No, not super-fly funk pioneer Curtis Mayfield, or golden-era actor Tony Curtis. And definitely not epileptic proto-hipster Ian Curtis. The bogan likes budding celebrity chef Curtis Stone. The celebrity chef is not a new bogan phenomenon; bogans everywhere, not possessed of the ability to cook, or patience to learn, will happily cook vicariously through various televisual ciphers. And few ciphers are as cipheriffic as the distressingly handsome Mr Stone.
After honing his chops working alongside renowned chef Marco Pierre in London, Curtis briefly returned to Australia to film television show Surfing the Menu, featuring two of “Australia’s hunkiest celebrity chefs” cooking up fancy dishes and displaying their chiselled torsos on location at various Australian beaches. Realising that being a TV chef was much more fun than being abused by a Ukranian sous chef while julienning vegetables for 14 hour stints, Curtis moved to the US where he embarked on a successful television career. Curtis’ blokey charm, brawny good looks and adequate cooking ability saw him appear on a string of US talkshows including Oprah and Martha Stewart, star in his own series Take Home Chef, launch his own range of cookware, write several cookbooks and be voted one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive.
But the bogan was still relatively unaware of Curtis’ existence. An appearance on the MasterChef Series finale helped, but it wasn’t until he started popping up on widescreen 3D TVs around the country during the ad breaks of Channel 10’s Commonwealth Games coverage that Curtis found bogan fame. Needing something to entice the bogan into their supermarkets when Masterchef was off-air, Coles marketing boffins chose Curtis to be the face of their ‘Feed Your Family for under $10’ promotion, featuring recipe cards and a series of advertisements in which Curtis helps bogans cook ‘his recipes’, which allegedly feed a family of four for under $10. The promotion was an instant hit with the bogan who, since watching Masterchef, now orders its curries somewhere between mild and medium, tries to work out what to do with its new George Calombaris-branded tagine and “plates up” its beef and black bean.
In one particularly irritating and offensive advertisement, Curtis helps a bogan woman cook ‘his’ chicken Madras, after transporting her to a frighteningly realistic depiction of modern India where attractive Indian women in saris dance and ride elephants, an anonymous Indian man in an apron gives the proverbial thumbs up to Curtis’ interpretation of this classic Birmingham dish, an Indian woman ponders marrying her daughter off to Curtis and a group of children cheer when a giant television screen shows a bogan child finish her plate.
In October, Choice awarded the promotion its shonky award, claiming Curtis’ $7.76 Coq au Vin would really cost almost $30 when including uncosted pantry items like a bottle of red wine. This forced Coles to drop the ‘under $10’ part of the promotion, but thankfully Curtis’ appeal to the bogan was unharmed. Indeed, Curtis’ bogan-baiting skills were enhanced a thousand-fold when he was recruited by the one and only Oprah Winfrey to become her very own pet Australian, a move designed to make his appeal to bogans truly global.
So, on Christmas Day, bogans nationwide will open their Chrisco Hampers, then sit down to tuck into Curtis’ turkey, having spent $120 dollars feeding their family with a meal that they still think cost under $10. Because Curtis told them so.