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Take Home Chef

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  • sally from LA Jun 6, 2006 03:00 PM
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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. re: Larry

            SIGN ME UP!

            1. re: Larry

              I want to see that show.

              1. re: chezlamere

                It's great!

            2. 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.

                  2. Very interesting point about the traffic.

                    1. I totally wonder about the all clean kitchens and hubby home at 4pm
                      that's the cali life, eh?
                      but I enjoyed it a little
                      at least there was variety in the two shows I saw -- kosher in one, vegan in the other
                      It seemed a good enough way to get to some okay recipes and ways of thinking about dinner

                      in the vegan one, did anyone else get the sense that the mom was about to have an affair with the cook?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pitu

                        Everytime I stumble apon this show, it always has some "deprived" house wife blatantly salivating and near dry humping the Aussie Chef. It's quite entertaining.

                        Imagine you're the husband, you come home and your wife brought home a hot chef from the grocery store... it's so obviously staged.

                        1. re: Veggietales

                          They have a big camera crew there at all times. I don't think the husband is really threatened.

                      2. Not a huge fan. It's on TLC here.

                        The best one was where he had to install the stovetop before he could cook! I've only seen three though.

                        I live in N. California.....a different state than S. California. He must go to the "sexy store" to get people...and the store is never busy. Hmmmm.

                        Melly http://www.sacramentofoodgroup.org

                        1. I was on this show in its first season. It was one of the most entertaining days of my life filming that episode.

                          A couple of key points:

                          1. Although being approached to do the show is certainly shocking, the "surprise approach" is definitely staged. One of the producers scouted me while I was shopping for a couple snacks to take up to the office and asked if I'd do it. TWO DAYS later we were in production.

                          2. The Exec producer discussed the premise of the show extensively with me, and an integral part of the concept is the "sexual tension" between chosen housewife and sexy Curtis. Thankfully, I am not a desperate housewife. Instead they made an exception and allowed my single self to cook for a friend.

                          3. Even though the early hubby arrival times seem suspect, that final "surprise" is actually completely real. And nerve wracking.

                          4. The food Curtis makes, although pretty simple, is incredibly delcious. He knows what he's doing and can definitely turn ordinary ingredients into something special.

                          I was a part of the 7th episode and now they are well into their 3rd season... The production team was an absolute blast to work with, good people, and they deserve to have all our Chowhound support. Watch it!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Larali

                            Awww.....you killed the excitement (lol!). But knowing that the end is a real surprise is good!

                            1. re: Larali

                              Larali, thank you for sharing youir experiences. Always wanted to know and now I do.

                            2. Lar...thank you for adding your personal exp with to this OP. I really enjoy the show, Curtis and the premise. How lucky for you to have had the experience.

                              1. I'm totally addicted to the show. I love the show. Thanks for the insight Lar, it's good to know. Now, I know why all the people look so good when they are first approached.

                                1. I am a convert of this show as well, after my sister turned me on to it. Curtis seems genuine and he's easy on the eyes, so what's not to like?
                                  Actually, one Sunday afternoon late last year we turned a corner on Nob Hill in San Francisco and who was there on the corner, tall as can be? CURTIS!!!
                                  I thought my sister was going to lose her sh**, but he was very nice, explaining to us they were shooting an episode around the corner, etc, etc. He was very regular.
                                  I agree, all the episodes run a little too smoothly to not be a little bit staged, but they do seem to be shopping on weekend mornings, when maybe it's a little less hectic out. (???)
                                  And there was that one episode where the young husband came home and seemed none too happy about finding Curtis with his wife in their very cramped kitchen, sipping wineand cooking away. They had to shuttle him outside with his own glass, the young wife clearly trying to smooth his feathers, kinda hysterical.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: rabaja

                                    I feel compelled to add, that although my sister was indeed thrown into a screaming frenzy upon sighting Curtis, I was actually too intimidated to get out of the car. He did seem very nice from afar though...

                                    1. re: rabaja

                                      yeah....was that the one where Curtis tried to move a little curio and accidently broke a tiny shot glass?

                                    2. Actually Take Home Chef is on TNT and I think it is an absolutely amazing show. Has anyone out there watched it more than once. Curtis does go to ethnic markets all across LA and he does many more intricate meals than "chicken in a pot".
                                      Take into condsideration that he is spontaneously creating meals for people's personal choices, lifestyles and families.
                                      Curtis is incredible in that he can deal with many different personalities, conditions and challenges that most hoity toity chefs could never handle. He accepts basketball challenges, puts the stovetop back into the kitchen and many other impromptu things.
                                      I don't think set up is the correct word, they edit out the rejects (meaning people who don't want to participate) of course and give them mikes, but I have seen a wide variety of kitchens, people and walks of life on his show.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: lavenderbabe

                                        I catch Take Home Chef on TLC, The Learning Channel, right around dinner time.

