Donal Skehan is the actual (not actual) seven year old presenter of Kitchen Hero currently screening on Good Food. Donal (real age 25) has an interesting past. He reached the final of Eurosong 2008, Ireland’s contest to find their Eurovision entry. Yes, that was the year when that bloody turkey won the coveted spot – Johnny Logan would be spinning in his grave if he weren’t still alive. ANYWAY, a boy band here, a pop group there and with some presenting jobs thrown in Donal got the opportunity to showcase his love of food in his own show, Kitchen Hero.
We start with a title sequence straight out of Grange Hill – a comic strip complete with action words ‘PIE!’ and ‘BAKE!’ and the jangle of indie pop litters the remaining 25 minutes.
The first recipe is for a pavlova and he gets to grips with the meringue whisking the egg whites ”so it’s the consistancey of shaving cream”. Aw, bless – I bet he makes meringue more often than he shaves. Our eager cook is self taught and has the opportunity to be annoying (young, perky, you know the type) but I really like this chap. His enthusiasm knows no bounds and I love the fact that his show is set in what looks like a real apartment. The backdrop reveals random jars, mismatched glasses and crockery and lots of utensils that won’t fit in the drawers. But the highlight for me is his fridge. A proper, real-life fridge. While preparing a vibrant coleslaw he grabs carrot and cabbage from the clear vegetable tray and you sneak a peek at the half jar of mayo, a few bendy spring onions and on-the-turn mushrooms – my kinda guy.
In one episode, Donal is preparing a romantic meal for his girlfriend. Yes, some people may be surprised at this revelation but she will surely be wowed with his seafood starter, chicken tagine and blueberry cheesecake. He works very hard in the kitchen to create this three course spectacle – she’d better appreciate it. OK, so I’m intrigued to meet this lucky lady. Will she be equally adorable and exuberant with doe eyes and cheeky grin? Ooh, the door bell goes just as he plates up his seafood. ”Perfect timing! As always ;)” he exclaims. Cut to credits. NOOOO!!!
Our host’s culinary creations throughout the series are reasonably basic, something everyone can at least attempt at home and his vivacity is almost contagious. His coleslaw now complete, he looks up at the camera and declares “look at THAT! That’s exciting. ISN’T IT?!!!! :) ” Yes, Donal, it actually IS!