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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.