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Cooking in Brooklyn: Alan Harding Crashes & Burns

c
cherylk Jan 9, 2004 11:32 AM

Caught the new cable show Cooking in Brooklyn starring Alan Harding on Discover Home & Leisure. It was quite possibly the worst television show I have ever seen: a dramatization of Alan's madcap antics with friends while cooking. Laughable: he clearly has no future in TV. And he refuses to give any measurements so the recipes are also useless. If you are curious, perhaps a connoisseur of painful TV, watch right away. It's sure to be cancelled quickly. Too bad it wasn't a REAL exploration of cooking in Brooklyn, touring neighborhoods and talking to cooks (not self-designated "chefs.")

  1. j
    Jason Carey Jan 9, 2004 11:43 AM

    alan harding is a fraud in general.
    None of his restaurants are infused with real passion for cooking.
    They are just money mills. Too bad he has such a great reputation

    23 Replies
    1. re: Jason Carey
      d
      Dipsy Jan 9, 2004 12:32 PM

      In all fairness (and I've had more than my share of issues with AH) - I'm not convinced that his restaurants are money mills. He might earn a living but I don't think he's raking it in. I've run into his wife at the supermarket and she drives a battered old Volvo, just like a million others trying to eke out a living and raise kids in an insanely expensive city. Haven't caught the show yet so I have no comment. But money mills? Nah. Take issue with places like Applebees in Metrotech. That's a money mill.

      1. re: Dipsy
        j
        Jason Carey Jan 9, 2004 01:22 PM

        yes you are right. i defer, I just dont get what he wants then.. excellent food certainly is not it.. so what is it?

        1. re: Jason Carey
          m
          mjr_inthegardens Jan 9, 2004 02:54 PM

          I'm partial to the gowanus yacht club. haven't been to pacifico or la rosa. ate brunch at Patois 2 years ago (it was good).

          I think that you can criticize the food but the man has been creating jobs in the neighborhood for years now and who knows how many more because of the attention places brought to the hood.

          I can respect that.

          1. re: mjr_inthegardens
            j
            Jason Carey Jan 9, 2004 03:26 PM

            I'm sorry but i cant respect that. Just because someone creates some jobs does not mean that they are doing something good. For example, people come to smith st a few times. eat at one of these terrible places and then never returns, even though there are also good places, the whole area gets a bad rap. not only do the people not return, but they bad mouth it to their friends. Would you congratulate a bad car mechanic just because they provide jobs?
            I do not have to respect complete mediocrity

            1. re: Jason Carey
              s
              Sir Gawain Jan 9, 2004 06:46 PM

              Judging from the number of people who frequent some of the more insipid offerings on Smith St and elsewhere, mediocrity often succeeds and people do return to it.

              Many people like mediocrity even though you personally don't. And as a resident of the area, I certainly don't feel that our part of Brooklyn gets a bad rap for food - in fact, I often find there are more than enough visitors to go around, especially on weekends.

              1. re: Jason Carey
                k
                korgy Jan 9, 2004 08:41 PM

                apparently the mods have a problem with me questioning your dissing of Mr. Harding, but not with your own dissing of Mr. Harding.

                no one is asking you to respect Mr. Harding, but what's the point of tearing him apart personally on Chowhound just because you don't like his food? methinks you protest too much.

                1. re: Jason Carey
                  k
                  korgy Jan 9, 2004 08:43 PM

                  oh, and by the way, Jason, if you don't like Pacifico, there's a great authentic mex restaurant in the South Bronx i've recommended a few posts down.

                  1. re: korgy
                    b
                    Brooklyn Boy Jan 10, 2004 03:25 PM

                    By the way, Korgy, thank you for that South Bronx post. I commend you for following your instincts...the rewards sounded unmistakable. You're a true Chowhound.

                    1. re: korgy
                      j
                      jason carey Jan 12, 2004 07:47 AM

                      thanks. btw i'm glad everybody is getting all riled up at me. Sometimes its good for people to have heated discussion. It means they care about the things they are talking about

                      1. re: korgy
                        f
                        fkulikoff Sep 5, 2011 12:25 PM

                        Dude, there are no authentic mex restaurants in the Bronx. Even Bobby Flay's Mesa Grille is a weak attempt at authentic southwest. Having lived in Southern California my whole life I know authentic Mex. Mostly comes from small Mom & Pop places you probably would not think of going into. As to Mr. Harding's show. It was great. It was campy but very entertaining for what it was trying to do.

                        1. re: fkulikoff
                          d
                          DESERTLOX Sep 5, 2011 02:47 PM

                          That seems so funny because all we have in California and in Palm Springs where I live is Mexican and Southwest.
                          I was born in Brooklyn but left when I was 2 years old so...I only kne California food and all you hear here is...........The meat here isn't ;like New York..The Pizza here isn't like New York and Nathan's......... my whole life.!!!

