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The Good Cook: In front of the camera

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Simon Hopkinson Simon Hopkinson | 13:31 UK time, Thursday, 7 July 2011

Simon Hopkinson

 

The very idea that I am to be featured as a cook on television - and on BBC One no less - is a bit surreal to me. I had always said, “no - never! I just can't look into that terrible black hole!” (the camera lens), addressing bewildered folk who thought I might be quite good at this kind of carry on, and quietly reassuring myself that no one with any sense would ever approach me anyway.

Then, quite suddenly, it was April 2010 and I was in a meeting with the BBC and I talked for England. The TV folk couldn't get a word in edgeways. I find I tend to do just that when asked to talk about food. I can sprout forth with much enthusiasm - and rude opinion, let it be said - on the subject which is closest to my heart. And so, it began... The Good Cook series starts this Friday.

Although I am still involved in the restaurant Bibendum where I was the inaugural chef in 1987, I hung up my apron for the final time in 1995, and haven't toiled in a professional kitchen since then. Quite simply, I like to cook and I like to cook well. I do it every day at home, often just for me and, occasionally, for one or two lunch guests. I never cook dinner parties, nor do I enjoy going out to them. There are one or two exceptions, but I will usually help with the cooking or take a dish I have made at home. When I stay with close friends in Kent, and also in Somerset, both of whom have especially nice kitchens, I always cook a lot. This is not expected; I just enjoy making something delicious for my hosts.

Simon Hopkinson


I will also shop anywhere. I know there are certain things I rely on at my local supermarket (boned and rolled breast of lamb for example; it’s tasty and cheap), or at my Saturday farmers' market (fabulous, untreated Guernsey cream). I also love my very local Thai shop, not-quite-so local Iranian stores and a huge, very expensive organic emporium (extraordinarily delicious Italian butter in tins).

What I really wanted to achieve from this television series was to show how it can be so enjoyable and worthwhile spending a little time on cooking. As an end result you produce something utterly delicious. Making good food is not necessarily always easy (this has never fooled me!), and practice will always make perfect. You'll find a mixture of recipes drawn from my childhood, my restaurant career, and my most memorable meals - from coq au vin and baked pappardelle with pancetta and porcini to sticky toffee pudding and everyone's favourite, chocolate pot [coming to the website soon]. But I would be quite happy if just an occasional dish may catch your eye and cause you to think, “yes, I think I would like to cook that too.”

Cooking is my life. It is what I do. And you know what? I had a ball staring into that terrible black hole. I look forward to hearing what you think of the series and recipes.

Simon Hopkinson is a food writer and presenter of The Good Cook.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Look forward to the programme!

  • Comment number 2.

    I was really looking forward to your programme. However, the pointless use of irrelevant snippets of music, as heard on Nigel Slater's series, is annoying. The music seems to be chosen at random, with no relation to the pictures. If the series had original music, then, yeh, sure, use a theme tune. But it's like a producer has just shuffled their iPod. Very poor.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Simon

    We have your books and Bibendum is our restaurant of choice (and that of our daughters) so we've been eagerly awaiting this new series.

    Just seen tonight's first programme and IT WAS TOO SHORT! An absolute must see.

    You ignite our (mine and my husband's) passion for cooking (the passion for eating is doing fine by itself)

    If we ever won a competition for someone to come to our house and cook for/with us, you would be top choice.

    Actually, if you fancy a weekend in lovely countryside with a big kitchen and appreciative but not scary fans, lots of good quality and local produce, you know where to come...anytime, you only have to say.

  • Comment number 4.

    We disagree with the previous comment. Enjoyed the music and thought the recipes were all quite simple and well presented. They all looked delicious and we will definitely try them. Also liked the relaxed presenting style.

  • Comment number 5.

    Dear Simon, you must be so disappointed that the bbc have ruined your program with such distracting background music, it make your program un watchable, so sorry

  • Comment number 6.

    Why do so many TV chefs keep telling viewers that "you can buy this in your local supermarket"? What have you got against greengrocers, butchers, delis etc, most of whom are small family businesses who need all the trade they can get and usually supply a superior product?

