By Carissa Shale
Many might know Ivan Aristeguieta from his stand-up shows at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, but this year he’s merging his love of comedy with his skills as a trained chef to present ‘About This Much’, an interactive Zoom cooking show.
His most recent edition was a Halloween Special with a themed menu of Bloody Marys, impaled snacks, gouged eyeballs and blood spaghetti. The only thing missing was a delicious spooky and sweet dessert to round off the night. While the menu was delightfully inventive the recipes were also simple and easy for chefs of all levels to follow along. A personal favourite was the delicious, yet scarily realistic gouged eyeballs made with bocconcini, prosciutto and stuffed olives.
Aristeguieta’s abundant cooking knowledge and skills shone through as he guided the audience through the menu at a good pace, making sure everyone was keeping up. With enviable knife precision, yet a charmingly haphazard measuring style, Aristeguieta was an approachable host who brought his improvisation skills from the stage into the kitchen. At times the night felt quite slow-paced, and could have been sped up by asking the audience to have their ingredients pre-cut and sliced where possible.
The production was very well thought out, with various cameras set up in Aristeguieta’s kitchen, allowing him to switch to different camera angles for the best possible viewing experience. With a camera showing a full shot of the kitchen, a close-up of the chopping board, a close-up of the stove, and a moving camera used to highlight unique angles, there was never a moment when the audience couldn’t see what was going on.
Aristeguieta’s tech was well controlled by host Janet McLeod, who invited the audience into the Zoom meeting, provided atmospheric music, and swapped camera angles, but perhaps a more ‘behind-the-scenes’ host or tech could have been more effective, ensuring charismatic and personable Aristeguieta is the shows focus.
The shows atmosphere was light-hearted and silly, with audience members donning fun and creative costumes including a taco, a panda, and a piñata. With different menus for each show, Aristeguieta has created a loyal following of budding chefs, with many of the viewers clearly tuning in on a regular basis. For a relaxed and fun night of interactive cooking, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the November menu.
Tickets: ivancomedy.com.au — $20 individual or $30 households
November menus to be announced soon.