Knee deep into our third national lockdown, chances are more of us are spending evenings, and possibly entire days, binge watching TV. There is no doubt that the most therapeutic genre is cooking shows; they require minimal attention, can be watched mindlessly, and are of course, truly entertaining. Not sure where to start? Here are six of the most delicious cooking and baking shows to waste away these seemingly endless days and nights as we approach the anniversary of lockdown 1.0.
6 Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares
What better way to vent pent-up frustration than vicariously through Gordon Ramsay’s iconic ranting? With episodes set in both the UK and the USA, the show follows Ramsay uncover the horrors of the unsavoury secrets of independent restaurants before he helps to transform them back to their former glory. Ramsay’s extraordinarily harsh approach sees the restaurant, its food, and its staff, remodelled (apparently) within a matter of days. Offering a rather different approach to the gentle, well-spoken tact of Mary Berry, Ramsay could fill a swear jar in minutes.
5 Come Dine with Me
A quintessentially British entertainment gem that is best enjoyed back-to-back, stinkingly hungover under a duvet. Presented by Dave Lamb, it follows five individuals (with notoriously substandard cooking abilities), each attempting to outshine their competitors with a three-course meal. Their entertaining abilities are equally terrible, but this show is responsible for some of the best moments in TV history! ‘You won Jane…’ and who could forget the whisk?
4 Saturday Kitchen
Unlike most others, Saturday Kitchen delivers real time action, providing uncensored, witty conversation, with a different guest every week. Each guest reveals their ‘food heaven’ or ‘food hell’ dish and it is up to the audience to vote which one is to be made for them. Having run almost consistently since 2001, there are thousands of episodes to keep you entertained. I recommend starting with Loyle Carner’s appearance in April 2019.
3 Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat
Much like marmite, Nigella is someone to be loved or hated, (I think the haters are simply more prone to cringing and she is in fact a total goddess). Though she is often mocked for her superfluous word choices, (think micro-wav-ee), there’s something unquestionably appealing about her screen presence. Cook, Eat, Repeat is her most recent series, filmed during the pandemic, it draws on the comfort of home cooking and its dependability amidst the ongoing uncertainty of covid. A must watch on these cold, dark evenings, maybe even whilst creating one of her easy to follow recipes?
2 Best Home Cook
Fairly new to the scene of cooking shows is BBC’s Best Home Cook, who have stolen Mary Berry from the Bake-Off tent, it gives off the kind of warmth that would be foreign to the likes of MasterChef and Gordon Ramsay. It really is what it says on the tin, diffusing the comfort of home cooking, particularly necessary when you’re stuck within the four walls of your uni house, finding yourself on the fifth tomato pasta of the week…
1 The Great British Bake Off
No list of cooking shows could be complete without The Great British Bake Off! With eleven glorious series to get through, this timeless classic is filled with everything it means to be British, from the scones to the quick-witted humour. Despite no longer being judged by the national treasure that is Mary Berry, it remains as comforting as ever. Celebrity Bake Off 2021 is looming and has quite possibly the best line-up to date, with familiar faces from Katherine Ryan to KSI, it’s definitely not to be missed.
So, there we have it! Six of what I believe deserve a place on the pedestal of the elite cooking and baking shows. The recurring theme seems to be their ability to distract from the seemingly never-ending uncertainty of Covid. Whether you’re overwhelmed with pandemic-related anxiety or your workload is draining you of concentration, everyone has a couple of hours a week that could be spent in no better way than switching off and becoming totally absorbed in one of the above. Whether it’s the rage of Ramsay or the comfort of home cooking you’re craving, I assure you, there is something for everyone’s appetite.
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