    A programme that sets itself up as cooking restaurant quality food in the home should surely be encouraging viewers to purchase restaurant quality ingredients, which supermarkets are less likely to supply than specialist food stores.

    Please emphasise the quality service and products of the specialists rather than encourage couch potatoes to be lazier than they already are!

  • Comment number 7.

    I've been looking forward to this too having known Simon many years ago at the start of his career. It was great to see him again and the food and recipes were wonderful - but oh dear - that music! Awful and unnecessary and spoilt the programme for me.

  • Comment number 8.

    I have just finished watching Simon's first programme on BBC1. I thought he was utterly brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed both his breezy style as a presenter and the dishes he prepared. The French trick for Coq-au-Vin with croutons aux persil is something that I haven't seen since my grandmother used to do it (!!!!!). I take it that Simon's had some experience of very traditional old fashioned French cuisine, which is really interesting to see on TV. I'm very much looking forward to next week's episode. If any of the powers that be are reading these comments, please would you consider making Simon's food show a fixture. He's a refreshing change from the usual show-off celebrity chef type shows, and it's clear he has a real passion for food and for making delicious dishes, properly but simply.

  • Comment number 9.

    Never done this before but loved this programme as the receipes were straightforward but delicious..liked the music...and you presented in a constructive but friendly manner.

  • Comment number 10.

    Myself and my husband thouroughly enjoyed this programme. I have just registered for the first time in order to voice my opinion...I/we are looking forward to the next edition - we also loved your choice of music.

  • Comment number 11.

    Have just watched the first show enjoyed it very much looking forward to the rest of the shows, going to try all the dishes shown. I like his style of presenting relaxed and unhurried brilliant. Well done Simon

  • Comment number 12.

    Dear Simon. Your old chum Michael Peel here who, as you know, has always loved your cooking. I thought that such a programme was long overdue, being heartily sick of complicated dishes, often cooked by indifferent chefs, that are in any event way beyond the reach of normal home cooks. Your ability to make great dishes simple and approachable will be a boon to many. Looking forward to the next episode.

  • Comment number 13.

    is in love with "The Good Cook" BBC1 7.30pm - he had me at "Sticky Toffee Pudding".......

  • Comment number 14.

    Enjoyed the programme but what's the little black and white box all about?

  • Comment number 15.

    A master at work - just like his books - looking forward to rest of series - LP and all

  • Comment number 16.

    Great new program, presentational style was excellent. Well done. Great recipe choices. Packed full of very valuable tips. The pace was just right, loved it so much went immediately to view it again on iPlayer and will be trying out one of the recipes this weekend. Simon is an excellent presenter and his genuine passion for food comes across very well.

  • Comment number 17.

    Also, no problem with the music. Seemed to me to be your personal taste of having something on in the background whilst cooking. The graphics leave a little bit to be desired.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'd like to see Simon Hopkinson presenting without 1 to 4 second edits, defocussing, constant movement, and facile special effects.

  • Comment number 19.

    All those food memories from the Walnut Tree! have purchased all your books,and loved the recipes.
    However PLEASE tell the BBC to scap the Music over your voice and conversation. I am sure lots of viewers will have missed so much of what you said and also the recipe comments and tips. It was so nice to see you at last on the TV,and I look forward to the remaining series,hopefully without less background music!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Come on ...the music wasn’t that bad surely? Balance that against the great slow motion photography of mouth-wateringly delicious dishes, a clearly very talented cook who can communicate passion for good food without all celebrity pomp and you’re on to a winner. Well done Simon. Can’t wait for next week.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am glad I didn't work on the programme because the end credits were squashed down for voice over comment. I think it was trailing this blog. They were then unreadable. Why does this happen, if the credits are not important then why have them?

  • Comment number 22.

    Loved the program AND the music - just my era! I thought the cooking was presented simply, clearly and the results looked absolutely delicious. Can't wait to try the sticky toffee pudding! :-))) Usually cook for myself every day when home from work and at weekends, so don't tend to make elaborate, fancy dishes...just tasty and enjoyable. Simon, yours are just great and I liked the French touch! Soooo looking forward to your next programmes and hope to see a lot more of them on the Beeb. Well done and good luck!

