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Jun 6, 2006 03:00 PM

Take Home Chef

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Has anyone seen "Take Home Chef" - I think it's on the discovery channel? It involves the impromptu meeting of a chef who trawls up-market supermarkets in LA, chooses a shopper, and offers to go home with them on the spot and cook a gourmet dinner for them and their spouse/SO/family. He also plans the menu and pays for the food. I'm sure it must be staged, due to the good looks of those chosen and their immaculate kitchens, some of which are so incredible that the chef seems overwhelmed..

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  1. Yeah, seen it about three times. He is shopping in Gelson's which is kinda an upscale local market, so far it seems the consumers have all been residents of upscale Pasadena/Arcadia/LaCanada/Glendale.

    They definately are pre-screening the people he "bumps in to". I am not that impressed with his menus. Seems to me if he is an accomplished, professional chef preparing a "special suprise meal" he could do better than chicken in the pot.

    Must have a nice budget, what with Gelson's, and he usually pops for some wine, and of course makes a stop at a local fancy cookstore to buy the lucky "surprised host/hostess" some piece of essential cookware or servingware for his menu.

    Link: http://www.indefatigable-indolence.or...

    7 Replies
    1. re: Chino Wayne

      And of course a buff looking bloke with an Australian charms the pants off the lucky women.

      1. re: Chino Wayne

        Is this Gordon Elliot you're taking about? I saw those shows 7-8 years ago, but they used east coast locations. I loved seeing everybody's bare or 'tired' fridges!

        1. re: toodie jane

          You are thinking of Door Knock Dinners, which is a different show. Gordon Elliotts show involved him going knocking on someone's door and offering to cook a meal for them with whatever they had in their kitchen/fridge.

          1. re: rcheng

            Elliott wouldn't cook though. He would bring along a local chef to do the work.

      2. re: Chino Wayne

        But I'm sure what he's cooking was cutting edge in Oz when he learnt it 5 years ago.

        A nutritionist who didn't/couldn't cook? wouldn't that be a red flag for someone hiring her?

        Never trust a skinny chef....

        1. re: Chino Wayne

          So do you really feel they're prescreening? Because I know that quite a few people says no to him going to their house and I also disagree with you because I've seen him in some pretty embarrassing situations. If it were really prescreened, that wouldn't be the case. I've seen husbands acting weird and I've seen Curtis a little nervous at times so I think it's reality and on the spot. I also think that his menus are delightful. When have you seen him prepare simple chicken in a pot? Maybe you're watching a different show. Every once in a while, he does something simple but it's usually unique dishes.

          1. re: kennicooks

            Yes, it is staged. I know someone who was on it. The production people would plant themselves at Gelson's and ask a couple of women if they'd come back to the store the following day and shop and be on the show--they would have already signed a release form. . And they'd pick only women who are attractive and upscale looking. They weren't allowed to tell their husbands, which is why some of the men seem surprised. . Then they show up. If two show up, they schedule one for another day. That's how it works. They know

        2. You didn't think the Gelson's crowd actually cooked in those designer kitchens, didya?

          I've always thought that the better show would be to go to an ethnic market, find some "what the hell is that?" ingredient and ambush some customer to show you how to cook it.

          3 Replies
            1. I really like the show, it is obviously somewhat staged. But I also think its normal to only have attractive people on the show - it is on TV, it cracks me up when the husband comes home and is way less good looking. I think his menus are unusual for a food show and seem fairly healthy without trying too hard to be. He also often convinces people to try something they havent had before. I wish he would film some episodes in NYC, i have a huge crush.

              2 Replies
              1. re: belle

                I think it would be a better show if he came and cooked, and then left before the husband or whoever got home, so that they thought that their wife, a seemingly bad cook, had actually cooked a decent meal! The way it is now, it just seems awkward when he stands around them while they are eating, asking about the food... at least sit down and eat with them or something! I hate when people watch me eat!

                1. re: Katie Nell

                  I know that my replies are like two years late (lol!) but I still want to post them. How long has the show been on? Right when I got attached to it,they seem to have cancelled it. It's the only thing I looked forward to watching everyday. Curtis seems to give the couple good space to eat. I think he cleans the kitchen while they eat. We just don't see everything because they cut things down for TV viewing time. Sometimes when the kitchen is so small, he has no choice but to work closely by the couple. If you notice, he usually tries to get his space by sending the woman to freshen up, or encouraging the couple to have a glass of wine and then an appetizer.

              2. The show is on The Learning Channel in my area. I really like it. It's engaging; it never seems staged at all. Curtis Stone, the chef, is really nervous about approaching people, and he picks people just based on what section of the store they're in---produce, meat, fish, wine. He just picks out people who look like they're planning something. He's always so apologetic.

                He's also ended up in very different kitchens, from the very small, cramped to the sea view. He teaches people technique, really. It doesn't matter what they're cooking, he teaches them HOW. Plus, he meets people who are vegetarian, whatever. I've learned a lot from watching him.

                The finale of the show is when he surprises someone coming home. That's the whole point. It's just a great half-hour.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Valeries

                  I agree with you totally! I love it!

                2. I like this show, mostly for the surprise element and to see what Curtis is going to make. I agree with some of you that it doesn't seem like he's making really creative stuff, but I bet it tastes good because he's cooked in restaurants and the husbands always seem happy. I always wonder, though, how disappointing it seems sometimes to have dinner where it's just a starter and the entree. Or just an entree and dessert. I know he doesn't have much time, but hey, if I'm getting a free meal, I want an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert! I know, I'm greedy that way.

                  Does anyone else ever wonder (a look into my brain now) why these people always come home for dinner by 5 p.m.? I thought they're down in LA. Where's the notorious LA traffic? Why do they always come home on time? Slackers! :)

                  I think it's also funny how they play off Curtis' Hollywood looks. Do anyone else think the beginning is funny where Curtis rips off his chef coat in the kitchen to oftentimes show off his chiseled chest in a T-shirt? LOL.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: singleguychef

                    Maybe you're a better cook than me (smile) but I don't think the stuff looks simple. I think that his expertise makes it look more simple than it actually is. He makes it look like a breeze, but have you ever tried one of his recipes? They're actually pretty tough. I also think that a lot of these men can come home early because they're rich, big-wigs, or business owners and can do what they want.