Come Dine With Me Australia

If MasterChef Australia is the fine dining of culinary reality shows, Come Dine with Me Australia is the home-style edition.

The UK reality series, which has aired on the LifeStyle Channel (and ever so briefly on Seven), now gets its Aussie version for the same channel.

Stripped five nights a week at 30 minutes each, the format is simple. Five home chefs -all strangers to one another- cook up five dinner parties across the course of a week. By the end of the week they will have bonded, cooked, entertained, and possibly insulted one another, in the race for a cash prize.

Food and recipes aside, what has really made the series a success is in seeing the strangers interact, especially when they have been cast from different classes and backgrounds. In their own homes their hosting habits generate a lot of reactions. At the same time the show has humorous narration, keeping the show light throughout.

The local series by Granada Australia seems to have stuck like glue to the format, at least from what little I have seen of the UK series. As a result, it works a treat.

The five contestants in Week One include a giggly, loud 43yo woman who could give Sara Marie Fedele a run for her money, a medical practice manager who takes pride in fine arts and dining, an Aussie surfer who just happens to be a lawyer, a Mexican-born Marketing graduate and the former lead singer of Indecent Obsession who lives with his gay partner of 16 years (and no it isn’t David Dixon). Another five will host Week 2.

They all take very diverse approaches to cooking, entertaining and social interaction. Some let their hair down. A lot. Others are more guarded in their people skills. All believe they have what it takes to turn perfect host for this television progressive dinner and hopefully take home the cash.

As well as being contestants, the five are also peer judges. How highly they mark one another becomes an indication of character and a perfectly good dinner can score low points if the rest of the evening is a fizzer.

Along the way they will entertain one another with magic, music, trivia games -even a Pinata donkey gets slapped. And one of the show’s more delicious devices is allowing guests to snoop around the homes of their host. They even open drawers to look for telling truths about their new friends, lending itself to ruthless gossiping.

I spent much of the first episode trying to pinpoint the voice of narrator. I knew that voice but dammit why couldn’t I pick it? It finally dawned on me that it is James Valentine -a savvy choice for wry narration.

The only down side to this series is the paltry prize -just $2,000 for the week? What gives? It also seriously lacks a host when the scores have to be announced by the final dining host. LifeStyle have also given this an 8:30 timeslot, which seems a little on the late side for a half hour stripped cooking show. That’s bound to impact on some of our other viewing choices.

This aside, Come Dine With Me Australia looks like it could give My Kitchen Rules a run for its money (at least in entertainment value, if not in total numbers). That show will also see home dinner parties. This series provides a great avenue to peeling back the walls of suburbia to see who we are in Middle Australia.

If you love the UK series, you’ll eat this one up. Bon Appetit.

Come Dine with Me Australia premieres 8:30pm Monday January 18 on LifeStyle Channel.

22 Comments:

  1. Yes, Jackie, the Leslie Joseph episode was the funniest I have ever seen and they totally looked like they were all enjoying it too……I had tears from laughter, as they all tried to cook her dinner. I would love to see that again!

  2. Sarah From Bathurst

    I love Come Dine With Me – both the British and the Aussie versions. Dave Lamb is particularly hilarious, but James Valentine has been refreshingly droll… I totally agree with the comments that have been left here; particularly the one about Nicole The Lawyer being ripped off in the last week of Series 1. Celeste The Born-Again Christian was painful…but I guess they dont get scored on their personality….

  3. I prefer the UK version of “Come Dine With Me” and am glad to know it’s back on again with a new series. I think much of the success of the UK series is due to the fact the narrator David Lamb is so good at what he does. The funniest episode I saw was one featuring UK celebrity Leslie Joseph from the show “Birds of a Feather”. I have watched it several times, and cannot stop laughing each time I see it. It is absolutely hilarious!! Try to watch it, if it’s ever repeated again.

  4. Vikki I am totally on your side, what a disgrace. Celeste you should hang your head in shame. I’m very disappointed that such a “person of God” would act this way. The Legal Begal should have won, she was robbed. A disgrace!!!!

  5. I love Come Dine Aus I have to admit I have never watched the UK version, but I think our local one is great. Watched MKR for about 15 mins and thought it used the same old stupid editing with the pauses etc – been done to death and I’m over it. Come Dine thankfully does none of that and I really enjoy the whole thing – love some diners can’t stand others but it’s meant to be like that – that’s the whole point of the show! Gets an 8 from me 🙂

  6. To-night is the last night I will ever watch this show. Don’t the producers “vet” competitors? I am ashamed at the behaviour of a lot of these competitors. This will reflect very badly on Australia.
    For instance: Bryan. How disgusting was he when he started to feign that he was going to vomit at James’ dinner table? If it was true, why didn’t he get out of the room as fast as he could ?
    To-night at the final dinner, how disrespecful was he to his hostess and fellow guests to turn up wearing a singlet? His rudeness in getting up from the table and going to the microwave with his plate – that defies description!
    I cannot believe there are those who find this behaviour entertaining.

  7. love this show and love Flipper what a happy person what i didnt like was certain person giving such low scores so theres would be better – play fair!

  8. The show is great, just as good as the UK show, but where are the recipe relating to the show, I missed the ingredients for the Crunchie Bar Cheesecake
    It is an important factor to have the recipe easy to find on the Web site.

  9. OK! I couldnt resist……..the dolphin lady wasnt so bad this time, so I was quick to judge. But glasses that are $40 each and you can get 2 for $90??? doesnt add up to me……I guess I’m hooked and will watch again tonight. Have a friend on next week, so that will be interesting.

  10. Saw the first episode last night and I want to say that it was Awful. That woman drove me mad laughing ( like a dolphin) soI wont be watching the rest of the week as I couldnt stand it…….James Valentine isnt a patch on Dave Lamb either. I didnt think he would be funny!! Bring back the UK version, please?

  11. Really disappointed that Dave Lamb didnt come along, as he makes the show. However we will see what James Valentine makes of it. ( I have never thought of him as being funny) !

  12. The snooping around aspect does irk me a bit but some contestants do play on that theme. Apparently one episode of the UK version had one of the contestants, a demure mature-aged gentleman, deliberately hide some pink frilly underwear in his drawers and it gave the other contestants a great laugh as they were snooping around. I’ve not seen the episode so it’s still a shame that Seven can’t find a spot somewhere (anywhere!) across its two channels to slot in the UK series. One week was certainly not enough to let the show grab an audience.

  13. I love the UK version of this show, and the narrator is a big part of that. The first season he was serious throughout, then from season 2, he was taking the p**s out of the contestants and made the show hilarious. I can only hope James V can do the same.
    The prize has always been lame, the UK is 1000pounds ($2000 AUD). I think it is great that they have no host, especially when the person who thinks they are going to win reads the results and realieses they have lost.

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