                          1. re: fkulikoff
                            thew Sep 5, 2011 02:57 PM

                            re Mexican food in NYC

                            that may have been true 15 years ago.

                        2. re: Jason Carey
                          ChefJune Jul 11, 2010 07:45 AM

                          deleted

                        3. re: mjr_inthegardens
                          k
                          kal Jan 10, 2004 08:21 PM

                          creating jobs in the neighborhood? does he really hire locals? does he even hire newcomers? maybe he does, but i don't know anyone who has worked at his restaurants. the service is so wretched that i doubt the people who work there live in the same neighborhood as the customers. i certainly would be ashamed to treat my neighbors the way i got treated at patois, pacifico or uncle pho, anyway.

                          it is more embarassing than anything. i only went to pacifico because i hadn't realized yet it was run by alan harding.

                        4. re: Jason Carey
                          k
                          Keith Feb 1, 2004 11:01 AM

                          I have enjoyed many meals in Alan Hardings Restaurants. Alan has revitalized Smith Street and has contributed a great deal to Brooklyn with his money, experience and hard work. His great food at reasonable prices in a comfortable atmosphere has always been a great dinning experience. I highly recomend his resturants. The Chowhound seems to want to put down people just because of a little success. I suggest that people try his restuarants and judge for themselfs I'm sure your first experience will not be your last.

                          1. re: Jason Carey
                            d
                            DESERTLOX Sep 5, 2011 02:39 PM

                            ALAN HARDING WON ON THE TV SHOW "CHOPPED" THAT MADE HIM "CHOPPED CHAMPOIN."
                            WHAT ARE YOU A FOOD CRITIC.?
                            MANY EOPLE LOVE ALAN NOT ONLY HIS FOOD BUT HIS PERSONALITY AS WELL.

                            1. re: DESERTLOX
                              f
                              fkulikoff Sep 5, 2011 04:41 PM

                              if you read my comment you would see that I wasn't criticizing Alan. I loved Alan's show Cooking in Brooklyn. And yes I saw him kick ass on Chopped. I was commenting on Korgi's comment about the great Mex food in the South Bronx.

                              1. re: fkulikoff
                                d
                                DESERTLOX Sep 5, 2011 05:38 PM

                                I'm glad you saw Chopped because Alan neede exposure.
                                What happened to him?
                                He looks different lost a lot of weight and I heard divorced his wife.
                                Do you know what's up with him.?

                                1. re: DESERTLOX
                                  iL Divo Sep 7, 2011 11:16 AM

                                  I'd like to hit his food truck and find out, he does not look at all the same.

                                  1. re: iL Divo
                                    d
                                    DESERTLOX Sep 7, 2011 11:33 AM

                                    He doesn't look the same. When I saw him on Chopped I figuredout who he was by his voice..not his look. He looks like he lost 50 pounds and put gel in his hair.

                                    I also heard his wife left so maybe he is depressed and going througha a bad time.
                                    That'll do it..!!!

                          2. re: Dipsy
                            s
                            Scott Berkman Jan 9, 2004 02:55 PM

                            I haven't seen the show. But what really burns me is that of all the restaurants in New York City, both New York Magazine and Time Out choose only two or three to represent Brooklyn in their listings, and for the last several weeks both have picked Schnack - Hardings latest culinary example of the Emperors New Clothes. Can you imagine ever making that your top pick out of all the restaurants in Brooklyn? If it wasn't such a hellhole I would think he were paying them off in free meals. What gives? Good thing no one with any sense actually pays much attention to what either of them say....

                          3. re: Jason Carey
                            d
                            DESERTLOX Jun 14, 2011 07:49 PM

                            .

                            I
                            LOVED WATCHING ALAN HARDING AND I THOUGHT THE SHOW HAD HUMOR. HE WASN'T THERE TO BE A TEACHER OR "MEASURE" HE WAS A BROOKLYN GUY ON A SHOW WITH A STORY AND COOKING.

                            YOU MUST ALL BE FABULOUS CHEF'S WITH YOUR UNKIND COMMENTS REGARDING ALAN..

                            I LOVED HIM AND SO DO MANY PEOPLE HERE IN PALM SPRINGS.

                            PALM SPRINGS LOVED ALAN HARDING.

                            RECENTLY ALAN WAS ON THE TV SHOW.".CHOPPED" AND GUESS WHAT?

                            HE WON.

                            1. re: DESERTLOX
                              d
                              DESERTLOX Jun 14, 2011 08:09 PM

                              Recently posted on facebook.

                          4. o
                            offbalance Jan 9, 2004 12:07 PM

                            I agree. And I reall don't entirely get what the whole 'Brooklyn connection' was, considering how generic the show was. Nothing felt like it was Brooklyn specific, no restaurants or stores or highlights of Brooklyn cuisine were so much as mentioned.

