The Lowdown: The Chef's Brigade

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The Chef's Brigade

Related tags: Jason atherton, Chef

A new competitive cooking show, which airs on BBC Two later this summer, will see chef Jason Atherton mentor a brigade of ambitious chefs in a bid to transform their careers.

Another MasterChef rip-off?
Not at all. While the two shows do share some similar ingredients, the focus of The Chef’s Brigade is on groups working together, not individuals. And as a bonus, it also won’t include Gregg Wallace relentlessly smacking his lips and making ‘yummy’ noises.

How will it work then?
Centred on a group of ten ambitious chefs, the show will follow Atherton as he tries to mould them into a fully-functioning kitchen brigade. Under his eye, the group will have to live and work together as they attempt to demonstrate the necessary skills and techniques to meet the high-profile chef’s exacting standards. Competition between the brigade members, who will be whisked away to different European cooking destinations each week, is likely to be fierce; particularly given that at any time they can be replaced with a reserve brigade member. Atherton’s aim by the end of the process will be to turn the brigade into a tight-knit team capable of competing with the world's best and will test them each week by having them cook off against a rival kitchen.

Ok… so it’s a rip-off of Hell’s Kitchen?
Closer, although again there are a number of differences; the pressure faced by the chefs here is likely to be more authentic than on Hell’s Kitchen, which is effectively carried by Gordon Ramsay’s ability to tell his proteges to “fuck off” with varying degrees of gravitas. But given Atherton’s long-running rivalry with Ramsay, the chef may well be banking on it appealing to a similar demographic.

Do we really need another cooking show?
It would be easy to say no, but there’s certainly something intriguing about The Chef’s Brigade for a professional audience. Though it takes a similar form to any number of previous competitive cooking shows, the name suggests this may be more industry than consumer focused – in relation to the kitchen, ‘brigade’ is unlikely to be a term that those outside the industry will be familiar with.

Will it be a success?
Impossible to say. Competitive cooking shows still do extraordinarily well with viewers; as the ongoing success of Bake Off and Great British Menu has proven. And the recent chatter of Ready Steady Cook’s return​ suggests there’s no sign of this long-running TV trend abating.

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