Congratulations Jane Devonshire on winning MasterChef 2016!
Her final round knocked the stuffing out of the two talented young chefs competing against her.
Fact; formatted cookery shows draw the crowds.
MasterChef in Mexico drew 4.8 million viewers and netted the biggest audience in its time slot with a 24% share and was the second most talked about show on Twitter. The Great British Bake Off has the same appeal.
Of course, we’re talking television and a certain demographic (over 30s, because possibly like me they’re the only ones still watching TV), but still cookery and competition has a strong pull.
Does this appeal apply to the more orthodox cookery programmes like Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites or Nigella Lawson’s The Taste? These are step-by-step recipe programmes, showing us the benefit of a cook’s wisdom whilst giving us ideas about what and how to make dishes.
I think it’s fair to say the celebrity-chef dominated series now seems dated and old fashioned. But as always the pioneer of ‘in yer face food’ won’t let it rest and has stepped in to rescue a tired format.
Jamie Oliver is attempting to sprinkle some fairy dust on TV cookery with his latest offering, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, which mixes it with pop-up kitchens, invited celebrities, science and a live audience. It’s a reworking of the basic recipe formula for a younger audience.
And if JO is still flogging the recipe format then we should take notice.
His Food Tube is underpinned by recipe videos, and whilst it may look like zoo TV it is clever stuff, with channels like Food Busker attracting millions of followers. At first glance Food Busker videos might look like off-the-cuff, market-stall banter with a recipe thrown in, but watch carefully and you’ll see high-production quality in the filming and cookery.
So are recipe videos worth food brands investing in as a way to promote their products?
Online recipe videos, whether UGV (user generated videos), snippets from broadcast programmes or brand videos are unremittingly popular.
Over 2 million recipe videos were uploaded to the internet in 2015, which just goes to show there’s a recipe out there for just about everything. It also means that recipe videos have to work hard to create a series of authoritative, high-quality and watchable stuff.
The great thing about recipes is that you have to stick with them if you want to find out how a dish works and often viewers will watch them more than once, so unless they are poorly made, recipe videos get a higher percentage of ‘views to the end’ than other food videos.
Recipe videos are not MasterChef or Bake Off, which actually have very little recipe information in them, but they do reflect the zeitgeist for cooking, food and culinary fusion.
And brands like Waitrose know this, which is why they are investing in high-quality recipe video on their own online TV channel.