The Fearless Chef

Normally I’d think anyone who describes themselves as a ‘chef, food adventurer and global gastronaut’ is asking for a punch on the nose. But I could never hit a face as beautiful as Kiran Jethwa’s – even if he didn’t have arms the size of treetrunks he could use to hammer me into the ground like a tent peg.

Also, I really like him. An acclaimed Nairobi restaurateur and former Kenyan rugby international, he’s on a mission to discover the world’s finest ingredients in some of the most remote and spectacular corners of the Earth. Forget convenience food – welcome to inconvenience food.

In this week’s opening episode, we watched our man trekking through the Bolivian rainforest before riding a makeshift zip-slide rigged up by coca farmers over a vast chasm in the Amazon basin (where something tells me the health and safety assessments aren’t overly rigorous). Then he drove his haul of coca leaves back to La Paz via Bolivia’s infamous ‘road of death’ – a narrow mountain pass with treacherous sheer drops that certainly puts rush hour on the A14 into perspective.

Later, he improvised a dinner (on the roof – nothing as namby-pamby as a kitchen for this guy) of grilled llama served with a bull’s penis and testicles, chicken giblets and chicken feet. Nom. Rather sweetly, he talked us through the recipe, presumably for the benefit of anyone who might be cooking along at home (even though I’m pretty sure bull’s penis isn’t available through Waitrose Click & Collect yet).

The scenery and photography are simply stunning (this is probably the first cookery show you need to see in HD), and the chef’s pretty easy on the eye, too. Just watching this ripped action man – the sort of bloke who could wrestle a bull, then cook it for you afterwards in a lovely sauce – made me feel utterly inadequate. And the bull’s penis wasn’t exactly helping, to be honest.

Like a cross between Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Bear Grylls – Bear Grills, anyone? – Jethwa is a natural on camera and, irritatingly, seems like a really nice bloke, to boot.

My wife must never, ever find out about him.

TV extra:


Bargain Shop Wars

This jaunty docusoap about a new player in the ‘cut-throat, cut-price’ clothing market was notable for the launch of an own-label ‘Susanna Reid dress’ (every bargain fashion chain has one, apparently), which the designers road-tested by asking their model to mime pegging the washing out. Well it can’t be all red carpets and interviewing Hollywood celebs, can it?

We also heard that ‘women influence 80% of buying decisions’ – which I think is a nice way of saying our wives and mums still buy our pants for us.


The Five

Written for Sky1 by gazillion-selling airport novelist Harlan Coben, this new thriller has a doozy of a premise: 15 years after a young boy goes missing, his DNA is recovered from the scene of a brutal murder. And he’s not the victim…

It’s slick stuff, with a good cast led by Downton’s Tom Cullen (aka Viscount Gillingham, the one with the evil valet). But – note to TV commissioners – could we maybe just lay off the whole ‘young women on a mortuary slab’ thing for a while?

Published in Waitrose Weekend, April 21, 2016

(c) Waitrose Weekend