  • Comment number 23.

    hello simon , mike matthews here , we went to st johns together , loved the show , i`m not a good cook but i like to watch an expert ply his trade . i will definitely watch the whole series . nice to see you after all this time , but you are much more relaxed than your first trip into t.v. good luck .

  • Comment number 24.

    Hello Simon - I really enjoyed your programme and, unlike others, have no complaints to make! Your childhood pictures brought back memories for me too. I knew you as a child and still live in Greenmount. Dowry Cottage? This has been my home for 25 years. Looking forward to watching your forthcoming programmes.

  • Comment number 25.

    I agree with the others who commented on the overuse of unrelated and quite dated music. However, it doesn't end there for me. I think the recipes were of poor quality, sometimes omitting vital information like oven temps. I also think the recipes lacked creativity and inspiration, which I think is what people want nowadays.

    All recipes in the first episode were stodgy, fatty or boring staples from the 1970s, which I think the production team thought they had to compensate for, by using cutting edge visual effects, an overdecorated set and too much music. I have to admit though that the visuals were the only reason that kept me watching, besides the sheer hope that something interesting would come along.

    In short, don't go overboard on the production to masquerade the over-repeated and dated content, presented by a rather dull baby boomer who lacks personality. I'd *much* prefer to watch older Rick Stein shows to get similar recipes, brought to me with believable enthusiasm and creativity.

  • Comment number 26.

    It just goes to show Ro that you can't please all of the people all of the time as I couldn't disagree with you more - so far as I'm concerned the whole premise of the programme is to raise ordinary dishes to a higher standard. Its brief isn't to introduce new creative dishes, but to improve upon ones with which most people are familiar.

    Dave, the little black and white box is explained here
    http://mediatel.co.uk/newsline/2011/06/21/bbc-one-launches-qr-codes-in-the-good-cook/ (link explains that this is the first cookery show to feature QR codes which deliver the recipes direct to your mobile phone)

    My TV guide says the programme is also aired at 11.30am Saturdays so I may just watch again to see what upset some people so much about the music, I didn't find it intrusive, but rather comment that Simon's delivery commanded my attention.

  • Comment number 27.

    Have always loved Simon's recipes and opinions, and it's great to see him on telly; he's got a lovely voice and presenting style. The music was less intrusive for me than the camerawork (out of focus, lurching) and frenetic editing of shots. In other words, tell the producer to stop trying so hard for the next series. Simon can carry a programme without these distractions.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Frillz, I totally agree with you that you can't please everybody. However, I wasn't asking for new creative dishes, only for the spin he said he would give to the recipes he presented (or 'professional secrets' as he calls it). At the top of the show he says "this series will show you how professional secrets can transform good food into amazing food." He also goes on to say that "I'll be introducing some new ingredients and also cooking classic dishes that everyone can make" and "making the ordinary extraordinary".

    Now I've watched the show again, to see if maybe I had missed the point. I still can't say that the pasta dish shows any professional secrets that distinguishes it from the boat load of other pasta recipes that can be found even on this site. He then goes on to make a Niçoise salad without tuna, which is its essential ingredient (by the way, I noticed how the online recipe does include a can of tuna). All in all I failed to detect the 'new ingredients' he promised he would introduce.

    Anyway, I can go on giving a point by point explanation of what I think is wrong with this show, but I suppose it partly boils down to a matter of taste as well. I think I make a valid point however and I hope that Simon's personality will shine through a little more in the upcoming shows.

  • Comment number 29.

    Comment 18 sums it up...recipes were lovely, Simon H knows his stuff and talks well.....but the camera work and editing just created confusion...I am fairly sure that if you did not know these recipes before you watched, the programme would have not enlightened you..all that out of focus stuff...don't we want to know what he is cooking ? a shame, because the recipes were interesting and it is quite rare on tv to have a presenter who knows what he is doing so well....sadly there are better tv shows out there presented by people with half this talent

  • Comment number 30.

    Great to hear all your comments from new fans, old fans and even old friends of Simon. It was a bit of a coup to finally have the 'food writer's food writer' bring his classic, accessible cooking to a bigger audience. I certainly credit Simon's books with teaching me a thing or three about technique. It's all in the detail, giving time for chicken to brown and using a whisk for white sauce, that can make all the difference.

