11 Sep Too Many Cooks – Part 2
What could be gained from denying the world these pioneers of the pantry? And without them, who would ever think of combining pears with pine nuts and popping it on a pork chop?
This time around the victim was Jordan Fancy — the seething, pock-speckled English chef from Kitchen Death Wish. Kitchen Death Wish (or KDW to its devotees) pitted wannabe chefs against other in three rounds – an appetiser, a main and a dessert. Hardly the most original concept but producers in the genre were becoming complacent.
Fancy’s presence was limited to an appearance in the last five minutes of each episode where he abused contestants sprinkler-style before smacking the loser over the head with a five-ounce ladle. KDWs ratings were soaring. Four weeks ago I wouldn’t have been able to tell you who Jordan Fancy was. Now I knew his net worth, his shoe size and where he sources his sauces. I knew his minutiae.
A wise man once told me in order to catch a criminal, sometimes you have to act like one. Sage advice. After three lines of coke and half an hour with a cut-price hooker I was positively brimming with criminal insight. I briskly cleaned my flat then took to the couch with a cache of vids from our crime lab library in an attempt to get another taste for these doyens of daytime tele.
Their’s was a world of flashing steel and product placement. Of confusing sexual overtones toward mad, mad housewives. Six hours I sat there basting in their narcissistic juices. Half a day of rapid-fire slicing and energetic tossing. Of time limits and over-played drama. Of self-importance and unwarranted outbursts.
It was half way through the second episode of What’s That Smell that a small idea began to form. Like a delicate soufflé it began to rise, not revealing itself entirely but poking its slightly crusty head above the ceramic.
What’s That Smell was a double-barrelled title for a show that saw children — some as young as three and still in nappies — let loose in the kitchen. It was a show that had incensed many viewers early on — cuts and burns were commonplace — before they were told to fuck off back to Surrey where their types were tolerated. The show’s host was a tubby Brit with a penchant for over-the-top cravats and a floppy hair style twenty years his junior.