Given the recent popularity of the likes of Hell’s Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Masterchef and Top Chef, it’s a wonder that it took this long for someone to bring the restaurant world and the comedy world together.
Following Alan Davies on Twitter (@alandavies1) you weren’t sure if he was going to make it to the BBC studios yesterday morning to promote his upcoming series, Whites. I felt like I was in the car with him as you got the minute-by-minute traffic update as he made his way through traffic. FYI, there was a car sent to pick him up so he wasn’t driving and tweeting at the same time, folks. He did make it with minutes to spare and shared a few series insights on BBC Breakfast. Then, later, talked with the BBC’s Tony Matthews about the series in this interview.
The series, which premiered on BBC Two last night, is set in the kitchen of a country house with Davies (Jonathan Creek, QI), as Roland White, a washed-up celebrity chef with a serious lack of motivation needed to regain the coveted Michelin star rating he feels he deserves. Kind of reminds you a bit of the great Lenny Henry in Chef being a show that, if you are in the restaurant industry, you may not want to watch as it’s probably more of a documentary than a comedy.
Davies took the role very seriously, as did the entire cast, taking a course in knife training at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in London. As with all great British comedies, Whites has a great ensemble cast including Katherine Parkinson (IT Crowd, Old Guys, Doc Martin) and Darren Boyd (Kiss Me Kate, The Rev, Little Dorrit). Another recipe (sorry) for success with British comedy is having writers that write based on personal experience. In the case of Whites, co-writer, Matt King (Super Hans, The Peep Show), spent his earlier years working in restaurants.
The combination of a great cast, great writing and the fact that everyone is fascinated with the inner-workings, or better said, inner-non workings of restaurants, this one has a good chance at a second season. Hopefully, it makes it to America soon.