With a single episode, the greatest TV show RTE have made about food in at least 25 years. Martin Shanahan jumps out of the screen, grabs you by the scruff of the neck and demands that you watch him and start loving fish.
After decades of dreary formulaic yawn inducing food programmes on Irish TV or worse, the “crayzzzzze kooky” shows, someone in RTE finally saw an episode of Jamie Oliver and realised what was missing - personality.
Where has Martin been hiding all this time? In the kitchens of the rightly legendary Fishy Fishy in Kinsale? He’s a force of nature. He is everything that made Darina a legend - knowledge,passion, humour. But he goes far beyond that, he’s an absolute TV natural. He belongs in front of the camera. Dammit he owns the camera.
Honestly, I was rivetted for 30 minutes. It is perfect food TV. This show doesn’t just have potential, this could go global. With sub-titles of course. Joke joke!
And the fish, lord the fish. We’re not having our regular Friday Chicken Tikka Masala tonight, we are doing the mackerel dish that Martin showed instead. He had that much impact. And that’s the other thing, every bloody RTE food show tells you how to do dinner party food. Who the hell has dinner parties? Martin shows you how to cook gorgeous tasty healthy food quickly, for you!
If you missed the first episode, kick yourself hard and just be thankful RTE now has it on the RTE Player (even if it built on the proprietary dying Realplayer technology, but that’s a topic for another blogpost).
Hopefully this show will also be the kick up the arse Kinsale needs to start living up again to its long-undeserved 1970s “Gourmet Capital of Ireland” tag. Quick, name five places in Kinsale you would travel an hour to eat in. Exactly.
Top Chef is the only food TV show for years that I actively look forward to seeing each week. Martin Shanahan has created a second.