If the hype is to be believed and Korea is the new Israel (or ‘the next big international formats territory’), NBCUniversal International TV Production is hoping it has a hot property on its hands in the shape of Chef and My Fridge. The format blends cooking competition, celebrity chat and variety elements in a ‘Ready Steady Cook meets Through the Keyhole’ format that is hard to pigeonhole.
In each episode, celebs’ refrigerators are transported to the studio where some of the country’s best chefs compete to make the best dish from its contents. As well as giving viewers a glimpse of what is inside the fridges of the famous, there are cooking tips and chat from a panel in the studio.
The series is faring incredibly well on the JTBC cable channel in South Korea, beating the free-to-air big boys SBS and KBS and winning its Monday 9.40pm slot.
NBCUITVP’s Singapore-based director of formats sales, Linfield Ng, noticed the show and NBCU duly picked up international rights for Europe, the CIS region, India and Africa.
Yvonne Pilkington, NBCUITVP’s senior VP, format sales and production, says Chef and My Fridge is one of a wave of domestic entertainment shows breaking through locally and then making it to the international market. “In Asia there are certain shows that resonate profoundly, and these days they are often the ones developed locally,” she says. “Chef and My Fridge has taken off very quickly, in four weeks, and given that variety is huge in South Korea, it is badged as a cooking-variety-celeb series.”
Pilkington says it could work in different parts of buyers’ grids. “In Korea it is primetime and could be a weekly primetime show [internationally], but it is something that could also be stripped,” she says. “It could run with a lower budget as an access show, as people at home are getting ready for dinner, but I don’t think it is daytime.”
JTBC, meanwhile, is prepping a Chef and My Fridge recipe book with recipes from the chefs featured in the show.
The show: Chef and My Fridge
The distributor: NBCUniversal International Television Production
The producer: JTBC (South Korea)
The broadcaster: JTBC (South Korea)
The concept: Cooking-variety-talkshow format in which chefs battle to make the best dish from the contents of celebrities’ fridges