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An interesting afternoon's viewing

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by modelmaker, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Star commenter

    Did any of you watch Heston's Mission Impossible? I came across it on the Channel 4 website: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/hestons-mission-impossible/episode-guide/series-1
    Essentially, for anyone who hasn't seen it, his task was to look at some of the appalling food that's served in places like hospitals and on airplanes and devise ways to improve it that would be acceptable, not only to the people who eat it, but to the people that cook and prepare it.
    Whether or not you'd care to try out some of his ideas yourself, I found the series fascinating from the background info and conditions that cause the food to be so dire. In the case of British Airways, as we know, the food is all cooked on the ground then reheated on the plane. At the point it leaves the kitchen it didn't look too bad, but by the time it is served it's dire. What goes wrong?
    In the case of the Alder Hey Childrens Hospital episode, the sick patients wouldn't eat anything because they couldn't stand the food. The Hospital has it's own kitchen with 6 cooks but the only cooks doing any proper cooking worked on dishes for the staff canteen. Everything being served to the patients came out of a packet things like frozen pizza. Only two of the cooks were allocated to preparing the food for 250 patients.
    The last edition looked at cooking on a nuclear submarine. The budget the chefs have to work within to feed each crew member 3 meals a day was about £2.34. The submarine will be at sea for 90 days before it can restock, so fresh food runs out very quickly and the rest of the time they live off frozen and canned food.
    Have a look if, like me, you missed it on the box.
  2. I saw the British Airways one and the one on the submarine. I agree that it was fascinating to see what the people preparing the food actually had to deal with. Heston's water bath/vacuum pack idea for the submarine was brilliant and I was really pleased when the taste testers voted his meal better than the freshly prepared one!
  3. modelmaker

    modelmaker Star commenter

    But interesting too to see the opposition to any new ideas to address how fundamental problems might be sorted. I'd urge anyone to watch the episode about the Alder Heys Hospital and tell me they wouldn't have discovered themselves as quick as Heston did where the fundamental problems lie.
    And it's all about complacency. The system works to some extent, insofar as people are being fed. But on what?
    Every episode I watched, and I've left the one about cinema food to watch later, there were the vested interests in people desperate to keep their jobs rather than look at the bigger picture.
    Our arrmed forces needing to be on constant alert being fed on less cost than a prison diet? Who makes decisions like these?
  4. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    I watched this series when it was on earlier this year.
    I could well believe the hospital one. Both mum and I have spent time in the 'big' local hospital recently - and the food is not good! As explained in Heston's show, the hospital does have a kitchen with some trained cooks - but not for the patients! Patients get food that is bought from a catering company and heated in special trolleys. The only exception is patients who wish to pay for a private room (you still get NHS treatment) with your own TV and DVD and food cooked for you - for the cost of £300 a night! (Yes, £300!)
    Heston had some unusual ideas for the food - well, he <u>is</u> Heston! I would have liked to see him encourage more conventional cooking. I didn't really 'get' why the children needed the themed food - surely good, tasty food with help and encouragement to eat was what was needed?
    And not only childrens' food - the whole hospital food system need to be re-thought.

    The cinema food show didn't engage me as much. I haven't been to the cinema in years! I agree that the concession food was over-priced and there was some seriously pushy selling. However, I didn't think much of Heston's alternatives either!

  5. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I watched all of them other than the hospital one which is on my growing list of things to catch up on. Looking forward to it - I find Heston endlessly fascinating. Still have The Fat Duck on my list of places to visit. Perhaps when we're feeling a bit richer, though.
    Threw up loads of interesting points though. I had mixed feelings watching his ideas with regards to the BA one, but was fascinating to watch the executive chef getting so defensive over his food. I come to expect poor food on a plane - it's part of the experience for me, and I tend to look at the food as being something to relieve the boredom of a long flight rather than a gastronomic experience. I can't see how they can improve the food much without raising ticket prices - stewards aren't chefs and I don't necessarily think they should be.
    The submarine one was very interesting. You could see the executives looking at all the vac packed, sous vide food and thinking "why the hell hasn''t someone thought of this before?"
    I wasn't as interested in the cinema one, as firstly I abhor eating in cinemas - detracts from the enjoyment of the movie for me (perhaps I just can't multi-task, but I like to focus on either what I'm eating or what I'm watching, I don't feel I enjoy either to their potential if I try to do both), and also think the prices are ridiculously high and this will just give them license to charge more. If I do ever take food into the cinema, I buy a bag of sweets from outside and take in a bottle of water, as I hate those buckets of fizzy pop they sell. If I could suggest one improvement to the facilities for food in cinemas it would be to encourage cinemas to sell tea or coffee in proper mugs, alongside home-made biscuits. THAT would make me happy and get me buying.
    I still found some of the formula of the programme a little irritating though - Heston makes his restaurant food for people who like normal food; Heston alienates everyone; Heston worries he'll fail; Heston comes good in the end. A little predictable, perhaps. Still good viewing though.
  6. Possibly because they had all been going to Alderhay for a long time and he had a lot of resistance to overcome. The theme just made sure that the food looked very different from anything they may possibly have been gven before.
    I missed the submarine one, I might go back and have a look!

    The cinema one made me smile - there was no way Heston was going to win that one. The management want the profits and the customers have no taste buds - they are experiencing a loud, exciting visual and aural feast. The taste buds cannot compete... so very sweet or very salt is the order of the day!
  7. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    I watched all these and found them fascinating - the submarine one was definitely my favourite and it really does make you wonder why no one had thought of this earlier. I was very shocked that prisoners are given more food per day than a navy officer though - is sickening really :(

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