Food & Drink is back! Is it COOL? Not so much.
The original programme, which stopped running in 2002 after twenty long years, was a massive success back in the day.
Everyone watched it, even me, and I was only in my smooth-skinned ‘teens. My idea of food and drink back then was a Strawberry Sensation Poptart and a Smirnoff Ice.
But I still loved tuning in, mainly to watch curly-haired blonde-bombshell Jilly Goolden chatting absolute shit about wine. We all laughed when she compared wines to the scent of smelly socks and summer sensations, but fast-forward a decade and everyone is obsessed with eating and loves chatting shit about wine, so in actual fact, well done Jilly: you were a maverick.
Now Food & Drink has returned and the nation’s sweetheart, Michel Roux Jr, hosts it. Which is about the only thing the reboot is doing right.
Here’s a list of WHY:
1. It’s too formatted.
Every episode features MRJ in a primary coloured shirt, which, guaranteed, totally brings out his cartoon white teeth. With a guest chef, who is only allowed to chop onion or put things in the oven, he cooks a dish that must include carrots, celery and onion. They then have an awkward chat around a table with a very loud lady who apparently knows a lot about wine (she actually does). The table has a diabolically huge bowl of vegetables in the middle to emphasise the importance of the presence of vegetables in everyday life. That’s about it.
2. It’s too preachy.
Usually the topics are about the horrible state of eating in this country. Meat’s too expensive; children are obese; fast food is everywhere; there’s horse in my sauce, blah blah blah.
Listen: I agree, because I am a “foodie” (that phrase makes me wanna yack into one of Jilly’s silver buckets). I tune in because I actually like food and drink – you do not need to spell out that fast food is bad so much.
3. William Sitwell
BORING. I can’t stand William Sitwell’s investigations into the state of British food. He’s not a bad man, but his five minutes of ranting about something totally inane really make me want to gnaw off my own knee. There’s also far too many close-ups of his mouth chewing on sloppy kebabs.
Yesterday he’d had enough of nostalgic food. Did ANYONE in the country agree with him? Clearly not, because he got ruthlessly lampooned by MRJ as soon as his VT was over.
4. The Chats
They are so awkward. It’s like having to watch an awkward first date between chefs. And the conversations, my God: are maggots the new meat? No, you bunch of dicks, clearly they are not. Why are we even discussing this? Why am I discussing it now?
Of course it’s not all bad. There’s been a stellar line-up of guests so far: Tom Kerridge, who looked knackered after the recent success of The Hand & Flowers; Mary Berry, bless, and yesterday Monica Galleti, the vixen in the kitchen who has suddenly become very nice and said ‘coconut milk’ about a hundred times throughout the episode. I think she had entered some sort of coconut milk-induced trance that would later involve eating a live lizard, covering herself in reduction sauce and having wild animalistic sex.
It’s also makes me very happy to watch MRJ. This man is fast becoming the most important thing in my life.
He’s such a natural, effortlessly turning to camera three, giving a little wink with his shiny teeth, turning back to this week’s guest to ask them to chop an onion or put something in the oven.
I just hope that all his recent TV success doesn’t turn him into the EVIL MAN and MONSTER that Gordon Ramsey has become. I really, really do.
Food & Drink is on at 20:30 on Mondays, BBC2.