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Cooking show called "The Best"

Does anyone know what happened to the TV cooking show called "The Best". The show consisted of three chefs/cooks, 2 males and 1 female (Silvana) and they were given two ingredients or topics and they each had to come up with a quick meal. The food was passed through a small window where 3 judges waited to taste the food and chose their favorite meal.

I know one of the chefs was Australian, and I think the show came from the UK. It was one TV until a few weeks ago and now I don't see it anymore. If anyone can help I'd appreciate it. I did a web search and couldn't find much. Great recipes and always entertaining. Thank you Chowhounders!

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  1. There was only one season of the British show. The Australian guy (Ben?) is appearing in a version of the show being aired in Australia on the Lifestyle channel, but no word on whether it will make it to the US. All the recipes from the British version are available in a cookbook, if you are interested you might want to try Amazon's UK site.

    1. It was a 10-epsoide special created for BBC. I think they even wrote a book base on the show? I'd say if you have Tivo or DVR, keep the recording on and you maight be able to caught it whenever they decide to reshow.

      1. Great show - I even enjoy re-watching the reruns. It was a fun format, but still all about the food. I would love to see more shows like it.

        1. I saw that show a few times and really enjoyed it! There are always times where I dont have a house full of ingredients and need a quick recipe to whip something up for my family. I wonder if this could be purchased on DVD.

          1. I saw that show too and really liked it. I've been searching for any information on the recipes they did on that show. One in particular I kind of remember was a dessert with a cookie on the bottom and something creamy (I forget what) piled high on it. Silvana made it as I remember. I remember the ABC shop in Brisbane had a book on the show. Wish I'd bought it when I was there. With a few searches I've found that the book is called "The Best, Paul Merrett, Ben O'Donoghue & Silvana Franco". A website to read about it is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/bbcw...

            1. Not surprising only one series was made. It was an irritating concept, poorly constructed and presented and was generally a flop here.

              One of the few cookery books that we've ever bought that got sent to the charity shop without us ever cookign anything from it. When you looked at the recipes again, you just thought "Nah, Don't really want to put that in my mouth".

              Paul Merrett occasionally appears on sort of food science type programmes. The other two have sunk without trace and without any mourning.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Harters

                "The other two have sunk without trace and without any mourning."

                john, while I appreciate your opinions and input, I do grimace when you let facts fall conveniently aside.

                ben o'donoghue ('bender' to his mates) is very much on the tv food radar. he's just returned to australia (to you, that probably means that he's disappeared into a black hole) after a decade in the uk where he worked at river cafe and was head chef at the atlantic grill & monte's.

                he's still a regular on market kitchen over there and has two shows currently screening in australia and new zealand.

                far from "sunk without trace" and as to mourning, well, it did become electra.

                1. re: fooftales

                  "when you let facts fall conveniently aside."

                  Certainly not an intent to be "convenient". I can't recall him doing any TV in the UK after this programme. If you know he did, then I'm happy to stand corrected - presumably it was on one of those daytime shows, rather than prime time. Are you saying it's a programme called "Market Kitchen"? If so, then it's one I'm not familiar with.


                  1. re: Harters

                    iirc, 'market kitchen' was originally called 'saturday kitchen' (unless I've confused it with another show). it's a uk tv production, not sure of the airtimes there, we get reruns here.

                    camilla parker-bowles' son and gordon ramsay's wife were hosts at one time - probably says it all... think it was discussed in the simon rimmer thread.

                    and I'd agree that 'the best' certainly wasn't a particularly good format. but there were some talented folks involved.

                    1. re: fooftales

                      Yep. I think there may be a bit of confusion. "Saturday Kitchen" runs on BBC. "UKTV Food" is a cable station which I don't have access to. Many of its shows are re-runs of BBC shows (who, I think, are part owners) but they have a few of their own productions running.


                2. re: Harters

                  sorry but i have to disagree with you the show was great and well constructed. the other 2 chefs were quite succesful sylvana was actual part of ainsley hariets tv cookin shows and ben actualy has a hit cooking show in australia with celebrity chef curtis ston called surfing the menu

                3. Well I have to agree with everyone (except the last person who posted). I enjoyed the concept of the show and am surprised no one here in America has picked it up and ran with it.

