Vegetarian cookery programme - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-09-2008, 11:11 PM
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Nope, no good news. There isn't one. This is split from the Hugh's chicken run thread, and I thought I'd bring this issue up, as it's something i thought about a while ago. I was going to include my answer into the main thread, but it got rather long, so I thought I'd bring it here.

There are no big tv chefs that are vegetarian at all, which I find really surprising given the wealth of great vegan foods and options available to a creative mind.

It doesn't really surprise me much. there is some good vegetarian food, but I can't really see vegetarian cookery taking to the small screen. Although I think that if marketed right, we could see it.

I'm surprised that there hasn't been a small series, or a TV show dedicated to cooking vegetarian food. Even if it was gordon ramsay (or another non-vegetarian chef) doing the cooking. It would be interesting to see a six-part series on vegetarian food.

The only major stumbling blocks are that that vegetarianism is considered a niché audience, and as we know in TV, ratings are everything, so TV channels would be worried that people would tune over to "Sick on a widow" on BBC three instead of watching their cooking show, as it was vegetarian.

A big problem is that the V-word is still offputting to some people. And this is where the marketing needs to be considered. You couldn't just pluck up some top vegan chef and have them cook. They need the personality, and I hate to bring up stereotypes, but to get some clearly left-wing hippie in a TV studio wouldn't be a turn-on.

They'd need to find a decent presenter. And it'd have to be someone who didn't view vegetarianism as an ethical philosophy, but more of a cooking system. Too many vegetarians count calories, and for a vegetarian cooking show to work, it would need to unequivocally tell much of its calorie-counting, health conscious audience to stick it all up their collective arses. A radicalapproach is needed, and it needs to be an approach that tells its audience that eating healthy is a completely stupid idea, and that they should engage in our narcissistic culture, not by watching their waistlines, but their plates instead.

The reason for this is that it needs to target foodies. For too long, foodies have witnessed vegetarianism as being a movement based on maintaining health, and this needs to be dispensed with. It needs to be about food for food's sake, not for ethics, or for weightloss. It needs to be a programme about cooking gorgeous food, which also happens to be vegetarian.

It also needs to be patronising to a certain degree. The chef, despite not being a sanctimonious stereotypical veg-head, needs to be an arrogant ******* that people will warm to. Preferably one with a swearing problem, who will make people who think fish is a vegetable feel like the cretins that they genuinely are, whilst demoting people who believe that gillian mckeith is some form of deity to the lower echelons of hell. All this, whilst not offending people who eat meat, or making them feel like lower people because they eat meat. And this is a fine line to walk: How do you tell people that they're stupid, but only because they think that fish is a vegetable, rather than because they eat it.

That said, there may be hope. Hopefully, some network exec (probably not from RDF, endemol, or any other company that produces ratings-grabbing televisual "entertainment" programmes) will see the gap, and we might just see a lesser-known freeview channel adopt such a show, and it might gain a cult following, and then the said host becomes a celebrity chef in their own right.

I think that vegetarianism doens't really wash with the general public. It's a very odd thing for them. They know it exists, and they know it's a rather large minority group. Yet it is at a distance to them. They don't see it as being something to embrace, but rather somethng to respect when they encounter one of these vegetarians. vegetarians need to crack the mainstream,and the mainstream needs to embrace vegetarianism - not its meat-eschewing values - but the food-loving and quirky nature of it all. And a TV personality with enthusiasm, and arrogance, (I firmly believe that arrogance is a characteristic which is unfairly viewed as unfavourable) without the preaching - someone who the public love. A Jamie oliver, sans the meat, is extremly difficult to come by. And then there's convincing TV execs that a vegetarian cooking show is worthwhile.

Mind you, the *******s did put on an awful show over the summer called "cook yourself thin", which was the antithesis of what a food programme should be about. Rather than cooking good food, good ood was viewed as splurging. It was viewed in a negative light. But rather thaninding alternative good food that had less calories, cheap tricks were performed to cut the calories, at the expense of decency, to create awful, *******ised versions of the original. It was terrible stuff, and the four women who presented that show have not been hit by stray meteorites. It almost makes me want to cry.

But if they can produce crap like that, one has to wonder why a vegetarian cookery programme has never been commissioned - Even as an experiment.
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#2 Old 01-10-2008, 03:53 AM
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Big meanie...I was all ready to tune in.

Agreed that you'd think there would have been a trial show, if nothing else. Maybe we should start a letter-writing campaign. Or the Veg. Society could help produce something.

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#3 Old 01-10-2008, 04:36 PM
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There are no big tv chefs that are vegetarian at all, which I find really surprising given the wealth of great vegan foods and options available to a creative mind.

