Sometimes – just occasionally – I get to rub shoulders with the celebs through my Scoff & Quaff & The Business Bunker internet radio shows. I have to say many of the TV chefs can leave you feeling like an popped soufflé, showing little real connection to the food industry beyond the brands that sponsor them.
So it was a real treat to chat with Michel Roux Jr., famous for appearances on BBC Masterchef and other programs. He traveled to Kent in support of the local Shipbourne farmers market where he grew up. Coming from the French dynasty of Roux chefs (including his uncle by the same name), I expected him to be a touch sniffy. But he was down to earth – quite literally – as we discussed locally grown vegetables and the importance of the local markets for the community. “We’re always complaining about not knowing our neighbors and this is a great way to keep in touch with them,” he said before walking around the market.
French Michelin-starred chef has actually recently quit the BBC after being banned from fronting adverts for Albert Bartlett Rooster potatoes. Roux, who also hosted BBC Food & Drink for two series, pulled out of Masterchef after being given an ultimatum by Aunty.
He was too much of a gent to discuss the situation but the institution has a way of presenting itself as being above the hoi polloi of commercial advertising, except when it suits them. Gary Lineker was presumably too big a star to worry about such issues given his long history of fronting the Walkers Crisps campaign and BBC football.
I feel the same in my own world of commercial radio. We work hard to produce original programs without the aid of the BBC licence fee through building sponsorship and advertising. Every few weeks we turn on BBC Radio Kent to find a carbon copy with the same guests and format.
They say imitation is the best form of flattery but crowding out commercial activity doesn’t seem the best way for Aunty to endear herself to her audience. To listen to Michel Roux’s interview with me : www.SCOFFQUAFF.co.uk. Tune in to SCOFF QUAFF at 11am followed by The Business Bunker Live at 1pm every Tuesday on www.Channelradio.co.uk Tweet @julesserkin @BusinessBunker.