HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Apr 27, 2005 05:26 PM

PBS reality series "Cooking Under Fire" starts tonight

  • c

I have no connection to PBS but wanted to pass this on...

Billing itself as "reality TV that feeds your brain", this primetime series starts tonight on select PBS stations (see link to check your local listings). It's at 8pm on Ch. 9 KQED Bay Area. Premise centers around 12 contestants vying for one chef position at one of Todd English's restaurants in NYC. Their battles will take place in the kitchens of 4 major cities: LA (Sona being one), Las Vegas, Miami, and NYC. The main judges are Todd English, Ming Tsai, and Michael Ruhlman (no female chef judge a la Paula Abdul?) who will be joined by local guest judges that are supposedly big names.

An alternative to Emeril on FoodTV! Should be interesting to see restaurant reality TV PBS-style...

Link: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cookingunderf...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. After watching the first 2 episodes tonight, I feel like this show treats the viewer with a lot more intelligence than most other reality shows. I enjoyed them, and will watch the rest.

    Are there really that many line/sous chefs out there that can't dice an onion? Some of these folks had several years of experience. I didn't think it would be much of a test, but judging from the messes... tsk, tsk... On the second show, each contestant prepared a mise - I do agree that it seemed unfair and confusing to not set more parameters. The mise en place for each station in a kitchen is different, never mind from one cuisine to another. On the other hand, leaving it up to the person to interpret the requirement may not have been such a bad thing after all. Certainly, the two or so bozo's that actually cooked a dish deserved bad marks for their interpretation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: applehome

      The Frenchman seems to be the most experienced and charismatic, but the chef who did the dessert custard on the "eggcersize" is going to be hard to beat. Pretty interesting show for us Chowhounds.

    2. Enticing.

      Kind of along the lines of Newton's The Entertainer that was likened after Trump's The Apprentice mixed in with a dash of American Idol.

      However, there is more contact and conversation with contestants by the hosts/judges. And, there is an underlying flavor of Jeopardy and Name That Tune in that the audience can play along and anonymously win.

      'twas it not for the hosts Todd English and Ming Tsai, I might have sat watching wanted to be a contestant also. They are both quite magnetically interesting, magical and alluring. But, the results were for real! You get to work in a Todd English restaurant. Get serious. I felt that all I wanted to do with Todd English was sit with him in front of a cozy fire wearing fluffy maribou slide-ons while offering my head for him to pet while I purred and Ming Tsai offered me a creamy hot chocolate or something.

      6 Replies
      1. re: kc girl

        EUUUU! "They are both quite magnetically interesting, magical and alluring." Todd English's head is the size of a longhorn bull's - he looks deformed. And Ming Tsai has got to stop eating what he cooks he is PORKING UP!

        1. re: babblefish

          What about the marabou slip ons?

          1. re: kc girl

            'twas an even louder "EEEUUUUU" . ('twas??!!)

        2. re: kc girl

          "I felt that all I wanted to do with Todd English was sit with him in front of a cozy fire wearing fluffy maribou slide-ons while offering my head for him to pet while I purred and Ming Tsai offered me a creamy hot chocolate or something."

          Here, I'll fix it....

          "I felt tht all I wanted to do was sit in front of a cozy fire and watch Todd English, wearing fluffy maribou slide-ons, make me a fabulous meal while Ming Tsai, wearing a ruffled apron, offered me a tasty drink to go with his yummy crackers."

          now that kind of prize would get me to do a reality show.

          1. re: Pssst

            Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww! Creepy!!

          2. re: kc girl

            Yes, my local paper described it as part American Idol, The Apprentice, and Julia Child. Well, it's still reality TV so not as classy as Julia, but def. worth a half hour of entertainment for future episodes.

            I only caught the second half last night, so felt a bit disoriented about the format and contestants. But I liked both tasks and could def. "feel the heat" in the kitchen. I love to cook, but couldn't imagine having to perform under that kind of pressure. Guess that's why I'm not a chef...

            I def. have my own male chef crushes, but didn't find any of those three very magnetic last night. English kind of creeps me out, actually. I know the least about him, so will be interesting to see his TV persona come out. Seemed like Tsai had the most speaking parts, at least in the second half hour. Anyone know who the future guest judges will be? Hope they have some women chefs!