As a poor student, you'd think that £5 a month would be a lot to spend on a food and drink channel. Au contraire, people. From Alan Coxon's Kitchen College (a perfectly acceptable alternative to university lectures in my opinion) to Superchefs, from Classic Dishes (one of the most useful shows for those of us who are less than culinary-minded) to the show (sorry I can't remember the name) where some sour old woman goes into a primary school and makes 6 or 7 little children chop parsley with a blunt safety knife). This channel is such quality - the only real drawback is the fact that it metamorphoses into crappy Carlton Cinema at 6pm or some such ridiculous hour. If you like cooking shows, you just can't go wrong with this. If you don't, then the apt name of the channel should steer you away.
I bought an Ondigital integrated TV set a couple of months ago and, as there was an offer on, decided to subscribe to all the available channels so that I can decide which ones to keep in the future. One of the more specialised channels is The Carlton Food Network. As the name implies this channel concentrates mainly on cooking, but not just your everyday type of recipes which are common on the terrestrial stations now. The CFN shows a wide range of types of cookery, usually in 30 minute slots, including programmes which concentrate on certain foods like Fish or styles such as American or Indian cuisine. They also try to present cooking in different ways, such as part of a gameshow but I'm not sure this works very well judging by the odd snippet I've seen of this kind of show. Among the presenters are some well known chefs such as Anthony Worrell Thompson, Gordon Ramsey and Ross Burden together with some not so well known people. Some of the shows are like traditional cookery programmes where one chef will make two or three recipes during their half hour eg Aln Coxen. Others will concentrate on one recipe from start to finish such as a fish dish from actually catching the fish to the finish of the meal. Whilst I would not claim to be a very regular viewer of the Carlton Food Network, I have always been interested in cooking and quite like to dabble in the kitchen. For this reason I quite like this channel because it's one of those that I may only watch once or twice every few days but if there is a recipe on that takes my fancy it does tempt me to give it a go myself. In addition to the channel itself, there is an excellent website at www.simplyfood.co.uk which provides links to all the recipes and chefs featured on CFN. This means that if you happen to turn on halfway through a dish you partidularly like the look of, you can easily go the website, find the recipe and then print it out. In my opinion the s
tandard of the production of all of the shows I have seen has been excellent and the presenters very good. They could however provide more details about the recipes themselves for people who for not have access to the website above. In summary I'm glad that this channel is part of the package I get from Ondigital, although I wouldn't be prepared to pay alot of money for it on it's own as part of my subscription. Even if you are not a subscriber of this channel, it is worth a look at the simply food website if you are interested in cooking, just for some recipe ideas.
I have the luxury of CFN at home but not enough time to watch it. Why then whenever I switch on CFN am I faced with Coxon's Kitchen College (aka CKC). Don't get me wrong, I quite like this chef, but I do find him abrubt and self-riteous in cookery terms. I think CKC sums up Carlton Food Network. It has changed from a new channel with exciting and different programmes to a channel of repeats and exotic excuses. To "cocktail the scenario" :- 1. Take one Celebrity Chef 2. Add an exotic location eg. Bali 3. Add a little ice and spice 4. Top up the tan and top up the bank balance. Yes I'm, sceptical, yes I'm disappointed. My one reason for subscribing to On Digital was CFN. It was fab, now it's sad.
Everyone who knows me knows that my hobby/fetish/love/lust/desire/passion is food and cooking. I am no lardy bloater, healthy nutritious tasty food does not have to be fattening at all. Food is the most fantastic thing on this planet. The variety of cuisines from different cultures is absolutely amazing. If you don't eat properly or the right food then I am sorry but you are not as happy! or healthy as you should be Carlton Food Network is not the best food channel around but it does have some good variety with some extremely good chefs. There are also some very good theme programs as well like barbecue season, christmas, easter and so on. If you want to learn more about cooking, then it may not be the best place to start as the pace can be quite fast and the techniques not always general knowledge. It is well worth starting with some basic cookery books from the very beginning. If you are as into food as me, then this channel provides a lot of inspiration for home recipes and different ways of presentation and combinations of ingredients with the essential techniques. If you want to be more adventurous in the kitchen there are many publications available on this channel. Seeing how the pro's prepare and cook food is worth its weight in gold!