the very french frenchman

19 Feb

I love Raymond.  He’s one of my favourites.  His Kitchen Secrets programme showed him at his best.  Passionate, skillful, knowledgeable and, best of all, a bit silly.

‘Poor Old Adam’, as he was known in Fanny Towers, was forever getting stuff, putting stuff away, making things work and putting them back together again.  Raymond often broke things.  His endearing quality was one of a slightly clumsy, forgetful dad.  You occasionally wondered how he got where he is today.  Ocassionally.

In The Very Hungry Frenchman, BBC2’s five part trip around France, we follow Raymond around markets, vineyards and restaurants.  This really is a 30 minute show stretched to an hour.  The premise is that Raymond has not cooked in France since coming to the UK.  He now returns to places that are dear to him to cook a grand meal in a local restaurant.  In part one we met Maman Blanc, a lovely lady who looked straight to camera and said “he talks a lot”.  Yep.  He also eats a lot of cheese.  Comte, comte, comte!

There’s a clip during the title sequence of Raymond opening a microwave and the door coming away in his hands.  Tsk, the very clumsy Frenchman.



Posted by on February 19, 2012 in BBC, French, Raymond Blanc, Travel Genre


8 responses to “the very french frenchman

  1. Lena

    March 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    It’s been a charming series and I wish there was a book to go with it, the desserts have been amazing (last ep last night had strawberries in three ways – coulis, macerated and a tuile, oh and a sorbet as well! I remember three as the tuile looked kind of tough to make). We counted the “ooh la las” in each show, I think in Alsace he said it 20 times in the show. Missed Kitchen Secrets but dig his obvious love of food and clumsiness, which is a lot more common in kitchens than a lot of shows would lead you to believe…

  2. syllabubdobdee

    March 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I’m not sure I agree that it’s a 30-min show stretched to an hour: I just watched the Lyon ep and I think it needed all its time to give a deeper portrait of the whatchacallit thickness of French food culture; in the modern bourgeois sense, this culture is 200+ years old where the Brit equiv is really barely 50 (and of course France is bigger than Britain). So there’s a LOT of it, and in a biggish town like Lyon it’s all interconnected (being older making it more so); all family and friends and social connections. Probably it helps that he’s an exile returning to his native land — everyone is happy and comes out to see him — but there’s a real sense of social density to the industry I feel you wouldn’t get in a British mirror-image show?

  3. chef de cuisine

    March 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    No, you’re right. I wasn’t 100% sure what I was watching – a trip round France with a funny Frenchman or a chef showing recipes from that region? It’s mainly the former which is fine. A much muttered phrase during many food shows is “there’s no cooking!” (mainly in the contestant genre of programme where after 20 minutes someone’s produced a dish) Am I watching this purely to be entertained by the beautiful scenery, chuckle at Raymond or be bowled over by amazing recipes that I can attempt at home?

    The only programme we actually gasped at and said “gotta cook THAT!” was Rick Stein’s Spain. 5/6 dishes were recreated from that series. I think that married the recipe/travel combination perfectly.

  4. syllabubdobdee

    March 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    “The Moor, the Saracen, who invaded this part of the world [viz Marseille] and brought their spices” <– quite true (well sort of) but it's the relish with which he said it!

    Also the idea that he'd be lynched for using butter instead of olive oil

  5. syllabubdobdee

    March 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    the very bloggy frenchman

  6. syllabubdobdee

    March 7, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Just watched the Alsace ep: I think my favourite, he’s just like a massive kid sometimes, with his finger in the cookie dough. And when he got hold of some local pork, and told the woman who brought it that the two carcases were “as beautiful as her”, such a (cheeky) gentleman!

    One thing that’s terrific is that RB’s nearly excellent but quite quirky english is too bubbly and off-the-cuff to be scripted: he just constantly says strange funny flirty things, with men and women, which are also pertinent and acute.

    I like the giggly fun he has with his assistants, too. The “will his guests like it or not” section is a bit bogus — there isn’t really any tension or danger here.

  7. chef de cuisine

    March 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I have to say that I did think that the lovely lady was the Angelina Jolie of butchery 🙂

  8. syllabubdobdee

    March 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I loved her v posh executive briefcase — complete with numbercode lock! — that contained MANY MASSIVE SHARP KNIVES AND CHOPPERS


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