Food, flirting and flimsiness: new TV show lacks bite


VRT’s new food series Over eten packs a lot into its 45 minutes, but ultimately fails to satisfy

On Flemish food and drink

Did you know there’s a food colouring made out of squished-up beetles? And did you know there’s the equivalent of eight or nine sugar cubes in the average smoothie? Those are just two of the many, many factoids to be learned in VRT’s new food series, Over eten (About Food).

It’s a magazine format, which means it’s made up of lots of smaller stories rather than one big one. It covers loads of material, but that’s part of the problem: Nothing gets to go into any satisfying depth. The show lasts 45 minutes, and the first episode handled five separate topics.

One of those was a lengthy item about the daily diet of Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever, which probably proved interesting to those who remember him when he weighed twice as much as he does now. The show’s co-host Kobe Ilsen appeared to think the two men could get a bit matey, but De Wever had other ideas, and the segment fell completely flat.

Ilsen is joined by presenter Danira Boukhriss Terkessidis, who also appeared with him in the final weeks of this season’s TV quiz show De slimste mens ter wereld (The Smartest Person in the World), and the tone here is food ’n’ flirting. She gives good giggle, but her heart isn’t in it. As she explained to Het Laatste Nieuws: “He’s a bit like my big brother.”

The show calls on all kinds of experts – a university professor, the country’s top sports doctor, Coca-Cola exec and a representative of Test-Aankoop all appeared in just one episode. This means that you occasionally get an interesting nugget of information, such as how large pieces of meat are created by smashing together smaller pieces of meat with a kind of edible glue. It’s actually really easy; you could do it yourself at home if you had the glue.  

Later episodes featured how to make blood sausage, tracked star hurdler Axelle Dauwens and her prodigious appetite and tested the effectiveness of marketing junk to kids. The first episode attracted more than one million viewers, which is pretty good for Flemish TV, representing a share of more than 40%.

Over eten airs on Éen on Wednesdays at 20.35, and episodes are archived online

Photo: Jokko/VRT