TV Highlights

Alex Polizzi: Chefs on Trial

BBC Two - 8pm

Who's in it?

Alex Polizzi pulled a succession of terrifying fake-smiles as she helped interrogate potential head chefs in this very appetising new series.

In a nutshell

Sad that MasterChef is ending? Never mind, because here’s a whole new competition to tuck into, albeit one without the dubious perk of Gregg Wallace’s giant grinning head. Yes, Alex Polizzi is branching out from hotel inspecting to playing food judge, helping restaurant owners select new head chefs. It began last night in the Lake District, where she stood alongside some actually very sweet and well-meaning hotel owners as they put three wannabes (one European charmer, one quiet and intense hitman, one nervous wreck) on the spot.

It’s a miracle the trio didn’t have nervous breakdowns, to be fair. First up they had to improvise dishes with halibut – a fish so expensive just looking at one will make your bank account cry. Now imagine doing that and then serving it up to Alex Polizzi, whose “polite” face is more nerve-racking than all the food critics on MasterChef rolled into one. After having their dishes dissected right in front of each other, the three chefs were subjected to an interview panel, and then had to cook again. Unexpectedly, the Frenchman and the cool assassin lost out to the bag of nerves, but there are more rounds to come…

What's the verdict?

A surprisingly sober and serious vibe distinguishes this show from the other culinary competitions on telly: you get the sense of big things being at stake, and the chefs themselves looked like they were in no mood for this TV nonsense, and just wanted to get the interview done with. We’re keen for more servings of this one…

Star rating: 4/5

Check out Chefs on Trial on Virgin TV Anywhere

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07-07-2011