Saturday, March 16, 2024

Weekend Cooking: Ready, Steady....Cook

Last Friday night I was flicking through the TV menu and I saw the name of a TV show that stopped me in my tracks. There is a new version of Ready Steady Cook. When I first started this post, I was contemplating calling the post Back to the Future, because this show gives me an instant throw back to when I first moved to the UK in 1994.

I remember being somewhat bewildered by some of the TV  game shows on British TV. They had an affinity for what seemed like quite odd game shows to this young Aussie. And yet, by the time I left 5 years later, I was completely converted and still watch some versions of these shows years later.

Here is an example. I was completely bewildered by shows like Countdown, where you get a selection of letters and compete to make the longest word in 30 seconds. The first few times I watched it I was like.... what the heck is this. And now, 30 years later, we watch 8 Out of Ten Cats Do Countdown at least twice a week, and if I am finished work in time, I will watch the repeats of the Australian version which is known as Letters and Numbers.

I'm not sure that there is still not an affinity for slightly odd game shows on UK TV, even now. I mean, a show like Would I Lie to You when it is described does not sound like a must watch show, and yet it is in our house. Or more recently we have been watching something called The Odd Couple where celebrity couples compete against each other to determine who is the best couple. They undergo tests like who can pack the dishwasher best together, or reverse park a car. Doesn't sound like a must watch TV. And yet, it is very funny to watch.

And there was Ready Steady Cook. The show was hosted by Fern Britton, and she welcomes two celebrity chefs to the stage. A lot of the chefs who became household names in the UK appeared on the shows, including chefs like Ainsley Harriott, James Martin, and many more. Ainsley Harriott went on to host the British version of the show for around 10 years.

The idea is that two contestants bring a bag containing 4-5 ingredients and then the teams have 20 minutes to come up with the tastiest looking dishes, yes multiple, usually 3 dishes. The audience then hold up cards featuring either a red tomato or a green capssicum (pepper) which determines which team has won.

In more recent versions of the show, there is a Chef's Challenge where the chefs then get another set of ingredients, they have to say what they would make with them in 10 minutes and then audience chooses which menu sounds the best and then the two chefs make it.

It's all very frantic, very high energy and sometimes the food which gets created can be  a bit on the odd side when you have to incorporate such random ingredients together.

Eventually, the show came to Australia and was shown on weekday afternoons. Originally it was hosted by Peter Everest, and then later by comedian Colin Lane. Whilst it was still the same format, it all felt a bit kitsche and so it didn't really become part of my TV routine, maybe because I didn't get to watch very often. I do believe that the show was made in various other countries around the world as well.

And now, it is back, this time at 7.30 on a Friday night, and I have to say it feels like perfect Friday night viewing. Most Friday nights, I am totally exhausted and just need something to be on the TV that will entertain. It is hosted by Miguel Maestre, a Spanish chef who has become a mainstay of lifestyle TV shows here. he is someone you would definitely describe as high energy and high enthusiasm. So much energy 

It is still very low tech, with the audience still holding up boards with either the tomato or green capsicum to cast their votes. Not a lot of tech here, even in the kitchen.

I have now watched the first two episodes, and already I am meeting new to me chefs, as well as old favourites from Masterchef. The first episode featured a chef called Mike Reid, known as the Laughing chef, but he was no competition for the laughing Miguel. He was playing again Hayden who originally rose to prominence on Masterchef.

The second episode featured a Spanish chef to the stars called Sergio Perera against another Masherchef alumni, Sarah Todd. As an aside, we now have a commencement date for the next season of Masterchef Australia. There are three new judges this season, following the death of Jock Zonfrillo and the departure of Melissa Leong. Looking forward to that starting soon.

And the most important thing is the prize. The winner receives a bronze ladle! I did wonder what would happen if you have the same chef win multiple times. I mean, how many bronze ladles does one chef need?

Watching the show has been a fun walk down memory lane, and I can definitely see myself vegging out in front of a TV on a Friday night watching this!!

Weekly meals

Saturday -  
Sunday -  Prawns and salad
Monday - family dinner
Tuesday - Out for dinner
Wednesday - Baked chicken breast, mashed potato and beans
Thursday - Baked butter chicken and rice
Friday -Takeaway

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. For some reason, although I love to cook, I do not enjoy cooking shows. This game show sounds light and fun bc they need to come up with a recipe on the spot. Does anyone come up with nothing?

    1. They always come up with something, especially using the pantry ingredients as well.

  2. I'm with Anonymous! Don't really enjoy cooking shows. It seems the Chef is often rude and belittling the help. Though this one seems to be in a different mode.

  3. We love cooking (and eating!) shows around here. But I have to be honest the American cooking shows are not as enjoyable (very competitive to the point of boorish) as the ones you have offered! Our favs are usually British but I will definitely keep an eye out for the others!

    1. I like a good British show, and the Australian ones too.

  4. The American version of Ready, Set, Cook was what got me hooked on the Food Network in the 90's. It was fun and novel, at the time. Now, Great British Bake Off is the only food competition I still watch, but back in the day, Ready, Set, Cook was a winner! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    1. it was a trip down memory lane for me too Jane!