Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets

Just when I’m ready to kill every single TV chef on the planet… sod it… I’d dig up the corpse of Fanny Craddock just to insult the bones… along comes someone so cheery, so down to earth and so skilled that I (nearly) fall in love with the format all over again.

Yep, Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets arrived on our televisions last night and slapped a great big stupid grin on my face.

Most cookery programmes really grind my gears because, behind the pantomime ‘passion’ there’s a feeling of judgement. The constant talk of organic this and locally sourced that, underlines that any other way is Doing It Wrong.

Cookery shows were once friendly faces peering out of the TV with tips… now they’re exercises in passive-aggressive preachings that are beginning to outstay a welcome in our homes. So while Gordon Ramsay swears at potatoes, Jamie Oliver scats at pork belly and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall cuddles chickens to death… our Raymond forgets all of that in favour of simply loving the food he’s showing off.

Of course, Raymond is a legend and on the strength of last night, it’s very easy to see why.

Sure, the food he was making was aspirational… but there was something about the way he went about… say, for example… assembling a cup and saucer from chocolate filled with cool stuff, that made me feel like I could do it myself – which is surely the point of any cookery show.

Raymond displayed his most brilliant facet – a complete lack of ego.

That’s right! In amongst the dazzling stuff that made me look at Blanc like a real maverick, he also managed to make himself look like a bumbling idiot.

Between the fine ingredients and skills, he talked to himself, dropped his whisk in the sauce and moaned about equipment that he’d put his name to before laughing like a drain.

The whole show was held together in the most free-and-easy of ways and didn’t feel so much like watching a TV show, but rather, like we’d just wandered in the back door of a restaurant and caught a chef at work.

As a result, this show was very, very enjoyable and well worth watching whether you fancy tackling the recipes yourself or not. Wonderfully eccentric and very decent telly. Voila!

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