I’m totally useless. It’s like being on a date when you’re 15
OUR appetite for new food programs, apparently, is insatiable. Despite which, you may still find Bill Granger’s latest offering a bit hard to swallow. As I do.
Now Granger seems like a perfectly decent chap: freshfaced despite his fashionable five-day growth, nice to his kids, and a capable, if predictable, cook.
But here, as the central figure of a food series shot in and around Britain for a British food network, he is presented as a Oz-bassador of sorts — an Australian Rick Stein, Jamie’s Aussie older brother, or perhaps the object of one of Gordon’s irrational rants about Down Under.
But in all honesty, is he up to it? Does he project the sort of rugged individualism we like to see in our representatives abroad and imagine exists in ourselves?
Or does he look more like an Easter bilby — a frail chap who would not make it through the first round with Dame Edna. Or even Lara Bingle. Let alone Curtis Stone.
The premise is fine: charming, boyish Bill sets out in a cute Mini panel van with his adorable kids to explore the UK and sample its wares. Pretty much in the way Rick Stein did it, but with toddlers, in a less rugged vehicle and, as far as one can tell, less commitment to getting down and even moderately dirty, and less virtuosic cookery.
In the first episode, Granger and daughters stay in a lavish, African safari-style campsite in Essex, whence Granger boldly sets out to bag some trout. He is handed a fly rod, given some basic instruction, but is unable to get the fly far past his impeccable (smart casual) shoes, mainly because nobody explained the bit about stiffen- ing up the wrist when you cast.
Mercifully the owner of these challenging waters — a trout farm, actually — gave him some fish. Which he cooked, in a routine manner, for his daughters, whom he had apparently abandoned at the campsite. Gosh.
Next, Granger visited a goat farm to get some blackberry ice cream to accompany the fresh blackberries he had instructed his daughters to pick, perhaps because he is not fond of brambles. There, he tried to milk an unusually affable and eagerto-be-milked goat but, once again, failed miserably.
‘‘ I’m totally useless,’’ he confided to the camera. ‘‘ It’s like being on a date when you’re 15.’’
Um, thanks Bill. We get the picture. We think . . .
Nanny state: Aussie Bill Granger, unleashed on the UK with his kids in a Mini van, couldn’t milk a goat.