I take issue with a lot of TV chefs. I don't think it's any coincidence that a country as obsessed with watching cooking on television as Britain is is also a country where the vast majority of people can't or won't cook.
There's a massive preponderance of TV chefs, and their recipe books, which present individual recipes without ever explaining why they're doing what they're doing, or using the ingredients they're using. They aim to teach people to cook by showing them a few individual complex recipes with no attempt at actually explaining the fundamentals of how cooking works, what spices work with what ingredients, how to balance flavours, prepare really basic sauces, and so on.
As such, you end up with a generation of people who know the theory behind making a souffle, but can't make a pasta sauce. Or who know how to make a complex centrepiece fish dish, but have no idea how to rescue it if the flavours go wrong; in essence, a bunch of ponies who know a few tricks but can't walk or gallop. What good is it being able to make an authentic Thai green curry, right down to preparing your own shrimp paste with a Jamie Oliver branded pestle and mortar, if you don't have the knowledge of the basics that allows you to throw some noodles, whatever veg you've got and a couple of chicken breasts into a tasty stir fry, or turn a pack of mince and the contents of the back of your cupboard into a healthy pasta sauce?
I'm not saying that cooking shows aren't entertaining - I find them very much so, but then again, I can cook. I'm no celebrity chef, but I cooked regularly for a family of five for six years, and have been cooking for myself and friends several days a week for a further six years. Nobody's died yet
The problem is that you get people who genuinely can't boil an egg (or a pot of spaghetti), but who watch celebrity chefs and set off to create incredibly complex dishes with no idea what they're really doing. It's like driving around a city with a set of directions but no map - fine if everything stays on course, but you're fucked if you take a wrong turn. They inevitably screw up (because without taking it from the basics, how do you know what consistency your white sauce should be? How do you know how exactly to fold in an egg white? How do you know what spice to add to an almost completed pot of meat sauce that has developed a slightly sour aftertaste?), and they get disillusioned; or they come home and realise that they don't have anything in their cupboards that they know how to cook - and it's back down to the Tescos Ready Meals section for them.
Sorry, slightly undirected rant that's at a bit of a tangent to the thread, I know... Just wanted to get that one off my chest