Some go mental for MasterChef, others go gaga for GBBO, but the common-sense cookery tournament for me is the one with the professional, working chefs.
Great British Menu began a ninth series on BBC2 last night and while the flavours were bold, the boasting was even bolder.
The first region to cook was Northern Ireland and Will Brown, a 27-year-old relative newbie from County Down, was feeling cocky enough to taunt his more experienced rivals, Chris McGowan and last year’s regional winner Raymond McArdle. Young Will will have to develop a greater respect for his elders, if he hopes to triumph in the final: the grand prize this series is a chance to cook a dish at a 70th-anniversary D-Day banquet in St Paul’s Cathedral.
Conscientious Raymond had even travelled to Normandy to seek inspiration for his dish, “Pigeon Post”, which celebrated the role of wartime carrier pigeons by, um, killing them and eating them. The tiny prop scroll placed in the dead pigeon’s claw struck me as a tad macabre, but guest judge Tom Kerridge liked it.
He was certainly more impressed with Raymond’s dish than Chris’s “Dig For Victory” mackerel (who digs for mackerel?) or Will’s over-cooked scotch egg, which “wasn’t much better than supermarket quality”.
I can’t speak to the food seasoning, but GBM’s trash-talk was deliciously piquant.