Last Night’s TV – Virgin Cooks

virgin cooks

There’s a new Gordon on the chef block – Gordon Jones, a 26 year old who’s the head chef of a swanky restaurant in Bath.

He’s Scottish, he’s no nonsense and he swears, though not nearly as much as the other Gordon. He’s more a “cra*” man than an F man. Well, he was on the BBC so there are certain standards to adhere to when your show’s hosted by Aunty Beeb.

And a very nice man he is too; unassuming, personable, pleasant, but does he have the X factor that turns bog standard chefs into TV stars? Well, time will tell, but I’d have to say that on first glance, he doesn’t have the charisma of the other Gordon, but his laid back approach isn’t without charm. Nor is his just-tumbled-out-of-bed look…

Neither was this show, but I’m just getting fed up of shows that take bits of other shows and gel them together with a metaphorical glue that’s made up of a new face or two. It’s rather like taking all the left over bits of soap in your bathroom and squishing them together. Yes, you end up with a usable piece of soap, but the fact is, it’s worn and pre-used and perhaps lacks the fragrance it initially had.

The shows that possibly formed the basis of this one could include Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum, Come Dine With Me, Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook, etc,. etc. You get the gist. It was a bastardised programme to which the wishy washy word ‘pleasant’ applies in liberal dosage. It wasn’t anything new or exciting; it was, well, pleasant…

In last night’s first offering up of sacrificial Virgin Cooks on the altar of reality TV were two members of the very pleasant Brennan family. Mum Lyn – congrats on the name, we really are a superior breed – is a busy working lady who relies on takeaways and nuking stuff in the microwave to feed her family.

Son Jimmie is, like many millions of teenagers, completely clueless when it comes to cooking or indeed buying stuff to cook in the first place. However, he was raring to go with the challenges set by Gordon, but his younger brother Ricky caused me a titter when he said that he likes his chicken cut up into small bits because “I don’t like chewing.”

Now if that doesn’t just encapsulate teenage laziness to a tee, I don’t know what does. Bravo to Ricky for coming out of the bone idle closet and admitting to being just that lazy. It was very amusing.

Among Lyn and Jimmie’s first tasks was preparing a dish of macaroni cheese which dad Rob and little bro Ricky had to taste test not knowing who’d prepared each one. Jimmie’s offering was a cholesterol nightmare with about a ton of cheese as garnish while Lyn added a few slices of tomato to her dish to “add colour.”

However, as a life long loather of macaroni cheese, both offerings resembled the stuff that mummy birds yack up to feed their babies, so I guess I was biased. Good job they didn’t ask me then but in the end, Lyn’s was judged best.

The rest of the show followed in a similar format with a bout of shopping chucked in for good measure – it was Jimmie’s first time at shopping, bless – and some lessons in how to from Gordon.

Ultimately, Jimmie ended up coming out as the overall winner in all the challenges so he got to cook for 20 friends and family at Lord’s cricket ground. Quite why Lord’s I don’t know; maybe there was an offer on renting out the kitchen that day or something. However, the boy done good and all was well…

So, would I watch again? Probably not. It was a pleasant enough watch with all the people in it being pleasant people, but there’s no wow factor, there’s nothing addictive, and it’s all just a tad bland and vanilla. And pleasant.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.