Why are TV chefs treated like rock stars?


Today TV chefs are treated like rock stars.

In Australia, the final of the country’s Master Chef program, a couple of years back, was watched by 4.1 million people.

It was many more than watch the finals of any football code, almost double the ratings that some finals get. The following year’s cooking final pulled in even more viewers.

It has been a worldwide trend but there are good reasons why this has been happening?

Firstly, some social commentators think we are drifting away from the Darwinist (survival of the fittest) model of kicking someone’s butt in a reality television show.

Secondly, world financial insecurity may be coaxing people to spend more time at home, while learning the lost art of cooking and being more supportive of each other.

Those cooking shows also remind people of the sense of community they have lost. And there is great benefit from trying  to cook with friends.

We might even develop some great conversation skills while cooking and eating wonderful varieties of foods together.

Junk food took its toll

Finally, have we peaked in the craze for junk food. (Take out food in USA)

In the past, the ease with which people bought take away food, might have destroyed any ability or desire to search out good produce and cook sumptuous meals and share it with friends.

Now here’s a good line for people who don’t like migrants and the great variety of food they promote:

The best food and cooks and recipes can be found in countries that have not lost their love of produce, conversation skills or abilities to make a meal last for hours.

Take Cyprus for example.

This is in the centre of the Mediterranean food bowl, benefiting from food introduced from Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Middle East, Western Europe and Egypt.

Cypriots have gone on to create and promote their own distinctive recipes.

The best way to enjoy Cypriot food is to stop rushing around madly, prepare a meal, invite your friends around, and thus prepare to sit and talk for a couple of hours. In Cyprus, the landscape and backyards are dotted with olive trees. It is a constant reminder that the Mediterranean diet has got its menu about right by teaming hot dishes with salads that are garnished with olive oil, washed down with good wine.

Longer life with a Mediterranean diet

The World Health Organisation has had years to study health statistics and deduce that this kind of food gives you a 40 percent less likelihood of getting heart disease. The balmy summer nights in Mediterranean land gets the population out of doors to eat and talk. In many areas people are sitting outside happily chatting, playing cards or listening to music up until 11 p.m. In the Old Port area of Lemesos, (Limasol(, streets are blocked off every Saturday night while hundreds of tables and chairs magically appear in front of cafes and restaurants where patrons eat under the stars and appear to talk for hours. (with football playing on screens)

You may not be able to change the climate where you live but at least you can restore the sense of community to your family, making it a time to celebrate variety in food, friends and conversation.  It may be of interest to non-Mediterranean folk that Greeks, due to their constant chatting and philosophizing, have the lowest youth suicide rates in the world. The figure is 2 per 100,000. Other countries that value extended families have similar low figures although Greece has the lowest. If a relative ever gets depressed, you can imagine the extended family with which they can converse so as to receive help and reassurance. The best option may be to visit your local grocer or wholesale market, select some produce you haven’t tried before, and a recipe, do some cooking and invite your friends around, pretending all the while that they will warm to your choice of music, wine and conversation. If the produce aisles at your local supermarket don’t have recipes and avoid talking to customers, find a small retailer that pushes produce and cooking ideas. Remember to pretend you are out of doors and keep that pack of cards handy. Opening the windows or eating on your verandah might help.

British Medical Journal and the Mediterranean diet

A study released by the British Medical Journal says that consuming a Mediterranean-style diet, rich in vegetables, fruits and nuts, olive oil, and legumes, may lead to a longer life. “…higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a statistically significant reduction in total mortality,” wrote the researchers.

It found that nine components of the Mediterranean diet contributed to the benefits: moderate alcohol consumption, low meat and meat product consumption, high consumption of vegetables, fruit, legumes, olive oil, and nuts, and more monounsaturated fats than saturated ones.

In another recent study review, the Mediterranean diet was found to be the only dietary pattern associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Researchers analyzed 146 other studies and 43 controlled trials published between 1950 and 2007.

The more recent studies add to a large body of science supporting a Mediterranean-style diet. These lucky folks have some of the lowest rates of colon cancer, breast cancer, and coronary disease in the world, as well as fewer problems with inflammatory conditions and menopause.

Finally there is a significant reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.


About John
John started out as a cadet in 1970 at Bundaberg News Mail, continuing as a feature writer at Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, then began producing regular freelance articles for the Sunday Mail and New Idea. Later he took up science writing for Qld climate, water and soil scientists. Whimsical stories and humorous bush poetry is his current passion.