I cant say Im that surprised take number of well known chefs and multiply by the ratio of veg* resturants divided by total number of resturants.

For too long, foodies have witnessed vegetarianism as being a movement based on maintaining health ...

Im not convinced this is true just yet. More often than not it is seen as pasty anaemic hippies who clearly arent eating properly !!!

Whilst not vegan, Quorn products do serve a purpose. A number of meat eaters switch to this vegetarian product as a meat replacement and as such are, consciously or not, starting to equate vegetarianism food with a healthy lifestyle.

I'm surprised that there hasn't been a small series, or a TV show dedicated to cooking vegetarian food.

Me to. British TV now seems to follow a path, one channel has an idea e.g. hey, lets do a cooking program (or of those brain-dead ******* reality TV shows, or whatever) and then everyone jumps on the bandwagon and you get saturated with similar programs. Theyve been desperate to find a new angle so if only for that reason veg* stuff should have got some programming.

A few months back there was a prog (channel 5?) which I think tried to start out as exposing fox hunting but ended up lifting the lid on the dreadful practices almost forced on farmers. Now, we have a week of stuff on channel 4, plus Jamie Oliver, plus a prog on BBC3 ... etc.

Preferably one with a swearing problem...

No, that would put many people off, though doesnt bother me (in fact there are times when I could teach Gordon Ramsey a few new words!).

The only well known chef I can think of that could do a veg* type program would be Hugh. If Delia was still in the limelight then shed be a good choice she did get slated for doing a program on the cooking basics, but surprisingly many people can not cook from basic ingredients, and if you are going to go veg* then you need to be able to cook, and probably cook a lot of new stuff youve never had before.

And a TV personality with ... arrogance, ...

That of course is where my last paragraph falls down. It would certainly benefit from a certain level of arrogance yet this is one area where neither Hugh or Delia would be extreme enough.


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#4 Old 01-10-2008, 05:49 PM
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i reckon they could swing it, they'd just have to sell it right. unfortunately, maybe the 'healthy foods' pitch might be the only one that worked without alienating big chunks of society.

as cringeworthy as ms mckeith is, she does get a lot of veggies into her show- i just wish she didn't have oily fish and poo obsessions, act like a walking shouting ocd, and talk to everyone like they're an idiot.

british tv cooks, for all their moaning, ranting and complaining, do seem to have their heads round vegetarianism a lot more than the american ones i see on tv over here. its a rare day that i see anything cooked that doesn't have some kind of corpse in it, on US tv. i recall quite a lot of stuff on ready steady cook being veggie friendly (they had a fair few contestants who didn't eat such and such an ingredient) and there is a pretty good chunk of recipe stuff on the bbcs food bit: ... you lot are way ahead of things compared to over here.

maybe they could base each episode on a different theme- like mexican, asian, indian, british, middle eastern, etc, or get different celebrity chefs in for each episode, doing their own iron chef/ready steady cook style challenge, or showing us their best veggie meals.

i reckon the mix of chefs and dynamics might be a pull in itself, i'd tune in just to see how the nauseatingly vulgar and anti-veg chefs handled it, but watching the veggie cooking pros would be great too... as long as they didn't do everything heavy on the eggs, cream, and cheese, or use other non veggie ingredients like fish sauce and worcestershire sauce.
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#5 Old 01-10-2008, 09:25 PM
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I’m not convinced this is true just yet. More often than not it is seen as pasty anaemic hippies who clearly aren’t eating properly !!!

Funnily enough, this is how the nation sees veggies. Either as the above, or as being the kind of people who will watch their calories constantly. God forbid there be a foodie vegetarian who loves to eat!

I definitely agree with duke nukem that tv is dominated by reality rubbish. Funnily enough, I've been predicting the death of big brother ever since a fight broke out in the house a few years ago, but it's a resilient pest that seem to plague our summer Tv schedules. Thank heavens they've had the decency to only put the latest spinoff on E4, and save us the boredom.

I certainly think that vegetarianism is often incoprorated into food shows as an afterthought, but I think it'd be nice to see a campaign to broaden the culinary horizons of the nations vegetarians. Hell, I saw a woman in Sainsburys who was a vegetarian. I know it sounds creepy, but I look at what people have in their shopping trolley/basket and assess them. And I can spot vegetarians a mile off, even though i need glasses.

This one woman had a basket laden with Quorn products. Surely, we need a campaign to get vegetarians less reliant on Quorn, and cooking proper food. I'm ertainly happy eating Quorn every now and then, but I acknowledge that it occupies the same culinary genus as the pot noodle.

hoodedclawjen, you make a good point: How would ramsay, oliver, lawson et al react to a vegetarian cookery show on the schedules? I really wouldn't know, but I think it'd be interesting to find out.
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