Review: Gordon Ramsey's expensively awful new cooking show Next Level Chef is only heading one way - down
and live on Freeview channel 276
With the involvement of Gordon Ramsay, it was probably only to be expected that this new cooking show would end up a frantic, hectic stew, but the promise of a whizzy new format held out hope it could be something to break up the cosy reality cheffing duopoly of Masterchef and Great British Bake-Off.
Next Level Chef, however, seems both considerably more expensive and considerably worse than all of these shows.
A group of home cooks, ‘social media chefs’ and former pro pan-wranglers were split into three teams and allocated a kitchen on a different level of a three-storey, neon-lit studio, with the top level a swanky, stainless steel kitchen with every gadget you could buy – even some Lakeland haven’t thought of – down to the basement, a grimy affair with broken pans and melted spatulas.
The teams needed to pick ingredients from a lift which descended through the levels – top level getting first dibs – and then they started cooking.
This was a show where the format was king, and nothing could get in its way – not the hosts, not the contestants, and certainly not the food, which you barely saw. And a cooking show where the food is the least important element is only heading one way – down.
The Light in the Hall (Channel 4, Tues/Weds, 9pm) is proving to be a decent watch for the rainy winter nights. This drama about a mum (Joanna Scanlon) trying to find out what happened to her daughter – apparently murdered – doesn’t break much new ground, but the performances are convincing and the central mystery is compelling enough.
Best programme of the week – again – is Happy Valley (BBC1, Sun, 9pm) which showed that a police drama doesn’t have to be about grisly murders and car chases. A scene of a telephone conversation between Catherine and her sister Clare was one of the most tense bits of TV you’re likely to see this year.