New Sat.1 show “Fridge open!”: The stress test for TV chefs

So far, the TV program has not given the impression that more cooking shows are needed. However, since Thursday evening, Sat.1 has been saying “Open the fridge!” against it and lets professionals prepare food from their refrigerators for amateurs. The show doesn’t do everything new, but it does a lot right.


Cooking on TV is actually quite simple: You need someone to cook, someone to eat and, of course, someone to film the whole thing. Well, that’s just the basics, but cooking on TV has worked by them for decades, and it feels like it’s been working particularly well in the last few years.

“Lafer! Lights! Tasty!”, “The Kitchen Battle”, “The Taste”, “The Perfect Dinner”, “Kitchen Impossible”, “Grill den Henssler” and whatever they are called: There was actually more cooking and television at once only when Jan Josef Liefers played Clemens Wilmenrod, the television chef and inventor of the Hawaiian toast.

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In this already jam-packed cooking show market, Sat.1 is now throwing another frying and sizzling show on Thursday evening: “Open the fridge! – The duel of the cooking professionals”, as the show is called as a whole according to the birth certificate. And of course the basic ingredients of every TV cooking show also work here, i.e. cook, eat and film.

“Open the fridge!”: Cook what the fridge has to offer

The ones who cook are at “Open the fridge!” the Viennese chef Alexander Kumptner and the “The Taste 2021” winner Hanna Reder – both with TV cooking experience. The two are effectively the house chefs and compete against a different professional TV cooking team in each episode. In the opening episode, Ali Güngörmüş and Richard Rauch, who have also sneaked around TV cooking pots several times.

For those who eat, “Open the fridge!” a bit off the beaten path, because here the dishes are not judged by a jury of professional chefs, but by various Otto Normalos. And that leads directly to those who are filming, because since there are already plenty of cooking shows, you have to spice up the three basic ingredients a bit to give the show its own flavor.

Here, “Fridge open!”, the title already gives the hint, uses a variation, because here not just anything goes into the cooking pot, but what the lay jury has in the fridge at home. In episode one, each is a family, and there is also a five-person flat share.

The contents of their refrigerators are copied for the show and the professional chefs then have to conjure up something from it in three rounds that the families or the five flatmates could enjoy. Whoever gets the best average rating at the end wins.

Cooking for strangers

This isn’t a completely new concept, but it stands out in a strikingly pleasant way from other cooking shows, in which there is a much tougher competitive atmosphere when professionals judge professionals or ambitious amateurs. In the end, the viewer doesn’t care anyway, after all he has to believe the jury whether the things taste good – regardless of whether they’re professionals or not.

Of course, “Open the fridge!” not without a competitive character, but in the end the chefs only fight for the golden pineapple. More important, because it’s funnier, is how the cooking teams approach things.

To do this, they first have to find out from the things that are in or on the respective refrigerator who they are actually cooking for: vegetarian or not? Are there children? How many people is the meal for? What do fridge owners think?

And so that the whole thing doesn’t get too easy, the time per round is extremely short at 30 minutes, especially since the cooks also have to fulfill special tasks in between, such as using a certain spice. In addition, the hints to the jury that presenter Ruth Moschner gives at some point during the cooking are more of a burden than a help, because if the cooks only find out shortly before the end that carrot muffins are wanted, even the professionals start to sweat.

Alexander Kumptner: “I salt all the time, my ass!”

And so device “Fridge open!” to a little stress test for TV chefs. Because what should you cook for someone who, according to his family, eats ketchup with everything – except in soups and coffee?

In any case, the pros are certain that this person must be a child, and so in the end the ketchup-loving father is sitting in front of a children’s plate with fried chicken on a ketchup grin: “I guess my age wasn’t known before “, Papa Adam takes it with humor.

It’s those little games that say, “Open the fridge!” not catapulted into the Olympus of television entertainment, but at least provide a pleasant distraction for almost two hours. At the same time, as a spectator, you also get some culinary information, for example what French toast is or that it’s really difficult to fix over-salted food.

At least that’s what Alexander Kumptner explains when he inadvertently presents the classic among the most popular cooking mistakes: “I salt all the time, asshole! I thought it was sugar!”

Kumptner and his teammate Hanna Reder still win against Güngörmüş and Rauch in the end, but as mentioned, that doesn’t matter at all. Because all in all, Sat.1 with “Open the fridge!” but pretty much done right.

A few ambitious but not too ambitious TV chefs, finally a few non-celebrities in a TV show again, an entertaining moderation that is unobtrusive and a concept in which the path is the goal and not the goal. That’s how cooking, eating, and filming work quite well.

Also read: Asparagus: no-gos and insider tips about the popular vegetable

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