Would you be brave enough to let a camera crew observe what happens in your kitchen? The family meals and everything that entails, the cooking disasters, the things you forgot at the back of the fridge...
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we live, laugh and love. And it’s central to one of the most powerful traditions in modern life – the family meal. In Secrets of The Kitchen, a three-part documentary series, we spend time in the kitchens of eight very different households in their kitchens. From food fights to detox diets, tight budgets, family dramas and discussions of religion over a tray of low-fat lasagne, its all here. Watch it Thursdays 3.25pm Thursdays on SBS then on SBS On Demand.
Below are the eight families who have opened their homes - but first, here's a sneak peek:
The Mitchell Cotts
A happy chaos reigns in the Mitchell Cotts’ country cottage; home to Hamish and Merlyn, their six children who are all named after plants, and a menagerie of ducks, geese, cats and rabbits. In between playing on the Canadian stock-market, Hamish is responsible for all the cooking and meals are heavily influenced by his travels around Italy and South America. But despite being the son of a baronet, Hamish’s family are on a very tight budget, spending just £100 ($160) a week on food. To make ends meet, they shop at discount supermarkets, while the kids scrump vegetables from farmers’ fields.
Pensioners Wilfred and Marylyn married 50 years ago after a whirlwind romance which started at the button factory where they worked. They’re very particular about their typically English diet and their routine; lunch must always be at 12:30pm and dinner at 5:30pm. Wilfred is also insistent on a four day rotation of breakfasts. Once a pastry chef, Marylyn is an expert when it comes to making pies and they feature heavily on their menus with dinner usually consisting of a meat pie, mash and gravy. Occasionally Wilfred will decide to help out, but that can lead to clashes in the kitchen.
Single mother, Sue, and 21-year-old daughter, Ginny, are a double act in the kitchen – with each of them believing they know best when it comes to healthy eating and bringing up 10-year-old Gabriel. Sue is constantly thinking about eating and has tried ‘’every diet under the sun’’, while Ginny is obsessed by how food looks. Forever on the quest to lose weight, they have an unconventional approach to dieting, including mixing wine with fizzy drinks and dipping carrot sticks in chocolate as a ‘healthy treat’. Sue’s a big believer in positive thinking and after saying grace at the dinner table each night everyone takes turns to discuss their ‘pits’ and ‘peaks’ of the day.
Lucy Garbutt works in marketing and PR for a luxury travel operator and her husband, Alasdair is a solicitor. They are passionate about feeding their three children a healthy, organic diet. As much as possible they like to live off the land; they grow vegetables on their allotment, catch their own fish, hunt for pheasant and often get fresh cuts of meat from Lucy’s father’s ‘hobby farm’. Theirs is a very lively kitchen with children, Archie, 12, Harry 9 and Daphne, 7, encouraged to get involved with the cooking. There’s always some activity going on at the kitchen table – whether it’s Lucy hosting the local book club, or the children working on an art project. They recently bought two ferrets and are also looking after two puppies for friends.
Amar is head of the family and head chef in the Harrar household, and a man with a passion for Punjabi food and kitchen gadgets. His latest acquisition is a crepe maker which he uses for making dosai. His wife, Bel, usually takes on the role of sous chef, except when it comes to her children’s birthdays when she still insists on baking cakes in the shape of dinosaurs and hedgehogs – even though they are all grown up. Sons Jas, 29, and Gian, 22, still live at home, while their daughter Nikki lives nearby and regularly comes to stay with her baby. Amar has Parkinson’s disease and is currently experimenting with food to see if it improves his condition.
The Clapham Boys
Xanthi, Matt and Dave are flatmates and best friends who work in digital marketing and advertising sales. Xanthi and Matt are self-confessed fitness fanatics who always opt for low-calorie, low-fat produce, but when their backs are turned Dave’s more likely to venture into the fast food aisles for his beloved fried chicken fix. And despite a ban on ‘’sweet treats’’ in the house, at weekends they’re all likely to ‘cheat’ and late night drunken cooking often takes place when they get back from the pub with girlfriends and boyfriends in tow.
The Barry/Powers are a blended family with stay-at-home Mum, Louise, warehouse worker dad, Lee, and their five children aged 8 to 19. Dinner time staples include sausages and chips, or a selection of frozen meals. Their budget is tight, but Louise is determined to give the children whatever they want, even though it often means cooking two types of chips as one child only eats French fries and another only eats fat chips. The whole family always sit down to eat together to share the ups and down of their days.
There are no fussy eaters in the Gale household. Having founded a successful family business hiring out construction equipment, dad Simon has stepped back from the company and made the kitchen his new domain. He likes to experiment with their food and will cook everything and anything, using the finest ingredients. The family always eat at the kitchen table where everyone enjoys unwinding with one (or three!) alcoholic drinks. They are a very open household and no conversations are off limits, especially when it comes to relationships. The motto on their kitchen wall reads "We do love, we do mistakes, we do second chances and we do family".
Secrets Of The Kitchen takes us into the homes of eight families to reveal what really happens in the kitchen. This three-part documentary airs 3.25pm Thursdays on SBS then on SBS On Demand.