‘It was ridiculous’: Does TV food show fame still matter to chefs? | Food TV
when the Hairy Bikers visited the Parkers Arms in Lancashire to film the owners, Cathy Smith and Chef Stussy Maddy, making their famous pies, Smith and Maddy expected the show to gently boost trade. “Oh my God. Oh. My. God,” Madi says, recalling the reaction when Hairy cyclists are heading north It was broadcast in September 2021. “Within seconds, there was a 75% jump in bookings. It was silly. And it was like that for six months.
This was a “blessing” after the pandemic. But with a past and only one assistant in the kitchen, this country pub “had to completely change the way we do business. Otherwise, it would have been a massacre. There’s no way we were going to handle it.”
A shorter menu was offered and the pace of service was regulated by insisting that reserved tables take a three-course menu, for ‘big numbers’ of the cap and to maintain quality. For a while, since so many guests wanted Parkers pies, particularly the lamb pie featured on BBC Two, staff had to ration it: one between two. “We’ve had people go, ‘We drove 200 miles to eat a mutton pie,’ and say, ‘We’re not a pie shop.'” Mutton is not an overnight animal. Mutton is only turned on when the farmer says we are ready. Also, the pie-making process takes at least one week. All we could do was have a variety of pies. We were like a machine.”
Recent Hairy Bikers programming has consistently reached over 1 million viewers, with some reaching as close as 1.75 million viewers. The focus of the show is on Barkers’ pub pies, Maddie says, “but I’m not picky. It’s about what makes a business work.” In addition, “I turned customers who came to eat pie and had to eat other things. In that sense, it was great.”
Madi hosted more movie crews in January, when Barkers topped the annual list of the 50 Best Gastropubs. The 53-year-old is baffled by aspects of her fame and refuses to meet guests who want to say hello. “I didn’t get it. You cook. It’s your job. It’s not a showbiz thing. I’ll feed them as best I can. But there’s no way I’m getting out of it to perform. I don’t have time. I clean.”
Tommy Banks can “barely remember” the fish tournament he won in 2016 Great British menu (GBM): “I never cooked it again.” He certainly remembers how all night long he filled every table at the “very, very quiet” Black Swan restaurant he once owned in Oldstead. “That’s why chefs are queuing up to watch TV,” he says. “It’s your big break. It changed my life.”
Chefs reported similar results from Saturday Kitchen (average viewing figures, 1.2m) or guest slots on chef And MasterChef: The Professionals (2.78 m). On generating new bookings, Daniel Clifford, chef-owner of the two-Michelin-starred Midsummer House in Cambridge, says his appearance in James Martin Saturday morning (800K) “The site crashes every time I do this.”
It’s been years since these familiar shows defined the zeitgeist in food TV. Streaming, with shows like Chef’s table And Ugly delicioushas set a new standard for brain during dramas The bear or boiling point, now being adapted for television, arguably offers a deeper insight into kitchen life. After 15 years of guardian announce GBM “Come off the boil,” it continues to draw viewers and fill restaurants.
All kinds of TV exposures, even the most wide ones, have a similar effect. Simon Rimmer, Co-Present, Channel 4 Sunday Brunch He realizes that his “fame, for lack of a better word” boosts his Manchester restaurants, The Greens. “If we want a Tuesday night boost, we’ll have an evening with me — who run out in 40 minutes.” Michelin three-star L’Enclume in Cumbria is still responding to requests for table three, as seen in Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon the journey in 2010.
The rewards for the job are clearly visible, but the way the chefs navigate the TV is different. A minority are eager to become a TV presenter or want to create a personal brand to help monetize cookbooks, consulting, partnerships, fine dining and personal appearances. Their agenda is very different from that of chefs keen to promote their restaurant.
Martine Carter’s job, as managing director of Sauce Talent, is to target programs that are relevant to that chef’s personality, skills and desired business outcomes: “It’s an advisory role, as much as it’s on TV.”
The amount of time a chef can devote to television is a major consideration. A one-time guest appearance on Culinary could take a day or two of travel, rehearsals, filming, and six in the morning. Dishes and recipes usually need to be agreed in advance on a loose brief, perhaps related to seasonality, an important date or a show theme, taking into account the dietary requirements of other guests.
Offers like these give great support to chefs. on Sunday BrunchHome economists usually handle the preparation of ingredients and accompany chefs through a “live rehearsal”. Then, says the spokesperson, “the chef and home economists decide whether any items need to be simplified so that the recipe can be prepared on time.”
Being the “talent” beats the competition, Banks says. “People do things for you,” he says. “You have a dressing room. Nobody judges you. Loved.”
within the industry, GBM It has a unique position as a career-making show. Likes MasterChef: The ProfessionalsAnd GBM It recruits competitors through its own research rather than through agents. It’s where many of the chefs make their television debuts and die-hards among its nearly two million regular viewers travel all over the UK to eat its winning dishes.
