FoodistanNDTV Good Times monday to wednesday,9.30pm
Whats it about?
After all the excitement that the India-Pakistan cricket matches have generated over the years for both nations,it is now time for a television show to do the same. This latest food show is a face-off between eight professional chefs each from the two neighbouring nations. These gourmands are putting on their chefs hat and attempting every trick from their cookery books to earn that all-expenses-paid trip to three international destinations of their choice,a book publishing deal and the title of the king or queen of The Republic of Foodistan. There is also that golden opportunity to bring glory to their country. The show started with team competitions and,as the show progresses,the chefs will also be judged on the basis of individual tasks.
Whos in it?
The show has Aly Khan and Ira Dubey as hosts. The duo complement each other and strike up a conversation as opposed to mouthing scripted lines. Although the shows format has not been borrowed from the West,the trio of judges is reminiscent of the popular show,Top Chef one chef,one food critic and one pretty face. While British chef Merrilees Parker and food critic Vir Sanghvi bring credibility to Foodistan,Pakistani actress Sonya Jehan is pure eye candy. As she puts it,I am here for the love of food.
The show started with chefs taking part in team challenges where they were given two hours each to prepare a kebab,curry,biryani and dessert. The duties are divided between chefs with minimal discussion and drama. The chefs often break into a song or get into a friendly banter while calmly carrying out their kitchen duties. Despite their vast experience,the participants are humble and focussed. The judges,especially Sanghvi and Parker,know their brief well and limit their critique to the food and not the person. Their preparations are often mouth-watering bhindi do rukha,dahi aur tamatar ka maas,murgh koftey ki biryani,lamb shanks and phirni Foodistan offers a healthy mix of competition and delicacies.
In case of this show,viewers should not allow the first impression to be their last. The graphics used at the beginning of the show for the title and credits are of poor quality and the tacky sets take away from visual appeal. The show attempts to forge a bond between the two nations by invoking the nationalistic theme but the occasional expression of overt patriotism and inherent hatred from the hosts is in bad taste. While the competition lacks the drama associated with reality shows,the introduction of the participants is animated.
Should you be watching it?
For food lovers,this is a must-watch show. As Indians,we know our curries and kebabs. But this show reminds you of the food heritage shared across the border as well.