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Wednesday, November 9, 2022

What links The Great British Menu to the underbelly of the 00s New York scene? | Television

The great escape

The Great British Menu (BBC) kicked off its 17th season this month. Not MasterChef: The Professionals, nor own-brand MasterChef, nor The Great British Bake Off, GBM’s USP is asking notable chefs nationwide to cook a Big Dinner at Ally Pally. New judges are in charge: chefs Tom Kerridge and Nisha Katona, and comedian Ed Gamble (from the Off Menu podcast), while Andi Oliver remains the host at the pass.

Andi Oliver
The Great British Menu host Andi Oliver … Photograph: Ashleigh Brown/BBC/Optomen Television

Oliver’s army

Oliver runs Wadadli Kitchen in east London and is the mother of Miquita Oliver – seen together in a recent exploration of the Caribbean on BBC Two. Miquita remains best known for the great snark-era Channel 4 show Popworld, which she wryly co-hosted with Simon Amstell from 2001 to 2006.

Miquita Oliver
… whose daughter, Miquita, wryly co-hosted Popworld in the early 2000s … Photograph: Getty Images


If you have been on Instagram lately, you may have come across the sights and sounds of the @indiesleaze account, which has helped spur a reassessment of the 2000s’ indie-ish music, partying, fringes, American Apparel and unfortunately lit pre-iPhone photos.

@indiesleaze Instagram account
… an era currently being reassessed by @indiesleaze … Photograph: courtesy of @indiesleaze

This is happening

A 2000s revival is in full swing, and will turn to 11 with the release of Meet Me in the Bathroom, a forthcoming documentary about 00s New York rock based on Lizzy Goodman’s book. The British duo behind the film, Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern, made a film about LCD Soundsystem’s supposedly final concert (rent on Apple) – spoiler: it wasn’t. Earlier they captured Blur’s 2009 reunion tour.

Scene from documentary Meet Me in the Bathroom by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern
… and in a documentary by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern, who also captured the 2009 reunion tour of Blur … Photograph: AP

Charmless men

Blur’s Damon Albarn was in hot water for ill-advised comments about Taylor Swift. However, the most egregious moment of extra-Blur life remains that photo of cheese- and bass-player Alex James standing beside then PM and future Greensill lobbyist David Cameron and then Top Gear host and future farmer Jeremy Clarkson, at the festival James hosts on his Oxfordshire farm. Then called Harvest, now the Big Feastival, combining music and food, 2016’s edition featured Tom Kerridge, Michelin star-winning chef and future judge of The Great British Menu (woo-hoo).

Jeremy Clarkson, Alex James and David Cameron at Alex James Presents Harvest
… whose bassist Alex James (seen here with Jeremy Clarkson and David Cameron) hosts a festival that once featured Tom Kerridge, future judge of The Great British Menu. Photograph: PA

Pairing notes

Watch One-take film Boiling Point followed Stephen Graham’s hothead chef (three stars, the Bradshaw variety, not Michelin).

Eat The 2006 series of Great British Menu culminated with Richard Corrigan, Bryn Williams, Nick Nairn and Marcus Wareing preparing dishes for the Queen’s 80th birthday lunch. For dessert, Wareing pulled out a custard tart with Garibaldi biscuits. Chef’s kiss!

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