Hardeep Singh Kohli is perhaps best known for his role as a reporter on the BBC TV's The One Show but he has also presented children's shows, writes regularly for Scotland on Sunday newspaper, has written a book and was runner up on the first series of Celebrity Masterchef. I had no idea what to expect from his live show, in truth I only bought the tickets as they were on offer for £5 as part of a promotion to get people into our local theatres!
The Nearly Naked Chef Tour 2010 runs during 2010 at various UK venues, I saw the show at the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes. It is a show that combines cookery, chat and comedy in a format that seems unique. We had front row tickets and when we arrived the stage was already set up for the show to begin, the set comprised of a cooking area with a table for preparation and a halogen stove with a camera projecting a close up of these areas onto a projector screen. There were also shelves of ingredients set up to make the stage look more like a kitchen.
When Hardeep came out it was interesting to see his costume, as usual he had a brightly coloured turban on but he was also wearing a T-shirt with "Up Yer Kilt" and a hand giving a V sign on it coupled with a blue kilt, sports socks and manky old trainers. A man in a kilt is normally a glorious sight but I thought that he could have made more of an effort, the kilt and t-shirt were un-ironed and had seen better days as had the trainers. I've got a feeling that this was the look he was trying to achieve but really it was not a good look, maybe he could have got his mammy to iron his clothes for him!
The show got underway and it was clear that Kohli had asked for suggestions from the audience about what he should cook. The first course ended up being a mango salad made with bean sprouts, fish sauce and various other ingredients. The cooking was accompanied with talk about Hardeep's experiences on Celebrity Master Chef which was interesting but involved a lot of name dropping, we all knew he was famous before he went on stage but talking about his ex assistant Joules or how he played poker with Jamie Oliver just sounded like he was showing off! After the dish was cooked then it was plated up and bowls passed into the audience to try some, I managed to get a taste and despite an incident with the fish sauce it was really good if very salty.
After the break it was time to cook a chicken curry and basmati rice. Now I love a curry and it was good to get some tips from a pro on how to cook a good one. The hall was filled with delicious smells as Hardeep talked about his Glasgow childhood and how he fell in love with food. It was hilarious hearing about how he and his cousin started an Indian restaurant in Glasgow in their late teens and how it fell flat on its face. This was the part of the show that was most enjoyable, very funny and Hardeep came across as very down to earth and likeable.
The great East/West divide was covered; now those reading might think that as an Asian Scot that Hardeep would talk about the divined between India and Scotland but the divide is one far closer to home namely the great Glasgow/ Edinburgh debate! As usual food was the topic of the evening with the great Scot's delicacy, the deep fried pizza up for discussion. Again, the cultural divide in the room was apparent when all those who loved the dish being Scots (including Hardeep) and my English born friend who accompanied us had never even tried one. Us Scots can batter and deep fry anything, well, we didn't get the reputation of the heart attack capital of Europe for nothing! Other items up for discussion included neds, racism and Edinburgh's snobbery, the humour was very Scottish and I wonder how it will go down when the show hits England and whether Sassenachs will appreciate it or not.
There was loads of banter between Hardeep and the audience during the show, there was one nutter in particular who just couldn't keep her big gob shut! Hardeep says he likes going out into the theatres so he can meet and talk to people and there was great warmth between him and the audience. After the show he signed copies of his book "Indian Takeaway" and of course my daughter insisted we bought one. Hardeep was also happy to pose for pictures and have a chat with the audience, he asked my daughter to follow him on twitter and leave him a message which she did and he left her a really nice response too. I'm looking forward to reading the book; I have enjoyed the articles written by Kohli in Scotland on Sunday newspaper and I'm looking forward to hearing more about his Glasgow childhood.
I really enjoyed the Nearly Naked Chef show, Hardeep Singh Kohli comes across as a proud Scot and a very warm and likeable guy with an infectious enthusiasm for life and I can forgive the odd bit of name dropping. The show was an odd mix of cooking and comedy but it was a combination that worked really well to give a really entertaining and amusing show.
For more information and tour dates for the Nearly Naked Chef Tour 2010 see