Saturday, September 12, 2020

Still Life with Robin: Delicious!

by Peggy Robin

If I could go anywhere and do anything  in the world right now – instead of keeping my distance from everyone and anyone now and for so many months to come – my dream trip would be to Cornwall, England, where there’s a spectacularly situated hotel by the sea, featuring a Michelin rated restaurant run by the greatest Italian chef in England….and quite possibly the world. Every night, it’s another eye-popping, mouth-watering multi-course feast.

There’s just one trouble with this dream of mine, and it’s not the pandemic, it’s not the expense or the time it would require to get away – it’s that the hotel and the restaurant do not exist in real life. They are the fictional centerpiece of a TV series now showing on PBS called “Delicious.”  

Well, I shouldn’t say the hotel and restaurant are entirely imaginary. The show is filmed at a real location in Cornwall – Pentillie Castle – but it’s not a hotel. If you really want to stay there, you will need to rent out the entire place for a wedding or some other special event. So you might as well do what I’ve be doing, and enjoy its fictional doppleganger, the Penrose Hotel, the setting for the complicated romantic and epicurean adventures of the members of the two families (Bonelli and Vincent) who are the main characters of the story.  

I don’t want to tell you too much about these talented, passionate, charming, infuriating, and at the same time endearing individuals, as I think you will prefer to learn about them as their stories unfold. I will just say, they seem so alive in the series, it’s easy to forget they are made-up people. Even when they’re at their worst, and you are starting to feel you’ve had it up to here with them, you may still feel you will never get enough of this lush and sensual seaside locale. So very different from the strangled, restricted and shut-in world which now constitutes our socially distanced and isolated city in the midst of a pandemic.  

And the food! I’ve watched a lot of cooking shows in my time, but there’s never been a series to give such a rich, appetizing, inviting window into the making serving, and consuming of food. You don’t need Smell-O-Vision; when you watch the food scenes in “Delicious,” the neurons in the part of your brain that process smell will be firing as if you are right there on the set. And as I understand from my reading about the show, in most cases the TV crew members were able to enjoy the feasts right after the filming was done. Unlike most food shown on TV, the food wasn’t pumped up with non-food additives to make it photograph better under TV lights. On the odd occasion a dish would be given a light brush of oil to make it shine – but in most cases the dishes were presented just as they were prepared by the real chefs hired for the series.  

Doesn’t that sound tempting? You can binge-watch the entire series (three seasons of four episodes each, for a total of twelve 45-minute shows) if you have Acorn TV (available through Amazon Prime), or you can tape the shows as they air on PBS (but you’ll need to check the schedule and see if the series will repeat from the beginning; it’s already in the middle of season two.) Or you can buy individual episodes or whole seasons through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B071L9KMP7/ref=atv_dp_season_select_s1. Or you can buy the DVDs through PBS.org: https://shop.pbs.org/XB3292.html  

I give it five stars!



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Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.  

2 comments:

  1. And it stars Dawn French - AbFab, French & Saunders, Vicar of Dibley - she is wickedly funny. I'm so glad you posted this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just finished watching it tonight. Such good characters, wonderful
    writing and acting — and, yes, beautiful landscape.

    ReplyDelete