By Prue Leith
Just finished filming the finals of the Great British Menu, Series Six, and I feel like a Strasbourg Goose. Those geese are famously force-fed so their livers become large, creamy, worth-a-fortune “foie gras”.
I’m a bit ambivalent about the practice – it seems a bit cruel to over-fatten a goose. I certainly object to mothers over-fattening their children on MacDonald’s and chocolate bars. The geese, like the children, just love it though. They come running—or rather waddling – it is not just the livers that get fat – as fast as they can for another dose of dinner.
I cannot say I come running for another dose of the Great British Menu. But, when the first plate arrives in the Judging Chamber at 11 am, it’s hard not to wolf it down. I’m starving, having deliberately skipped breakfast, and of course it’s delicious. These are Britain’s top chefs, after all, glittering with Michelin Stars, and all with successful top-flight restaurants. By lunchtime we have eaten four out of the eight dishes and are feeling a whole lot less greedy. I generally work, or sometimes sleep, through the hour off. But my fellow judges astonish me. Oliver Peyton, the thin-as-a-whippet restaurateur and Mathew Fort, the critic and writer, will often eat a Kit-Kat bar at lunchtime. Matthew will even go out to dinner after a day in the studio, and has yet to fail to polish off every scrap on every plate.
Don’t you think there is too much food on telly? Of course food programs are cheap to make. But it does seem odd that as we eat more junk and spend less time in the kitchen, we watch more cooking on television. We so badly want to watch Nigella cooking or Gordon swearing that we sit in front of the box eating pot noodles while watching them make amazing food. Mad or what?