‘James May: Oh Cook!’ review: The cooking show hosted by the man who can’t cook

The former Top Gear host insists he can’t cook, but he did beat Gordon Ramsay in a fish pie contest back in 2011 – while drunk. 

Following the finale of The Grand Tour a year ago, the Top Gear trio has gone their separate ways, with Clarkson opening his own farm (albeit with a very muddy intro back in February), May exploring the culinary arts with his food tour of Japan, and Hammond, well, being forced to sell his Ferrari. 

May was already enlightening viewers with his food series on YouTube channel ‘Foodtribe’ which saw the Grand Tour host revisiting 70s childhood food classics out of a bunker; including an exploration into what the best cheese is for a classic cheese sandwich (spoiler: it is indeed, cheddar). The semi-established show also featured May’s former Top Gear co-host, Richard Hammond, who did not hold back in rectifying May’s poached egg mishaps. The channel enjoyed substantial success in the millions of views it attracted from viewers who fancied watching James May make pickled sandwiches for 10 minutes straight. It was inevitable then, for May to depart from his beloved bunker, and graduate to a fully operational kitchen to host his newest Amazon Prime show Oh Cook!; a cooking show hosted by a man who can’t cook – or so he says. 

May’s show is refreshing and humorous, as well as informative; “did you know Japan Airlines serves instant noodles in the posh seats?” he tells us. His honest and unimposing approach free of condescension draws us in and engages us with his straightforward (but definitely not fuss-free) culinary creations, accompanied by a witty self-narration throughout. Each episode focuses on a certain cuisine, from Asian fusions to pub classics; there’s a culinary style for everyone. And with more restrictions being placed across the country, May’s cooking show is perhaps just what we need to re-familiarize ourselves with our home kitchens to inspire our own wonderful culinary creations. But if there’s one thing we can learn from Oh Cook!, it’s this: If James May can cook it, so can you.