Sibling and family rivalry is as old as the Bible itself, and it makes for entertaining television. But Channel Nine’s recent offering, Family Food Fight, put a twist on this familiar theme.
Unlike Masterchef or My Kitchen Rules, this program is about families cooperating as a team in a kitchen, so the emphasis is on fun as well as food.
Australia is justly proud of its multicultural history, and the selection of families reflected that, with competitors being the Butlers, the Gibaldis, the Panayides, the Shahrouk sisters, the Sheppards and the Nguyens.
As it is a competition, families were gradually eliminated as the weeks rolled on, according to their success or failure with various kitchen challenges.
The judges were the amiable trio of Matt Moran, Anna Polyviou and Hayden Quinn, with a little help from celebrity judge, Tom Parker Bowles, whose stepfather just happens to be Prince Charles.
This show was about creating real food rather than fancy stuff with a zillion ingredients, and it should have pleased a diverse range of people.
In one episode, the teams were set the task of creating wonderful party food for children, but with the daunting prospect of having to include brussels sprouts in one dish of party food.
The families were up for the challenge, with ideas ranging from deep-fried brussels sprouts leaves to chicken sprout sliders, where half a brussels sprout was hidden in a little chicken burger, then deep-fried and put in a dinner roll with sauce. A nifty variation on how to hide the vegetables so the kids will eat them without realising they are there until it’s too late. It worked a treat, but other brussels sprouts ideas were not a hit with the kids.
The families were likeable groups, and there is some harmless voyeuristic pleasure in watching them work together with a bit of squabbling when time is running out and the food isn’t ready. It certainly sounded just like home.
The teams were obviously all very fond of their family members, and this camaraderie contributed to the show’s success.
Audiences certainly had their favourites, as the Family Food Fight Facebook page was awash with comments on the food and the families. The Shahrouk sisters with their brightly-coloured hijabs and zest for life were crowd-pleasers who obviously love food and enjoy the cut and thrust of family life.
In the kids’ party food episode, the judges were the masses of children who descended on the food, and the Shahrouk sisters with their enticing fairy bread and loads of attractive treats were voted the winners.
And while all the families were competing for a prize of $100,000, this seemed to be a show where the journey was as enjoyable as the destination.