Cooking –  (it should be) a daily task for everyone whatever the time of the day.

Is Britain being lazy when it comes to cook a meal from scratch?

It is certain that buying ready-meals is the quick option when it is time to eat something either for lunch, tea or diner!

Look at our supermarket: fridges and freezers all over the shop. It is becoming rare to see a full counter run by a butcher or fishmonger. Is Waitrose the only to provide this service?

There are more and more street food markets too with a real attraction for burgers (venison, bison, kangaroo meat). Thankfully, vegans and vegetarians can also find their paradise. But still, it is about food cooked by others and not made at home in the fully equipped kitchen.

Suddenly The GBBO appeared and almost everyone has stopped their activities to focus on that tv programme where people…cook!

The GBBO banner

In the past, Masterchef then Hell’s Kitchen had the same effect. It seems that Brits are attracted by shows where people are around a kitchen and are totally into the full “oui chef” spirit!

When celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Brian Turner or Jean Christophe Novelli started to be the new heroes of our Nation, everyone wanted to be crafting dishes the same way – it looked so stylish and cool. But, this is not how it works in real life, especially if you are running a professional kitchen and dishing out food for 70 guests! Somehow a lot of people see something glamorous about it?! The stainless steel worktop, the immaculate white jacket, professionnal ustensils…etc

A kitchen is buzzing – people shout and even swear because things have to be ready in a certain time – being synchronized is essential too. It can be “hot” to work in a real restaurant’s kitchen and tiring too because all staff have to start hours before the actual service in order to prepare everything needed for the service. The pastry chef will have to be on duty until the last guests have ordered a dessert. And imagine, sometimes it is just being there on standby until he/she discovers that no one wants a sweet!

Of course, this spare time has also been used to prepare more ice creams, biscuits, meringues or various bits to present the lovely plate at the end of your meal. In other words, working as a chef, sous-chef, chef de partie or pastry chef can be stressful and draining. A working day is not a 9 to 5 but more of a 7am to 11pm… and this is normal… in this industry.

What does make The Great British Bake Off so attractive then? Once all done, people will talk about it and eventually buy the book but might not even cook a thing of it.  Being a foodie seems to be the kind of person to be these days. It is as if, liking food is a new social status. But who doesn’t like food? This would mean than we all are foodies?! But, claiming it loudly is making a point of having a certain class and style – could this be classified as “connoisseur” like a barista has a passion for coffee?

Individuals can have a full respect towards a head chef. Cooking/baking is an art and a passion.

There is a similar infatuation for the coffee industry. This can be described when latte art is executed many times a day for hundreds of customers with the same exactitude. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Coffee can be good to drink because of the work completed by the coffee roasters. It is even more important when it is about speciality coffee. Green coffee beans are carefully selected; the way they are roasted is crucial to get all tastes and flavours right. Making coffee is more complex that people think (ratio and extraction are part of the equation).

Quality is important for everything: the beans, the roast, the pressure of the espresso machine, the grinder and the water. Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and Christopher H. Hendon have collaborated on a book titled “water for coffee“, in order to explain “the chemistry of water and the effect it has on coffee“. It is real science!

Listening to a local radio station this morning, some towns and villages  go the extra mile and organise their version of The GBBO. It all happens on a smaller scale but the excitement is palpable. Baking is trending.

Showing people cooking on national television has had a real impact on the audience. In theory, people in the UK like to travel the world to discover good food, new aromas and tasty dishes. Meanwhile, all ingredients are available widely. What is lacking? A bit of inspiration, experiment and….time maybe?

There is definitely a certain legacy – it started a few months back with Mary Berry.

In the late 90’s, food on television was about Ready Steady Cook, Can’t Cook Won’t Cook and often back to back between two TV channels. It was real hit. Then after a while people get bored of it.

It is obvious that The GBBO is a winner from start to finish, maybe because it is not about the look but the real talent of the person as well as the inspiration about baking.

GBBO is back