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Some Beef and some cake!
Dec 13, 2004 05:46 PM 11613 Views
(Updated Dec 14, 2004 11:17 AM)



Mass Appeal:

Look & Feel:

What is a bare-chested hunky male model doing in a cookery show?

Don’t tell me, let me guess. He is assisting a middle aged aunty to showcase her culinary skills in a glitzy show using glib talk and sinewy biceps. Yeah, I know what you mean. We have all watched the hare-brained Tarla Dalal getting all gooed up with Sudhanshu Pandey on her show.


Down the years:

There are cookery shows and there are cookery shows. You have staid ones like those on DD or some of the regional channels where the compere walks into a middle class kitchen. The hapless housewife wears her latest silk finery and heavy jewellery and sweats it out in the dingy room using her scratched vessels with burnt bottoms. As she tries to struggle with the ingredients while putting on a brave smile in the face of the onslaught of chatter by the compere constantly disturbing her concentration, you pray that the trickle of sweat from her forehead does not drop into the bowl.

Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor changed the trend on cookery shows for all times with his “Khana Khazana” series almost a decade ago. Clean, slick and professional, the chef’s easy-on- the-ears prattle and winsome smile, made cooking appear like child’s play. Now of course there are cookery shows on almost every channel – even Star has its popular “Mirch Masala” on air on Sunday afternoons.

But the screen presence of the host and the chef and their ability to relate to the audience is a key ingredient of success of a cookery show. Hence, Tarla dalal’s show was quite a cold broth. Thoroughly uncouth in her talk, Ms. Dalal appeared extremely uncomfortable with the niceties of TV cooking. Co-host Sudhanshu was meant to smoothen the rough edges with his banter but very soon started taking his own digs. Some of his humour was quite crass and vulgar too.


Karen Anand:

When I heard that Karen Anand is to present a cookery show, I thought it would be very professional. I have seen Karen Anand earlier on TV and she was much better than Ms. Dalal as far as TV presence was concerned. So there was hope.

Now for those of you who may well ask – Karen Anand who?

Well, she is an internationally renowned cookery book author as well as restaurant reviewer. She has written a large number of cookery books on different cuisines ranging from Indian, Chinese to continental. She is also a food consultant to top companies like Britannia.

Well, all that was fine, but with hot shot model Upen Patel in tow, I was skeptical. What was this going to be? A glitzier version of the Tarla Dalal’s show?!

I was wrong! This one is different.

Its fashionable to cook:

Imagine my surprise when I found no sign of Karen Anand on the show. It was just Upen Patel all the way. The opening sequence shows him getting out of bed (yes, bare chested) heading for the shower and getting dressed up (yes rajni_raj, you do get to know the brand of his briefs as well) and finally settling down with another celeb guest (the one I saw had Akashdeep Saigal). After some incoherent banter, Upen makes his way to his kitchen.

Okay, now some of you may even ask – Upen Patel who?

Well, Upen Patel happens to be a London based model who is now among the highest paid males on the fashion circuit. Ex(?) boyfriend of Amrita Arora, this show is his first appearance on TV.

On the show, UP’s distinctly Anglicised Anglo-Hindi is a bit funny to listen to – but once you get used to it, you can actually understand what he is speaking. In the episode that I watched, UP showed us how to conjure up some simple but sumptuous dishes like Masala Natchos, Sensual Paneer, Creamed Mushroom on Toast and Vietnamese Chicken & Lemon Grass Meatballs. Yes, there is some liberal use of Karen Anand’s products in the preparations, but you can easily substitute those with your preferred brand.

UP, to my surprise was not clumsy at all with the ingredients and the kitchenware. Ofcourse as is the custom in all cookery shows, the drudgery part of the cooking, i.e. chopping and peeling is all done beforehand. So the host has it all laid out in front of him. But even then, for someone who does not fit into our image of a cooking expert, UP is able to toss things up quite efficiently.

The overall ambience is easy going and glitzy with an air of nonchalance. You can either detest it or get into the mood with it, depending upon your choice

The message:

Quite obviously, the idea behind the show is to enlist men and maybe even women who find cooking a big chore. The message is that you can make cooking quite simple and exciting as well – if you just follow some right steps. Hence there are no excrutiatingly long winded recipes – just simple ones which some culinary experts amongst you may even scoff at.

My reco:

I went into watching this show with a negative bias. But I was pleasantly surprised with the overall outcome. The show is entertaining and fun. Esp if you are a novice at cooking, you will surely find some handy tips. There is a bright chance of you spotting some great dish (apart from the host that is!) which you can try out on your poor unsuspecting family and friends. For the rest of you, this is just a time- pass recipe.

Check out the fare.

Channel: Star One

Telecast time: Sunday noon

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