Making tenuous links between unis and random pop culture references doesn’t get tougher than this
Celebrity chefs hold more power over the British public than almost anyone else on TV. If Theresa May says something's important, you probably ignore her. But, if Gordon Ramsay says how vital it is to take scrambled eggs on and off the heat to keep them fluffy, you'll no doubt be flailing your pan around the next time you make breakfast on a Saturday.
In fact, it's not just power. It's respect. Celebrity chefs have become a British institution. So, what better to do than match them up to another kind of British institution: universities.
Gregg Wallace – Leeds
It’s 2am, you’re in the Canal Mills smoking area, and someone taps you on the shoulder. “The bass is really buttery in there,” they say. “I love the buttery biscuit base.”
Every Leeds student thinks they’ve got some staggering insight about house music. They don’t.
John Torode – Beckett
Masterchef judge John Torode made headlines for crying over an Apple pie. He called it “fabulous, fantastic and faultless,” and then started welling up.
As a plastered Beckett student stumbles into McDonald’s after a huge night in Pryzm, it’s no surprise to see them have the exact same reaction to the scalding hot pudding.
Michel Roux Jr – Edinburgh
Michel Roux Jr/Edinburgh is cut from a very traditional cloth, whether that’s fine French cuisine or just a rich home counties family. But Michel Roux Jr/Edinburgh manages to escape that and be quite fun – whether they’re judging chefs on Masterchef or just judging people in Marchmont.
St Andrews – Mary Berry
Incredibly establishment, effortlessly classy, and practically royalty. We’re talking about Mary Berry, but St. Andrews students will think we’re talking about them.
Plus, both the royal family and Mary Berry send their kids to the same highly selective educational institute. Not St Andrews, but Gordonstoun, the boarding school from The Crown where Philip and Charles go and they have to build the gate themselves.
Gordon Ramsay – Cambridge
Look, Gordon Ramsay has got six Michelin stars to his name. Like any Cambridge student, he’s operating on levels of excellence you can merely aspire to, and knows it. He’s worth as much as Beyonce, apparently, but you might not guess it. Just like when your Cambridge classmate turns out to be royalty of some obscure country.
His trademark shouting and rage might not make everybody love him, but they sure as hell listen when he’s saying how to make scrambled eggs. It's a grudging respect.
Nigella – Oxford
Nigella’s Dad was the literal Chancellor of Exchequer, and after uni she went between a number of prestigious journalism jobs, including this Newsnight report on Princess Diana.
If that’s not a very typical Oxford ‘Early years’ section of a Wikipedia page, I don’t know what is. And just like Oxford lending its name to endless dictionaries, Nigella’s name features on a ream of cookbooks.
Jamie Oliver – Birmingham
“Yeah just whack the pizza in the oven, get it out smelling pukka, Fab.” Is this Jamie Oliver narrating a recipe with his trademark laid-back lingo, or is it a UoB student giving you detail on their dinner and night out plans?
And as much as there’s banter abound, there’s also a bit of funspongery. Whilst Jamie banned Turkey Twizzlers, UoB authorities have decided to charge for a little splash of milk in the library. Killjoys, one and all.
Regardless of how well he adapted to Selly, UoB wasn't Jamie's first choice. Unfortunately, he suffered a rejection almost as savage as all the kids who still wanted chicken nuggets.
Si and Dave (The Hairy Bikers) – Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam, interchangeably
Normal people who are desperate for something to make themselves interesting buy a motorbike. Prospective students go to uni in Sheffield. Sure, the recipes are tasty and dependable, but just like a 2:1 from either Sheffield institution, ultimately unremarkable.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – Sussex
River Cottage or beachfront student house? As a Sussex student, you can’t afford either, what with living in somewhere so expensive you’re adamant you should get a ‘London loan’.
Despite this, you still manage to exclusively eat organic and tell anyone who’ll listen how passionate you are about the environment.
Rick Stein – Bristol
In the timeless manner of any Bristol student, Rick Stein will regale you with his tales of when he went to Vietnam and spoke to the locals, or cooked a pad thai on a pristine beach.
Anthony Worrall-Thompson – UWE
Spending so much money on ket and Red Stripe means that by the end of the month before loan day, things get a little bit hard. But FOMO is so ingrained in UWE culture there’s no lack of funds which will stand in your way. Everyone knows Gloucester Road Tesco is a capitalist nightmare trying to suck the blood out of the community, so you have no sweat pulling a Anthony Worral Thompson on it and pocketing cheese and wine right under their noses.
