Tag Archives: celebrity chef

What The Telly Won’t Tell

Pic courtesy: kernelmag.dailydot.com
Pic courtesy: kernelmag.dailydot.com

Food shows have always had an audience. I have watched food shows on TV for as long as I can remember, be it Jiggs Kalra’s forward-thinking show or the hilariously well-seasoned Chef Yan. Years later when I got to be part of a food segment on the telly, it was an eye-opener more than a taste-bud tickler. There are some things about food shows that the telly won’t tell, ever. Let’s peep into what goes into the food shows, of course behind the scenes.

Food is the star and the story
Off late, we see the bulge of TV-ready chefs who love to present their own work. Works best that way. Unless the chef is really handicapped at presenting does one need a presenter. And by presenter I do not mean a lipstick-clad-heel-totting-accent-spewing specimen who could, in real life, burn water while boiling! And that is not a biased but a seen and tested statement. Thankfully things are shifting towards the better. The presenter needs to know and understand food, sometimes its history and most times the process food ingredients go through.

Use, re-use and abuse
No food show can survive if the presenter garnishes the script with hackneyed, boring phrases and epithets that could numb your ear and tongue. It starts with “awesome”, goes on to “amazing” and ends on “absolutely mind-blowing”. The other level of presenters use parboiled phrases like “melt-in-the-mouth”, “flavourful”, “beautiful textures” and “crunchy and juicy”. Sure one can learn this by watching a couple of shows on the tube or reading a few food bloggers.

1 Tablespoon = 3 Tablespoons
Food on some food shows is made not the way it is told. There are various re-takes and that would mean starting all over again or at the stage where it has been left. Many chefs add extra oil, condiments or spices, of course off-camera; including secretly adding MSG (read more here: msg-for-msg). Purely unethical. Incorrect communication. A lot of shows, internationally, have bravely ventured outside of the studio into real surroundings and settings where  “let’s add this since nobody is watching” is not an option.

Food shows on the telly are entertaining as they are informative. You learn about foods in various cultural set-ups and countries, know about celebrity chefs, popular restaurants or food trucks to try-out and feel encouraged to try to make that dish at home. The shows, like the ingredients used, must be true to the taste.

Fingers crossed.

Omnia Baharat – for the love of burger

Omnia Baharat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

There are three things that can work for a restaurant.
Location. Known chef. Food.
In case of Omnia Baharat, all three work cohesively, like the food that is served there.

Omni Baharat Front Facade
Omni Baharat Front Facade

Plonked in the prime of Mall of Emirates on Level 2, Omnia Baharat may wear a comparatively deserted look because of the overflowing restaurant branch whose parent outlet has a fabled Michelin star, but this gem sure has a good menu and a mean burger to offer!

Omnia Baharat's carefully constructed menu
Omnia Baharat’s carefully constructed menu

This restaurant is co-owned by celebrity chef Silvena Rowe, usually remembered for culinary agony aunt columns in a local daily. Eat here and you shall know of her culinary craft. Little wonder that she has cooked and fed royalty to rockstar. The restaurant claims “we serve real food” seemed a little clamorous since the menu seriously does the talking. But let me dismiss that as a whim of an agency-bred glutton.

My colleague ordered the house burger featuring Aberdeen Angus and I settled for the Omnia Wagyu. Also asked for a side order of hand-cut fries on the side (the cultural hangover of eating at burger chains in food courts).

Omnia Wagyu (Grade 8+) - Eat this!
Omnia Wagyu (Grade 8+) – Eat this!

The burger was presented on the table, looking shiny as a penny, with an artistic swipe of sauce. I was particularly looking forward to the sumac flavoured caramelised onions that sat on top pf the Wagyu patty, done medium well. It might look deceptively ‘mouthable’ but that glossy artisan bun, toasted on the inside, can throw a real challenge to the best big mouths in town. The flavouring of the burger was mild yet tasty. Certainly, one of the best burgers I have had here in the UAE.

Omnia Wagyu - one of the best burgers in town
Omnia Wagyu – one of the best burgers in town

In fact, it brought back memories of a pub burger I had in London, in July this year. I am beginning to favour the British over the Americans at constructing a better burger.

The thinly cut fries were crispy albeit a tad oily. But one tends to overlook that when the burger you are chowing down is so tasty.

Recommend it.

#BurpAndBelch meter : 4.5 burps

#5WordFoodReview: I Wagyu. I Really Do!