Ready, Steady, Cook

Ready Steady Cook

Val Haydon (2nd from left and Andrew Grubb 4th from left)

Ready Steady Cook is a BBC daytime TV cooking programme first aired in 1994. The programme was hosted by Fern Britton from 1994 until 2000 when celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott became the new host. The present duration of the programme is 45 minutes.

Basic format
Two members of the public, or occasionally sporting or other celebrities, provide two celebrity chefs with a bag of ingredients they have bought, usually to a set budget of £5. The two teams are designated "red tomato" and "green pepper". Occasionally the permitted budget is increased: a so-called Bistro Bag allows for ingredients of up to £7.50, while the Gourmet Bag may have a value of up to £10. It is implied that the chefs have no prior knowledge of the ingredients they will have to prepare, however it is unknown whether this is the case or not.

The Main Course
The chefs proceed to make several dishes out of the said ingredients (and a generously stocked kitchen containing basic ingredients and spices) in 20 minutes, with the help of the contestants and the programme host. As the contestants taste the prepared dishes, the host asks the chef some questions about the food. Prior to the September 2006 programme season it was customary for the chefs to name their dishes, which usually included a pun. However, no name is given to the dishes as of September 2006.

The creations are voted on by the studio audience, who hold up a card showing either a red tomato or green pepper to represent each of the teams. The winner receives a cash prize of £100, which celebrity guests donate to charity (an example the regular guests will sometimes follow). The runner-up receives a hamper which includes a variety of items, such as a set of knives, pasta and sauces, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Quickie bag
The quickie bag section of the show then follows. This was introduced in 2000, the same year Ainsley Harriott became presenter, extending the programme to 45 minutes. The contents of the quickie bag are decided on by the series producer and a home economist. Their decision is based on produce that is currently in season or unusual ingredients that haven't featured on the show recently.

The two chefs each get a chance to describe what they would cook using the bag of ingredients. The audience members vote for which chef they would most like to see cook. The winner then has 10 minutes to prepare the described dishes, with the help of the other chef and the host. The hectic preparation of the chosen chef's suggested dishes often includes a slight element of chaos and ad-libbing along the way. A viewer's question relating to a cooking problem is usually put to the chefs, further adding to the pressure upon them to complete their dishes in the time allowed.

Each programme lasts forty five minutes and the show is aired five times per week on the BBC Two channel (usually from 1630-1715), and repeats are often shown on UKTV Food.

Current Ready Steady Cook Chefs
Gino D'Acampo
Garrey Dawson
Alex Mackay
James Martin
Nick Nairn
Paul Rankin
James Tanner
Tony Tobin
Brian Turner
Phil Vickery
Lesley Waters


BBC Ready Steady Cook website

Ready Steady Cook (Australian version)

Ready Steady Cook is a cookery show that airs on the Australian television station Network 10. The idea was taken from the original series on the BBC (see Ready Steady Cook). Two teams (Capsicum and Tomato) compete against each other, both trying to create the best entrée, meal and dessert in a 20-minute time limit. The show is sponsored by Coles and Continental, it was hosted by former chef Nick Stratford and former Channel 9 personality Peter Everett took over the hosting job in January 2006 to coincide with Ten's new daytime lineup.

Chefs featured on the show
Adrian Richardson
Alastair McLeod
Anthony Telford
Carol Selva Rajah
Cathy Maguire
Damian Heads
Darren Simpson
Dominique Rizzo
Gabriel Gate
Gary Mehigan
George Calombaris
Jacqui Gowan
Janelle Bloom
Jason Roberts
John Lanzafame
Manu Feildel
Mark Jensen
Matt Golinski
Tobie Puttock
Yuey Then

Celebrity version
A celebrity version of Ready Steady Cook Australia also aired during prime time for a brief period in 2005. The following celebrities have appeared at least once, though others have also been seen on the show, both during the regular series and prime time celebrity shows.

List of Celebrities
Kyle Sandilands
Marcia Hines
Natalie Bassingthwaighte
Ryan Moloney
Monique Mueller (nee Monique Edelstein)
Andrew G
James Mathison
John Foreman
Leah McLeod
Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald
Mike Goldman
Anthony Callea


Network Ten

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