Paul Hollywood – UCL
Paul Hollywood is as stingy with his handshakes in the Bake Off tent as over-competitive UCL students are at their PWC assessment days. And, sure, he might have gotten caught in some questionable fancy dress on a social, but there’s something irresistible about those eyes.
Marcus Wareing – Warwick
Marcus Wareing judges Masterchef: The Professionals. Not normal Masterchef. The Professional version. Very Warwick Business School.
And, true to form, trying to sustain a conversation with a Warwick student is wearing, unless you're willing to listen to their Quail recipe.
Gino D’Acampo – Brookes
It’s very hard to hate Gino, bantering away with Holly and Phil, not getting anything done. The MNB experience. In fact, if daytime ITV1 as a whole were a uni, it’d be Brookes.
Gino is known for his hilarious misunderstandings, as Brookes students are – just a shame it’s in their dissertations.
Famously, Gino remarked that if his grandmother had wheels, she'd be a bike. Well, if you hadn't fucked your A-Levels you wouldn't have to say you go to uni in Oxford.
Ainsley Harriott – Bournemouth
Ainsley rocks up to any TV kitchen he’s on with all the exuberance of a BU student strolling into Cameo with a 9am the next day, knowing any academic achievement is irrelevant. He’s here for a good time.
Open any fridge in a Winton student house and you’ll see two things: a red tomato and a green pepper. It’s all they know how to cook.
Delia Smith – UEA
Come on, don’t act surprised that this is who we chose for Delia. As obvious as the comparison is, no UEA student can deny that this is them after a night at LCR, stumbling back to the Golden Triangle.
Nigel Slater – Durham
Look, you know Nigel Slater. He’s the one who does recipes for the Guardian, and who your dad might think is a bit poncy. No, not your typical Durham humanities student, celebrity chef Nigel Slater. Oh, who are we kidding.
Heston Blumenthal – Manchester
Whilst you’ll catch Heston messing around with weird chemicals in the kitchen – who knows what we did before liquid nitrogen ice cream and snail porridge – you’ll catch a Manchester fresher messing around with weird chemicals in their kitchen and everywhere else they go. On the plus side, they’ve defo got the perfect hash brownie recipe.
Turn behind you at Warehouse Project and all you can see, for rows upon rows, is guys with newly-shaved heads and #wavy glasses. Heston, is that you?
James Martin – Nottingham
Nottingham Uni is the Saturday Kitchen experience. Decent, but pedestrian fare. Unfortunately, spending £9,000 a year to get a degree from Notts leaves the same taste in your mouth as paying £9.50 to get a burger that looks like this.
Simon Rimmer – Trent
The Sunday Brunch/Saturday Kitchen relationship is exactly the same as the one between Nottingham Trent and University of Nottingham – less accomplished but infinitely more fun.
Gary Rhodes – York
With his spiky hair like Simon from the Inbetweeners, Gary Rhodes is your average York sadboy. Very competent, but thinks this is a fashionable look.
Big Cook – Cardiff
A kids’ cooking show is to regular cooking shows what Cardiff is to the rest of the Russell Group. Yes, technically the same, but really? Really?
Little Cook – Cardiff Met
Cardiff students think they’re so different to Cardiff Met students, and maybe, within the kitchen that is Wales’ capital, they are. But to the rest of the world, you’d be hard pressed to spot more than superficial differences between the two.
Raymond Blanc – Newcastle
Whether you’re asking what Raymond’s last name is, or asking what a bored, thirsty Newcastle student wants to do, the answer’s the same: Blanc
Deliciously Ella – Exeter
Everyone at Exeter just looks really healthy after an upbringing of wholesome and expensive food bought from the local Waitrose, meaning their Instagram game and general aesthetic is always on point. She recently had to shut two of her cafes down because it turns out, people don’t actually want to pay extortionate amounts of money to eat an energy ball in a cafe. There’s a similar level of cluelessness in Exeter amongst the newby vegans, but they all mean well.
Marco-Pierre White – King’s College London
Thriving in a high-pressure environment, whether that’s a bustling kitchen or trying to commute on the tube, your average KCL student is as mercurial and enigmatic as their initialised counterpart MPW. Not to be outdone, KCL accumulate campuses with the same fervour that Marco Pierre White adds restaurants to his empire.