Dinner Party Competition

By / Food / October 21st, 2010 / Like

Are you a cooking show addict? I was. I could easily watch show after show of the Food Network until I’d seen everything from how to boil water to how to make my own smoker. Then something changed. I’d like to say that I grew out of that phase, or perhaps learned how to be a better cook. Instead, I think it was the Food Network that changed. From shows dedicated to teaching mere mortals to whip up delicacies à la Christine Cushing to shows that were more about the sport and the fury. Suddenly, we were watching competitions — The Iron Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, Best Chef Left Standing … you get the idea.

What do we get from these shows? Not a knowledge of how to cook. How about a peek into the human side of this crazy industry so mysterious to most of us?

If that’s the sort of show you’ve been craving, you’re in luck. The British version of Come Dine With Me is coming to Canada. You’ve no doubt seen snippets of it. Five participants, most of whom are challenged by the simplest of cooking techniques, compete to out-cook and out-entertain each other while enduring a biting narrative by host Jamie Carr. Despite the pressure, it’s probably a very gratifying process for them. It’s a kind of trial-by-fire learning process in which they either fizzle into despair or emerge victorious, a better person all around. And why not? The winner gets bragging rights and a $1000 cash prize. Most of us have probably felt under siege at one time or another when hosting a dinner party. Winning some extra cash for our efforts is sweet as candy.

The first set of competitors include lawyer Holly, photographer David, foodie James, tartan wearing Jennifer and PR princess Marsha. Each host has his or her own unique style and tastes – one host cooks the entire meal with just a toaster oven and a hot plate, while another opts to serve dessert on cat grass. Competitors also rummage through each other’s closets, trying on clothes and digging up old and embarrassing photos. Menus range from fresh sea bass, to haggis, to an NYC-themed Soho cheesecake.

The series premieres Monday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT with 5 back-to-back episodes.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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