The most charmless chef ever to carve out a TV career bores us for an hour, screwing up a format that could have worked in more charismatic hands.
What was good about it?
• The concept – celeb chef travels the country finding ingredients that encapsulate and celebrate British cuisine – was a good one. Until they decided that Marco Pierre White was to be the chef who would front it.
• The food experts who were unimpressed with Marco’s unadventurous menu ( “lacking in flair” , “a bit of a damp squib”) and not afraid to let him know. “They looked like the Addams Family,” was his ungracious retort. He preferred to listen to a posh little girl who thought the rabbit tasted tender.
What was bad about it?
• The scruffy, fag-smoking Marco has no discernible charm, no ability to convey his passion (“Pork isn’t everyone’s cup of tea”) and looks like he’s used a meat tenderiser on his own face.
• There was not a shred of joy in the programme. Marco made a bit of a play out of patting a pony but otherwise acted as if he’d been forced from his bed after a very late night.
• The irritating TV cookery show quirk of having the chef talk to someone in the middle distance when explaining a recipe.
• Marco sucking his finger.
• Marco making a “big chopper” joke.
• Marco saying “You should be spanked with rhubarb sticks.” He may have thought he was being saucy but it sounded horribly sinister.
* Marco adopting a pale version of Keith Floyd’s style. “Pint of cider, please,” he demanded. “I shoot better pissed,” he said before heading out to bag rabbits.
* Marco’s driver, Mr Ishii. Oh what he card he wasn’t.
• Narrator Janet McTeer tried to make us excited about the competition – would rabbit stockpot, fish pie or honey roast pork be the favourite? She tried to made it sound exciting; it wasn’t. It was pointless.
• What sort of top chef uses stock cubes as a seasoning? Ones who appear in programmes sponsored by Knorr stock cubes, that’s who.