SATURDAY KITCHEN RECIPES 02 Dec 2023
Third-generation Scots Sikh and restaurateur Tony Singh has joined forces with one of the country’s oldest charities to back a £4.5 million campaign to develop life-saving healthcare in his ancestors’ native India
Chef and food writer Jane trained at the Carved Angel under Joyce Molyneux before moving to the River Café, and in 2005 she set up the acclaimed Riverford Field Kitchen. She currently runs food and event company Wild Artichokes, based in Devon
Michelin trained chef from a small town called Bromsgrove (near Birmingham) with nearly 10 years experience working in professional kitchens and now the self-titled Potato Queen
READERS FAVOURITES from recent weeks
Saturday Kitchen is a cookery show full of mouth-watering food, great chefs and celebrity guests. Viewers get to vote on which recipe will be prepared for the guest at the end of the episode. Also featured is a regular wine-tasting segment.
Saturday Kitchen has become a national institution and its enduring popularity shows how food has moved from “functional niche” to ‘mainstream lifestyle’. Its theme tune is now as much a signifier of a Saturday as a leisurely late breakfast, visiting the shops or Match of the Day.
Millions start the weekend by waking up to Saturday Kitchen and an assortment of chefs and celebrities with books or films to promote, with the show competing with the more traditional talk show formats as a number one choice for agents. Meanwhile, the Saturday Kitchen recipes and the memorable ‘food heaven and hell’ are now part of the national lexicon.
Saturday Kitchen History
Saturday Kitchen History
2002–2003: Saturday Kitchen recipes pre-recorded with Greg Wallace
Ainsley Harriott hosted the pilot programme for Saturday Kitchen on 14 April 2001 but it was not until 26 January 2002 that the show was launched.
It was hosted by Gregg Wallace, then a relatively unknown presenter and it was broadcast as a BBC production for the Open University as more of an educational programme than entertainment.
The programme had a low budget and was pre-recorded with Greg being joined by a celebrity chef each week. It included archived content from the likes of Keith Floyd and Rick Stein to fill the show as it still does to this day.
After the first series, the second series went out live.
2003–2006: Saturday Kitchen recipes live with Antony Worrall Thompson
After the success of the first two series, the programme was relaunched with established celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson as the host and the format was adjusted in two ways.
It moved away from the educational remit and simple meals to more aspirational food. There was an increase in guest chefs, some with Michelin stars and the show now included celebrity guests.
The BBC archive was retained for the revamped format, with Antony Worrall Thompson and the guest chefs preparing dishes. The archive clips used between the live Saturday Kitchen recipes was to allow time to clean-up and reset the studio kitchen.
During the summer of 2004, the programme temporarily moved to BBC One and aired as Saturday Brunch, live from Antony Worrall Thompson’s home.
Subsequently, in January 2006, the show moved from BBC Two to BBC One on a three-month trial. There was controversy when this was made permanent because it moved children’s programming from its regular slot on the BBC for the first time since the 1970s.
Before the introduction of the Heaven and Hell feature of later series, the programme featured Antony and the guest chefs pitching a dish to be cooked, which the public voted on and a running total of wins were recorded by using fridge magnets.
2006–2016: Saturday Kitchen recipes live with James Martin
James Martin took over as host from 24 June 2006 when Antony Worrall Thompson left the BBC to present Saturday Cooks! On ITV.
During James Martin’s time, the audience increased from 1.2 million to around 2.5 million, peaking at 2.7 million on 9 January 2010 and made Saturday Kitchen a national institution.
On 23 February 2016, James announced that he would be leaving the show to concentrate on other commitments, and “to have a lie in” on a Saturday. His last show was on 26 March.
2016 – to date: Saturday Kitchen recipes with Matt Tebbutt
Since April 2016, Saturday Kitchen has been hosted by a group of chefs on a rotational basis.
The show has been hosted by a diverse range of culinary figures since James’ departure, including Jason Atherton, Antonio Carluccio, Gennaro Contaldo, The Hairy Bikers, Ching-He Huang, Tom Kerridge, Lorraine Pascale, Glynn Purnell, Tony Singh, Rick Stein, and Cyrus Todiwala.
From November 2016, Saturday Kitchen featured a core group of five rotating hosts: Angela Hartnett, Michel Roux, Donal Skehan, Matt Tebbutt, and John Torode—each having hosted at least once since Martin’s departure.
In March 2017 Matt Tebbutt was announced as the main presenter for Saturday Kitchen. Matt presents and serves up Saturday Kitchen recipes every other week with other rotating chefs hosting and preparing Saturday Kitchen recipes in between.
Each week, a wine expert pairs wines to go with the Saturday Kitchen recipes.
Previously, the wine experts filmed on location at various supermarkets and wine shops around the UK. These were typically filmed earlier in the week, and edited in time for the show.
Since April 2017, rotating wine experts have joined the host, the guest chefs, and the celebrity guest in the studio.
The featured wine experts are Susie Barrie, Sandia Chang, Sam Caporn, Jane Parkinson, Peter Richards, and Olly Smith.
As part of the tender for the production of the programme released in October 2016, it was confirmed that the show and Best Bites will remain on air until March 2020, airing 52 episodes and 50 episodes per year respectively. It also confirmed the show will remain live and continue to feature guest chefs and archive content but may see changes to the presenters.
In February 2017, the BBC announced that Cactus TV had been awarded the tender.
Each show typically includes a host chef and two guest chefs, each cooking a Saturday Kitchen recipe in the studio. They are joined by a celebrity guest, usually on to promote a forthcoming or current project.
Each guest chefs dish is paired with a wine chosen by an expert. The experts include Susy Atkins, Susie Barrie, Sam Caporn, Sandia Chang, Jane Parkinson, Peter Richards, and Olly Smith.
In between each studio dish, excerpts are shown from the BBC Archives. The footage has most commonly come from Rick Stein and Keith Floyd, but have also featured James Martin, The Hairy Bikers, and Tom Kerridge, among many others.
No longer a part of the current format each week, the guest chefs were challenged to cook a three-egg omelette, as quickly as possible.
The record-holder is Theo Randall with a time of 14.76 seconds, set on 2 May 2015. The achievement was recognised by Guinness World Records and Randall is officially the world’s fastest omelette maker.
Heaven or Hell
Each show concludes with the host and guest chefs cooking the celebrity guest a dish containing their favourite or least-favourite ingredient/s.
Which dish is cooked depends on a vote. Each viewer who has called in during the show to ask the guest chefs and host a culinary question or conundrum chooses which dish they would like to see cooked, as does each guest chef.
As with other Saturday Kitchen recipes, the Heaven-or-Hell selection is also wine-paired.