After its 21 series run from 1991-2010, Ready Steady Cook left a cooking format gap for which there may now be a new contender/imitator.
Win it Cook it does what it says on the tin, as pairs of chefs answer three rounds of questions to win ingredients to use in their dishes. If they win a round they are rewarded with gourmet meats, grains and veggies, if they lose they’re presented with the most unappetising and bizarre items the researchers could find – this week featured chicken in a can. At the end of these rounds, the chefs then have to cook up a dish using these ingredients and basics from the larder in order to impress the host Simon Rimmer and his guest judge.
It’s a tantalising format, ripping beat points from RSC and playing off the jeopardy of the 25 minute time limit and the “mystery ingredients” as the chefs whip up their culinary creations. Just as Ainsley Harriott patrolled between the two teams, pestering with questions and stoking up excitement, so Simon traverses between the two teams, awkwardly helping and sucking away their precious cooking time.
Perhaps the show would benefit from a big countdown clock to add tension, the host could have a stronger personality and the ending could be a bit more dramatic, but other than that Channel 4’s new cooking format is entertaining and very watchable.