Frusher on Food on TV

It’s a long time since putting finger to key here, the last year seeing just two posts amongst such challenging times for hospitality. I haven’t been doing any al fresco dining myself but its been uplifting to see the popularity of those places that are able to offer that experience. With a full reopening within our grasp I hope I can fill these pages once more with thoughts on the fantastic culinary scene we have in Nottingham.

I interrupt this general broadcast though to bring news of a different kind. Coming to a small screen near you I will be filling your rooms with my food observations of a different kind. Starting today, Monday 3rd May, Beat the Chef (BtC) airs on Channel 4 at 1730 for its second series. It will be on every week night at that time for a run of 6 weeks and for around half the series I will be appearing as a judge. If you haven’t seen or heard of BtC) its a culinary gameshow where amateur chefs take on professionals to win up to £10,000. In order to win the amateurs have to convince a Food Jury that their take on dish is better than the professionals. And that’s where I come in. I was approached by the production company to be a member of the jury. I’ve just recalled that I got the gig by describing a Gregg’s festive bake over a video call. What they saw in this pastry performance I can’t imagine but in Feb 2020 I found myself on my way to London to start my filming alongside some Michelin starred names like Mark Sargeant and Hrishikesh Desai. For more of a feel of the show you can check out these promo videos recently released: https://twitter.com/Channel4/status/1388154118817165313

The experience was certainly an interesting one. Because of the competition nature of the show we didn’t see much other filming or get to meet the contestants, chefs or presenter (the fabulous Andi Oliver). Combine this with a focus on efficiency, which is fair enough as I can only imagine studio time is a touch pricey, and it doesn’t leave much showbiz glamour. I spent the most time with my fellow jurors, all with links to the world of food in different ways though the majority of us had websites and were bloggers / recipe writers similar to myself. One thing that stood out, and should make for good tv, was the differing food tastes amongst us. Our views were filmed separately so each jury member remained uninfluenced by others. I would film my talking head thinking…well dish #1 is a shoo-in here. Returning to the green room we were able to discuss and the very different takes never failed to surprise. I still remain in the dark about how the contestants did and who I voted for so if I pluck up the courage to watch myself I’ll find out at the same time as you do!

I’m in the middle for anyone guessing…. 🙂

Brace yourselves for brief disappointment however as across the 30 episodes they had 2 different Food Juries and I don’t think I am on the first few to air. As this experience becomes a reality it’s a strange feeling, some excitement but no little trepidation. When I put myself out there with this website over the years it has been as Frusher on Food. Appearing on TV I will be Alec. With my writing I also have the opportunity to go over the content, adjusting it until I get the result I’ve been striving for. With Beat the Chef it’s out of my hands, I might barely make the final cut. At the very least I hope some people will disagree with my opinion, question my use of knife and fork or cringe at my attempts to describe the dishes. Whether I will be able to watch myself or not it does show how far you can come, from giving it a go writing about restaurants on your own website to national TV.

The series will be becoming available here on all4: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/beat-the-chef/episode-guide/series-2

I will be appearing in episodes more regularly from w/c 17th May