatoni with red capsicum, bacon and delicious naturally cured Victorian olives. Cooked by me for my tastebuds. Cooked for satisfaction, not show. Just like thousands and thousands and thousands of other foodloving people around Australia.
Now, if you want to see how really frightening these guests-to-dinner competitions can get, check out some of the mortifying episodes of the UK series Come Dine With Me on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfV9zQQvjAk (competitor 2 Val, part 1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZGZmdXtKjw (competitor 2, part 2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL3_9Jz_rTI (competitor 4 Dawn, part 1)
And if that didn't make your day, dear readers, nothin' will!