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Past its sell by date?

Guest Contributor

Once upon a time TV food shows followed a simple show and tell formula. Nowadays every chef is a brand ambassador or a food crusader. Perhaps it's time to step back and appreciate the cookery programmes of another era.

Oh for the cookery shows of yesteryear. Cosy little slots on BBC2 where nice middle-class ladies in A-line dresses and cheesecloth shirts taught us step by simple step how to make a nut loaf. Ok, maybe it wasn't quite like that, but the programmes weren't the full-on shouty prime time juggernauts of today constantly churning out overnight tabloid stars. Following recipes has become redundant in the search for column inches. It seems imperative that as a chef you now have to have a campaign, a food crusade. Preferably something to really get the middle classes frothed up about, with just enough flavour to set the press on a rolling boil over the silly season.

The ingredients? A dash of controversy, a soupçon of social responsibility, a soundbite from a government underling and possibly an outside broadcast of a couple of sweaty, overweight kids struggling to ascend a climbing frame. The final result could be for your sticker to appear on all supermarket-farmed salmon, a green light for a second series, or for the really far reaching, a pop at taking your crusade to the heart of middle America.

It's a tired format, one that we predict can only logically end one way: in a campaign to eat food that is free from campaigns. Food and ingredients that have been untouched by celebrity hands, bought without any sense of guilt or obligation. We can see this rallying call being taken up by the public and having real resonance with the press. And if anyone fancies commissioning the show, get in touch.