[show=foodmob size=large]You know that old stereotype: Girls think guys who know how to cook are just a little more sexy? As a girl, I’m happy to report that yes, it’s often true. And yet — and here’s another stereotype that’s often true — young men in their 20s resort to Trader Joe’s ready meals or Rice-a-Roni or Jack in the Box for their daily sustenance rather than develop those skills.
Revision3’s latest nonfiction entry, the instructional Food Mob, seems primed to correct that. “I want to cook food that anyone can cook,” says host Niall Harbison before launching into a demonstration of how to make blueberry and white chocolate pancakes (which look amazing). The second episode tackles more savory fare — specifically, the perfect steak — and over twenty Food Mob Bites segments offer quick demos of basic dishes.
While not explicitly said to be geared towards heterosexual young men, Food Mob is clearly meant for that particular demographic, with Harbison suggesting that they might prepare said pancakes for “your friends or your girlfriend” (not, say, your boyfriend, your spouse or your children). Also, in the second episode Harbison wears a t-shirt saying “I’m only two girls short of a threesome.” Classy.
But Food Mob does end up being a pretty good, if basic, cooking show, scattered with fun quick tips on food presentation and preparation. Harbison brings a casual, laid-back confidence to an activity many find stressful, and keeps things feeling informal by conversing with his off-screen cameramen as he cooks. And he even follows in Julia Child’s footsteps by acknowledging little slip-ups like a poached egg sliding where it shouldn’t — all of which contributes to making cooking feel like something easy, fun and achievable.
I’ve complained in the past about the amount of advertising Revision3 shows often contain, but in this show’s case there are improvements clearly in action: Specifically, rather than watch an Go Daddy commercial or something similar halfway through each episode, Harbison explains the products of the day personally, which is easy listening.
I’ll admit, though, that’s mostly down to his accent: Food Mob is produced in Ireland with the guidance of the Rev3 production and programming staff in San Francisco. According to a Revision3 spokesperson via email, the show has had a strong start with universally positive feedback, though that’s because it’s something their audience was interested in: “A cooking show was the #1 thing our audience requested when we polled them via a recent survey — so we gave them what they wanted and it looks like they’re taking to it!” The frequently plugged audience interactivity seems to play a major role in this, with hundreds of interactions — including submitted questions and photos of cooking efforts — spread across Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.
Robert Rodriguez, one of America’s great fanboy directors, produces 10 Minute Cooking School shorts as special features for his recent films, and in the first lesson on how to make Puerco Pibil that he says one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard about the culinary arts. “Not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to f—,” he says. “You gotta eat the rest of your life.” With Food Mob‘s help, life might be a little more delicious.
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