Chef! the Complete Collection DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Chef! the Complete Collection
Reviewed by
Chris Tyler
on
Chef! the Complete Collection DVD Review. ...Well it works until season three.
Rating:
2.5

Feature 6.0
Video 4.0
Audio 5.0
Special Features   0.0
Total 5.0

Distributor: BBC
Running Time: 533 minutes
Reviewer: Chris Tyler
Classification
: PG

5.0


Chef!

Chef! Isnít well remembered, itís kind of a relic of the late 80ís and early 90ís when Lenny Henry was actually a big star. In many ways though, it pre-empted a food revolution and people like Gordon Ramsey entering the mainstream media.

The first season introduces us to aggressive, obsessive but world class Chef, Gareth Blackstock (Henry). Heís driven and totally focused on his food which does cause some friction with his wife Janice, however, in the first few episodes they seem to have a fairly good relationship, even if she does complain a bit about having to sacrifice things for her career. In the first episode we meet Everton Stonehead a school acquaintance of Blackstockís who wants to be a chef and believes that working in a world class kitchen will aid his career no end. Gareth isnít really interested but Everton has two main selling points. 1 He isnít a bad cook 2. Since his auntie is very rich Gareth wonít have to actually pay him anything.

Most of the seasonís humour comes from classic British farce setups as well as Garethís tirades which are delivered with aplomb by Henry. This show is also food focused. Lots of the situations and plot are derived from food and thereís also a great love of food evident; the cooking actually looks good, the food looks good, Lenny Henry looks like he can cook. Sure he might be a thin John Cleese-esq character in a second rate Fawlty Towers-like series but the love of food really comes through and makes you hungry.

Well it works until season three.

Season two has some nice touches but as you would expect in a kitchen there were lot s staff changes from one season to another. Season two introduced Gustav LaRoche, the alcoholic master chef that Gareth takes in. Of special interest is the episode England Expects which is the show at its best.  Season three, however, has some issues. First the budget was slashed, it was no longer recorded on film, so itís not widescreen. The entire cast except for Gareth and Everton is turned over again and their replacements are not welcome. Gustav is recast with an inferior actor and we are introduced to Savanna an annoying American. She is supposed to be annoying but sheís not someone you love to hate sheís just irritating.  She also spouts what Eric Idle once termed Ojaril (old jokes and ridiculously irrelevant links). On top of this is the addition of annoying new owner of the Chateau; Cyril a cigar chomping Arthur Daly type who is also not welcome.

Most tellingly the quality of the writing has suffered. Gone are Garethís entertaining tirades replaced with him being alternately baffled and singularly unpleasant.  Season three is not up to par at all, mostly due to the leaving of writer Peter Tilbury.

All in all worth the effort but only for seasons one and two.

Special Features: None, not even a token commentary.

Video Quality: Variable, Season one and two are grainy, except for the season one ďChristmas special.Ē  Season three looks ok but isnít in widescreen and suffers from that video sheen.

Audio: Uneven. Dialogue is sometimes too low and the laugh track that grates across all three seasons is sometimes too high.






 
 



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