Rhiannon Harries: Come dine with me. I trust you're all OK with a takeaway...

On my mind

Related Topics

Were television schedules any reflection of a nation's interests, recent visitors to Britain could be forgiven for thinking they'd arrived in a land of eternal merriment, inhabited by people who do little but sing, dance and eat.

But while The X Factor and Strictly are (mercifully) just spectator sports for those at home, the recent proliferation of foodie shows barely covers the extent of our obsession with all things culinary. And while I am happy to sit back and marvel at Jamie et al's genius with little intention of emulating it (greed marginally edged out by laziness), my lack of gastronomic ambition is making me a social outcast.

Unlike every person I know, I don't want to take part in an inter-friend Come Dine With Me competition. Nor do I want to open an underground restaurant in my living-room. And under no circumstances whatsoever would I ever want to try my luck in a professional kitchen. Evidently I am not as brave as the hordes currently signing up for cookery courses, many of them investing a chunk of their redundancy pay in the hope of swapping their old life in front of a screen for a new one in front of a stove.

A silver lining of the recession is the short, sharp shove it provides to propel a few fortunate individuals out of an unfulfilling comfort zone and into the job of their dreams. But was the City really staffed by frustrated Marcos and Nigellas, who would have rather been poring over Escoffier than equities? Or have a large number of people simply found themselves at a loose end at the precise moment that the trend for cooking and eating, and talking and writing about cooking and eating, is at its zenith.

Opening a restaurant is one of those back-burner plan Bs that an awful lot of us quietly harbour but few of us should do. Part-time passions don't necessarily translate into full-time careers. And if they do, there's a fair chance they'll cease to be quite as passionately held. When you have to do something to pay the bills, the enjoyment is never quite as full as when you choose to do it of your own accord.

And how many of the hopefuls are really cut out for life in the bowels of Tartarus – also known as a professional kitchen – anyway? Most of the contestants (all working chefs) on Masterchef: The Professionals (presented by Gregg Wallace, above with co-host John Torode) barely seemed up to it.

Gordon Ramsay is unlikely to be quaking in his whites. In fact, he's probably rubbing his hands with glee – think of all that potential material for a new series of Kitchen Nightmares.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C++ Software Developer / Image Processing / 3D Visualisation

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ Software Developer / Image Process...

Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux

£30,000 to £40,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux ...

Software Development Manager / Java / J2EE

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: Software Development Manager / Java / ...

Digital Content Manager,Leicester

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Charter Selection: Leading Nationwide and important...

Day In a Page

lowers, candles and other tributes in front of the Netherlands Embassy in memory of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17  

To punish Putin for the MH17 disaster we must boycott Russia 2018

Jack Gilbert
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor