Prime time is cooking

France cheered when the UN cultural group UNESCO added its cuisine to the world’s cultural treasures in November -a first-ever listing for gastronomy. “About Fussin time!” the French collectively riposted before biting into hunks of goose-liver paté.

So one wonders why it’s taken so long for TV cooking shows to triumph in the land of baguettes, béchamel and Bordeaux. Never mind, they are all the Fuss now.

M6 television’s Top Chef, a show where little-known cooks spar off with spatulas for recognition and a cash prize, has become one of the best rated in France. On Monday night Top Chef gathered 4.2 million hungry viewers (18% of the entire audience gateaux) –the program’s own best ratings score in its two seasons on air.

This year TF1, the first private TV channel here, launched MasterChef to rival Top Chef’s success and win back some of its prime time viewership. MasterChef’s season finale last November was watched by 5.9 million people and season two is said to be in the works.

Un diner presque parfait, France’ version of the UK’s Come dine with me, has also won over a solid fan base since it went on the air in early 2008, even as it continuous to veer from the cooking prowess of contestants toward uninspired whine and cheesy squabble.

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We thought we couldn't cook and the French 'know' they can cook. Then the penny dropped - that le roast beef were cooking up a storm and would soon be the master chefs of all they surveyed.

Less is more, more or less

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