Broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli brought his comedy cooking show to town and left his audience feeling fully satisfied.
Walking on to the stage on Friday night, the TV and radio presenter wore his trademark turban and kilt, rounding off his appearance with a T-shirt, thick socks and trainers. Anybody who wears this get-up must have a story to tell, and so Hardeep does... plenty of stories which kept his audience spellbound for two hours.
Hardeep regaled us with tales about his childhood, about his journey into Grantham that day and about Indian cooking...It took about three-quarters of an hour before he lifted any cooking utensils in the ‘kitchen’ on the stage behind him. The idea of the show, called Indian Takeaway, is for Hardeep to cook an authentic Indian meal while at the same time order, live on stage, an Indian takeaway. Members of the audience are then invited on to the stage to taste Hardeep’s creation and the takeaway while blindfolded and compare the two.
His talent as a cook is not under any doubt, as Hardeep took part in the first Celebrity Masterchef series and was runner-up. It was more revealing how he dealt with a live audience and he is clearly comfortable on the stage.
His stories of how he grew up facing incidents of racism every day were a fascinating insight into his life, but he is so relaxed about it that it does not darken the mood of the show. His stories about his family (his brother Sanjeev is a star in Scotland where he plays a role in a TV soap), the origins of Indian cooking and Anglo-Indian relations had us gripped.
In the weeks leading up to the show, the members of the audience are invited to name their favourite takeaway from which Hardeep should order his meal. Bindi won the day and owner Muhammed later walked on to the stage with Hardeep’s order. At the end of the show three members of the audience gave both Bindi’s and Hardeep’s meals the thumbs up, but Hardeep’s, a vindaloo, was given the better mark out of 10.
Hardeep’s banter with the audience often provided the funniest moments of the show and while many shows with lots of audience participation can have you sitting on edge, here it was almost like having a friend round for a chat and a cup of tea.
Hardeep is most definitely welcome back to Grantham. I hope he takes up the invitation.