James May: Oh Cook!

Rating 6.2
Streamer Amazon Prime
Seasons 1
Episodes 7 x 30 mins

Amazon may just be having a midlife crisis, as they’ve released a cookery show with self-proclaimed sous-per bad chef, James May. Yep, May has switched out a steering wheel for a Kitchen Aid, and we’re not quite sure why.

Well, we do know why and that’s because May is always good TV tucker and especially when he doesn’t quite know what he’s doing – and he sure doesn’t know what he’s doing here. So, this isn’t about the food. It’s about May pottering about, telling us about the history of rice noodles and unveiling what goes on behind the scenes by sporadically interacting with the crew and leaving in the shots of burnt fritters. Either that or it is a three-and-a-half-hour advert for his cook book – he mentions it more than an influencer mentions teeth whitening – which when announced was suspected to be an April fool’s prank. Says a lot. Don’t get us wrong, it is fun and cheerful, especially when May seeks the help of his much more competent cooking companion, his home-economist Nikki Morgan. And the series does stand in sharp relief to Nigella’s sumptuously scrummy titillations on the BBC.

Lucy Mangan in The Guardian says the series is “mostly slightly dismal,” but that “May will banter on, a boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into past glories.” It’s not for her, then? The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan praises May’s “irreverent, have-a-go approach,” which he says makes him a “endearingly enthusiastic host.” Ben Dowell in The Times says May is “a very good broadcaster” who he says “needs to be in a garage or cracking gags about Teslas and Lamborghinis with his amigos, not doing this flambéing lark.”

First shown November 2016. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here:

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