Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Battle Of The Kitchens - Poh's Wins By A Mile

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After the success of Masterchef last year, food shows are all the rage. Currently, there are two Aussie food shows on TV, Poh's Kitchen and My Kitchen Rules. The two shows have the word "kitchen" in common in the title, but apart from that, they couldn't be more different.

Let me start with the bad. My Kitchen Rules, as Duncan has reviewed, has very little to enjoy. It is utterly contrived, slow, exaggerated suspense, bitchy and worse of all, not really about food. Having endured every single episode so far, I have not learnt a single thing about food from this show. I haven't even really learnt about the contestants. They all irrate me so badly and I wish that they could all lose. The judges, Manu Feildel and Pete Evans have also lost all their charms after I loved them both in Masterchef. They've been forced to pick up every minute fault in the few dishes that they judge, and the slow delivery they have is not suspenseful, but so annoying I want to throw something at the TV.

In constrast, Poh's Kitchen is an absolute delight. I am officially addicted to it already after one episode. The ABC's choice to sign up Poh instead of Masterchef winner Julie was an inspired decision. Poh's natural persona translates so well to TV, where I feel she is warm yet quirky, and never fake. In this first episode where she meets up with Emmanuel Mollois, a master pastry chef, just highlights how well Poh can work with a guest chef. Their back and forth light joking and interactions had me smiling for most of the show. Poh shows a perfect mix of knowledge and ignorance, asking about things one momnent and explaining about things the next. As written in a newspaper review I, Poh's Kitchen is in a similar vein to "The Cook and The Chef". The banter between Maggie and Simon also came from different directions (one a cook, one a chef) but always meeting in the common ground of food, with each teaching the other about an aspect of food from a different view.

In this first episode alone, I learnt more about Poh and Emmanuel from the short montage than I have about the contestants of My Kitchen Rules over four episodes. I've also actually learnt about food from Poh's Kitchen. I've read about making croissants but haven't seen each step visually, and seeing and hearing about what the textures and feel of the dough will really help me should I ever attempt to make croissants. I also didn't know about the reason for not greasing a chiffon cake tin. I must try this next time with my pandan chiffon and have it inverted to cool to see if it gives a lighter texture.

I can't wait to see more episodes of Poh's Kitchen. I'm already excited about the prospect of learning more about other chefs, about Poh and most importantly, about food. I've had enough of My Kitchen Rules and won't be watching anymore as it's a complete waste of time. Even their website is cold and useless, whereas Poh's is fun, warm, easy to navigate and useful.

Score 1 ABC, score 0 Channel 7 after all that heavy promotion during the tennis. I hope you all get behind Poh's Kitchen so that there will be many more series to come. She might even read your food blog if you have one, another reason to like her even more. :-)

In a related post, my Giveaway - Dandi Tea Towels and Masterchef DVDs is still on until Sunday February 14th 9pm AEST. Come and enter the competition for some great prizes. You may get to watch Poh again and again on DVD.


  1. Hi! I saw Poh's show too and thought it wasn't too bad. I quite liked it and would watch it again. She laughs and show her teeth a bit too much though. :p

    On a side note - I forgot what exactly the chef answered when Poh asked about not greasing, he said something like it might be due to all the oil and coconut milk used so you don't have to grease as it won't stick. Don't think that's correct though, I've always read that you don't grease chiffon pans because you actually want it to stick to the wall which will help the cake 'climb' and rise more. I was also surprised that Poh didn't turn the cake around to cool once it was out of the oven.

  2. Hi S, I have to agree with you regarding Poh's laugh, she does seem to laugh a bit too much. Maybe they could edit that out a bit. But she did do that a lot in Masterchef too so I think it's her natural way.

    As for not greasing the pan, Emmanuel thought it was due to the cake having lots of oil so not needing it. But if you go to the website and read Poh's blog, she states that after much research, she found out that not greasing is on purpose to make the cake stick as you say. They probably didn't show Poh inverting the cake but in her recipe online, she does say to invert the cake and leave it until cool before taking the cake out. This gives maximum rise of the cake. I've not inverted it before and it does sink back down a little bit. I must try inverting it next time to see what happens.

  3. Poh made a good start, natural fun and no product placements being ABC. Her ganashe did split though, surprised she just kept going without comment. Small details like that can frustrate home cooks if they dont know why. A pure chocolate cream ganashe needs careful temperature control.
    But its a great expansion of the cook and the chef with new blood each week although Emmanuel also came across as a very caring and thoughtful cook.

  4. I agree!

    I found myself wanting more and thinking that the half an hour has gone so quick when Poh's Kitchen finished. Can't wait for next week.

    On the other hand, My Kitchen Rules is atrocious. Mum said I should shut up when I've got no good things to say so I'll leave it at that.

  5. Also, I found the show very similar to the Cook and the Chief which I thoroughly enjoy. After a bit of research, I found out that Poh's Kitchen is produced by the creator of the Cook and the Chief, Margot Phillipson.

  6. I'm so bummed I missed this last night, had to go and do wedding-y stuff instead. I'll have to try and catch it next week.

  7. Oh cool thanks for the heads-up, I don't often watch TV so I had no idea about this! How embarrassing! I loveed Poh on Masterchef - my heart broke during the finale! Will catch the next one for sure

  8. Hi George, I'm so honoured that you read my blog. I've read so many great things about your restaurant. I hope to go eat there one day. And when I do go dine there, I hope you won't mind if I interrupt you for a chat about food.

    As for Poh's ganache, I was quite surprised that it had split too. I've made a chocolate ganache so many times and it has never once split. I've made it both ways, by heating the cream first and then stirring in the chocolate, or sometimes I put the chocolate in straight away while the cream is heating up.

    I think most people, including myself, hit the nail on the head with the comparison to "The cook And The Chef". It's in a similar vein with a slightly different interaction each week with the chef.

    Alan, it did finish too quickly, I wanted more too. I can't watch any more My Kitchen Rules. Maybe if it gets better near the end, I might tune back in. Again, I definitely agree that it's similar to "The Cook And The Chef". Just look at the kitchen setup even. Despite a few cosmetic changes, it's even got the double oven in the same location.

    Anna, you can watch it online or download the episode at

    How's the wedding-y stuff going? Picked a dress and venue yet?

    Vee, you can watch online at the above link. I loved Poh during Masterchef too and she's just as much fun in this show.