    @Dave, the white boxes are QR (or quick response) codes, those who have downloaded a QR reader on their smart phones can access the recipes on our mobile site at the relevant time during the programme. Recipes are still available on our site as always, http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/programmes/b012gg69. QR codes make accessing a recipe while watching a food programme just that little bit more instant.
    You can find out more about how they worked last night in a blog post written after the show by a cookery and QR code enthusiast http://2d-code.co.uk/bbc-good-cook-qr-code/

    Interesting to hear all your thoughts on the music. The *real* divisive issue last night, well on Twitter anyway, was whether dates are an essential component of sticky toffee pudding. What do you say?

    www.twitter.com/bbcfood

  • Comment number 31.

    Why have you waited so long to do the telly? You are an absolute natural. And a breath of fresh air after all the swagger and the lifestyle and the speed cooking. You've taken us back in time. You're like a muscular John Tovey or an avuncular Graham Kerr. And all that staring into your coffee mug - it's slowing cooking like it used to be. No criticism - less slowmo knife shots and more pedantry please. Thanks. James

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Simon,
    Having enjoyed so many of your recipes, books, writing and advice/secrets, what a pleasure it was to see you on television. We watched it twice as a family and today we have been out buying ingredients! Looking forward to the next episode. We hope this is just the beginning of your TV career! All the best, Gary

  • Comment number 33.

    My wife and I were literally just looking for a cooking programme to watch, whilst enjoying a well earned saturday bacon sandwich .
    What a joy to watch this man enjoy both the preparation and devourment of his cooking skills.
    We will certainly be looking out for more programmes with Simon
    I cant believe some of the crass comments posted here
    More please !
    More please

  • Comment number 34.

    Hello Simon,

    I just loved your programme, I am not the world's best cook but watching your programme on Friday night your passion for food made me come alive and inspired me to try and enjoy your wonderful recipes.

    Simon, I thought the music in the background was fabulous, and it just gave your programme that extra perfect treat. Don't change a thing.!

    I am so looking forward to your forthcoming programmes.

    Best Wishes,
    Claudia

  • Comment number 35.

    The BBC website homepage article teaser spells restaurateur with an 'n' in the middle. Isn't this wrong?

  • Comment number 36.

    It's a shame that the BBC website's home page invites me to 'cook like a restauranteur'. Anyone with even a basic knowledge of kitchen matters will know that there is no such word as 'restauranteur'. It is 'restaurateur'. No N.

  • Comment number 37.

    Loved all the recipes.. going to work my way through everyone.. cooking is also my life and its nice there are no hidden agenda's just good cooking ! Looking forward to the next episode

  • Comment number 38.

    Your delivery was wonderful, you were so reassuring to the novice cook - you can do this at home - and the end results looked so appealing. I must start cooking my way through them all; scallops for starters, coq au vin and sticky toffee pudding! May not be able to leave the house for days but it would be worth it!
    Carry on doing what you are doing - trying to make good honest food accessible to the masses. THANKYOU

  • Comment number 39.

    My husband and I watched this programme on Saturday morning and were utterly captured by the fantastic presenting and fantastic recipes! This is one of the best food programmes I have watched in years and we were so impressed that after it was done I immediately jumped in the car and headed to the shops to buy the ingredients for the baked pappardelle recipe! I made it for dinner and it was delicious and so simple and easy to make - no trickery for the cameras, just a great straightforward recipe - no doubt this is going to become a regular meal in our household!!
    Can't wait for the next episode!

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi Simon, I love your recipes and I love Bibendum and also your new programme but I want to ask a question not exactly to do with the food. Your lighting Cameraman is Richard Hill who seems to do every cookery programme going at the moment. What I would love to know is if he is the Richard Hill who used to be a BBC News Soundman then Cameraman who I met years ago when I was involved with Powerboat Racing - I go back to the '70's.

  • Comment number 41.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the programme, and planning to make the porcini pasta bake this evening. Delicious recipes, lovely delivery from a passionate presenter, and lots of great tips – we'll definitely be stocking up on some of your cookery books too!

