While watching Shane Delia’s Moorish Spice Journey tonight, up popped a promo for a new TV channel called “Food Network”! For a moment I thought it was an advertisement for a channel on pay-TV, Foxtel, but nooooooooooooooooooo, it was for free-to-air-TV on SBS3 (Channel 33)! I was mightily surprised but delighted to say the least as I don’t subscribe to any pay-TV.
With the launch of this channel at 1pm AEDT on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, we will finally get a free-to-air digital TV channel dedicated to food for 24/7. Hurrah, hurrah and thank goodness it is on SBS and not on the commercial networks! Can’t wait! Maybe we can hope that it will also get The Great British Bake Off from GEM and show it faster without us having to wait for more than a year before GEM decided to show it. Still waiting for GEM to show the 2014 season…
Update November 17, 2015: OK, here are some of the shows that will be shown on this new channel, and boy oh boy, we have never seen so many American cooking shows on Australian free-to-air TV before. Mind you, I’m not complaining, but I hope we get more diverse shows from around the world in the future…
During the weekdays, we get cooking shows like Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals (starts with Season 25), Giada at Home (Season 7), Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics (Season 18), & Good Eats (Season 13) plus a smithereens of some old cooking shows from SBS like My Sri Lanka and Food Lovers’ Guide to Australia, and scattered throughout the day we also get 5-minute bitesize of shows from SBS’ stable of chefs and cooks. However the two shows I’m most looking forward to watch are Happy Foodie New Year (团团圆圆登入新年) (Season 1, first showing at 1pm) from Singapore Asian Food Channel, and Reza: Spice Prince of Vietnam (Season 1, first showing at 8pm). I remembered when 7TWO launched a few years ago, they showed Coconut Coast from Reza, and he was hilarious in that show, so I hope his Vietnam adventure is as hilarious and fun to watch as well.
In terms of reality cooking shows, we will get to see Guy’s Grocery Games (starts with Season 4), and Chopped (Season 22) during the weekdays, but wait, the weekend looks much more interesting with Rachel vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off (Season 1, Saturday 7am), Kitchen Inferno (Season 1, Sat 6:30pm), The Great Food Truck Race (Season 6, Sat 7:30pm), and Kids Baking Championship (Season 1, Sunday 7am). My eyes light up seeing The Great Food Truck Race on the schedule, one of my favourite shows! 7TWO used to show Season 1 and, I think, Season 2, and then it disappeared from our TV screen until this year, but then they decided to show it only on their streaming service on Plus7. Well, thank heaven and earth, now we get to see it on SBS3, who needs Channel 7! LOL…
Here’s a list of major programmes to be shown at launch date as well as some up-coming shows in the near future:
•Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, premieres November 17
•Giada At Home, premiers November 17
•Reza: Spice Prince of Vietnam, premieres November 17
•Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, premieres November 17
•Chopped, premieres November 17
•Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, premieres November 17
•Guy’s Grocery Games, premieres November 17
•Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, premieres November 17
•Man Fire Food, premieres November 17
•Happy Foodie New Year, premieres November 18
•Kitchen Inferno, premieres November 21
•Kids Baking Championship, premieres November 22
•Jonathon Phang’s Caribbean Christmas, premieres December
•Siba’s Festive Table, premieres December
•Anthony Bourdains: No Reservations, premieres December
•Beach Eats USA, premieres January 2016
•Ching’s Restaurant Redemption, premieres March 2016
•Follow Donal to… Vietnam, premieres March 2016
On a side note, with the launch of the new free-to-air lifestyle channel, 9Life (Channel 94) this month on 26 November 2015, I see Top Chef on their schedule as well, but Network 9 is always hopeless with cooking shows (see how they messed up with the scheduling of The Great Australian Bake Off a couple of years ago which has now been revived on pay-TV), so I hope they put it on at a reasonable timeslot…
Update November 18, 2015: LOL, just watched Happy Foodie New Year, lordy, it was ridiculously BAD! I thought it was going to feature Chinese New Year dishes and maybe their history and significance, but it turned into half an hour of advertorial for Tai Hua Soy Sauce made in Singapore and the only dish made was a very simple steamed fish, and yep, you guessed it, using THAT soy sauce! On the other hand, Reza was still as flamboyant as before and fun to watch…
Update November 29, 2015: It has been nearly two weeks since the launch of Food Network channel, and that was just as well because I have lost reception of network 9 and network 10 totally (my TV keeps telling me “No Signal”, LOL), and sporadic reception from network 7 and the ABC. Thank goodness SBS has been consistence with good reception and so I have a lot of chances to watch SBS since I can’t watch any shows from the commercial networks or the ABC at all recently. So no surprises, Food Network has been the channel I tuned into mostly and therefore sampled a lot of shows on this channel and I have narrowed down the few shows that I like.
One of my early favourites was Reza: Spice Prince of Vietnam which did not disappoint, but it has already finished its run of 8 episodes. The other must watch for me is of course The Great Food Truck Race, and so far I am really enjoying the first two episodes shown so far. I’ve to say Waffle Love has just become my favourite team after Adam trying to name his 14 (?) brothers/sisters unsuccessfully (hilarious!), and later the trio decided to ditch competition temporarily to attend Church in the first episode, all I can say is that’s real conviction rarely, or never seen, in reality TV, and then Adam was shown overcoming with emotion in the second episode after he verbalised his appreciation of a customer who came back twice to buy their waffles (after their disaster unprecedented negative profit of minus $20 in the challenge), and started crying, and his two brothers has this conversation – “Is he crying again?”, the other replied, “Always, dude!”, LOL, that was funny… I was also fascinated by Adam’s eyes from Waffle Love. Did he have lazy eyes? Sometimes when he did the narration, his right eye was half-closed and looked unusual…
One of the few pleasant surprises is Guy’s Grocery Games, I did not think I was going to watch it at first but it has pulled me in and when I was able to watch it, really enjoyed it. I think it is due to the host, Guy Fieri, who has a very TV friendly presence, and also the contestants are not as arrogant as, say, on Chopped or Kitchen Inferno, I just found the latter two shows repulsive to watch, and the food cooked on those two shows not inviting at all, especially Chopped when they kept giving contestants sweet ingredients, some were not even ingredients but sweet snacks/baked goods, to make savoury dishes.
Of the two kids shows on the weekend, I like Kids Baking Championship, but not Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, and it has nothing to do with my love of baking. The kids on Kids Baking Championship are polite, friendlier and smile readily, more akin to our two series of Junior Masterchef Australia a few years ago. Whereas on the cook-off one, the kids are already developing those ugly arrogant personalities and sulk/complain, which is a real turn off as a TV show. So there it is, not too many favourites so far, but time will tell if that will improve in the future.