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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Jamie's Kitchen: Complete Series
Jamie's Kitchen: Complete Series
Capital Entertainment // Unrated // May 10, 2005
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 24, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Movie:

The world of cooking is intense, to say the least. Culinary school is intensely competitive, suppliers have to be dealt with, customers are picky, sanitation standards always have to be kept in mind and finally, kitchens are a tough, hot place to work, there are long hours and the "society" already set-up in the kitchen is sometimes difficult to break into. For a fascinating account of life in a restaurant, I'd recommend checking out Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential".

Not long ago, Jamie Oliver ("The Naked Chef") had an idea for a challenge: recruit a small group of unemployed Londoners who had no previous experience in cooking to run Oliver's new restaurant. Given what I know about cooking and what knowledge I have of the industry (although sanitation laws may vary in London), the whole thing sounded impossible to me.

Those who found the US series "The Restaurant" too scripted will definitely find more to appreciate with "Jamie's Kitchen". Oliver isn't the yeller that fellow chef Gordon Ramsay is (see the upcoming "Hell's Kitchen" series), but he is extremely honest with the trainees, and it's not long before he encounters some serious problems (not showing up, etc.) with several of them.

"Jamie's Kitchen" is fascinating viewing, simply because Oliver has stacked the decks so hard against himself. Beyond the restaurant issues and training his new chefs, he also has to deal with his other business work and the fact that his girlfriend is expecting. There's a lot of tension present, but I liked that the show doesn't gain tension by turning up the volume. In other words, the suspense isn't from yelling, it's that I think most viewers will genuinely want to see Oliver succeed. Overall, this is a compelling, smart and highly enjoyable reality series.

The series includes all of the episodes as aired on the Food Network, along with 2 additional follow-up episodes.


The DVD

VIDEO: This is the first release I've seen from Captial Entertainment and, if this release is any indication, I definitely look forward to new releases from the studio. The picture quality of the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation varies slightly, but is never less than very good. Sharpness and detail are often fantastic, as the picture appeared crisp and detailed. Although a couple of shots look softer than the rest, there were many moments that looked absolutely crystal clear.

The presentation really didn't suffer from any very noticable concerns. A little bit of shimmering was visible in a few instances, but it was extremely slight (some chef's hats with patterns shimmered, for example, which was fairly understandable.) No pixelation or edge enhancement was spotted. Colors were bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other concerns. Overall, this was a terrific presentation - although not quite flawless, it looks like care was put into making the show look very good.

SOUND: The show's soundtrack was basic, but perfectly acceptable, considering what kind of show this is. Dialogue remained crisp and clear, as did music and ambient sounds.

EXTRAS: Nothing.

Final Thoughts: "Jamie's Kitchen" is a highly entertaining series that chronicles the immense pressures involved in Oliver's challenge of recruiting young people with no cooking experience to run his restaurant. Fresh, honest and well done, this reality series is highly recommended.

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