  • Comment number 42.

    Dear Simon
    I was hooked from the very beginning of your show, even my husband who
    can't boil an egg loved your programme. I think we would be cooks are all getting bored with the pretentious chefs. All they seem to say is MY this and MY that !
    as if they invented all the ingredients that they are using ! you are a breath of spring, keep up the good work ! Can't wait for your next programme, music and all.

  • Comment number 43.

    Please tell me there is going to be a book?

  • Comment number 44.

    Simon was very engaging and interesting to watch. However, his presentation was all but destroyed by the incompetent cameraman who has probably watched too many US crime shows and thinks it is clever to constantly mess around with the focus, resulting in an unwatchable mess which we had to switch off due to headache inducing eyestrain. Sorry, a real shame. Could have been great.

  • Comment number 45.

    The recipes looked fantastic, the presentation of the processes and ingredients was excellent. Our host definitely 'works' on TV, and I warmed to him immediately.

    For me the only aspect that didn't fit was the music. Every time a tune piped up my heart sank. Why do we need Stevie Wonder to soundtrack the construction of a pasta bake ? Don't get me wrong, I love Mr Wonder, I'm a vinyl junkie just like Simon (if the show is to be believed) but please, please cut back on the amount of music - it just made me cringe and feel embarrassed.

    Sound down and subtitles on next week I fear

  • Comment number 46.

    This was a fabulous program.Loved the music - it added to the overall charm and style.
    It was inspiring ,interesting and down to earth.I could almost smell the glorious dishes.
    At times I felt like I was at the table.
    This guy made me feel I could actually produce restuarant standard food.

    I really loved it!
    Simon's zeal for cooking was contagious.
    Looking forward to learning more
    Really can't understand the level of dribble and criticism.
    Great program
    Thanks

  • Comment number 47.

    Loved the show! Looking forward to the next episode.

    My partner & I made the Coq au Vin & it was delicious! My only complaint is that the recipe on BBC Food had quite a few differences to what Simon was doing (eg Simon uses bay leaves both in the marinade & when cooking the chicken, the recipe only adds them to the marinade, Simon advises people to cook the shallots & mushrooms separately, the recipe says to do it in the caserole, the ingredients are all in grams on the show, some are a count of things in the recipe etc, etc). I would like the written recipe to reflect what Simon is actually showing us!

  • Comment number 48.

    Brilliant programme, I thoroughly enjoyed it. How nice to see a chef/cook/presenter who isn't rushing around, flinging things here and there, swearing (better than a trooper!!) or making crude comments for a laugh.

    Mr.Simon Hopkinson is an assured chef/cook with the gift of making his food sound and look so appetising. I am not a pasta fan and the thought of a "pasta bake" usually makes me run for the hills but his recipe for baked pappardelle made me decide to cook it.

    Can't wait for the next programme.

    P.S. I have just bought the book (even though I had decided never to buy any more - literally - as I already have hundreds) .

  • Comment number 49.

    I am completely puzzled by the comments about loud or intrusive music (there was some music, I enjoyed it, it wasn't particularly loud in my opinion)

    I can't say I noticed a single odd camera angle – are people not aware that TV has moved on from Phillip Harben sitting in front of a static camera?

    I DID think the little excursion into the collection of porcini was unnecessary; as it didn’t involve either cooking or Simon – it appeared to be a gratuitous bit of stock footage.

    I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m very glad I made it home in time to turn on series record just before it started. Simon is a natural for this sort of thing - it was like watching a friend taking you through a better way of cooking the recipes.

  • Comment number 50.

    While i do see that it is difficult to please all folks all the time i found the program very dull , Where were the new ingredients and tips ? , The food was nothing new ( apart from leaving out key foods ) coq au vin and sticky toffee pudding ? , Yawn . .
    . Music was just fine . .Must try harder . .

  • Comment number 51.

    Is it possible to get a playlist of the music used - some is very familiar but also some I do not recognise

  • Comment number 52.

    Simon, When we met during your Hillaire times [when I was with Hilary Arnold] you taught us the red pepper + anchovy + garlic dish. Tonight, I'm taking five plates of this exact dish to our 14 July fireworks party here in France - by special request of the hosts. That's my intro to a big big thank you for your tv show: it was [is] fabulous. Can't wait for the rest of the series. John Thackara

  • Comment number 53.

