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The Great British Menu

Over the last few weeks I’ve become absolutely gripped by The Great British Menu, weekdays at 19:30 on BBC2. Apparently, it’s been an annual event for quite a few years now, but I’ve never seen it before. It’s got some of the best chefs in the UK, most of whom have at least one Michelin star, competing in groups of three over the course of the week to prepare a four course gourmet meal and get it past first a peer (a similarly qualified and experienced chef) and then a panel of food critic judges. The ultimate aim is to cook one of their courses at a highly prestigious banquet.

I’m finding it great fun to watch, to the extent that if I’m late back home due to yet another off-site customer meeting, I’ve been catching up on any missed episodes on the BBC iPlayer on my iPad. Part of the attraction is watching excellent chefs cooking and presenting very good food – though it does jar somewhat if I’m eating a pizza in front of the telly, and makes me think I could make a bit more of an effort! But most of the fun I find is watching the battle of the egos. The chefs are almost all alpha-male types (there have been only a very few women competing so far this year), and they all desperately want to win. So they are needling each other constantly in the kitchen, making back-stabbing remarks about each other to the camera, and shooting absolutely poisonous looks at each other over the raspberry coulis. They are taking everything so seriously that I find it makes for highly entertaining television!