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Come Dine With Me

Updated on October 11, 2011

Come Dine With Me TV Show

For anyone who doesn't know about the TV show Come Dine With Me, it's a reality style show that involves competitive entertaining. If you aren't aware of the term competitive entertaining, it's when a group of people host dinner parties on different nights and get scored for their efforts (or lack of!).

Come Dine With Me puts five strangers from the same area together to host dinner parties over the course of a week. Three dinner courses are served and at the end of the night, each dinner guest gives a score out of ten away from the others. At the end of the week, the person with the highest score wins £1000.

This may not sound like the height of TV entertainment, but it's actually a genius format that provides lots of laughs.

Come Dine With Me was first broadcast on January 10th 2005 on Channel 4. The show format has been sold to 10 different countries where it airs under different names. The US version of the show is called Dinner Takes All.

Come Dine With Me is shown in two different formats, the five 30 minute episodes shown early evening, daily on weekdays. And an hour show that only contains four dinner parties shown primetime on weekends.

Come Dine With Me
Come Dine With Me

How Come Dine With Me Works

The thing that sets Come Dine With Me apart from other cooking shows is that there is humorous narration throughout each episode. We don't just get to see the dinner party, we see the shopping trip for ingredients and the food preparation leading up to 6.30pm when the guests start arriving.

Throughout the 30 minute episode, the narrator Dave Lamb gives witty insights into how the host is doing. This is especially funny if the host has had a distaster when preparing their meal.

All five hosts submit their three course menus in advance, so there has been cases where a major ingredient, such as beef, is served more than once during the week. The guests have no idea what they will be served until the day of the dinner party. In the case of vegetarians or vegans, the host will have to prepare special dishes for those people.

All hosts are given a £125 food and drink budget for their dinner party and they can use this as they wish. One woman decided to spend £10 on her entire three course menu, pocketing the rest. Others have chosen to push the boat out and add to the budget with their own money.

Come Dine With Me Guests Shocked By Sushi Served On A Man

Come Dine With Me Dynamics

Most of the contestants find the hosting role a challenge, wanting everything to be perfect in order to score well and win the £1000. But for the first host, it's really daunting, as nobody has met before, so there's the pressure of being a host to complete strangers who know nothing about each other.

Alcohol plays a big part in Come Dine With Me, some hosts even use this as a tactic to win. Get the guests drunk, create a great atmosphere with conversation flowing. The guests will have had a good time and therefore will score the dinner party well. Some hosts use alcohol to disguise the fact that the food is so awful, by getting their guests drunk, they won't remember what they ate and will score higher than they otherwise would have sober.

As the week of dinner parties progress, the contestants get to know each other better and this is where tensions often arise. Though the five people all come from the same city, they often come from completely different walks of life and have very little in common. With alcohol flowing, this can often lead to heated debates and disagreements that continue throughout the week.

An amusing aspect is when the guests get to snoop around the hosts home. This can lead to some unexpected discoveries, such as the photo of the elderly lady host in stockings, suspenders and basque posing suggestively being discovered in a draw.

Come Dine With Me Conflict And An Abundance Of Spices!

A Classic Come Dine With Me Moment

One host was so desperate to win the £1000 that she borrowed a dining table and chairs from the restaurant opposite her house, and got the chef to cook the entire meal for her. Before each course she would slip into the kitchen pretending that she was cooking, whilst having the plates of foil covered food passed through the window to her by the restaurant waiting staff!

The host was nearly rumbled when one of the guests popped into the kitchen asking if they could help with anything, just as the servers were about to appear at the window with the food. The host quickly ushered the guest out of the kitchen and her devious plan remained undiscovered.

The host did reveal her secret to one of her guests she had made firm friends with on the following day, but both remained tight-lipped and the host who hadn't cooked any of her meal went on to win the cash prize.

As it doesn't state in the rules that you have to cook the meal yourself, this act of deviousness was actually more inventive than anything!

Celebrity Come Dine With Me

At the start of a new series the episodes usually kick off with a celebrity edition. The format is exactly the same as the regular one, with the humorous narration from Dave Lamb, who inevitably makes fun of anyone who isn't coping in the kitchen. To the other celebs snooping around the hosts home. We get to see the celebrity shopping for ingredients and cooking their meal. The only difference is the £1000 prize money which is donated to the winners chosen charity.

One notable celebrity contestant was Birds Of A Feather actress Lesley Joseph, who despite roasting a leg of lamb for four hours, discovered when cutting to serve that the meat was still raw. This resulted in all her celebrity guests going into the kitchen and trying to find something to serve as their main course.

Her dessert - Pinapple Suprise was notable for the fact that she hollowed five whole pineapples and filled them with fruit salad. The guests noted that the Surprise factor was that there was no pineapple in their dessert.

How To Apply To Be On Come Dine With Me


Telephone: 0871 244 4142

Competitive Entertaining Come Dine With Me Style

As a result of Come Dine With Me being so popular, people in London are creating their own Come Dine With Me experiences. Competitive entertaining is gaining a cult following as Londoners are hosting their own dinner parties and being scored at the end of the night.

I don't personally have any interest in competitive entertaining in everday life, for one thing, you don't have Dave Lamb narrating, and that to me is what makes this show worth watching religiously.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Why do the guests cook veggie meals for the vegetarians but they do not cook meet for their meat eating guests ?

    • saif113sb profile image


      7 years ago

      very interesting hub.

    • profile image

      Upasana Malhotra 

      7 years ago

      ...unlike other shows it's a complete package of entertainment...true forms of hosting spirits in all relaxes and unwinds me every single day...would love to be apart of it to believe the fact that can good sensible people really turn tables under pressure and out of comfort zone...would love to entertain others at my cost....a seriously good programme

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • moonbun profile imageAUTHOR

      Luna Fae 

      8 years ago from UK

      I saw that one Ozay (though I probably have seen them all!). I personally wouldn't want to take part as I dread to think the kind of people I might end up having to dine with.

      There have been some real oddballs on that show and for me, aside from the great Dave Lamb and his brilliant narration, they make the show. The more odd the better!

      Thanks for the comment :)

    • Ozay profile image


      8 years ago from North Yorkshire

      I am a big fan of this show I find it amusing thanks to the narration of David Lamb he never fails to amuse me with his tints on everything he talks about he really is a clever guy! It would be so boring it there was no narration on it. I think some of the guests are well stupid that is what makes it funny it's like the big brother of the cookery world! The show I saw there was three women and one guy. This woman a cleaner who must have either had a chip on her shoulder or issues was having a go at this guy who said nothing at all to provoke her she was well out of order. The other woman truly was strange as well she was making him feel uncomfortable by winding him up about being quiet, and I know what that can be like! If I was him I think i would have told them to get out but he did well handling it and he also did even better getting revenge on these women the following show!

    • moonbun profile imageAUTHOR

      Luna Fae 

      8 years ago from UK

      Hi Helen,

      I've just added the application details above.

      Thanks for visiting, hope to see you on the show!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Does anybody know how to apply i love this programme???

    • moonbun profile imageAUTHOR

      Luna Fae 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hey Peggy :)

      We love all manner of cooking shows, but Come Dine With Me is definitely the most fun to watch. Hope you manage to track some episodes down.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We love watching cooking shows but have not seen this one. Sounds like it would be lots of fun! Will have to look for it. Thanks for the "heads-up" on this series.


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