It's hard to look like a statesman while you're wearing an apron and holding a whisk.
Christopher Pyne, Doug Cameron and Malcolm Turnbull have all proved this to be so during two series of the ABC's Kitchen Cabinet.
Appearing on a cooking show may be a good way to humanise a politician in the eyes of the electorate but an Australian PM is not judged on his or her response to crises such as curdled custard or an overdone rack of lamb.
The hideous gas attack on civilians in Syria is, by comparison, the meatiest of world issues. Kevin Rudd was right to identify it as his first item of business on Saturday.
He was also right to scrap a planned stay-at-home in Brisbane to head to Canberra for briefings by foreign affairs experts.
To borrow a phrase from Julia Gillard, this was governing not campaigning.
Setting aside the fact that Australia will have little if any sway over the course of events in Syria, there was little reason to fault Rudd for taking things seriously.
In doing the right thing in a prime ministerial sense, Rudd the election candidate got the bonus of reminding voters that the world stage is his second home; UN-engineered solutions and resolutions, his bread and butter.
In a campaign where little has gone his way and Tony Abbott is beginning to look more prime ministerial than he is, the Syrian crisis was there to be grabbed with both hands.
But Rudd's image makers pushed things too far when they allowed the impression to take root that the campaign had been suspended to focus on Syria.
Asked twice, Rudd never confirmed that the pause button had been pressed - nor did he deny it.
No one in the PM's travelling media unit or the dozens of Labor staffers at the Melbourne headquarters got in the way when journalists ran from the morning presser to report that the campaign had been put on ice, such was the magnitude of international events.
A weary Labor staffer pointed out that they are ''not the Press Council'' and cannot police incorrect reports. The fact is that they do that every other day of the week.
By basking in the momentary glow of looking statesmanly, Rudd was then exposed when it inevitably got out that he had crammed in a quick cook-up with Annabel Crabb in Brisbane before heading to Canberra. Initial reports by News Corp newspapers were that Rudd had delayed the Syria briefing in favour of the TV show. He later denied this.
Rudd looked half-pregnant on his commitment to Syria and half-baked on his media strategy.
The wiser option would have been to can Kitchen Cabinet altogether.
The ABC's charter on election coverage balance would most likely have led to Abbott's appearance, recorded last week, being left on the cutting room floor.
ABC spokesman Michael Millett said he would not get into hypotheticals but conceded that ''it would have left the ABC scratching its head''.
Both shows will go to air next week on consecutive nights.