Daily Mail

Television’s completely obsessed with food, but we’re stuffed now!


COOK, eat, diet. And repeat, an hour later on the +1 channels, because television has become completely obsessed with food. Every aspect of it is scrutinise­d. Yesterday on Channel 4, Michael Mosley was inspecting what goes into our supermarke­t trolleys in Secrets of Your Big Shop. over on BBC2 this evening, Gregg Wallace is in Dublin watching 30 tons of malted barley being turned into Guinness.

We’re stuffed with food on-screen, even before we get to the kitchen — and we’re in no physical condition for the high-speed spectacle of

Great British Menu (BBC2).

It’s not good to dash about on a full stomach, but this daily cookery contest doesn’t stay still for a moment. As four profession­al chefs compete to create imaginativ­e dishes with the emphasis on presentati­on, the pace is frantic.

Every platter is a tiny mouthful, and every remark is a soundbite. The whole show is edited like a music video, a blizzard of brief glimpses that flash past too quickly to be savoured. You won’t learn anything about cooking, because each image is gone before you know what you’re looking at — ingredient­s being whisked, blowtorche­s being wielded, trays being slammed into ovens and freezers.

Not that you’d want to tackle many of these recipes at home. The

theme in this latest series is the olympic Games: one chef made a medal that dissolved into gold flakes when soaked in broth, another switched the lights off to serve crispy vegetables in the shape of a blazing torch.

Presenter Andi oliver wore a laurel wreath on her bald head, which made a change from her usual outsize spectacles.

Judge Aktar Islam was hypercriti­cal, inviting each cook to justify whatever ended up on the plate, like a politely sarcastic diner humiliatin­g a waiter. ‘You dry-cured the fish,’ he told one man, in a voice dripping with disappoint­ment. ‘Do you think you’ve got the end result that you want?’

The only result that chef wanted was for the earth to open up and swallow him.

As well as a fish course, the contestant­s tackled a ‘plant-based’ starter. ‘Going vegan takes me down a rabbit hole,’ muttered one chef. Let’s hope he finds some lettuce down there.

Lettuce could be the answer for the six supersized global tourists on Around The World In 80 Weighs (Ch4). They arrived in Tonga, where 93 per cent of adults are overweight and life expectancy for men is just 68 years, with most deaths related to obesity.

This is a recent crisis. Until imported processed food became the mainstay of the Tongan diet, most islanders were no fatter than the rest of the world. That single fact explains the obesity epidemic in Britain too: it is caused by processed food.

The travellers tried aerobics classes to burn a few calories, and visited a diabetes clinic for some shock therapy — meeting a woman who, aged 27, had lost both her legs to the disease.

The voiceover continues to be snide. And when Marisa broke down and wept at the thought that she might never be a mother as she longs to be, the camera hovered intrusivel­y while she wept in her partner’s arms.

But this time, the episode had some thought-provoking ideas about healthy eating, including their guide of eina’s advice on how to measure servings — just enough meat to cover the palm, a fist- sized portion of rice or bread, and as much veg as you can hold in your cupped hands.

Not that the Tongans always obey their own rules. As the visitors prepared to leave, a feast was prepared, with a groaning table. Their sweet, motherly hostess, 47-stone Winnie, assured them, ‘Also, we’re roasting a pig.’

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