It must be a hard life, being a TV chef - no sooner have you released your latest tome of recipes, over which you’ve doubtless slaved for months, and already your audience is clamouring for you to dream up some more. It must be like being a mum, but to a family of thousands.
Yet it must be done - TV cookery, it seems, has a similar tenet to academia: publish or perish.
Among the more prolific chefs of recent times are cheeky northern chappies Si King and Dave Myers, better known as the Hairy Bikers. They’re rarely far from our screens, whether they’re packing their pans in their panniers and embarking on their Europe-wide ‘Bakeation’, helping us to shed the pounds as the Hairy Dieters or to put them back on over Christmas, Si and Dave have demonstrated a tremendous quantity of recipes from the corners of our living rooms.
Of course, for every gastronomic adventure they embark upon, there’s a book to go with it. Cynics may see this as a way of cashing in on the success of a series, but really, a cook book is far more use to anyone who’s actually going to prepare the food than a TV show - after all, who’s going to drag the telly in to the kitchen and cook up a storm at 8pm on a Thursday?
The duo’s latest book cropped up for pre-order online in November, giving us all a taste of what their next series may entail. In their Asian Adventure, they look set to cause a stir(fry) as they pack their bags and head out East to explore the roots of some of their favourite Asian dishes.
They’re kicking off in Hong Kong, where they learn about the incredible versatility of the wok when used in Cantonese cuisine at a street-food stall. At breakfast time, they find out that the most important meal of the day reveals a surprising legacy of British rule, before the duo are sent on their way with a traditional Chinese good luck ceremony.
Elsewhere in the series, they’re heading to places as diverse as Thailand, South Korea and Japan (their take on the Japanese pork dish tonkatsu is, we’re promised, something special). While many in the UK tend to lump ‘Asian food’ together, through this series we learn there’s actually a tremendous amount of variation between the countries’ cuisines.
They explain: “One thing that we hadn’t realised was the amount of regional variation. Thailand, for example, is almost as big as France and has as much diversity in its cooking. The food in Tokyo is so different from the meals we had in the more traditional city of Kyoto.”
We’re particularly grateful, given the exotic and unusual ingredients that are often used in such far-flung places, that Si and Dave are so adept at putting their own spin on the recipes they uncover along the way. This is perhaps why their books are so popular - they bring a taste of the world into the kitchens and onto the tables of the average family.
And, after watching the boys in action, the meals you prepare at home will always have a story behind them.