There’s this very odd program on TV at the moment. It’s called Hell’s Kitchen and it’s on every night, featuring two teams of inexperienced chefs, working with a celebrity chef, in a restaurant and competing against each other for points. For reasons that are completely obscure to me, Sarah and I have watched for the past two nights. The same program was on last year, I think, in a slightly different guise – with one celebrity chef and a team of inexperienced minor celebrities. In my opinion this year’s format is far better as the contestants care more about the cooking and less about being famous. They come from a range of backgrounds, which lets everyone have a nice play with the stereotypes. There’s a camp gay man, there’s a working class single mum, there’s a posh older woman, there’s a working class builder, etc. etc.
If anything, I’d say the weakness of the show is the element of voting off the contestants. It’s like Jamie’s Kitchen meets Big Brother, but it could easily do without the removal of people. It would be so much more interesting if there were, for example, running votes on the most popular team, but the weakest chefs had to stay in and be trained and helped by the rest of their team. That would provide the learning element that works in these sorts of shows, and would be far more challenging for the teams, I think.