Follow us on @wednesdaysdomaine

⚙️ Table Talk #101: TV Dreams 📺


Table Talk is back. Having hit our milestone one hundredth issue, we decided to mix things up, to keep you guessing and to begin alternating between the easily-digestible, eat-on-the-go Picky Bits and the longer form, knees-under stalwart that you all know and love.

Today, we’re talking cookery shows and yes, I know, you probably think you’ve seen every format imaginable, and yet, we keep coming back. And that, my friends, is worthy of further investigation…

Chances are you’ve engaged with Saturday Kitchen or Sunday Brunch on some level. For many, these shows provide passive background exultations, almost like old friends sat chatting in your living room as you slowly kick your weekend into gear. Others may tune in religiously, noting down recipes and recommendations, giving the presenters and their guests their full attention as if invited into their own home. Whatever your approach, it’s difficult to argue against them having become woven into the fabric of our weekend mornings.
If you think about what makes these shows great, it’s their delicate balances of encouragement and excellence, inspiration and impossibility. Their words and their worlds - items, ingredients and interiors - are instantly familiar and yet equally out of reach. 
They allow us to convince ourselves that we could churn out Theo Randall’s delectable aubergine parmigiana whilst talking to our guests, batting away questions about our latest book launch, glass of wine in hand. The reality is you might be able to, but most of us can’t, getting flustered and never quite regaining our composure from the moment the doorbell rings and our guests arrive…

Photo Credit: Saturday Kitchen

Blurring that boundary between inner belief and fantasy is where shows like Master Chef, The Great British Bake Off and Great British Menu stand unparalleled. The skills on show are often masterful, amateurs and professionals alike competing against the clock, one another and themselves in a flurry of activity and emotion. We watch, hooked by the drama, engaged in constant comparison against our own abilities and decision-making. I wouldn’t have done that. Ooooooh, that’s interesting. Surely not?!

And all this comes before we traverse the TV landscape yet further to reach those who blend food and travel. Pioneered by Keith Floyd, taken mainstream by Rick Stein and given a global audience by Anthony Bourdain, these programmes tick more boxes than they showcase ingredients, opening our eyes to different cultures and customs that in turn drive our curiosity back home.

Whilst the advent of streaming and having a house jammed full of different devices may have made the battle for the remote somewhat redundant, cooking shows tend to cross barriers in ways that other genres don’t. They unite us, they inspire us, and most importantly, they entertain us, often when the person you’re sitting next to nonchalantly claims that they could “knock that up, no trouble…” 

Lemon Roasted Potatoes with a Feta Dressing and Chicken Skewers by Poppy O'Toole
Photo Credit: Saturday Kitchen


Picking your favourite from the above is a bit like being asked to pick your favourite child… Difficult, but not impossible. Sure, this next recommendation might be somewhat left field, but for me, the joy and bewilderment the Hairy Bikers showcase on their Asian Adventure remains unparalleled. Pure educational escapism at its best.

Photo Credit: The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure


It’s safe to say our inboxes were a little busier than usual this Monday morning, having received not one, but two glowing pieces of press coverage in The Telegraph and The Daily Mail over the weekend.

We were absolutely buzzing with Georgina Fuller’s recommendation - “so many people have recommended these wines, which taste almost as good as the real thing” - which is sure to keep our fires burning bright in the coming weeks and months.

Until next Wednesday,

Luke x

More where that came from...