The Sport Of Saturday Kitchen

One of the cornerstone’s of emulating the ‘movie star lifestyle’ is to leave space in the hectic schedule of drink, drugs, parties, sex, film sets and award ceremonies to enjoy Saturday Kitchen every morning on the penultimate day of the weekend.

It came to me suddenly that I’ve been emulating this tenet of movie stardom for years, getting up just before 10am and coming into the weekend via my cup of coffee, a boiled egg and the thoroughfare of celebrities who have graced the hollowed kitchen of all TV kitchens; the Saturday kitchen.

Saturday Kitchen has become a bit of an institution having quietly survived the cut throat TV bizz for 18 years!! (first episode aired April 2001).

In that time the show’s presenting has been passed from Gregg Wallace (bald judge off Master Chef), to the fifth hobbit Anthony Worrel Thompson, to James Martin (whose hosting of the show for a decade was rumoured to have come to an end partly due to constant BBC cuts), and now the presenting is shared between Andi Oliver (little awkward), Michel Blanc Jnr (scary), Angela Hartnett (risqué), and the ever dependable Matt Tebbutt.

Sat in my dressing grown in front of my boiled egg re-enacting what every stage and screen star does after a night at the Oliviers or the BAFTAS, I asked myself, ‘why do I watch this show?’

I like cooking shows but have slightly more of an infatuation with SK (that’s industry speak for Saturday Kitchen folks), and after thinking about this, (for well over a week), I realised it comes down to the simple fact SK is one of the last bastions of live television.

Live telly has been largely taken over by the big budget megacoms like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones because most of the time, they’re shit. Think Alex Jones (difficult) and Matt Baker (deluded) on the ever present One Show, or Andi (spelt with an i) Peters and Emma (I hate kids) Forbes on Live And Kicking (ergh!).

But in watching Saturday Kitchen for however long I’ve watched it, I’ve come to realise my near addiction to the show is due to the fact each episode is totally unique of itself. And in doing this, suddenly you get comparison, which is exciting! And so the sport begins.

How are the presenters presenting today? As said above, each presenter of the current series brings their own personalities towards proceedings. Then it’s the celebrity chefs. Some take to cooking on TV like ducks to water, (if that’s a comparable analogy), others stand behind the famous counter floundering like an undercooked soufflé.

Bookies tip; look out for Niklas Ekstedt. The Scandi thriller is so relaxed you’d think SK was really his private kitchen and he was cooking on a Friday night for the lads after seven cans of Pistonhead lager.

Then there’s the wine experts. Jane Parkinson (little uptight), Susie Barrie (bit too much yoga) and Olly Smith (up for a right ol giraffe!). Their performances can be affected as much by their expertise as whether they opened a dodgy bottle of ‘Château du Neuf’ the night before.

But most intriguing is always the guest celebrities. Some have soared. Richard Curtis, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stacy Dooley, and surprise personal favourite Oliver Peyton (what he had to say about the history of the London restaurant scene was so interesting!)

And then there are those who have sunk. Most recently the lovable rogue Joe Sugg who, as much as he smiled his cheeky boyish smile at the camera, it couldn’t hide the fact he had nothing of significance to say and Tebbutt, who was presenting at the time, gave him looks that suggested he wanted to put the lobster in his hands clicking its little claws in fear, in his seat, and the flopstar* of social media in the pan of boiling water.

All these things, the good, the bad, and Michel Blanc Jnr, are what make Saturday Kitchen so entertaining. Watching personalities compete at the greatest of all arenas; the dining table.

Saturday Kitchen is on Saturdays (duh!) BBC One at 10am. And it’s Liiivvvveee!

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