‘Pressure Cooker’: A TV Cook-Off Starring Everyday People

Original concept for Canadian series created by Jamie Oliver's production company
By Pam McLennan, Epoch Times

You’ve just arrived home from work and now you need to prepare dinner for your family. You look in the fridge, then the freezer, for inspiration but don’t see much that would make a great meal. What do you do?

That’s the premise of a new culinary competition TV show called “Pressure Cooker” that will start shooting on Aug. 15 in Toronto and air in October on W Network.

The brainchild of Jamie Oliver’s Fresh One Productions, “Pressure Cooker” is the first show to come from his partnership with Canadian indie producer Bristow Global Media founded by Julie Bristow, formerly of CBC.

The show aims to provide fresh and accessible meal ideas that anyone can use and will promote healthy eating as advocated by Oliver over the years.

Although this is a competition, the contestants are home cooks, not chef wannabes. One unique aspect of the show is that the meal must be prepared using grocery items selected from a conveyor belt that runs at timed intervals. The meal has to be prepared within a certain time frame and include all of the foods chosen from the conveyor.

In the first season, British food critic and columnist Giles Coren will taste the meals and pronounce a winner at the end of each show. Coren is reputed to be both arrogant and energetic, and his outspoken presence is sure to add some fun to the show.

A celebrity chef, who will help get the meal to the table plus add some game show-type antics of their own, will coach each cook. 

Some of the celeb chefs lined up so far include the renowned “MasterChef” judge Graham Elliot, who last year lost 68 kg after surgical removal of a large portion of his stomach, a procedure called a sleeve gastrectomy. 

Another is Canadian comedian/chef Nadia Giosa, host of the TV cooking shows “Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen” and “Bite This With Nadia G.” The sharp-witted Giosa will no doubt add her particular brand of humour to any kitchen malfunctions that occur during the show.

Also taking part is U.S. barbecue cook DJ BBQ, real name Christian Stevenson, the lively host of a cooking show on FoodTube. He had a radio series for over 10 years, and as his a name implies is a music DJ. Stevenson recently authored a BBQ cookbook endorsed by Oliver.

Montrealer Anne-Marie Withenshaw will host this kitchen commotion and keep the show running smoothly. Whithenshaw started her TV career on “MusicPlus” in 1998. She also hosted a music game show and a music news show.

Currently, she hosts “Guide Resto Voir,” a celebrity interview and restaurant guide show on the travel channel Évasion, and an English-language entertainment show on FM radio in Montreal.

Ten one-hour episodes of “Pressure Cooker” will be shot for season one.