Sharp-eyed viewers of Gordon Ramsay’s new cookery show, Next Level Chef, have noticed similarities with a Netflix horror film called The Platform. What other horrors might inspire TV cooking formats?
In the chef’s reality TV show, contestants cook in three different kitchens which are stacked on top of each other like a plate of Jenga chips in the Noughties. A central table of ingredients starts at the top kitchen and descends through the levels like a dumb waiter. Chefs in each tier have thirty seconds to grab their grub before the platform drops down. The fortunate chefs in the highest kitchen gets the pick of the best products and the bottom feeders are left with the scraps.
In The Platform, prisoners are stacked in multi-layer cells centred around a descending platform. Those on the top level can gorge themselves on a banquet of fine food that rapidly diminishes as the platform passes down through the layers. Those on the lower layers starve to death or start to look at one another as lunch rather than cellmates.
The Platform is a clever horror that provokes uncomfortable questions about equality and over consumption. Next Level Chef does none of that but it does beg the question: what other horror films could inspire a new TV cooking format?
Hone your knife skills
From the Friday 13 films to various Halloweens via the Scary Movie franchise, plenty of slashers make knife skills a prominent feature. However, the whole mask thing would make it difficult to tell the competitors apart.
Our primitive fear of being eaten drives many a spine-tingler. Of course, there is no need to go as far as building a format around the old school video nasty Cannibal Holocaust. Sweeney Todd is out for similar reasons. However, why not reach beyond the pointless jeopardy of most competitive cooking programmes and introduce some real danger?
Food to die for
Something Jaws-themed would give the producers something to chew over. The contestants all tip their finished dishes in a pool filled with ravenous sharks while the film soundtrack plays in the background. If the sharks don’t touch one of the contestants’ dishes then they have to dive in the pool to retrieve it.
Kubrick film The Shining should be a shoe-in as a cooking show vehicle. The original film already has lots of reality TV tropes. The characters are trapped in a cursed, snowbound hotel which causes them to question their sanity. Much like time-pressured contestants sweating under the lights of a locked studio kitchen.
Famously played by Jack Nicholson, Jack Torrance, the central character, is a swivel-eyed madman who shouts a lot and tries to intimidate everyone. A cliché that should not be a big problem for casting. Torrance’s madness begins to reveal itself when he spends days filling reams of paper by repeatedly typing the line ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. A sentiment shared by many a lowly commis chef anticipating another day prepping veg.
Contestants get the axe
Feature image credit: ITV