Who hasn’t thought at some point in their life, “I really must try and make myself a Kit Kat?” Well, that is exactly the premise of Snackmasters, as each week Britain’s top French head waiter Fred Gravadlax challenges Britain’s top chefs, who have too much time on their hands, to recreate a famous mass-produced snack. It’s a bit like the Industrial Revolution in reverse. Why are they doing this? No idea, but I guess Channel 4 have to put something on after the Bake Off. (I think this series owes a lot to Bake Off as last series they had to make a Jaffa Cake in biscuit week, or was it cake week, let me just check the court ruling.)
This week’s challenge was to make the legendary Kit Kat. At this point, in the interest of transparency, I should let you know that in a previous life I worked for Nestlé (or Rowntree’s as it was back in those days; yes, I really am that old). I was there when the Kit Kat production line featured in the show had just been opened, so actually, I do know how they make a Kit Kat, and believe you me, it was nothing like the way the chefs were trying to replicate it.
The chefs in question were Daniel Clifford and Vivek Singh. The first things that both chefs became obsessed with was the mould. As any fraudster will tell you, having a rip off looking as good as the original is key if you want to dupe the public, or in this case the staff at Nestlé. Daniel spent thousands on his. Why he didn’t just get one off the internet like the rest of us I have no idea. But no, he had his scanned by a laser and 3D printed. Money well spent Daniel. Vivek on the other hand just bunged a real Kit Kat into some Das moulding clay and was happy with that. Daniel also went to extraordinary lengths to try and achieve the crosscut pattern on the wafer, getting custom designed plates made up and even adapting a waffle iron to achieve his dream. Vivek didn’t.
Meanwhile a reporter had been sent to the factory to find out how the real deal was made. Cue people in hairnets and shots of machinery. When I was working for them, the fashion for stubble and beards wasn’t quite so prevalent, so the beard snood was hardly seen. I bet when Fred saw himself on screen, he wished he was clean shaven.
Onto the taste and again Daniel put the chocolate into the centrifuge to break the chocolate into its constituent parts. Vivek just read the ingredients. After our chefs had come up with what they thought were the correct ingredients for their knock-off Kit Kat, they too were then shown around the factory to show how bona fide Kit Kats were made. As a format point, this was a bit weird as they could then adapt their ingredients, which Daniel did. Surely the savvy chefs would just wait until they visited the factory before doing anything. I guess that wouldn’t make for good TV though having a chef just hanging around for three quarters of the show.
When it came to the final reckoning Daniel’s attempt looked perfect and tasted great, but the wafer didn’t break with that satisfying snap, so he lost out to Vivek’s inferior tasting, but snappier version. It’s a bit disconcerting that the sound of the product was more important that its taste, but they are the experts. Other snacks we have to look forward to in the series are Snickers and Monster Munch. Michelin starred Monster Munch. What an age we live in.
Snackmasters is on Channel 4 on Tuesdays at 9:15 pm and is available on More4.