Entertainment TV Foul-mouthed SBS food show courts controversy

Foul-mouthed SBS food show courts controversy

action bronson
Action Bronson (left) and his friends don't mess around when it comes to eating. Photo: SBS
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You know it’s not your average food show when the host opens an episode like this: “It’s 136 degrees, humid, sweat dripping into the crack of my a***.”

So says chef-turned-rapper Action Bronson as he introduces an episode of F**k that’s Delicious. He then asks the producer “is that what you wanted?”.

Oh yes, is the reply.

Publicity posters for this outrageous cooking show (shown on SBS channel Viceland and SBS On Demand) were in the news this week.

The Advertising Standards Board, after receiving a complaint, ordered them to be taken down because of their obscene language – despite SBS arguing it’s just the name of the show.

So does the series accurately reflect its provocative title? Well, yes – because this is the world of musicians and artists on tour and it seems every second word is ‘f***’ or ‘motherf*****’.

But it’s also way more than that and, if you’re willing to let the language slide, it’s an engaging, captivating and surprising look at food through the eyes of a man with a diverse history.

Bronson was born Ariyan Arslani in 1983 to an Albanian Muslim father and a Jewish mother in Flushing, Queens, New York.

Interviews with him reveal he was a troublemaker from an early age, later becoming a thief and a drug dealer.

His dad had a Mediterranean restaurant and Bronson eventually grew up, enrolled in culinary school, began to rap and had two children.

After breaking his leg in a kitchen accident, he focused on rapping. He reinvented himself as Action Bronson and created a brand, which includes successful albums, music tours and a couple of TV shows, including this one.

Watch the trailer for F**k, That’s Delicious (warning: very coarse language)

The 10 episodes meander wherever Bronson and his musical mates are going on tour and feature a gazillion restaurants, both cheap and expensive.

They’re an eclectic bunch. There’s The Alchemist, a Caucasian Jew from Beverly Hills and one of the world’s most successful producers of hip-hop music, actor Meyhem Lauren and Albanian-American rapper Big Body Bes.

No women at their tables though – at least in the episodes I saw – and Bronson has hit the headlines for Consensual Rape, a controversial 2011 song.

Bronson apologised for causing discomfort and pain for a song he says is telling a story and not condoning rape.

Bronson's meals range from fancy restaurants to affordable street food. Photo: Instagram
Bronson’s meals range from fancy restaurants to affordable street food. Photo: Instagram

Much like other food shows, we see Bronson working in kitchens with chefs but, as a food reviewer, he’s unique.

At London’s cult Pitt Cue, chef Tom Adams presents his signature meat dishes.

Bronson’s head shakes in disbelief at the quality of the ribs saying: “I can’t take another f***ing bite cos I can’t stop my head doing this.”

In Amsterdam he curses himself for not discovering a small neighbourhood Chinese restaurant before.

“My whole life has changed. I’m p***** off with myself for eating all that s*** before I found this place.”

He takes us to the tiny Roti Boti in Queens where he’s a regular customer – noting he would rather eat this food for breakfast.

“I don’t like breakfast food, you understand, flapjacks and s*** like that. Don’t always eat toast, mix things up, don’t be bland regular.”

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Bronson eating his ideal breakfast meal at Roti Boti. Photo: SBS

He tells us it’s not fun being fat in summer – and then has a flat-out running race in the street with his favourite “binge brother”, Meyhem Lauren. How come these guys don’t have heart attacks?

So, there you have it. A fat, foul-mouthed rapper talks about food he knows about and clearly loves.

Lewd? Absolutely. Fascinating? Weirdly, yes.

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