REVIEW: ‘Crazy Delicious’ But, Only A Little

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Crazy DeliciousOriginally produced for Channel 4 Television by Optomen, Crazy Delicious recently found a home in the United States as a Netflix original series. In each of its six episodes, three home cooks compete against one another to please the “gods,” three world-renowned chefs amidst a magical-fairyesque forest set and theme. Hosted by Jayde Adams, Chefs Carla Hall, Heston Blumenthal, and Niklas Eksted determine the contestants’ fates over three rounds of challenges: The Magic Ingredient, The Reinvention, and The Final Feast.

On paper, Crazy Delicious isn’t anything special. The format of the competition isn’t unique or anything. What the show does to try to stand out from the plethora of cooking competitions out there is it tries to use this magical forest theme to create a fantasy narrative and then the competitors are expected to plate their dishes to fit this theme. Or, did they all just design dishes to fit the theme because how could they not when surrounded by giant mushrooms, painted-on clouds, and a giant forest-garden for foraging?

Unfortunately, the potentially fun and endearing theme feels somewhat squandered. Each episode starts with Jayde making some kind of joke and then taking a bite of an object that looks non-edible but in fact is in a Willie Wonka’s factory kind of way. The show’s intro then goes on to explain how the show takes place in this edible forest and in the first maybe 30 seconds of each round, contestants have to go forage for their ingredients in the forest. It all sounds so fun.

But it all lasts a cumulative 80 seconds per episode. You never get to see this whole enchanted forest behind the cooking stations. The foraging, which would be such a cool part of the contest, is a pre-timer event that you only see seconds-long clips of if at all. There’s this whole huge garden, apparently, that we just never get to see and its such a shame. If the show embraced this aspect more, making the foraging part of the competition and exploration of the set a part of the cinematography, it would enhance the show significantly.

I take no umbrage at the show for clearly allowing the contestants to know in advance what they plan to make for each dish. That’s a perfectly valid way to run a cooking competition. It just feels jarring how in a supposedly magical forest where you must forage for your ingredients, that absolutely any ingredients or appliances they want, they always have. It’s not that they have access to cotton candy machines or wild boar that jars me, it’s that the show gives you the illusion that the competitors are foraging, but can also use literally anything they want in their dishes and presentation.

Crazy Delicious

The actual cooking and competition are perfectly fun. I love the fact that the first round is based on just a single food item and the contestants have the freedom to make anything they like just as long as the primary feature is that item. The second round, reinventing a classic food, is also really fun. The end results don’t always feel like complete reinventions necessarily, but they are certainly fun to see regardless. The final feasts are also usually fun, creative spectacles. For amateurs, the contestants are definitely impressive and almost never disappoint, delivering dishes that I could never replicate myself, but that I am always excited to see more of. They’re also all generally pleasant and nice to watch for 45 minutes.

I quite like the judges in Crazy Delicious. They are all really impressive chefs with vast knowledge and insight to give in every conversation and judgment. They are also just really nice and encouraging, which I significantly prefer over the caricature of high-end chefs you often see on TV. I especially love Niklas, who has this just adorable sense of awe and wonder about literally everything; it’s just really fun to watch him, as well as Carla and Heston.

Frustratingly, the production of Crazy Delicious feels like it’s painted host Jayde Adams into a corner. When she is off-script and just chatting or comforting the contestants, she’s great, funny, and what I like in a reality show host. When she’s scripted though, the show just forces her to make somewhat cringy sexual jokes and just come off as weird. She’s also literally only given one outfit for the whole show. It just feels like the show scripted her as a caricature of a fat woman and it’s obviously not her actual personality. This in conjunction with the show’s failure to capitalize on its thematic potential makes it impossible to fully enjoy what could otherwise be a great show.

Crazy Delicious is a really great idea for a show that just doesn’t meet its potential. If a future season leaned into the whimsical, magical forest theme and made foraging for ingredients a key part of the competition, it would easily elevate the show significantly. As it is though, the show remains enjoyable with great judges, great creations, and a lackluster presentation.


Crazy Delicious
  • 6.5/10
    Rating - 6.5/10
6.5/10

TL;DR

Crazy Delicious is a really great idea for a show that just doesn’t meet its potential. If a future season leaned into the whimsical, magical forest theme and made foraging for ingredients a key part of the competition, it would easily elevate the show significantly. As it is though, the show remains enjoyable with great judges, great creations, and a lackluster presentation.