Monday 5 December 2016

TV cookery shows are turning our dinner parties into a battleground for perfection

Published 09/05/2014 | 02:30

Masterchef Judges Dylan Mc Grath and Nick Munier pictured preparing some Pancakes at the announcement of details of Masterchef Series Three which starts on RTE One Tuesday 4th March at 8.30PM
Masterchef Judges Dylan Mc Grath and Nick Munier pictured preparing some Pancakes at the announcement of details of Masterchef Series Three which starts on RTE One Tuesday 4th March at 8.30PM

It's a recipe for dinner party disaster. The rich menu of competitive cooking programmes that is being served up on TV is turning what used to be relaxed and casual Saturday night get-togethers into a high stress battleground for one-upmanship and expense.

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God be with the days when the success of a dinner party depended on the mix of friends invited, and the great gossip swapped, rather than the standard of food produced from your amateur kitchen, or who designed the place settings on the table.

I don't want to boast but I am a handy enough cook. In between jobs five years ago I took a month out to do an intensive culinary course. But some of my most memorable home dinner parties were when I served up simple fare. Lasagne and chilli were two of my big things 10 years ago. Or a big roast. And in more recent years whipping up quick pasta mostly does the job.

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