by SUSAN FOGARTY
If you’re uncertain about when the word “anticlimax” should
be used, just watch the final episode of The Great Food Race
The final, which screened on April 27 was not only awkward, it was downright terrible.
For a show that started with such great promise, it certainly
ended like the last gasp of air from a balloon left hanging taped to
a wall for 13 weeks, reminiscent of some of telly’s worst moments
from the 80s.
For those who aren’t familiar with them, the Bresolin brothers are
known in the Wellington restaurant scene, their father being the legendary owner of Il Casino, Wellington’s and the brothers own several of Wellington’s top eateries.
However, they may be best to stay in Wellington dreaming up new food ventures, because TV really isn’t their strong point.
The final of the show was live; live TV is a skill best left to the professionals. Jason Gunn, Simon Barnett, these are people who
can host live TV. The Bresolin brothers, ably unassisted by Zoe Marshall, cannot.
In fact, when you think of the experience of people like Jason Gunn, it’s rather audacious for two brothers new to telly to think they could attempt this.
But they were only partly to blame.
Television has come a long way in the past few years, yet the set for the final of The Great Food Race looked like it was a cast off from It’s In The Bag, and shoddy production values abounded.
Although there was a studio audience, they didn’t make any noise. There seemed to be no music, no sound and it’s only when there’s no sound that you realise how important sound is. Sound creates
depth and atmosphere. Without it, a show languishes.
This, coupled with the lack of experience of Zoe Marshall and the brothers, meant that if this show had been a souffle it would never have risen.
Social media pundits wasted no time in panning the show as “awkward” and this sentiment was born out in the ratings withThe Great Food Race attracting only 123,000 viewers compared with Masterchef on channel One grabbing the lion’s share with 550,000.
In Marshall’s defence, she was dumped in it, attempting to
hold together live TV with little support and although she seemed
to be hassling contestants when they needed to be focused on the
food, she was doing her utmost to make the most of a bad situation.
Marshall was also trying to build tension when it was clear which
team had won. Libby and Elliott only needed four points for their
dessert and clearly they were going to easily get it, the judges having deemed earlier it was so tasty they couldn’t stop eating.
Marshall was trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat by this stage.
What I could never understand from the beginning was Marshall’s role. It always felt like this position was the third wheel.
Why didn’t the brothers host; that is how it works on Masterchef.
Perhaps also because the brothers aren’t actually chefs, the show lacks credibility.
They certainly look the part, but it was clear their comments lacked the depth of professional chefs.
All of this is a shame really, as the basic concept for The Great Food Race is sound; it just needs a bit of a revamp, two hosts
instead of three, and it needs real chefs, and forget live finals.
Perhaps if changes can be made it will be less of an anticlimax next year.
by SUSAN FOGARTY