Fair play to the BBC. It might have two half-dead horses in its stable but it keeps on flogging them.
Just in case you weren’t completely bored by now with MasterChef (or Junior, Celebrity or Pro MasterChef) or The Apprentice (or Junior or Celebrity Apprentice), the BBC has mashed them all together to create The Chef’s Protege (BBC 2, weeknights, 6.30pm), which sees young chefs mentored by Michel Roux Jr, Tom Kitchin and Theo Randall. All three, said the voiceover, were “helped along the way by someone who believed in them”. Or in Michel’s case, dad.
I’ve never warmed to the brittle Roux Jr, although he’s more fun than that terrifying sous chef he hangs around with. And he does know his way around a kitchen. So long as it’s French.
He told the hopefuls to prepare their signature dish so he could “improve them”. Instead he just applied heavy Gallic spin to completely reinvent them, so Asian tuna became tuna with ratatouille, while chicken stuffed with Italian cheese became chicken stuffed with snails.
“Do I look like an Italian?” he demanded. I’m not sure what he looks like. A cross between a crotchety Frenchman and a praying mantis? Either way, two of the wannabes struggled when cooking for diners. Reese failed to get the tuna right, while the relaxed Jodie was too chilled out to chill her mousse properly, and it failed to set.
Jodie got the chop after diners dismissed her pudding as “slop”, “rubbish” and “not acceptable”. The show wasn’t that bad. But it wasn’t much better either.