The Food TV list
All original japanese iron chefs (except italian)
The Ham on the Street
Guy's big bite guy
Paula "marshmallo and mayo sandwich anyone?" Deen
Mark "double dare" Summers
Rachel "everything is 'mmmmm'" Ray
Sandra "dung on a bun" Lee
Cat "wow, i'm an iron chef?" Cora
what's your list?
I'm with Carb Lover on the lack of actual teaching on the Food Network. When the network first came to Canada (about 9 years ago), I was glued...there were the Two Hot Tamales, David Rosengarten, Michael Lomonaco, Alan Richman, and Emeril, of course. This was serious cooking and education. It's still important for the home cook to know how to wash spinach properly; the Tamales showed the viewer how. Try finding a cooking show nowadays that TEACHES the basics.
As a culinary educator, recipe developer and food/cookbook writer, I lament the deterioration of cooking shows and shows about food in general. It's all about the entertainment now and amusing the masses. As usual, the people with the real passion for real food, cooking and gastronomy are left unsated.
Mario Batali (but, I never find him on anymore up here in Canada).
Gordon Ramsay (Kitchen Nightmares)
David Rocco (Dolce Vita)
Nigella Lawson (Any of the two or three series they're running up here)
Jamie Oliver (particularly for 'School Dinners')
Bobby Flay (in small doses, and only recently -- he's less of an ass than he used to be. But, then again, I haven't seen him on this new competitve show (smash down?))
Original Iron Chef (I hate the Itallian one -- Masahiko Kobe -- too. I like Chen the best.)
The rest. Particular mention goes to Rachel, Giada, and Emeril.
Old and good but gone:
I miss Steingarten and Ming Tsai a lot.
Pretty much the food network lost its appeal. There are better shows on Fine Living, PBS, Discover Home...but as a chef:
Flay (only in small spurts)
Iron Chef (either one)
that's it...I don't want to deal with watered down Martha Stewarts (i.e. paula deen, the bare foot one, rachel ray, etc..) There needs to be a network with real chefs showing the public how to properly cook things...no hackers. no short cuts! the real way. I sa a show today with Marcus Samulesson (a real chef). We are a very interesting and entertaining group :)
I still haven't seen Guy's show (no real interest), but I really can't take much of Ham on the Street. No real content, more about "entertainment" in a style that doesn't work for me. Did this Duran guy *really* have a show in France like his opener says??!!
Sadly, I don't find much "awesome" on the network anymore. There are some shows that are decent/tolerable, but they don't really teach like they once did. Alton is the only one that goes into any depth. I don't count Mario because he's cancelled and I haven't seen his show in forever. The American Iron Chefs (aside from Morimoto) don't have nearly the range or finesse that the Japanese did. Their prime time evening "way more than cooking" line up makes me cringe...
I'll stick to PBS, but I really wish that someone would start a competing food-related network w/ better content. Anyone?