Richard Bainbridge, chef-owner of Benedict’s, remembers a table downhill from Edinburgh to his ‘little’ restaurant in Norwich. Two of his dishes, are made with Jerusalem artichoke and lamb creation and trifle GBMThe winning banquet list in 2015. “Punky joked to me that bugger bought my restaurant five times. That’s probably true. You still get it now. Customers come in and want pictures with you. They’ve been to Michael O’Hare, Lisa Allen, Matt Gillan. People keep spinning.”
compete on GBM big job. The winning chefs can end up filming in stages for about 12 days, and can spend many hours preparing developing and refining their dishes. As in the elite sport, says Banks, chefs are looking for “marginal gains” that might shave 30 seconds off the cooking process. “It takes control of your life,” he says. “You think about it nonstop.”
Will Lockwood, chef de cuisine at Banks’ second restaurant, Roots in York, in this year GBM. What was the advice of the banks? “Practice. Practicing. Practicing.” And take familiar kitchen equipment with you, so you can feel right at home. “I’d even take my own pillow, so I could sleep better.”
“Chefs are completely insecure about who we are and what our food is,” says Bainbridge. Checking display like GBM severely, from its judges, peers in the industry and “the millions of people who don’t taste your food but are already making a judgment about who you are and what your food is.” Bainbridge’s first early exit from GBM In 2010 he left him “devastated”. He returned four years in a row before producing his winning dishes.
Of course, some TV formats are better suited to some chefs than others. Roberta Hall-Maccaron, chef-owner of Little Chartroom in Edinburgh, has created a winning dish in 2021 GBM‘, but it ‘isn’t ready for live TV. It might crash.’
Conversely, Manchester chef Mary Ellen McTough is open to most TV work but has found the pressure she puts under his influence. GBM too much. “I hardly slept the previous month,” she says. She was a competitor in 2013 and 2014, “too embarrassed to do all that,” I’ll give 100%; I’ll go all guns blaming. not me. I couldn’t put up some ostentatious nonsense. When I’m busy, I calmly focus. You made really bad TV.”
To appear well on television requires technique as well as temperament. Novice Carters practice cooking while being photographed, timed, and grilled by family and colleagues. “They should be able to cook at the same time as they answer questions and look relaxed,” she says.
Having allowed these skills, you should also be able to handle your newfound fame. She describes it as a hole macaron GBM Really positive experience. Her partner, who handles Little Chartroom’s social media accounts, quickly learned not to read a minority of negative comments. “While watching the show, I generally had a hard drink and he wasn’t allowed to talk,” she says half-jokingly. It was “strange but pleasant” to hear people cheering for her as they passed through the Little Chartroom or guests coming into his open kitchen to extend their congratulations. However, Hall-McCarron says, “I don’t quite know what to do in these situations.”
The sudden interest is baffling, Banks says, describing waking up to thousands of notifications on his phone. He deleted his personal Facebook profile early in his rise as a known face “because I was getting annoyed with people.” (His marketing team now runs one for him.)
Attacks and abuses? “No, more the other way around, but all this attention is unwanted. Some of the things I mailed were really weird. Nothing like that happens anymore because I’m 10.”
The chefs also have to grapple with what to do with their popular TV dishes. Showstoppers designed to impress judges and guests at a televised banquet can prove impractical in a restaurant. Daniel Clifford 2013 GBM The winning dessert, Going Out With A Bang, included a balloon filled with pineapple essence, that popped on the table. “You can’t do that at 1.30 on a Tuesday afternoon when some people are at their cans.”
Some find it stifling to keep ordering dishes on the menu. Hall-McCarron tried to draw a line under it GBM By serving all its dishes from the 2021 series for one week only. “I don’t want to be identified with it. Our list is small. We’d love to change it up.”
About a year after 2008 GBM, Glenn Purnell cut and took the winning Burnt English Custard off the menu. “I had had enough. It was all anyone cares about,” he said. restaurant magazine in 2017. Faced with angry, frustrated diners, he quickly relented. This eye-catching dessert, an eggshell of custard and various seasonal accompaniments, has been served an estimated 150,000 times at his Birmingham restaurant and at special catering events.
In Benedict, Bainbridge embraced fate GBM I dealt with him. His winning dishes reappear on his menu periodically. “When raspberries and strawberries explode in Norfolk, Petty displays those fruits fantastically,” he says. This dish aesthetic of “nostalgia and comfort” has also shaped how Bainbridge’s food has evolved creatively since then.
“There were moments I wanted to get rid of the trashy. But it’s like our greatest hits. If Elton John did a concert and he didn’t Rocket Man People will be disappointed. Customers still ask for buggy. Business-wise, it would be foolish not to give them what they want.”
The Great British Menu is on BBC Two this week, Tuesday to Thursday, at 8pm