Andi Oliver's Fabulous Feasts is a delightful dish, a slice of sunshine in TV schedules

Andi Oliver: Fabulous Feasts brightens up the TV schedule for us allAndi Oliver: Fabulous Feasts brightens up the TV schedule for us all
Andi Oliver: Fabulous Feasts brightens up the TV schedule for us all
Exuberant, effervescent, enterprising, exciting, extraordinary – throw in every positive adjective you can think of and they would not be enough to sum up Andi Oliver.

The Great British Menu judge turned host’s latest series Andi Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts is a burst of sunshine in TV schedules – it is cooking’s answer to Stacey Solomon’s Sort Your Life Out – which is a joy to watch.

Two episodes have broadcast so far – the first in Cornwall and, this week, Bristol. They are a celebration of the people, heritage, community and, given the title of the show, produce and food.

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Each features interviews with people making a positive difference to the areas in which they live, those making meals and growing and using local produce.

Every episode ends with a party – and who better to host a celebration than Oliver – as the host of Great British Menu, she knows about organising extravagant meals for extraordinary people – and she was singer in the 80s punk band Rip Rig and Panic.

Andi’s life has always been filled with music and art, and the warehouse parties she threw in the 1980s have become legendary.

In Cornwall she throws a party on the beach for NHS workers and in Bristol she celebrated ex-Army Jasper – a man who has built accommodation for Bristol’s homeless out of containers from ships.

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He also helps them get medical care and paves the way into work.

She helps him build and open a cafe – then organises a do to mark the occasion. Oliver is a force of life, entering the places and bulldozing down barriers of class, ethnicity, snobbery and prejudice.

She talks about slavery, inequality, poverty, cost of living crisis with earnestness and knowledge, firsthand some of it, but her emphasis is not blame and shame.

Instead, she talks of learning and moving on, the embodiment of one of the chalked messages the camera focused in on at the Bristol community for the homeless she visited which read: When everyone is included, everyone wins.

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Oliver for Prime Minister, I say. She is positive and inspiring, lifting the mood with her spirit and enthusiasm and carrying you along with her drive which is relentless.

Though Oliver has a huge personality and is vibrant and vital, she seems to have no ego or edge.

The show is not about her – she shines light on the people she meets, the unsung, unseen heroes who are making a positive difference.

She has the warmth of the spices she adds to jerk chicken, more spirit than a Caribbean cocktail and the comfort of pub grub.

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She’s a hugger and watching her weave her magic is like being wrapped in a big, colourful blanket.

Andi Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts is a mix of turmeric and tunes, it blends melody and melon, pastry and punk, rice and reggae and mixes peas and politics in a great big melting pot and ends up with a s ustaining, substantial serving of delicious delight.

You never see the host without a smile and never hear anything but punchy positivity.

As she said about the Bristol party: “It feels like one and that’s what I love.” So did I.

Andi Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts is in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, on Wednesday April 10 on BBC 2 at 8pm.