                                        1. re: lavenderbabe

                                          What's TNT? I'm not a big TV person.

                                        2. Not to mention he is a total hottie!

                                          1. Absolutely love this show! He cooks some very interesting things, makes it look easy and yes, is very hot!

                                            1. The guy is just so likable and the show easily puts the lucky girl format into a "that could be me" "I wish that was me" mode from the start. Fun to watch!

                                              I hope the show doesn't try to stretch its format too much (too often the case with successful formulas). I made the battered fried hard boiled eggs (the formal name escapes me) out of sheer curiosity and they were amazing!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                I think those eggs were called Mother-In-Law eggs. For the future MIL to serve her future son-in-law as a warning to be a nice boy. Curtis was a hoot.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  which episode was that and do you have the recipe?

                                                  1. re: kennicooks

                                                    kennicooks, so long ago (at least by tv standards) that I don't have the recipe on my pc but did you check the shows or curtis' website for it?

                                                    http://tlc.discovery.com/fansites/tak...
                                                    If you have time to search, the recipe file for Take Home Chef is linked above.

                                                2. I told my husband the only time he'll find another man in our house when he gets home is if it's Curtis Stone cooking in our kitchen. Unfortunately, I don't see him coming to Canada anytime soon. :(

                                                  1. I absolutely love this show. I had no idea where the show was shot. I am also one of those that would love to be approached by him in the market. But seeing that I am in the middle of nowhere and shop mostly at the local walmart I don't think I'll be seeing him. Also I never understood the husband ALWAYS having a set time to be home. I never know when my dh will be home for dinner or if he'll show before the dishes are done.

                                                    1. I don't like the new time for the show. It used to be featured on Friday nights on prime time but now it's pre-prime time so I forget it's on because I'm either on the way back from the gym or busy making dinner.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: singleguychef

                                                        I am so sorry to learn that Take Home Chef was cancelled. I tried to contact TLC to ask what was going on but could never find a way to to it. This was truly one of the more interesting cooking shows...staged or not. It was fun and informational. I wonder why another network did not pick this up if TLC did not want to sponsor it. The concept was unique and very entertaining. I miss it.

                                                      2. Well first Discovery killed off the Home Channel and all the cooking shows there, and now Take Home Chef seems to be dropped from TLC.

                                                        Hope someone somewhere gives Curtis a new show.

                                                        1. yes me too, I enjoyed particularly the shows where he is out of LA. Not that I have anything to say bad way about LA, just that it was a nice change to see him moving around the West coast.

                                                          When I've watched his shows, I feel that he is comfortable with a few cuisines. It was particularly funny though when he made meatloaf, which was the gals choice to make for her family. He had never eaten it.What no meatloaf in Oz?
                                                          But the dishes he makes with fish and seafood absolutely drive me crazy, beautiful job with those and salads and dressings.

                                                          Of course he is goodlooking and my dh always teases me when he finds me watching his program. But more than the looks he comes across to be down to earth, with a kind personality. I notice that he always compliments the other half and ask nice questions about how they met and such. He says things to reinforce their love for one another, I like that. The only time I saw him uncomfortable was when he was cooking for three very good looking girlfriends. Yikes, did he look nervous!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                            I think I rememer that one because not only was each woman a hottie, but I think each had a different accent. That was funny. I wondered if he went back to the house after the cameras went off for their numbers. LOL

                                                            As you say though, besides a winning personality he has a good depth of variety, very well versed. And again, when he came across something he didn't know like American meatloaf, he seemed so happy to learn as much as teach. One thing though, Discovery never supported him on his website, sometimes putting his recipes up months later and this year they still haven't put up recipes from the winter shows and probably won't now. Few commercials for him on the channel and then horrible support on the site, he's better without them.

                                                          2. My husband and I always get a kick out of Pick-up Chef who seems to turn up an amazing array of beautiful women with spotless kitchens to take home and ostensibly cook up a meal for the schlubby husband. I've never been over-impressed with his cooking. It's OK, but nothing terribly exciting or innovative. All I know is there's no chance in hell that Curtis would ever approach an overweight middle-aged woman like me or any of the ga-zillions of other real, but not very photogenic people who actually might enjoy a meal prepared by a chef, which makes this show a one-note tune for me.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Fuser

                                                              Hey, he'd never approach a crusty old Jap (anese) geezer with super short hair wearing black t-shirt and jeans either, but I don't begrudge either the beautiful Curtis or the gorgeous women. He's good and the show is good TV.

                                                              1. re: Fuser

                                                                Ironically he changed that this season. (And ironically now it's apparently cancelled and gone. No, I make no assertions the two are at all connected.)

                                                              2. Yep! I agree with you totaly.
                                                                Anyway, it's still interesting program, I usu. watch with my mom but it's a bit hard to take the recipe as he cooks. By the way, it's good to watch a handsome chef bringing us the grourmet dishes....