You switch on the television. Channel after channel, the screen is caked with chef’s faces. One after another. You go out to the shopping center, past all the clothes shops and CD stores. You pass the book store and you see the chef’s faces again. Iced onto the front cover of their new best seller autobiography or cookbook. Today’s world is boiling over with chefs trying to make a name for themselves. But haven’t we had enough of the x, y and z listers that brace our screens everyday? Throughout the last couple of years, more people have been tuning in their television to watch the booming brand of the television cook.
Perhaps this is because society is on the up. We are fed up with the ready cooked and microwave meals on offer to us rather than the organic and fresh food range we want. However, at least we can be grateful that not all celebrity chefs are following in the footsteps of Anthony Worral-Thompson. He seems to be on every Entertainment program there is (such as “I’m a celebrity… “) and like James Martin on “Strictly Come Dancing. ” Celebrity chefs seem to be appearing everywhere now, and it seems every one can become a ‘Celebrity chef’ if they write a book and hire out a studio. The first ever Celebrity chef, Marie-Antoine Cari??
me, died in 1844 aged just 49. Viewers seem to always be watching these shows more and more because the cooks have started to interact with the viewers. Looking into the camera and talking a lot. The lovely Ms Lawson for example. The bubbly, bouncy, bright woman is the ideal female. Good looking. Voluptuously tender voice and of course being the sex symbol she is, she uses her ‘assets’ to attract a wider audience. In her series “Nigella Bites”, she makes Bread and Butter Pudding, it seems that the meal is not the main focus of this program; it is Nigella’s flirtatious voice and hand movements.
A hand held camera following her round her kitchen uses soft background focus, making people look at the sharper image. The image of Nigella. Using close ups and low angled camera shots, Nigella fingers the butter onto the bread and speaks about the ancestry of her family and where the recipe originated. But are we really learning from watching this. Or are being pulled into a tame sex show, which to be honest is the only reason men are up early on a Sunday morning? Back in the swinging sixties there was one woman who stood out from the rest.
This woman became an icon known by millions. Her strict way of teaching and formal tone attracted a higher class of people to watch her. This woman is the enchanting Mrs. Fanny Cradock. Fanny’s series of shows all have professionalism running through them. Her episode making Confectioners Custard was filmed in a studio, the mis-en-scene dressed as a plain kitchen, with every item needed being only one or two steps away from her. Fanny’s role in the kitchen is very obvious. She is there to teach.
Whilst making the custard, Fanny talks about being on holiday and that is where she had the idea for the custard. The whole time the episode is on; Fanny handles everything very well on her own, bar one scene, in which we are introduced to Simon. Her mysterious assistant who pops in to pour in the milk, whilst looking as bored as Phil Mitchell sitting through Ian Beal’s wedding. The series keeps everything simple and clean. Two camera angles. Close ups focusing on Fanny’s hand as she does something important in the making process and Mid-shots when she is talking to the audience.
All these thing are used effectively to create a tidy finished article, after which Fanny goes home to her husband and leads a normal life, not searching for some other program to get her face on and get her name know a bit more that it is already. I ask you this now. Wouldn’t you prefer a cook like Fanny than Ainsley Harriet or someone else who you don’t seem to be able to get away from? Reluctantly I move on to this next chef. The naked Chef. He is young. Married, a father, a cook, trying to change school dinners and also write a new book and appear in a new television series, all in one-very-long-day!
Jamie Oliver first braced our screen in 1998 in his first series of “The Naked Chef. ” After his debut on our screens, his music band Scarlet Division were offered a record contract and there single Sundial reach number 42 in the charts. Sadly they were axed because people couldn’t take Jamie seriously. No wonder. He was then trying to be something else. As well as being married, a father, a cook. Trying to change school dinners and also write a new book and appear in a new television series, all in one-very-long-day!
He then wanted to reap the benefits of a music career. Sadly for us, Jamie is still in the lime light and making even more series of cookery programs and books. In one of his episodes, Jamie makes a Lemon Tart . Whilst being interviewed by someone behind the camera, Jamie uses phrases such as: “Shut up” and when asked a question, he nearly always answers with “I think” This informal tone being dispersed by this program leads us to believe that perhaps Jamie wants you to think you are his friend, or that you know him. Well, a little tip for you Jamie.
We don’t want to know you! The filming takes place in Jamie’s very dull kitchen, where on every shelf there are more cook books and recipes. I wouldn’t be surprised if you looked close enough that you would see all his own books lined up neatly somewhere amongst all that rubbish. The camera crew use mid-shots, close ups and Low angled camera shots, we get a clear view of Jamie ‘doing his thing. ‘ The flow between different shots is very bad and the camera is jerking all over the place, this adds to the informal essence being portrayed.
However the low level artificial lighting adds a bit of warmth to the room. All in all, Jamie’s show off techniques and cocky attitude doesn’t hinder my decision to turn over the channel to watch the new Mrs. Marple. Chefs today all over the world. Listen up. There is no problem with you trying to get yourself known. But if we know your name and a show you were in, I think its time you stop and stick to what you know. Cooking food for us to eat. You do your job… and we will do ours.