I'm Obsessed with this British Cooking Show on Amazon Prime (Even Though the Food Sometimes ‘Tastes Like Rubbish’)

It's 2 a.m. on a Saturday and I’m watching James May, an English journalist and TV presenter, try to salvage his breakfast hash in a burnt frying pan. As he mixes the chunky boiled potatoes with broken bits of black pudding (a type of sausage made of pork’s blood and cereals), he utters, "This is one of the worst things I've ever seen." And I can’t help but agree. There’s nothing appetizing about the dark sausage and pale potatoes, but even so, May continues to stir this mixture as the camera zooms in for a close-up. I can’t help but wonder: Will that taste as awful as it looks?

I get my answer in a matter of seconds, after May takes his first bite with a fried egg and a few flakes of parsley. I can already tell from the look on his face, but without hesitation, he says his dish "tastes like rubbish," adding that viewers should not try this at home.

Readers, allow me to introduce you to Amazon Prime’s James May: Oh Cook, one of the most refreshing cooking shows you’ll ever see. It’s not your typical, run-of-the mill cooking series, where every single dish is Instagram-worthy and everything tastes perfect. Rather, it’s an unfiltered look at a newbie cook who’s looking to hone this skill through trial and error. Basically, you should add it to your streaming queue right now.

Though May makes it clear that he is no culinary expert, he does believe that he can get there by experimenting with different types of foods, whether it’s spam and ramen or smoked fish in rice. Fortunately, May isn’t left to his own devices when he attempts to make these treats. Home economist Nikki Morgan literally stands by in his pantry in case he needs some assistance when things get a bit challenging.

What makes this show especially satisfying to watch is May’s transparency. It’s incredibly refreshing to see a culinary show that centers on someone who isn’t well-versed in cooking. And it’s way more intriguing to see episodes where the end result isn’t always perfect, where the appliances sometimes refuse to cooperate and where foods accidentally get burned to a crisp (even though you swear they were fine just a second ago).

But as much as I love May’s dedication and blunt commentary, these weren't the only things that hooked me about the show. I’m also fascinated by May’s extensive knowledge of certain foods and their history. For instance, before watching this series, I had no idea that instant noodles helped millions of people survive in Japan after the second world war, or that black pepper has more complex notes in its flavor compared to white pepper, due to the burnt outer layer. I started this show expecting to see some variation of Netflix’s Nailed It!, but what I got was a unique cooking series that doubled as a fascinating history class, offering so many tidbits of information that made me look at certain foods differently.

Given that I flew through the entirety of season one in one sitting, I’d say that this show will appeal to everyone. Whether you’re a master in the kitchen or you struggle to put together the most basic meals, you’ll definitely learn something new after watching it. (And for the record, May has confirmed that he’ll be preparing even more treats in brand-new episodes coming to Amazon Prime.)

Purewow Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 Stars

On the surface, it feels like a silly show that centers on a mediocre cook, but there’s a whole lot more to the series than meets the eye. You’ll want to check this one out if you have a passion for all things food.

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nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...