“ Type: Comedy Clubs / Live Entertainment / Stand-Up „
I first noticed Hardeep Singh Kohli back in 2004, when the brilliantly funny Meet The Magoons was shown on Channel 4. Since then, his most well-known jobs have probably been as a presenter of various sections of The One Show and reaching the final of Celebrity Masterchef in 2006.
He is a writer, an actor, a TV presenter, a comedian and a great cook. He is 41, a Scottish Sikh known for his brightly coloured turbans and I think he's brilliant! (I also think he's very good looking and have a bit of a crush on him!!) So when I discovered he was coming to Bristol in his 2010 Nearly Naked Chef tour, I had to go and see him. Tickets cost £14 and he appeared at the Tobacco Factory last night.
The Tobacco Factory is an intimate theatre and we had great seats on the second row. The place was full and the ages of the audience ranged from around twenty to some in their seventies, I should think, so it was a good mix.
The set was intriguing as it was done out as a kitchen with shelves of ingredients, a fridge, a large table, various pots and pans and kitchen utensils. There was also a camera feed onto a back screen, so the audience could see what was happening in the pans. As the tour title suggests, there is food involved! Hardeep masterfully combines a great night of comedy with a wonderful cooking demonstration, which is both informative and lots of fun.
It would be incredibly hard not to like Hardeep. He looked rather eccentric in his lilac turban, navy kilt, socks, trainers and a 'Chic McSikh' T-shirt - but I thought it was great! He is charming, endearing, warm, a wonderful speaker and hits just the right note in his humour. He tells some stories about his encounters with racism in Britain and although these are moving and revealing, he doesn't tell them in a bitter way or a preachy way, but in an incredibly funny way. However, the audience also learns from these stories.
I could certainly relate too. He says how he often gets asked where he is from and replies "Glasgow" when they really mean "Where are your parents from?" or in other words, "Why are you that colour?" When I was married to my first husband, he was mixed race and we often had to deal with the "Where are you from?" question, when his answer was "Surrey"!
He was beautifully eloquent about his time in the Celebrity Masterchef final and his views on why he didn't win. This involved a very detailed mime of him putting his dessert into the Masterchef freezer. At one point, he realised he had left his invisible knife in the invisible freezer and had to mime taking it out again. (It was much funnier than how that sounds!)
We heard about his playing poker with Dexter Fletcher and Jamie Oliver, his first job in television and many anecdotes about his wonderful family and how he became interested in cooking. I can't promise you will hear all of these stories if you go to one of his shows though, as a lot of it seemed unscripted and when prompted by something from the audience, he would go into another interesting aside or funny tale.
He interacted beautifully with the audience too, as he would ask people questions. I had talked to him on Twitter quite a lot, so he asked if I was in the audience and told me he wanted to meet me afterwards!
It is incredibly refreshing to find someone who can entertain the way Hardeep does. He is full of great stories, yet they are never malicious or nasty. I think that by the end of the show, we all felt like he had nipped round to our house for a chat and a meal, he was so friendly and involving. His popularity was also evident by the amount of people who stayed behind afterwards to buy his book and meet him.
As for the cooking, he made a chicken curry with rice, which some of the audience got to sample (I didn't, being vegetarian) and all agreed was delicious. He also made a chutney out of random ingredients picked by audience members. He cooks different dishes over the tour and uses local produce too. If you contact him via his website, he will try to include ingredients you suggest.
I enjoy cooking myself and found I also learned quite a bit from his demonstration, including the perfect way to make rice, so it doesn't stick. (I'll be trying this later.) There were lots of helpful hints and tips throughout and the audience could also ask questions, which he happily answered. You can tell he is passionate about his food and genuinely loves cooking, but he is not the kind of pompous cook who believes in 'nouveau cuisine' and elitism; this is good, tasty, down-to-earth food and the smell of the spices cooking was divine!
I expected to enjoy the evening, as I think he's great anyway. My husband though, just went along to make me happy. He has enjoyed some of the work Hardeep has done over the years, but I don't think he would have called himself a fan, the way I do. Last night changed all that. Hubby loved it as much as I did! He was laughing out loud a lot and we both had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. We both said we will definitely try to see him again, once he's back near us.
After the show, we stayed to meet him and get his book signed. I also had a photo taken with him and got two kisses. What a lovely man. I sent him a message on Twitter afterwards to say how much we had enjoyed his show and he replied, saying it had been lovely to meet me.
The 2010 Nearly Naked Chef tour continues throughout the year. Check his website to see if he is coming to a venue near you and if he is, go and see him. You'll have a great evening out!
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 March and April 2010 at various dates during the UK, I saw the show at Glenrothes on 19 March. 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