04 December 2006

Cooking shows in France

Both of us like to cook and both of us like to watch cooking shows on TV. They are often on in the background, but sometimes we sit down and really pay attention to them.

One of the nice things about the cooking shows nowadays is that you can often go to the Internet and look up the recipes for dishes you see the cooks and chefs prepare on TV.

We used to have two cooking channels on our cable system, Cuisine.TV and another one, the name escapes me, that was run or owned by the famous chef Joël Rebuchon. Rebuchon's channel went off the air a year or so ago. BBC Prime, which is the BBC's entertainment channel for Europe and the Middle East, also shows a few cooking shows every week.

Cuisine.TV shows a dozen or more French cooking shows but also runs a lot of shows from the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Canada (Québec, that is). For example, it runs a lot of British cooking star Jamie Oliver's shows.

The first shows of Jamie's that were shown in France were perfectly dubbed in French. That wasn't too bad, even if it took some getting used to. The French actor's voice was actually really well synchronized with Jamie's mouth movements.

Later, the truly dubbed versions were replaced by what I call over-dubbed versions of Jamie Oliver's shows and others. Over-dubbing is surely a less expensive, less time-consuming process that involves laying down a French soundtrack on top of the original English soundtrack to carry the translated script. In other words, rather than hearing Jamie Oliver speak French, what you hear is Jamie speaking English is the background and a slightly louder French narrator reading a translation of the patter in the audio foreground.

Well, that's very annoying. If you didn't speak English much or at all, I suppose it could be okay. If you speak English but not French, it's irritating not to be able to hear the background track, which is Jamie Oliver (or another host) speaking his native language, very clearly. When you speak both English and French, you end up not being able to focus on or hear either soundtrack as well as you'd like to.

Here's a sample. The video isn't very good because I'm shooting pictures of the TV screen with a digital camera, but it gives you the flavor:

One Cuisine.TV show that we (and some special friends of ours in California) really enjoy is called Le Menu d'Eric. It's hosted by a chef named Eric Léautey, assisted by a woman named Anne Allegrini. Anne is Eric's foil. He is teaching her how to cook, more or less, and she represents the target audience of the show, I assume.

Are you watching, John and Candy?


  1. If I remember correctly, John really appreciated what Anne brought to the show...

  2. It's amazing how clear your videos are and the sound is excellent. The show with two sound tracks is quite annoying. You'd think that the producers would just eliminate the English and go with the French.

    I like the French cooking show. Cooking might be a good way to learn french since there are so many visual cues for the vocabulary.

  3. Don't know if John has seen this yet, but I am sure that his interest in "caviar et creme" will suddenly increase.

    What fun to view French cooking shows from here! I love the Jamie Oliver en francais aussi.



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