Ainsley Harriott Thinks TV’s 'Voting Off' Culture Has Gotten Out Of Control

Ainsley Harriott has voiced concerns over the "voting-off" nature of reality television, claiming it may be helping contribute to an unhelpful and dismissive attitude among younger people.

The former Ready, Steady, Cook host said he would much rather programmes tried to encourage people to develop their skills instead of constantly pitting people against each another.

(Photo: Andrew Crowley via Facebook)

Speaking with the Press Association, Harriot explains how modern gameshows generate huge ratings but that it all could have gotten out of control.

"I do feel that over the years from watching programmes that tell people 'you're not good enough' I just don't like it," he said.

"They're crackling in terms of ratings but every time someone has got be voted off - why?"

"I was invited to do a programme that went out on television recently. It started off with 12 people and six people got voted off straight away because they couldn't chop an onion," Harriott muses.

"And in the next episode, the contestants had to bone out a fish. And it was: 'You're not good enough, you can't bone as well as that person' - I'm thinking 'what's going on?'

"You're supposed to encourage them. When it comes to cooking, it's a skill you learn and develop."

Over the years, Harriott has become (what netizens consider) a "living meme" – the internet is awash with images, videos and subreddits dedicated to the celebrity chef.

He is also a central figure in the "The Big Lunch", an initiative which sees residential streets closed dinner parties that aim to encourage neighbours to speak to one another.

In 2017, this community-building event attracted over 9.3 million people to over 96,000 venues across the UK.

"Food is a wonderful way of getting people together," Harriott explains, hailing a meal's ability to bridge divides in society, "I am always interested in cooking and helping to bring people together."

"It's a shared experience. You're breaking the bread, you're cooking a fish and you're looking over at each other smiling," he adds.

"Everywhere I've gone in the world, even though we don't speak the same language, food is the same language."

Writer and photographer from South London, UK. If you want to get in touch please email me at: matthew.kirby@konbini.com