The Beeb’s got itself a new cookery show

There is going to be at least one person who will contact me about being so sour-grapes mean-spirited, spiteful, petty and jealous over this young woman who’s worked so hard to achieve the success that she currently enjoys and my obvious and à propos response to that is “BMSYA”.

Here’s why:

She so carefully and contrivedly markets her slice of the good life that she makes Amélie look like she should star in her own ITV2 show When French Bitches Go Bad.

I didn’t write that – Pip McCormac, the Food Editor of Sunday Times Style did (here).

Since the food programming I’ve been following have wrapped up their respective seasons, I’ve been looking for some other form of background noise and came across BBC2’s new show “The Little Paris Kitchen”. An ex-pat decides to change directions in her life, moves to Paris, decides to go to Le Cordon Bleu and discovers and embarks upon a transformative new career in cooking and food. Okay, sounds a lot like Julia Child. Or my pal Amy. Could be good.

Then I fire up an episode.

Establishing shot of the Tower. Khoo walking through her neighborhood, very much made up to look like Audrey Tautou in Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain. Then by the simple action of opening her mouth, the Gallic imagery slams to a screeching halt because this harsh Croydon accent cleaves through the visuals like a thousand nails grating on chalkboards. All of this happens in a span of less than FOUR SECONDS.

I can’t manage more than two minutes of the inaugural episode before I have to shut it down. I’m really upset because now that I’ve watched it, I can’t un-watch it.

Why did the Beeb invest in this woman? My initial guess is that the the British public is becoming increasingly embarrassed with Ramsay’s antics, doesn’t want Oliver’s preachiness all the time, and isn’t smart or talented enough to follow along with Heston. Or she’s supposed to be a new less-curvy Nigella without the creepy voyeur-ish husband.

I did look Khoo up to see if she had credentials, and it seems that she did go to LCB to do the pâtisserie program and she’s written three cookbooks. I do disagree with her assessment that the hardest thing to do is pay the tuition as a large part of the LCB’s program is the demonstration and development of underlying culinary ability, so her dismissing and simplification of the culinary program calls into question why she’s being hailed as the new UK Goddess of French Cooking.

Well, she’s written not one, but three books: there’s the television tie-in book, there’s the one on how to make spreads (like Nutella), and then there’s the one on how to make cereal bars out of muesli? Cereal bars? How seriously inept do you have to be to need to buy something like this? The latter two are apparently best sellers in France, but I have a big question mark on the reason why people are buying them. Something perhaps to do with fish in April?

So then her recipes. I wasn’t about to waste funds on a book on how to make muesli bars so I reloaded the episode with the sound off and flicked through to see exactly what was being prepared. Very basic in terms of skills, revisionist in terms of creativity, and all showing the very heavy hand of a food stylist. Khoo insists nothing is styled, but everything about this endeavor is staged and effuses the same amount of sincerity as Paula Deen’s honest testimonials on the difficulties of being a diabetic.

Perhaps I’m missing the point to the Beeb’s promotion of Khoo, but I’ll let someone else figure it out and will stick to following Giorgio Tsoukalos.

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