Editor’s Note – About 22 cooking shows have been running on TV in the UK this year and thanks to the Great British Bake Off, pulling in four million viewers, the appetite for these shows appears to be bigger than ever.

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The Great British Bake Off team

How can we explain this great success? It’s more than a mania, it’s what I call food-porn or food “voyeurism”. In fact, very few British people are keen on cooking. Most of them are slaves of the take-away, have just a kitchenette corner without a table and eat in front of the TV. According of a survey conducted by Organix in cooperation with the Telegraph, 60% of people rely on ready meals saying they are “quick and easy”. When preparing their children’s meals, 40% of parents admitted to offering their children little variety, and a third of parents said they rotated the same seven meals each week. So, where are all these great cooks who buy books, watch TV and follow Ramsay‘s recipes?

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Gordon Ramsay

Some of these cooking shows are run by chefs who are supposed to be expert but most of the time have a pretty face and suggest fatty food, elaborate oily dishes or very buttery, creamy sweets. Others TV programmes, the ones we call reality shows, make everybody watching think that there are some kind of undiscovered Masterchef out there.

Probably it’s because of my strong Italian heritage and the fact that I worked for several years as a food writer, interviewing internationally acclaimed chefs, that makes me feel so upset. I really hope that the abundance of cooking shows on TV starts to tail off soon and the networks start to show decent programming.

I’m sorry, but cutting up a cucumber and some cherry tomatoes then placing them around a bit of fish before posting a photo on Instagram doesn’t make you a Masterchef, and winning a TV show doesn’t mean you can cook well for 30 people, just as running round the block for 20 minutes every day doesn’t make me an Olympic athlete.

Words by Michela Di Carlo

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