    Really enjoyed the first programme by Simon and promptly ordered the book which arrived in good time. This joins quite a few, now well thumbed cookery books by Mr H. Loved the TV recipe for scollops and beurre blanc so thought it would be a nice treat for husband and me. Scollops wonderful but the beurre blanc turned out to be very thin and did not coat the scollops as I would have wished and as per the TV recipe. The book recipe slightly differs from the TV recipe. What did I do wrong - I pride myself in being able to follow most recipes with good success and was SO disappointed. One tip for Mr H. If you love fresh oysters, after you have opened them, drain off the `first` water and leave them to make the `second water` - much, much nicer. Save the first water if you wish for sauces etc. We live here in deepest France (26) so have gained many such tips from my wonderful french neighbours.

  • Comment number 54.

    For me celebrity chefs and chefs who are celebrities have darkened the sky for long enough........
Enter Simon Hopkinson...a man whose technical knowledge is great, with an uncommon sympathy for his materials... he's been there and done it all and has no career axe to grind. He'll take us to the real heart of cooking..let us be thankful that at last he's been given the chance to share his know-how and his feel for good food.
I remember when TV inspired us...Keith Floyd and Marco Pierre White...no recipe merchants they, and now here comes Simon Hopkinson... The sky is lightening already.

  • Comment number 55.

    "Ain't No Cowboy Y'all"

    The other night The Bestes Wife and I watched the first episode of "The Good Cook" and I wasn't overly impressed...Simon enthuses a bit too much; everything is 'lovely', 'wonderful'.

    The first dish he cooked was a Baked Pappardelle with Pancetta and Porcini which Bestes Frau really liked the look of, so I cooked it this evening for her for dinner....cos I'm good like that.

    However it requires the making of a roux sauce, something I have always struggled with. My first attempt back in school 'Home Economics' resembled Quick Dry Cement and since then I nearly always either manage to carbonize the butter or produce The Creature From The Swamp. So normally I either use a German style 'Cowboy Roux' or just save on effort and buy a jar.
    But I followed dear Simon's recipe & method to the letter and gramme and the roux was perfect...'parfait' even!
    I is rather chuffed.


    Edit* as I write Youngest Useless Object is sitting on the couch munching the last of it cold and making 'TASTY!!!' noises.

  • Comment number 56.

    Grateful if someone could explain WHY my beurre blanc did not turn out as it should (very thin and did not coat the scollops at all). Followed the recipe to the `T`in the Good Cook. 4tbsp of white wine, white wine vinegar and water and 250g unsalted butter. I note that in the TV recipe, no water was used and only 125g butter.

  • Comment number 57.

    Loved the Pancakes with Parma Ham also the Coffee with Cream, Risotto fabulous too, hoping that all the recipes so far you have cooked for us Simon will be in The Good Cook book.

  • Comment number 58.

    Just watched your 1st programme on I-Player, enjoyed it so much that I immediately watched 2nd one. Now am hungry, as didn't use the time to cook my dinner (chicken&homegrown spinach curry) and want to cook but it's bedtime and I'll have to let tummy rumble.... till I cook my breakfast of eggs/bacon etc.. in morning.
    Was enthused by your sheer enthusiasm for FOOD - cooked carefully, lovingly and just the way I approach cooking. Look forward to your next episode!
    Having just read some of the comments on your blog, I can't say I noticed the music or any camera angles etc - I was just enthralled by the way you present just basic home cooking, from the angle of someone like me, (who immediately dashed into kitchen on seeing pappardelle recipe, as I just knew I had some dried porcini in a cupboard, and DID!) So, for Monday night, substituting linguine for pappardelle, that will be my dinner. Such was the impact of your programme. May it prosper! Congratulations!

  • Comment number 59.

    to Chris Ward (no2)
    Andre Previn told how he had worked and worked at the score for a film using a tune suggested by the director...but it had so little relevance to the film that he went back to the director asking why this tune was so important...the director's reply..."because my girl-friend likes it".

  • Comment number 60.

