The Boiler Room: TV’s Hottest, Steamiest Cooking Competition



TV Preview – The Boiler Room : Live Final – 8pm. BBC5

There was a time, not too long ago, when TV cookery show fans thought that Masterchef  and The Great British Bake Off  were the last words in high pressure cooking. But that was before they had entered The Boiler Room.  Over the past 11 weeks, this highly enjoyable search to find Britain’s greatest boiler of food, has seen 100 hopefuls whittled down to a final 3 boilers, and tonight  the series reaches it’s bubbling, steamy climax.

There have been many thrills and (scalding hot) spills along the way, in this contest to find a pan-handler supreme, and whoever prevails will walk away with the prize of £50 and the chance to train in the kitchen of a large London school. But which one of the red-handed, sweaty-faced finalists will emerge victorious?

Will it be Sally, the supply teacher from Birmingham, who last week presented that spectacular array of Boiled  Assorted Coloured Pasta Shells?  Or maybe Tom, the accountant from Edinburgh with his exciting fusion style. His brave, tricky dish of a Soft Boiled Egg accompanied by a Hard Boiled Egg was original and inspired stuff. And then there’s the outsider and youngest of the finalists, 18 year old single mum from Doncaster, Chloe,  whose simple, classic approach has consistently impressed the judges. The reveal of  her Boil-In-The-Bag, Cod In Butter Sauce, in week 3 was one of the stand out moments of the series.

And let’s not forget the also-rans, like the sprightly 77 year old Archie, a widower from Wigan who, until 5 months ago, had never boiled anything in his life. The game pensioner decided to give it a go after his wife of  30 years passed away. Despite  his poignant back-story, and vibrant green, boiled savoy cabbage, from his own allotment,  Archie narrowly missed out on a place in the final, losing out to Sally’ s showstopper,  that magnificent Boiled Tinned Steak & Kidney Pudding with Boiled Frozen Peas, all done in the same pan! A dish, she says, she got the idea for, after a holiday in Scarborough.

No surprise then, that The Boiler Room has been commissioned for a second series, which is good news for the 15 million viewers who have tuned in week after week to watch the characters’ culinary exploits. It’s testament to the show’s ever watchable format that it has been inspiring people up and down the country to get their best pans out and start boiling food for themselves,  sparking many a lively discussion in homes and work places, in the process. What exactly are the correct methods and conditions required for the perfect boil?

Is it lid on or lid off? Gas or electric hob? And the most contentiously and hotly debated question of all, – should we boil the water before adding food, or boil the water with the food already in? It seems everyone has their own sworn-by techniques, tips and secrets handed down through the generations. But one thing I think we can all agree on, is that for whoever comes out on top, it will be a well earned, triumphant end to an emotional journey, when they’re crowned the King or Queen of – The Boiler Room.

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