Emptying it

Emptying it

From Glasses box launched, there have been various shows trying to capitalize on its success.

We had Celebrity Glasses BoxA Football show segment with footballers watching TV and even the Common sense spin-off from the producers of the show where Aussies discussed the week’s news.

Now we have a culinary counterpart, Paint it from SBS. This sees home chefs in the kitchen trying their hand at TV recipes.

“How many celebrity recipes can we actually cook at home?” she asks. Right question.

Produced as cheap and cheerful television by The Precinct Studios, these half-hour episodes capture friends, partners and family members in their kitchens, watching celebrity chefs, Glasses box– style and trying to replicate their dishes.

The lively and very diverse group includes high school sweethearts Fiona and Jeremy, husbands Stefan and Yash, mother and daughter Magda and Sara, hipster parents Waz and Jen (pictured), and in episode two best friends Anna join and Matt plus Jonathan and Hari. They are all deliberately ‘ordinary’ people, designed to represent Australia on the sofa slave on a hot stove.

First on the kitchen ipad is Nigella Lawson in an episode of Cook Eat Repeat. As Glasses box, we look at snippets of the original show, which I assume neatly falls under “Review” in fair copyright laws. Good enough.

They fittingly flatter the Queen of Comfort Food as she shows them how to whip up her brown butter colcannon (mashed potatoes, for you and me). It’s an elaborate recipe of mechanical mashing (no masher here, thanks), a butter facial (points to the gags), and a zap in the “meecro war-vay” — that always gets a reaction.

Our domestic couples fumble, laugh, whine and fail as they attempt to copy the same steps as our TV heroine.

There is not much success, but on one point I agree.

“I love his language. Half of his cooking is the way he talks,” sing Stefan and Yash

“You know what’s the best thing about Nigella’s Kitchen? Nigella,” adds Waz.

Next is a segment from The livingroom with Miguel Maestre serving Caramelle al Pesto la Genovese.

There is more consensus that the 10 chef is full of life, is easy on the eye but hard to understand. It matters? The guy is so outgoing, even if they can’t decide if he’s Mexican (no) or Spanish (yes).

This dish features lemon zest and dumpling wrappers, but for all the glee emanating from their iPads, there just isn’t enough information on the measurements.

“He’s not giving us anything at all,” Magda complains. “It’s funny how they make everything so much easier.”

On the SBS show Adam & Poh’s Malaysia in Australia and Poh is serving up his Beef Curry Puffs, a surefire fail in the dough foundations for our doom.

“This is like overexertion,” Sarah insists.

Wait for it to fold the edges of the dumplings.

“Are they as beautiful as Poh’s? Sarah asks.

“No, hers are much better,” replies Magda.

But in terms of taste Poh wins them over, while Canadian internet chef Matty Matheson, is loud, no-nonsense and louder as he whips up Sticky Date Pudding.

“Should we follow this recipe?” asks Waz.

“I don’t like. Like this recipe,” says Stefan.

In episode two there are the recipes of Jamie Oliver, Silvia Colloca and Shane Delia, but many quarrels especially between friends Anna and Matt.

While our cast isn’t pretentious, I have a feeling they are acting for the cameras. The narrator is not as witty as Glasses boxit’s Jo Van Es, and it would be ideal if the iPads on the benches didn’t always leave our couples staring down, it’s an awkward angle.

Yet after two episodes, my mind wanders to the point of it all.

Should I replicate these dishes myself? Or is it all to prove that TV cooks are too skilled for the common man and we have no hope of copying their recipes? If it’s the latter that’s a fair point, but I kind of get it in episode one.

How much can I watch people arguing and failing in the kitchen to work on the point, before I reach for the mute button?

And if that’s the show’s editorial message, I’m not sure it’s so wise given that SBS has a whole food channel of celebrity chefs. Should we now permanently put it on Skip?

It all brings me back to the ingredients they made Glasses box so successful yet so damn hard to replicate: casting, a shared experience, multiple genres to arouse different emotions.

But I secretly can’t wait to hear what the cast thinks Paint it. I’ll get you, Jad.

Dishing It Up premieres Thursday 29 September at 7.30pm on SBS and SBS Food.