    Love the kitchen. What make is the oven - anyone know?

  • Comment number 61.

    I have now watched all three episodes and would like first to congratulate the producers for bringing to us a most pleasant and friendly presenter who effortlessly, it seems, brings to us the excitement and pleasure of cooking at home with good natural ingredients. I must say I did not notice the background music: I was more absorbed with the presentation. I was however most impressed with the camera angles. They seemed to me to be nicely balanced betweeen showing us what Simon was doing —an essential component of this genre—and the odd full face view of what Simon was saying. Also the very homely setting was just right for the effort Simon was making about cooking restaurant food simply at home with readily available ingredients (well, more or less, depending where one lives—it is always more difficult to source certain ingredients if one lives out of London and in the Shires).
    So on the whole I judge the programme simply delightful and informative and an encouragement to rush to my kitchen and try something new. I found Simon's tips especially helpful. I do hope the series will run and run, just like RSC.
    I have two niggles. The younger cooks may not have been trained in hygiene as used to be the norm. For example, I have never seen a serious amateur cook without an apron. Why do producers have to show celebrities in every-day clothes without protection? Clearly they do not have to do their own washing! And why, oh why cannot the camera show the odd hand-rinsing and worktop-wiping, especially after the preparation of poultry and raw meats? There is no need to 'make a meal of it', if you will excuse the pun, simply show it being done. I visited our local library this week and saw a 12 or 14 year old youngster spit on the front doorstep. Thats what professional footballers do. So of course one cannot blame the youngsters if they have not been trained otherwise at home or at school. It is of course a disgusting and unhealthy habit, but while the example is set by the celebrities, bad practice will follow. It is the same with cookery. Show the youngsters (yes, and we old 'uns) how to cook; but please also hint how to avoid food poisoning.
    Nonetheless the programme is great, and I enjoyed every minute.

  • Comment number 62.

    The constant defocusing of the camera caused stabbing eye pains as my they attempted to compensate. My desire to avoid vomiting sadly overwhelmed my desire to watch someone make food.

  • Comment number 63.

    I am a little foodie from Ticino, south of Switzerland with a lot of Italian influence in my cooking. I just watched your shows on BBC HD and immediately ordered your books (and believe me never thought of ordering any of Jamie Oliver).
    You just impressed me in a short time by the knowledge of ingredients (which cow race was this fantastic steak you just bought??? Just finished to eat Zucchine Lasagne and was still hungry watching that).
    Best cooking show I ever saw!!!

    Hope you will not stop this show, we are looking for inspiration...

  • Comment number 64.

    Great series, so refreshing to see genuine recipes and presenter.No glitz, just good food presented without razamataz. Not interested in the cooks much just the food.
    This is just right and I love the music too.

  • Comment number 65.

    I'd just like to say what an immense pleasure it is to watch this new series. What comes across is the fact Simon really understands flavours. The cheffy tips he passes on are great (like the advice you gave about boiling your eggs for 4 minutes and icing them in advance to get the perfect runny jokes for salad nicoise).

    I for one feel I can trust Simon's opinion on what works and doesn't work. I get the sense that he's tried out and refined all the recipes he present (which can't be said of quite a few of the other recipes on BBC.co.uk/food - particularly from Ready Steady Cook).

    It's a great series that combines simple recipes, great ingredients with good provenance and fantastic tips. Simon's love of food and flavours clearly comes across.

    Anyone can follow a recipe, but it's another thing entirely preparing a menu. This sort of programme prepares people with the knowledge to be able to prepare things in advance and let them marinade and make it all come together on the day.

    It's the best cookery series I've ever watched - keep up the good work BBC commissioning editors. We want more please!

  • Comment number 66.

    I'd just like to say what an immense pleasure it is to watch this new series. What comes across is the fact Simon really understands flavours. The cheffy tips he passes on are great (like the advice Simon gave about boiling your eggs for 4 minutes and icing them in advance to get the perfect runny jokes for salad nicoise).

    I, for one, feel I can trust Simon's opinion on what works and doesn't work. I get the sense that he's tried out and refined all the recipes he presents (which can't be said of quite a few of the other recipes on BBC.co.uk/food - particularly from Ready Steady Cook).

