The F Word: Series Five
by Jef Burnham
Now available on DVD from BFS Entertainment.
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In the fifth series of Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word, the competition in the F Word Kitchen goes professional as Ramsay holds a tournament to determine the best local restaurant in Britain. The preliminary rounds pit two restaurants (chosen by Ramsay and his cohorts from viewer submissions) from the same cuisine against one another in a cook-off judged by 50 patrons. The gimmick here is that the chefs are awarded points based on how many customers say they’d be willing to pay for their dishes. The highest-scoring of the two then have the chance to go on to the semi-finals and so on, until Britain’s best local restaurant is crowned.
The F Word is a very busy, fast-paced series. The competition, albeit the focus, serves merely as the framework of each episode with numerous segments of other varieties peppered throughout. Segments throughout series five follows Ramsay’s friend Janet Street-Porter as she raises the meat for the series finale; Ramsay goes on a personal quest each episode that is, in one way or another, food-related; Ramsay demonstrates some of his favorite recipes in the style of the week’s cuisine; and, last but not least, there are the recipe challenges. In the recipe challenge Ramsay goes head-to-head against a celebrity guest in preparing a dish for a blind panel of five. The best of five wins (bragging rights). Among the guests in series five are Jo Brand, Lenny Henry, and Dita Von Teese.
If you only know Ramsay from his programs on American television, you might be wondering where the yelling comes in. But this is a very different Gordon Ramsay from the one American viewers have been accustomed to (i.e. there is little yelling involved). This is a much more laid-back Gordon Ramsay, and why shouldn’t he be? After all, it’s a series all about food, and his guests are a rather competent bunch. As a result, The F Word is an upbeat and positive series throughout. Add that to the incredible-looking food that dominates the series’ imagery and you’ve got yourself one hell of an addictive series.
The only problem I have with it is that, regardless of whether I haven’t eaten in a while, I’ve just eaten, or I’m actually eating while watching it, The F Word makes me so damn hungry! Arguably, that’s what the show is meant to do on some level, but it got pretty friggin’ ridiculous. I had just finished a large dinner (while watching an episode no less), and yet, as Ramsay demonstrated his recipes, my mouth was literally watering. It’s a form of torture, I’m convinced. So my advice to you is, if you’re sitting down to watch The F Word, have a LOT of food on hand. You’ll need it.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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