OK, so now I’m irritated. Sophie Dahl, Nigella’s not-so-mini-me has got her own prime time cookery show ‘The Delicious Miss Dahl’. As if we need any more cookery shows.
We already have Raymond Blanc laying bare his kitchen secrets with a female porn-style husky voiceover explaining his every move. We have the pantomime of Gordon doing kitchen nightmares in the US: “Aw my Gaaad!!! (sob sob) How did we ever LIVE without Chef Ramsay?” Or the equally awful confused F-Word. And lets not forget the inexplicably never-ending quarter finals of Masterchef with John Torode’s fascinating tongue. How can he DO that to a spoon?
I don’t know about you, but we all play Masterchef at home. The big one describes her Cheerios thus: ‘It’s the surprising crunch of the Cheerio, with that smoothness and coldness of that creamy milk…’
My point is that cookery shows are so ubiquitous they are parodied in every home across the land. I so wish they’d bring back Spitting Image. Gordon Ramsay in a punch up with Hugh F-W and the Hairy Bikers would be fabulous.
And so to Sophie Dahl’s effort last night. I have nothing against Sophie Dahl, except that she falls into this new Sue Perkins bracket for me. Because Sue Perkins is suddenly an expert on everything from retro food to art to brass bands. My point is that Sophie Dahl is a successful model and author and can’t be short of a bob or two, being married to Jamie Cullum, so surely she doesn’t need this gig? Why her? Why not Skye Gyngell, who created the style that Sophie’s show was so blatantly trying to mimic.
Has Sophie Dahl ever run a restaurant? Has she even cooked before? On last night’s evidence, I think not. I’d love to see the outtakes. And I can’t believe someone who has been known for being big then was suddenly a super-skinny catwalk model doesn’t have food issues – it comes with the turf. Is she really the most genuine person to talk indulgence with me?
So the first episode was all about being selfish. Hmmm. It didn’t wash with me. If I had a dinner in on my own, I wouldn’t cook expensive halibut with vast quantities of sweet potato chunky chips, and wild mushrooms and creamy spinach sauce in a million years. Or for that matter, would I make myself a calorie busting cupful of alcoholic chocolate mousse. I love food and I love cooking, but I’ve NEVER done that. Nor will I.
Eating on your own is boring. Everyone knows that. Even if you’re reading poetry in a beautifully lit designer garden, surrounded by sweet williams, like Sophie. If I get a solo girls night in, my food of choice is cheese on toast. Lots of it. Of the bog standard cheddar on sliced kind, not ripped buffalo mozzarella on focaccia. Oh, and a bottle of wine. That’s indulgence. No washing up. No mess. A perfect intake of fat and carbs on the sofa and easy enough to eat whilst catching up with mates on the phone.
So who was Sophie’s programme for? Single people? I doubt it. And anyway, her enormous diamond ring irritated me enough. If I was single, I’d want to punch her lights out.
But the whole thing was so over-stylised it was ripe for parody. Especially the soft focus bits of Sophie browsing the brick-a-brac shops for a cocktail shaker, whilst reciting artful quotes. Have the producers never seen Harry and Paul’s sketch Modern Wank – I Saw You Coming – in which the brilliant Sophie Winkleman plays a posh bit of Notting Hill totty who goes into exactly that type of shop and pays a fortune for any bit of tat that takes her fancy? Sophie Dahl couldn’t have been more similar if she’d tried.
She even said that when she got her book deal, she wanted to keep it to herself (and all the broadsheets and the Evening Standard of course), so she went to a shop and bought a ‘little inexpensive painting’ to hang above her fireplace to always be reminded of her success.
Call me bitter, but when I got my last book deal, I paid the arrears on the mortgage.
Modern wank indeed.