A group of five strangers, each an amateur chef, compete to host the best dinner party, each party solely for the competitors and to be held on consecutive evenings. With a set amount of ... See full summary »
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Dave Lamb ...
 Himself - Narrator / ... (149 episodes, 2005-2017)
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A group of five strangers, each an amateur chef, compete to host the best dinner party, each party solely for the competitors and to be held on consecutive evenings. With a set amount of money provided for the party, each host must submit a menu in advance of the week, the menu to consist of at least a starter, a main and a dessert/pudding. At the end of each party, each guest rates the party on a scale of one to ten inclusive. Each guest can use whatever criteria he/she deems important to rate the party, the quality of the food only being one possible factor. At the end of the last party, the host of that party gets the voting results, which he/she reads to the other competitors. The competitor with the highest score wins £1,000. By the end of the last party, each competitor gets to know their fellow competitors a little better. Some may become friends for life, while others wish they had never met. Written by Huggo

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10 January 2005 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Arvostele mun illallinen  »

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1.78 : 1
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Referenced in Loose Women: Episode #14.92 (2010) See more »

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Dining as backbiting
23 May 2008 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Much of the world regarded France as the home of good food. If the English ate to live then the French lived to eat it was said. But much has changed in England in the last 30 years or so. Never have so many taken such interest in good food. The dullness and poor quality of English "cuisine" has been replaced by ultra-cosmopolitan and much more skillful versions. All stimulated very largely by television.

The model for civilised dining both at its most formal and as a refined pleasure was French. In a sense it became the European ideal of civilised living - good food, good conversation overseen by a host who combined cooking as well as subtle human skills.

But England has very recently produced an illegitimate and ugly offspring - a boorish variant which (and who) while skilled in the technicalities - the preparation and the judging of food, even the aesthetics of the dining environment is entirely deficient in feelings. Worse than psychopathic where there may be attempts to conceal this, boorishness can be worn as a badge of pride.

So we have Come Dine With Me - reality TV in which contestants in fact competitors, sometimes aggressive, are brought together in a latter day bear pit to chew at each others food - and legs - in return, like most distasteful activities, for a large amount of cash. As in a version of The Prisoners Dilemma each must decide a strategy - be nice and hope to get good marks from the others or be nasty all round. Many opt for compromise: publicly complimentary to the host then rude about everything and everyone each time they are alone with the camera. Many confide to the camera their own immeasurable skills and the others' manifold defects. Meals, unsurprisingly are frequently tense affairs where a host who had previously boasted on camera struggles to match a quarter of his or her boasts. We the audience look with interest as sometimes there are glimpses of skill and originality but more interestingly we see vanity crushed before our eyes, if we are lucky one or more of the competitors become distressed and tearful. Like Big Brother its conceptual stable-mate we are encouraged to watch bloodless combat. Civilised dining has become in Come Dine with Me simply eating and backbiting.


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