How to Be a Better Cook, BBC2, review: A gently paced show with one big shock


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The Independent Culture

Time has been much kinder to celebrity chef Lorraine Pascale, who began her new series How to Be a Better Cook on BBC2 (Fri).

It was a gently paced show with one big shock: Lorraine’s revelation that she “didn’t start cooking till my thirties” implied that the dewy-skinned chef is already in her forties – but how can this be?

In any case, Lorraine’s late start, plus her naturally encouraging nature, mean that she’s ideally suited to mentoring under-confident novices like 52-year-old builder Tony.

Tony’s most sophisticated culinary creation to date is cheese on toast, so teaching him how to cater a dinner party for seven friends was a surprisingly emotional experience. Both he and Lorraine were wiping away tears by the end of it.

For the rest of us, the take-home was several deviously simple dinner-party recipes that look very impressive indeed. It probably takes longer to say “caramelised scallops with cauliflower purée and crispy pancetta” than it does to make it.