A new year and another new cookery contest airs on our TV screens

The twist in the Fabulous Baking Boys on C4 is that the contest is between two brothers who we are told are fabulous, love to bake and are undoubtedly boys.

Each week they compete for the approval of various groups of guinea pigs (herds, to give them their proper name) via particular cooking challenges – last night they had to satisfy five hungry farmers with their signature pies, and, as we were reliably informed, “farmers love their pies”.

It is a good enough premise. Brothers Tom, a baker, and Henry, a chef who runs the local butcher’s shop in the heart of Gloucestershire are young and enthusiastic enough to pull it off. As an added bonus, the bakery and butcher’s are next door to each other.

The problem is that they are a bit too enthusiastic – or, super enthusiastic as Henry would probably put it. The sibling rivalry is all very well, but they are a tad too rumbustious and laddish. It all detracts from the food, which is never a good thing.

They bake, they're boys, but are they really fabulous?

They talk with that indiscriminate, machine-gun approach that leaves you breathless as you try to keep up. For example, I missed most of the introduction to the programme after Tom announced, “My name is Tom and I’m a masterbaker…” – his rapid-fire delivery made me mis-hear exactly what he was describing himself as and I struggled to keep up after that.

Everything was a bit in-your-face, from the Jamie Oliver-esque camera angles to the full-on approach of both boys. I can’t help but think that if they were ever candidates on The Apprentice, then Tom would give it 150% only to be trumped by his brother who would be determined to give it at least 200%.

They are not just competitive, they are super competitive. Indeed, Henry’s penchant to add the word “super” before all manner of words – a particular dough was not just versatile, for example, it was super versatile – was another source of irritation and distraction.

Henry trounced Tom in the pie-off and clearly seemed super chuffed about too. The problem was their competitiveness was over-played and the dishes they served up were left in the shadows.

If I’m going to sit through an entire series of The Fabulous Baking Boys I think I’ll need more than a little patience…I’ll need super patience.


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