Have You Been Watching… The Fabulous Baker Brothers?

So who are these chancers, and how dare they talk about food on Channel 4 without being Gordon, Hugh or Heston?

by Kate Diamond

Tom and Henry are brothers. Tom has baking in his blood (so much so that his haemoglobin is approximately 58% cake) while Henry is a chef with actual awards. He’s also younger, a foot taller and has better hair. Game, set and match.

To hype up the lacklustre sibling rivalry, the credits shout about a ‘blood curdling battle’, cut with close ups of kitchen knives, axes and fire pits.

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s Dexter. It’s not Dexter. Except, maybe, the bit where he brings them all the doughnuts.

The Baker Brothers take it in turns to cook stuff. Henry does things like crushing whole garlic bulbs with one hand and lobbing pork joints into the open fire: ‘Grrr, yeah!

Tom (who admittedly has the rougher end of the bargain being a bread maker not a butcher) attempts to sex up his pitta bread, but ‘put a teaspoon of dried yeast into 300 millimetres of tepid water and set to one side’ doesn’t have quite the same come to bed appeal.

Henry’s specialist butcher shop is next door to Tom’s artisan bakery. You get the feeling that this (along with the show, and every other ‘great adventure’ the duo have undertaken) has been Tom’s idea, with Henry going along with it for an easy life. Having clearly won over Channel 4 with an ‘imagine if there were TWO Jamie Olivers!’ pitch, Tom tries to maintain high banter levels by awkwardly calling Henry ‘kid brother’ and telling him  ‘you can shove off now’.

No one says shove off anymore, Tom. No one. As you can imagine, Henry spends much of the show swigging from a bottle of wine and trying not to roll his eyes.

On Wednesday’s show, Henry made own burgers.  Tom bounded after him exclaiming ‘if you’re going to make your own burgers, you’ve got to make your own baps!’

No Tom, you really don’t. Baps are the wrappers. They exist to keep your hands clean and to put the sauce on. No one cares about the bread.

Henry throws chunks of beef mince and sliced onions onto a smoking griddle and presses them down with his bare greasy hands. Looking into the camera and saying “the juiciest ones in town”, he’s actually as filthy as Nigella. In the neighbouring kitchen: ‘carefully lift off the cling film and give them a second eggwash…’ Tom is still talking about baps.

The pretence of competition – by this point the most ill matched battle since Jet versus any female Gladiators contender ever on Hang Tough – struggles on with the weekly Pie Wars slot. Henry is already winning 3-1, so it’s a pretty forgone conclusion.

Nevertheless, it was Tom’s idea and his mum would want us to humour him, so their challenge this week is to make a mash topped pie for a group of students. Henry is all ‘standard shepherd’s pie recipe. Carrots, celery, blah, blah’, spends five minutes throwing it all in a dish, pours in a load of red wine and then strides off to do something manly like have sex or chop down a tree.

Tom, out to win / regain some level of dignity, faffs around with a bewildering array of pollock, salmon, prawns and kippers. His béchamel sauce even contains a risqué third of a bottle of brown ale. ‘I’ve heard students like beer’ he says, in such an overly nonchalant manner it’s clear someone actually had to tell him that. One filthy shared house skit later, and Henry’s won his fourth pie war. Obviously. Another Tom bites the dust, etc.

The fabulous brothers have some decent recipes between them, but this show is all about the contest. Tom clearly spent longer in front of the mirror with his wet look gel, but his hair misses effortless mess and instead manages to look startled. Same goes for his cooking. Still, it’s kind of fun to watch him get his ass so thoroughly handed to him by his little brother.

And at least, bread expert that he is, you know he can go home and comfort himself with a nice round of toast.

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The Fabulous Baker Brothers is on Channel 4, Wednesdays, 8.30pm. You can catch up on 4od here

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About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at Hilary3@gmail.com.

2 Responses to Have You Been Watching… The Fabulous Baker Brothers?

  1. Pingback: Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation « Tellysquawks

  2. Pingback: Our Food « TV Jam: telly is delicious

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