When I was a kid, me and my mum would watch the food channel on cable TV endlessly. I really miss those programmes. Nowadays we have loads of UK-centric programmes and British food celebrities like Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver. But when I was little and I wanted to watch a TV programme, who I really wanted to watch was Julia Child and Martin Yan.
Julia Child isn’t particularly well known in the UK, but she’s hugely loved in America. What I loved about her, apart from her crazy voice, was her slapdash attitude which saw food flicking all over the place. Yet somehow, out of what I perceived to be culinary chaos, she managed to turn out pretty damn good dishes. To be honest, I loved Julia Child more for the comedy value, but the more I’ve learned about her since I’ve also come to respect her as an accomplished chef. I’d love to read her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, especially after starting to read The Julie/Julia Project. It seems as though the foodie world is aflame with plenty of Julia love, thanks to the recent movie based on the blog, starring Meryl Streep. The film hasn’t come out in the UK yet, but I don’t think it’ll make great waves here – as I’ve said, Julia Child isn’t really a big name for the British public. Our equilvalent is, of course, the reliable and slightly fiesty Delia Smith.
Now, Martin Yan. All I really remember is him shouting ‘if Yan can cook, so can you!’, then furiously chopping some vegetable into ridiculously thin slices, or pulling off some amazing feat of culinary skill totally beyond the realm of normal people. I can safely say, Martin Yan has more skill in the kitchen than I ever will, but his infectious, goofy presenting style also won my girlish heart. Bless him! Completely coincidentally, he’s also the author of Chinese Cooking for Dummies, which sits proudly on my bookshelf near Sushi for Dummies, Puppies for Dummies and Cats for Dummies. All fantastic recipe books.