If you liked the BBC’s Two Fat Ladies, you’ll love the newest incarnation, The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook. Two friends, foodies and bike aficionados, travel the world on their customized bikes, cook their version of local specialties and crack up viewers with their dead-pan, dry humour. In a recent episode, these two Northern English lads find themselves in Romania preparing Langosi (a type of buckwheat enhanced pancake- sweet OR savoury) on the top of a government building. While Simon King (the blonde one) makes a chocolate sauce for his sweet pancake, he peppers conversation with comments like “Look at that! It’s smoother than a motorcyclist’s leathers!” On the former dictator’s monstrous palace, David Myers offers, “This looks to me like a cross between the Palace of Versailles and a council house. Not a lot of love in it.”
From shucking fresh oysters in Ireland to crafting their own mole in Mexico, these easy-going, down-to-earth guys engage viewers with their love of food, their candid observations and their effortless banter. These are not pretty boys by any means, but home-grown blokes with hearty dispositions (read: they LIKE their food). Both worked in the TV/Film industry, Simon as a First Assistant Director on the Harry Potter’s movies and David as an F/X make up artist. One day, over a pint or three, they got the brilliant idea to take their passion (bikes, travel and food) and pitch it to the BBC. The rest as they say, is TV history, this being their second season of the show. Both agree that they “can’t believe” they get paid to do what they do (lucky chaps! How I’d LOVE a similar opportunity, sans bikes though).
The friends have motored their way through Portugal, Namibia, throughout the UK, Transylvania and Turkey to name a few, all the while meeting locals, picking their own herbs, mushrooms and buying local products from nearby markets/farmers. Ah, but it’s not all food, friends and bikes. In Transylvania the boys visited the local spa and covered themselves in the local therapeutic mud. A bout of hilarity ensues when they pose for “the money shot”- two “badly shaped Buddhas” in green, Eastern European Speedos, covered in black mud baking in the sun. It’s worth the price of admission. Now if we could only make shows like that in North America! These guys have a blast, see the world, cook and mix with locals without any unnecessary “drama” – the kind that plagues most American TV food shows and causes me to glaze over after one episode. Here in Canada, you can catch the boys on BBC Canada. And thank goodness for that!
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!
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