                            I will stand corrected, though - as I turned it off during the first commercial, it was so painful.

                            1. h
                              HankyT Mar 12, 2008 09:03 AM

                              Here's my take on the restos in the Harding empire: Decent to excellent appetizers, lousy to inedible mains and really excellent spaces. You can blame him for the food but not credit him for the spaces, that's usually Jim's part. I loved Schnack and will miss it dearly, I had a pie that I can only describe as foul at DeRosa and loved the GYC before it became Pinhead Central (but who can Eff-up a grilled sausage and a pint?).

                              The show's pretty lame, I'm with you there. I can't believe it's still being aired. That's a high-double-digit cable channel for ya!

                              1. p
                                Piso Apr 30, 2008 02:33 PM

                                I ran in to AH at the Zombie Hut one night. I am from NJ and did not know he owned it. I went up to him and told him his show keeps me up all night waiting for it to come on at 1:30AM. He was a total d*&^. He ignored me and walked away. Why would anyone film a cooking show be like that when a fan approches them? No wonder the shows are all re-runs now.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Piso
                                  r
                                  Riccy Apr 26, 2009 10:38 PM

                                  Because you reminded AH that his shows now air only around 1:30AM. LOL I'll bet he took it the wrong way...thought you were insulting him. I loved his shows. The same way I was first repulsed, then drawn to "Barney, the Purple Dinosaur" when my kids first started watching it. It was like I couldn't take my eyes away. Then I was just drawn in by morbid curiosity. To be honest, I wish he'd do more. I'd like to see new episodes of Alan Harding, Cookin' in Brooklyn.

                                2. p
                                  planetjess Apr 27, 2009 07:28 AM

                                  I don't know chapter and verse what establishments this person owns, and I have never watched his show--but I gather from the comments below that, among his other offerings, he owns Gowanus Yacht Club and Patois.

                                  While GYC may have become more overrun with types that others find annoying over the past couple of years, I've been going for several years and still manage to have a nice time soaking up the sun, drinking beer and eating sausage. I don't tend to go to places for the crowd or the scene, and could generally care less whether all the people at the next table are wearing black and smoking Gitanes (except to wonder pityingly why one would wear black in the middle of the summer) or whatever it is the kids are doing these days--I tend to bring all the people I intend to talk to (other than the server person) with me. It's not a bad place if you don't have your own back yard or someone else's backyard to borrow and want to drink and eat sausages outside.

                                  I haven't been to Patois in a few years (in fact, I thought it closed?), but I did have a couple of very nice meals there. Don't really make it over to that neighborhood as much as I used to, and when I go now, it's generally for the steak au poivre at Quercy....

                                  1. iL Divo Jul 10, 2010 07:44 AM

                                    I can't believe I didn't post on this.
                                    Liking or not various chefs I understand.
                                    While some like watching, say, Emeril, for me, I'm over his shstik.
                                    But with Alan Harding, I found him amusing.
                                    When I met him and spent the day with him years ago, he was charming and funny with a real sense of who he was and is and the ideas he 'then' had for a future restaurant he planned on opening. He showed me his menu ideas, we kicked some things/ideas around and I couldn't have enjoyed my day with him more. A gentleman and very generous with his time and ideas, therefore, I loved Cookin in Brooklyn, when it was on and told him so.............I also told him he burned his chocolate chip bread pudding recipe on the show and he said, "oh I know it" and we had a good laugh.

                                    1. b
                                      bdr1961 May 31, 2011 08:12 PM

                                      i think alan is awesome i love the way he cooks i never measure anything.very funny also keep up the great work

                                      1. iL Divo Jun 1, 2011 08:15 AM

                                        hubby came home last night and I knew he wanted to turn on the news and did.
                                        during the first commercial I saw that a new Chopped was on and he said it was ok to turn it.
                                        he secretly loves Chopped too but would never admit it.
                                        he also ALWAYS gets the it right about who's going home/getting chopped.
                                        except for last night.
                                        I was thrilled to see that Alan Harding was on Chopped. as we watched, I recanted my story to him about that crazy day in NYC [Brooklyn actually] and how much fun that day was spending it with Alan. he said, "What?" it was then that I guessed I'd not said too much about it to him and he was a little put off.
                                        watching Alan last night, though, my husband saw what a noodlehead silly guy he was, and we giggled through the whole show. husband, a FIRST, guessed wrong ................ although I won't say who won or lost due to not wanting to be a spoiler, I will say he knows me so well that of course understood why I'd like Alan or would have had so much fun with him that day years ago.
                                        I say bring him back to TV.

                                        1. h
                                          hueyishere Jun 8, 2011 08:57 PM

                                          I liked this silly guy and his cooking,

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: hueyishere
                                            d
                                            DESERTLOX Jun 14, 2011 08:10 PM

                                            Me too....I loved it.

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