Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Monday, October 26, 1998 Published at 14:32 GMT


Kitchen battle boils over

Gary Rhodes: "I don't need to be shown what boiling water looks like"

A battle of the TV chefs is underway after Gary Rhodes launched an attack on veteran rival Delia Smith.

Mr Rhodes dubbed Ms Smith's current BBC series How To Cook "insulting" and "offensive".

It shows viewers the basics of cooking, with one show concentrating on the finer points of boiling an egg.

Smith said she wanted to re-introduce people to the pleasures of cooking and herald a return to basic skills.

Viewers too sophisticated

[ image: Delia Smith: 25 years on screen]
Delia Smith: 25 years on screen
But Rhodes - credited with bringing traditional British food back into fashion - thinks viewers are too sophisticated for her back-to-basics approach.

"I don't need to be shown what boiling water looks like and I tend to think that the rest of the population don't need to be shown it now," he said.

"I really don't believe that the majority of people cannot boil an egg. A programmes showing people how to boil water should not be going out at 8:30pm at night and should not be targeted at adults.

"It is insulting to their intelligence."

Attacks celebrity chefs

[ image: Ainsley Harriott: Can't Cook Won't Cook has caused controversy in the kitchen]
Ainsley Harriott: Can't Cook Won't Cook has caused controversy in the kitchen
He also hit out at the idea of chefs as celebrities - insisting he works hard in his London restaurants for his fame.

He said: "I am a working chef who just happens to appear on television every once in a while.

"I work 15-hour days five days a week in my restaurants, which is more than many other chefs who are labelled 'celebrities' can say.

"The reason I do that isn't for stardom or applause, it is because I love cooking and I love food and any success I have had is down to sheer hard work."

Delia is BBC veteran

Despite his appearances on numerous TV shows and ads for sugar, Rhodes is not the only culinary expert to complain about the influence of celebrity chefs.

Earlier this month Michel Roux said shows like Can't Cook Won't Cook and Ready Steady Cook made him "sick", and he accused them of sacrificing the importance of food in favour of audience-pleasing jokes.

A spokesperson for Delia Smith said she would not be commenting on Rhodes' attack.

She has been with the BBC for 25 years, from Family Fare in 1973 to How To Cook, currently showing on Tuesdays at 2030 GMT on BBC Two.

Sales of How To Cook: Book One have reached 10 million - beating books by Rhodes and other big names like Can't Cook Won't Cook's Ainsley Harriott.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Entertainment Contents

TV and Radio
New Media

Relevant Stories

05 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Cooking up a storm in the TV kitchen

30 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Two Fat Ladies are big down under

Internet Links

BBC Online: Food And Drink

beeb @ the BBC: Delia's Cook School

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.