    It's a great series that combines simple recipes, great ingredients with good provenance and fantastic tips. Simon's love of food and flavours clearly comes across.

    Anyone can follow a recipe, but it's another thing entirely preparing a menu. This sort of programme gives people with the knowledge to be able to prepare things in advance and let them marinade and make it all come together on the day and to make the simple truly special.

    It's the best cookery series I've ever watched - keep up the good work BBC commissioning editors. We want more please!

  • Comment number 67.

    Oh yes! I want to try the recipes - watching other chefs on TV is often fascinating but doesn't leave me with the desire to try creating any of them myself (with the exception of Rick Stein). So enjoyed watching Simon making such a simple dish as rice pudding, which was always a favourite in our home when I was growing up. I didn't really notice the music except at one point during the programme when I was trying to work out if it was the music from "The One Show". He's a great presenter and a great cook and the recipes all look delicious and achievable.

  • Comment number 68.

    It is so refreshing to see a programme that for once gets on with doing what cookery programmes are supposed to do: teach how to make good food. Not playing with the hair, or chatting with the guests in the studio or launching into celebrity. But just cooking. The presenter's style is so decisively unpretentious and his manner so genuine and well-wishing that it really stands out from all TV of this kind.

    The recipes are really simple and easy to follow, and I especially appreciate the little tips for making food taste better - like soaking salad leaves in cold water, for one. What would be really useful is have more ideas on how to eat healthy on a budget - especially that this rarely gets covered in the flashy TV cookery.

    Well done BBC! I really the programme gets the good rating and stays with us for a long time.

  • Comment number 69.

    Excellent programme , simple good food recipes explained in easy understand facon.
    I have one question about last weeks programme , why did you cook one small rice pudding in a professional sized oven surely you have a smaller more economical ?And I don't mean a microwave!
    Have you not heard of saving the planet or the recession?
    a good cook

  • Comment number 70.

    Oh, how could you? I have just made the Parmesan biscuits and as soon as they cooled we tried them but unfortunately for our guests we have eaten them all! There should have been a serious warning that these must be made in very large quantities. Absolutely scrumptious!

  • Comment number 71.

    Hello Simon,

    I have so enjoyed watching all your fabulous cook programmes, great recipes, and one of the best cookery programmes I have seen so far in a long time. Have ordered The Good Cook book.! Simon - I am so pleased that you did decide eventually to be featured as a cook on television, you have brought a lot of inspiration to my kitchen household that's for sure.

    Do hope you will go on to make more shows in the near future Simon.

  • Comment number 72.

    Please! Today's fennel dish you said was suitable for veggies - unless you know better, Parmesan is never veggie. Fed up with non vegetarians offering food to me that they THINK is vegetarian.

  • Comment number 73.

    Please could you give the correct recipe of the panzanella? in the original recipe there is no garlic. Thanks to british chefs people here think that in my country we use tons of onions and garlic. The rule in italian cooking is: only onion or garlic never both; if you fry one of them unless is a major compponent (eg. onion pie) once is fried is taken out of the pan and thrown away keeping the fat where the flavour is. If is not too much effort please remember that. Any other way is not italian cooking

  • Comment number 74.

    #72 – This is a good point about parmesan cheese. Traditional parmesan is always made with animal-derived rennet. There are, however, some vegetarian parmesan-style cheeses produced in the UK and for this reason, recipes calling for 'parmesan' are included as 'vegetarian' in BBC Food's recipe database.

  • Comment number 75.

    Dear Simon,

    Thanks for a truly inspiring programme. So far, I've made the pear & Roquefort salad and the smoked haddock pilaf, both of which turned out perfectly, although I am a very basic cook. The best thing about your programme is that you don't rush and you show the basic cookery techniques that other programmes seem to miss out. Also, I think you're a natural teacher. Your relaxed approach (combined with the accuracy of a true perfectionist!) makes a lovely change from some of the more frenetic or highly-strung chefs who exhort us to get back in the kitchen. On top of that, you cook dishes that I actually want to eat! Hope you enjoyed making it as much as I have enjoyed watching it, and my family have enjoyed eating the results.

 

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