Ready Steady Cook

Ready Steady Cook

Infobox Television
show_name = Ready Steady Cook

caption =
format = Cookery Game show
picture_format = 4:3 (1994 - 2000) 16:9 (2001 - present)
runtime = 45 minutes
creator =
starring = Fern Britton (1994 - 2000) Ainsley Harriott (2000 - present)
channel = BBC Two (Original series) BBC One (Celebrity specials)
first_aired = 24 October, 1994 - present (Original series)
last_aired = 11 July, 1997 - 3 January, 2003 (Celebrity specials)
num_series =
num_episodes = 1500+ (Original series) 102 (Celebrity specials)
country = UK
producer = Endemol
related =
imdb_id =

"Ready Steady Cook" is a BBC daytime TV cooking programme first aired in 24 October, 1994. The programme was hosted by Fern Britton from 1994 until 2000 when celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott became the new host. The present duration of the programme is 45 minutes.

Since the programme started until the Summer of 2008, the show had been recorded for the BBC in the Capital Studios in London. However the Capital Studios closed down in mid-2008 and so recording of new episodes of "Ready Steady Cook" will now take place in Studio TC3 in the BBC Television Centre, London.

Basic format

Two members of the public, or occasionally sporting or other celebrities, provide two celebrity chefs with a bag of ingredients they have bought, usually to a set budget of £5. The two teams are designated "red tomato" and "green pepper" (referred to as "red kitchen" and "green kitchen" after the August 2007 revamp, though the tomato and pepper motifs still feature on the guests' aprons, and in the show's logo). Occasionally the permitted budget is increased: a so-called Bistro Bag allows for ingredients of up to £7.50, while the Gourmet Bag may have a value of up to £10. On some occasions, they have used a £3.50 Budget Bag. Also on a few shows, a Lucky Dip Bag was used. It contained ten food items. The chef with closed eyes picked out half of the items at the beginning. At the halfway mark, the chef randomly picked a sixth item. The sixth item could help or hinder the chef. It is implied that the chefs have no prior knowledge of the ingredients they will have to prepare, although it is unknown whether this is the case or not.

In more recent times there have been more celebrity guests than members of the general public.

The Main Course

The chefs proceed to make several dishes out of the said ingredients (and a generously stocked kitchen containing basic ingredients and spices), in 20 minutes, with the help of the contestants and the programme host. As the contestants taste the prepared dishes, the host asks the chef some questions about the food. Prior to the September 2006 programme season it was customary for the chefs to name their dishes, which usually included a pun. Naming of the dishes continues to take place.

The creations are voted on by the studio audience, who hold up a card showing either a red tomato or green pepper to represent each of the teams. The winner receives a cash prize of £100, which celebrity guests donate to charity (an example the regular guests will sometimes follow). The runner-up receives a hamper which includes a variety of items, such as a set of knives, pasta and sauces, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

A new set was introduced on 27 August 2007 and the cards used to conduct the vote were replaced with handsets. The prizes were also changed, the winner now being awarded a plate and the loser a mug.

Quickie bag

The quickie bag section of the show then follows. This was introduced in 2000, the same year Ainsley Harriott became presenter, extending the programme to 45 minutes. The contents of the quickie bag used to be decided on by the series producer and a home economist. Their decision was based on produce that is currently in season or unusual ingredients that haven't featured on the show recently.

In late August 2007, the quickie bag changed format with the bag being brought in by an organisation, company or public member who challenge the chefs to prepare the dish.

The two chefs each get a chance to describe what they would cook using the bag of ingredients. The audience members vote for which chef they would most like to see cook. The winner then has 10 minutes to prepare the described dishes, with the help of the other chef and the host. The hectic preparation of the chosen chef's suggested dishes often includes a slight element of chaos and ad-libbing along the way. A viewer's question relating to a cooking problem is usually put to the chefs, further adding to the pressure upon them to complete their dishes in the time allowed.


Each programme lasts forty five minutes and the show is aired five times per week on the BBC Two channel (usually from 1630hrs-1715hrs). Repeats of the show are sometimes shown on UKTV Food. During the winter break the show's time slot is occupied by Food poker.

Current Ready Steady Cook Chefs

* Gino D'Acampo
* Garrey Dawson
* Alex Mackay
* Nick Nairn
* Paul Rankin
* James Tanner
* Tony Tobin
* Brian Turner
* Phil Vickery
* Lesley Waters
* Richard Phillips
* Sophie Michell (guest chef)
* Levi Roots (guest chef)

Former Chefs

*Richard Cawley
*Patrick Anthony
*Mark Gregory
*Alastair Little
*Valentina Harris
*Thane Prince
*Anthony Tobin
*Kevin Woodford
*Anthony Worrall Thompson
*Michael Barry
*James Martin
*Ross Burden
*Ainsley Harriot (Now Presenter Since 2000)

ee also

*Ready.. Set... Cook! - US Television series
*Ready Steady Cook - Australian Television series
*La Prova Del Cuoco - Italian version of these series

External links

*|id=food/tv_and_radio/readysteadycook_index.shtml|title="Ready Steady Cook"
* [ "Ready Steady Cook"] at

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