                  The hosts were engaging. I know Paul has had a show or two since in the UK. Ben is now a celeb chef in Australia. Silvanna I think had one show and a book in the UK but then took some time off to have a child or something.

                  The recipes they made were very good too. I was also looking to find them online, but there seem to be none for free. Maybe I'll get that book.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: HarryK

                    Perhaps it's concept appeals more to an American audience than a British one.

                    There was clearly no interest here in a second series and we're normally pretty enthusiastic about our cookery programmes as there aren't too many of them.

                    1. re: Harters

                      from my viewpoint in australia, where we get about equal uk and us/canada shows, the uk productions seem to focus more on the actual food rather than the personalities or the set/environment.

                      but, one man's graham kerr is another's julia child, I suppose.

                      1. re: fooftales

                        I think you hit that one on the head. Most of our (US) cooking shows are hosted by "cooking personalities". Not enough real, actual chefs. That's why we tend to love it those rare times a chef gets a show. And when they do it's more often on our Public Broadcasting Service, not usually the Food Network -- though with their recent addition of new programs with chef Anne Burrell and in a couple weeks, chef Alexandra Guarnaschel, we tend to celebrate those occasions.

                  2. That was my absolute favorite show. Fun to watch, good food, and friendly competition. I used to get it on one of the fine living channels and dvr'd them. Ive heard nothing but great feedback from people who have watched it which really upsets me that theyve taken it off the air.

                    If there is any news of them bringing it back, please do share.

                    1. I enjoyed this show to. Imagine a US version. Who would be your pick for the 3 chefs/cooks. I haven't caught it for a few months now. But my DVR is still set to record if ever it pops up again.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: rumgum

                        in sticking with the theme of friendly fun bunch, Id have to choose:

                        jamie oliver
                        alton brown
                        michael symon

                        1. re: yankeefan

                          From a purely entertainment standpoint, I'd love to see:

                          Guy Fieri
                          Rachel Ray
                          Sandra Lee

                          None of them can really cook, but watching the reactions of the tasters would be priceless, as long as I'm not one of them:)

                          1. re: DDR4040

                            Perhapse they could pull tasters from nearby prisons. Kind of a "scared straight" program.

                      2. I don't know if I'm remembering the same show but I saw one that was half an hour long where the chefs were given certain ingredients. The funny part of the show was the last 12 minutes or so, they were given an additional "surprise" ingredient that they had to incorporate into the meal. The one I saw suprised them with Cheez Wiz. The looks on their faces were priceless. I think one of them cooked it into a dish, another did Cheez Wiz shooters--just shots of it in spoons as an appetizer. I can't remember much else about it.

                        Oh,never mind. I just did a search and the show I'm thinking of is "Ready, Set, Cook." It was originally from the UK, though.


                        1. Five years later.... I had the urge to cook something from my "The Best" cookbook given to me in 2004 (we get the TV programs much later in Australia). It would be nice if someone who has the book and can remember the show or has seen a re-run of it recently, can tell me: Silvana's Haddock and Mushy pea fishcakes, is the haddock smoked? We don't get haddock here and I just got ling, a white deep sea fish.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Suevee

                            I do have a copy of the cookbook. The recipe calls for 400g (14oz) of haddock fillet.

                            1. re: gyc

                              I also have the book but my question is should it be smoked haddock because I can't remember, is haddock only sold smoked in UK? The difference between using smoked and natural fish would be enormous.

                              1. re: Suevee

                                I'm pretty sure fresh (non-smoked) haddock is a common ingredient in the UK.

                                1. re: Suevee

                                  Haddock, both smoked and unsmoked, is common in the UK. The recipe would say "smoked" if that was what was intended.

                                  By the by, in many parts of the country, haddock (unsmoked) is the fish used in our national dish of "fish & chips"

                                  1. re: Harters

                                    Thanks for that, I have had fish & chips in England a couple of times. I did make the fish cakes with ling and they turned out well especially with panko crumbs but I am going to try with smoked fish next time just to compare. Have had smoked fish pies in NZ and Scotland and love them too.