For anyone who’s discovered Come Dine with Me, a little gem of a program (well, at least the UK version) on Lifestyle Food, the Australian version premieres tonight on The LifeStyle Channel.

What, you say, is so endearing about a program where five strangers critique each other’s dinner party skills over five weeknights, culminating in a cash prize at the end of the week?

Well… the following:

  1. They not only critique your food, but your hosting skills, your house, and they go through and thoroughly inspect EVERY part of your house…
  2. The first batch this week includes some seriously crazy woman who will probably end up stalking one of the contestants, who happens to be the former lead singer of Indecent Obsession! (Not David Dixon, the gay one who came after who no-one remembers).
  3. Your dinner party needs to include an element of entertainment. The previews suggest this in itself should be even better than the culinary delights that await.
  4. The cooking tips (and the what-not-to-dos) you pick up are invaluable. If it were not for this program, I would never have learnt the delights of Eton Mess, Seared Salmon with Teriyaki and Leeks, and other culinary delights.
  5. You get to see that you’re not the only one with a half-painted house (or some other disaster you overlook), and these people knew they would be on TV!

I write this not as an employee of Granada or Foxtel, just a dedicated lover of Food TV and Reality TV.

And yes, I did put myself up for it. I missed out on getting into Season 1 but wait with bated breath re Season 2. And I hope, when I eventually grace the television screens, my week goes much the same as Season 4b Episode 1 of the English version, in which hostess Dawn Barry of Preston became “tired and emotional” after serving her entrée and had to go to bed, leaving her guests to cook their own main course. She scored the lowest mark ever: 9/40.

The details: Come Dine with Me Australia premieres tonight at 8:30pm on LifeStyle (Channel 106 on Foxtel), and airs every week night.

Peter Fray

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