Dishing it Up

Hoping to become the Gogglebox of food, a new SBS series finds it isn't as easy as cook, eat, repeat.

Since Gogglebox launched, there have been various shows that have sought to capitalise on its success.

We’ve had Celebrity Gogglebox, a Footy Show segment with footballers watching TV and even the Common Sense spin-off by the show’s own producers where Aussies debated the week’s news.

Now we have a cooking counterpart, Dishing It Up from SBS. This sees home chefs in the kitchen trying their hand at TV recipes.

“How many celebrity recipes can we actually cook at home?” it asks. Fair question.

Produced as cheap and cheerful telly by The Precinct Studios, these half hour episodes capture friends, partners and family in their own kitchens, watching celebrity chefs, Gogglebox-style, and attempting to replicate their dishes.

The lively and very diverse bunch include high school sweethearts Fiona and Jeremy, husbands Stefan and Yash, mother and daughter Magda and Sara, hipster parents Waz and Jen (pictured) and in episode two enter best friends Anna and Matt plus Jonathan and Hari. They are all deliberately ‘ordinary’ folk, designed to represent Australia on the couch slaving over a hot stove.

First up on the kitchen ipad is Nigella Lawson in an episode of Cook Eat Repeat. Like Gogglebox, we watch snippets from the original show, which I presume cleverly falls under ‘Review’ in the Fair Dealing Copyright laws. Fair ’nuff.

They suitably fawn over the Queen of Comfort Food as she shows them how to whip up her brown butter colcannon (mashed potatoes, to you and me). It’s an elaborate recipe of mechanical mashing (no hand mashers here, thanks), a butter facial (cue the gags) and a zap in the “meecro war-vay” -this one always gets a reaction.

Our home couples fumble, laugh, complain and fail as they attempt to copy the same steps as our TV heroine.

There’s not much success, but on one point they are agreed.

“I love her language. Half of her cooking is the way she speaks,” coos Stefan and Yash

“You know what the best thing about Nigella’s Kitchen is? Nigella,” adds Waz.

Next up is a segment from The Living Room with Miguel Maestre dishing up Caramelle with Pesto la Genovese.

There’s more consensus that the 10 chef is bursting with life, is easy on the eye but hard to understand. Does it matter? The guy is so effusive, even if they can’t decide if he’s Mexican (no) or Spanish (yes).

This dish entails lemon zesting and dumpling wrappers, but despite all the joy emanating from their ipads, there’s not enough info on measurements.

“He’s not giving us how much of anything,” complains Magda. “It’s funny how they make everything so much easier.”

Onto SBS show Adam & Poh’s Malaysia in Australia and Poh is serving up her Beef Curry Puffs, a sure-fire fail in the basics of dough for our lot.

“This is like way too much effort,” Sarah insists.

Wait until it gets to crimping the edges of the dumplings.

“Do they look as good as Poh’s? asks Sarah.

“No hers are way better,” Magda replies.

But on taste terms Poh wins them over, while Canadian internet chef Matty Matheson, is loud, no-fuss and more loud as he whips up Sticky Date Pudding.

“Are we meant to follow this recipe?” asks Waz.

“Don’t like him. Like this recipe,” says Stefan.

In episode two are recipes from Jamie Oliver, Silvia Colloca and Shane Delia, but a lot of bickering especially between friends Anna & Matt.

While our cast is non-pretentious, I get the feeling they are acting up for the cameras.  The narrator isn’t as witty as Gogglebox‘s Jo Van Es, and it would be ideal if the ipads on benches didn’t always leave our couples looking downward, it’s an awkward angle.

Yet two episodes in, my mind wanders to the point of it all.

Am I supposed to be replicating these dishes myself? Or is it all to demonstrate that TV chefs are too skilled for the common man and we haven’t a hope at copying their recipes? If it’s the latter that’s a fair point, but I sort of get that in episode one.

How much can I watch people bickering and failing in the kitchen to labour the point, before I reach for the mute button?

And if that’s the show’s editorial message I’m not sure it’s that wise given SBS has an entire Food channel of celebrity chefs. Should we now put it permanently on Skip?

It all brings me back to the ingredients that have made Gogglebox so successful yet so damned hard to replicate: casting, a shared experience, multiple genres to elicit varied emotions.

But I also secretly can’t wait to hear what that cast thinks of Dishing It Up. Over to you, Jad.

Dishing It Up premieres Thursday 29 September at 7.30pm on SBS and SBS Food.

7 Responses

  1. Sorry DK….but I love …it is not about the food or the recipes….it is just fun….no strain on the brain…I like all the participants….It’s a Yes from me….

  2. In addition, for season two, they could take the questions in David’s article and use the outcomes, good and bad, to create a new cooking show where you can follow the recipes and cooking from home in the kitchen. Even better if it were hosted by celebrity chefs.

    If they were to address the findings for any subsequently announced seasons, then it’d create massive hype for the show.

  3. What would I do differently if I had a chance? I’d have professional chefs, celebrity chefs or experts doing the reviewing of the other celebrity chefs. It’s focused on cooking where as on Gogglebox, they’re reviewing generalised content.

    1. The downside is that professionals can get very technical when critiquing fellow professionals. They end up majoring on minor details because that’s all that’s really left to critique.

      Can be educational but rarely entertaining.

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