Sunday, 19 August 2007

The Eggs Factor

Lately I've been watching Kitchen Criminals. It's an ingenious show, despite basically being two chefs taking on a crew of utterly hopeless cooks and trying to make them into very good cooks in a fantastically truncated timeframe. That's been done lots of times, of course, and the difference here is that the instructors are in competition with each other, and to help with this they have chosen the most hopeless cooks possible for each other to train.

To do this, the chefs went around the country inviting people to bring in some of their cooking. Then they'd say the cooking was crap and select a few for the next round of auditions, where they chose the dish for the hopeless cooks to prepare. Whoever managed to make the biggest hash of making two very simple meals went through to "boot camp" which starts on Monday. The more astute of you and those who read the title of this post will have spotted that this format is lifted in its entirety from The X Factor.

My favourite part of The X Factor is the early audition shows, where I watch the judges (except Sharon) demolishing people's delusions like some kind of manufactured pop-Dawkins and then watch the contestants rationalise it by convincing themselves (and nobody else) that the judges they came all that way to audition for are "shit" anyway. (See also: the dowser on the real Dawkins' The Enemies Of Reason who explained that the double-blind experiment to test his dowsing ability had failed because “[God was] ’avin’ a laugh”.) This part of Kitchen Criminals is now over. The upcoming early stages of boot camp will likely be better than The X-Factor's equivalent shows because the surviving contestants are still all totally hopeless. This is a clever tweak to an established format which ought to improve it, much like removing the first three questions from Millionaire. (I say this purely as revenge for Paul's "blog favourite" quip the other day.) After that, the remainder of Kitchen Criminals is presumably hoping that I will grow to care about the contestants and instructors and I will have an emotional investment in discovering who wins when my amusement at their incompetence is gone. Personally, I hope that the contestants stubbornly refuse to learn, and continue to come up with recipes such as Microwave Meal, Pie Sandwich, and Leftovers Bolognese.

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