We are ALL guilty of it. We know we shouldn't do it. We are ashamed of it. We shouldn't enjoy it as much as we do but we can't help ourselves. We ALL watch reality cooking shows. The Great British Bake Off, Masterchef and all the celebrity charity specials. WHY? We know the formula, we know what's going to happen. The housewife from Wigan will out-bake the posh people. The systems analyst from Chester will finally have his epiphany and, in the space of one show, will learn the art of presentation. His dishes will go from looking like cat sick on a plate to works of art on a slate. Why do we watch it?
We watch it because it's inspirational and aspirational TV. I have personally, whilst watching an episode of The Great British Bake Off, challenged my partner to our own competition. We both had to prepare a croque en bouche for a Christmas dinner party (she won, I burnt my caramel at the last minute, my profiteroles were better though... they were better).
One reason that we watch this drivel, is to keep up to date with the latest fashions and fads in the world of catering. Smokes, soils, sous vide, the list of techniques and gimmicks is long, (and seems to predominantly start with the letter "S"). Speaking as an employee of Ward's Catering, one of the UK's premier suppliers of commercial catering equipment and refrigeration, I, of course, take an active interest in the equipment being used on these shows. I can spot a Kitchenaid 5KSM7591W in a split second. I check out the chef's knives, the oven ranges and, of course, none of these shows are complete without a Rational combination oven on display somewhere!
One piece of kit that I have noticed is invaluable on these shows (because of the dramatic time limits) is the blast chiller. These are not only useful in the context of a trashy TV show. They are also an indispensable piece of equipment in any large commercial kitchen. They used to be an extremely expensive investment which may have put a few caterers off the idea of purchasing one. However, market leading manufacturers of commercial refrigerated equipment Foster have recently released their new line of economy cabinets XTRA by Foster and this includes three blast chillers.
- The XR10 Blast Chiller
- The XR20 Blast Chiller
- The XR35 Blast Chiller
These are British-built cabinets (so they wouldn't look out of place in that field that Mary Berry and whatsisface Hollywood haunt). They all feature:
- Stainless Steel Exteriors
- Stainless Steel Interiors
- Microprocessor controllers (provides simple accurate temperature control)
- Hard and Soft Chill functions
- Removable Gaskets
- No visible screws or or drit traps for ease of cleaning