I’m supposed to be doing a lot more resting than I am, but one of the ways I’ve been doing that is by watching relaxing reality television shows.
You’d think that those don’t necessarily go together, but Great Britain came through for me. This group of shows is delightful, because you get to get invested in the competitors and their crafts, without the cutthroat nature that comes with many American competitions.
Great British Bake Off
If you haven’t watched Great British Bake Off yet, you are missing out. 12 amateur bakers are brought into a tent from all over England to test their mettle in front of Paul Hollywood and either Mary Berry or Prue Leith, depending on which season you’re watching. It’s competitive but fun. I’m particularly partial to the original hosts, but the new ones didn’t offend me as much as I expected them to, even though I hate Noel Fielding in general.
There’s five seasons on Netflix right now, so go enjoy them. I dare you to not want to bake something after watching!
Great Interior Design Challenge
Much like Great British Bake Off, The Great Interior Design Challenge takes amateurs and pits them against each other with similar challenges. Instead of cooking, they get to entirely redesign a room for a discerning customer.
Because most of these homes are historical British ones, there is a bit of a challenge to match the type of decor in the room to the style of the home. I was expecting there to be some problems with this, but for the most part, things go down without a hitch.
Each of the contestants gets to be pretty good friends with their competitors, and you can see some really great work. It’s a lot of fun.
Lords & Ladles
Three chefs visit an old Irish castle, and between the three of them, they have to research the history of the castle, hunt and prepare all of the ingredients for a historical meal, and actually cook the historical meal. This is so neat to watch and listen to. I love learning about the history of things like this, so this was an absolute smashing hit for me.
It can get a little gory, though. They prepare the meat and foods as they would back then, for the most part. They try not to show the guts, but it happens, so be warned if that sort of thing bothers you.
It’s incredibly relaxing to watch and listen to. If they sell the score that goes on in the background, I might buy it.
Great British Menu
The season that’s on Netflix is from the 2012 Olympics, so these chefs were trying to be groundbreaking to put together a full meal. The chefs are given a brief: break the boundaries of cooking.
In the beginning, each chef competes against two other chefs from their region to see which chef from each region goes to the semi-finals. They do a test run of all of their dishes, lovingly packaged in 30 minute episodes per challenge, and are given feedback and scores on the creativity, skill in preparation, and tastiness of the course they’ve prepared.
Two chefs from each region get to prepare their dishes for a panel of three judges, and the one that they vote the best gets to go on to the semi-finals.
Now, while I admire the creativity that went into a lot of these dishes, I would never eat most of these. I mean, one guy made a Douglas Fir vinaigrette! YUCK. The last episode is the actual Olympic banquet, when we get to see them make these dishes for 100. It’s delightful.