Cooking With

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Cooking With...
Cooking with.png
Genre: Factual / Educational
Broadcast: 1997-1998
Producer(s): Rob Sprowson

Cooking With... was fronted by Rob Sprowson and Matt Lyon.

The first series was filmed in their Langwith college kitchen and was originally broadcast in Term 2 of the 1996/7 academic year, consisting of 6 shows.

Following the success of series one, a second series was filmed at the end of Term 3 in 1997. These programmes were broadcast during the 1997/8 academic year. Record dates (according to Tapelog) are shown below.


Each programme completed the phrase "Cooking With..." in a single word, where available recipes for these shows have been reproduced:

Recurring themes

A handful of sub themes appear, mainly as means for one of the presenters to provoke a reaction from the other. They are

  • Hairy carrots (carrots scraped rather than peeled)
  • Low cost supermarket ingredients ("they're not onions, they're little carrier bags of water")
  • Lard
  • Recipes with too much or too little detail (ingredients measured in handfuls, or mixtures of imperial and metric units)


All archived shows were recorded with a two camera setup using the Panasonic MS4 as a genlock source and Panasonic F10 as a genlocked slave. In Cooking with Chocolate the camera wasn't genlocked properly leading to a blue tint, this wasn't spotted during recording due to the use of a black and white preview monitor. Subsequent recordings took a colour preview as insurance!

Sound was recorded with a directional microphone rather than using tie clip microphones, and the vision was mixed by Tim Hackett in the 7 normal format shows. Because the mixer had to be squashed into the cramped kitchen no camera comms were used and the camera operators (usually Tim Pollard and Helen Rix) were left to frame their own shots.

Pancam testing

Mixed footage was then passed through one more stage of processing. A Timeclock was first recorded onto a blank MMatic tape followed by the opening titles, then the source SVHS tape lined up to about 10s before the action started, a fake 'in' point was set and the two players left to free run - sometimes leading to a slightly long pause after the end of the titles.

For Cooking with Chocolate a mini black and white pinhole camera was used to film the beating together of ingredients. Of course this was actually recorded earlier and the 'pancam' view simply edited over the main soundtrack.

Overlaid graphics came from a Commodore Amiga, which at the time was only equipped with a floppy drive. This meant that the closing titles had to be loaded one page at a time, and due to the graphical backdrop this also meant loading the backdrop too. For this reason the closing credits could often reach 3 minutes - enough time to load all of the pages and usually play the chosen track in full.

For some reason Chocolate, Frogs and Lard were dubbed to SVHS in 2001, however the complete set remain on MMatic.


Goldfish in the opening titles

The goldfish which are fried in the opening titles belonged to Katherine James, who also appeared on camera in Cooking with Company.

A number of the overlayed recipes contain small spelling mistakes, even a potatoe slipped through the proof reading.

Strictly speaking there were 9 episodes recorded, as Cooking with Beer was recorded twice and the two different versions broadcast. The first recording used two recorders but no vision mixer, and were edited together unsynchronised leading to tape roll whenever cutting between shots. The first recording was deleted, and only the newer recording remains - evidence for this is a 'new format' beginning where the name of the show and its presenters is introduced before the opening titles (as was the vogue on BBC Television at the time).

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Series • Events Coverage • One-offs