A little cooking show hidden away in a strange ABC timeslot, Posh Nosh might escape attention, except for one thing. This is no ordinary celebrity chef show. Simon and Minty Marchmont (the fictional restaurateurs played by Richard E. Grant and Arabella Weir) are a couple in a loving marriage, of sorts. The less posh Minty loves the reflected social status she gains as Simon’s wife, and Simon just loves men.
Together, they present the recipes of their imagined restaurant, the Quill and Tassel. In each 10-minute show, the couple present extremely ordinary recipes chopped up in Minty’s ridiculous language. She might suggest completely exasperating currants for three to six months, or hob-heating milk soup?s till they enquire. For his part, Simon focuses on the wine and his long list of male suppliers -“ whom he refers to individually as my man.
Withnail And I and Gosford Park’s Richard E Grant plays Simon’s homosexuality straight -“ his performance is as underdone as most of the Quill and Tassel’s recipes. While it is never specifically stated, he often refers to his resentment at his marriage and to the beautiful boys he encounters while shopping for the perfect ingredients. As he says in the Quill and Tassel recipe for Bread AND Butter pudding: We do our currant run in early May, when the mimosa is just out, the hotels half-empty and the boys are just starting to put their shorts back on.
It’s hard to tell who is the straight man in this comic coupling. Watching Grant’s Simon refer to a favourite wine as gold, like God’s wee-wee is as queer, in the old sense of the word, as hearing Weir’s Minty describe the interrogation of fat-lipped mussels before they are thrilled in hot bubbled water for two Eurominutes.
Posh Nosh is 10 minutes of the campest and cleverest comedy on television right now. And without meaning offence to those who dedicate their working lives to producing high-quality programs of the genre, Posh Nosh is also the funniest and best-crafted cooking show since SBS’s Japanese series Iron Chef, which is unfortunately coming to an end this week.
Info Posh Nosh screens on ABC TV Friday nights @ 9:50pm.