Why you should be watching Big Zuu’s Big Eats
James R | On 10, Jul 2022
The only genre as prolific as celebrities going on holidays to places is celebrities eating food, and Dave – which previously served up Eat Your Heart Out with Nick Helm – has dished up a winning example with this charming series, which sees grime artist and chef Big Zuu cook for famous faces.
Season 1’s menu of touring comedians kicked off with Jimmy Carr, who was game for eating whatever Zuu could whip up – and game for making jokes about tax returns – but while they clearly enjoyed joking together, the real pleasure stemmed from seeing Zuu in the kitchen throwing together ingredients with a casual expertise, an amusing running commentary and one heck of a knack for flavours. Vegan kebabs and home-made fried chicken never looked so good.
A second helping inevitably followed and the unlikely but winnings how stuck to that recipe, cooking up a consistently tasty diversion. The show’s strength has remained the way that it uses food as a gateway to an interview that gives us an informal insight into each guest’s personality and life. TV presenter Maya Jama, part Swedish and part Somali, was the ideal bridge from the comedians of Season 1 to a wider group of celebrities – as well as James Acaster, the line-up also included Harry Redknapp. Jama, who has always been an amusing screen presence, gave an entertaining and affectionate account of growing up in Bristol – and wasn’t afraid to tell Big Zuu that she wasn’t a fan of something that he cooked, as the pair have been friends for years.
Zuu’s reactions to that kind of feedback is reason enough to tune in, as the likeable cook serves up an endearing mix of confidence and vulnerability – the show’s in its element when simply watching Zuu interact with anyone, particularly when he’s in the kitchen with mates Tubsey and Hyder. From Johnny Vegas to Mel B in Season 3, these interactions balance out the culinary flair with laidback charisma and a tangible sense of joy, as everyone involved in the production feels increasingly relaxed on camera, even as the food truck has gotten bigger and the budget has grown. The result is an unassuming and unforced cooking series blended with an understated, unassuming talk show that works just by being so natural.