Crazy Delicious

Carla Hall, Heston Blumenthal, Jayde Adams and Niklas Ekstedt in 'Crazy Delicious.'
Carla Hall, Heston Blumenthal, Jayde Adams and Niklas Ekstedt in 'Crazy Delicious.'
Photo: Facebook/Crazy Delicious Netflix


3/5 Stars


Home cooks battle it out in the enchanted garden by creating imaginative dishes to please the food gods. The winner walks away with the sought-after golden apple.  


I'm not sure why, but these days I have found myself completely drawn to cooking/baking competitions. I especially love when the creativity of contestants are put the test with challenges that force them to produce over-the-top edible creations. I'm talking volcano pizzas and watermelons disguised to look like roasted ham.

I have found all of the cuisine craziness I've been craving in Crazy Delicious – a British series which has recently been added to Netflix.

Here's how it works – in each episode, three home cooks wander into the enchanted garden setting that serves as their kitchen. Here they will have to endure three extreme rounds of cooking - each one challenging not only their skills, but their imaginations too.

Dishes are expected to be nothing short of divine if contestants plan on keeping the gods happy – the food gods, that is.

The competition is judged by the queen of soul food Carla Hall, creative genius Heston Blumenthal and Michelin star Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt who are literally referred to as "the food gods" on the show. They're even dressed in white and keep an eye on contestants from above.

Host, comedian Jayde Adams, dons a sparkly outfit as she keeps track of the time and sneaks in a cheeky one-liner every now and again.

Jayde also has the task of randomly nibbling on things around the garden, like edible pebbles or cocktail glasses – the show's way of reminding us that most things on set are indeed made of food.

Okay, so let's talk about the theatrics. I was on board for it all in the beginning, until I heard contestants talking about picking cheese from trees in the enchanted garden. This may need a bit of clarification – the garden is set up with everything participants need to create their meals. With baskets in hand, they're expected to "forage" for ingredients, which includes picking things from trees, finding eggs in birds' nests, and digging up truffles and other goods.

I'm just going to say it, the set is a little too much. I delivered a few oohs and aahs at first, but my fascination with it wore out rather quickly. Oh, did I mention there's a clap of thunder every time the food gods descend from their room above to pick a winner?

There definitely is a way to make a show theatrical without the props becoming a distraction. I've seen it mastered in many cooking competitions.

However, if Crazy Delicious was looking for a way to set itself apart from other cooking shows, then I guess it's done that. Although it may not be everyone's cup of tea, especially if you have to forage for ingredients before you can make that tea.

It's also not something I can binge – but that comes down to the fact that each episode has a different set of contestants, so I'm not left wondering who will go home next, meaning the incentive to return frequently isn't there.

Still, I continue to watch, because these home cooks are incredibly talented. I mean, one contestant made "fried chicken" from mushrooms (granted, the judges weren't too keen on it, but still).

Fast-forward through all the gimmicks, and you've got something that can be quite enjoyable.



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