Best and Worst Cooking Shows
I'm going to kick this off with an obvious statement - this is a very subjective list, and I would love to hear everyone else's opinions. I'll also limit it to my top and bottom four.
Also, I'm not even going to include Rachel Ray or Sandra Lee in my list - these two are in class by themselves IMO, and not in a good way.
My categories are largely based on two factors: 1) Education - how much I actually learn and can replicate from the show. 2) Personality - how entertaining, fun, and captivating is the host, without distracting from the food.
America's Test Kitchen - Scores very high on the education factor - lots of practical, real-world information on food and tools, with recipes I can replicate. Kimball can be annoying at times, but banter with the rest of the cast is entertaining.
Good Eats - Great on the education factor, and pretty fun to watch as well. Kind of like a tv version of "On Food and Cooking." The science sometimes gets distracting, but lots of practical advice. Plus, the Mcguyver setups rock. My sister-in-law, however, finds him unwatchable, personality-wise.
Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello - High on the personality factor, and I love how Mike's goal is to show you how much you can prep in advance so you're not bogged down the day of your gathering. Great for when you're planning a party. His little "chef's tricks" are great.
Tyler's Ultimate - High on personality - Tyler's very casual and comfortable to watch. Plus high on education - it's great on how he focuses on 'core' recipes, but makes them the 'best' he can. Fried chicken, rib roast, pot roast - all staples that belong in every home chef's repertoire.
Emeril Live - I'm not a big Emeril fan, but even so, I don't think I've learned anything from his "Live" show as opposed to "Essence of Emeril". Perfect case of the personality distracting from the food.
Licensed to Grill - I find Rainford very unwatchable and cringe-worthy. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but his personality completely turns me off to his cooking.
Barbecue University - For such a well respected barbecue chef as Raichlen, his TV personality is a complete bore. He scores well on the Education factor, but there's just no excitement in this show. The "Grill Cam" is completely useless.
East Meets West - I know lots of people love Ming, and I'll admit to watching his show on a regular basis. I like the concept of his Master recipe, but as far as replicable recipes are concerned, he scores very low. More often than not, I've seen him use ingredients that are just too exotic for the regular home chef. Almost every show, I find myself saying "Where am I going to get THAT?" And I live in New York, where I can pretty much find everything at some local farmers market or store - I can't imagine what it would be like for people who live in areas without as wide a variety of produce.
What are your best/worst?
Has anyone ever seen Ms Lucy's Cajun Classroom? It's a hoot. It's so bad it's good.
Rocknrope: "Barbecue University - For such a well respected barbecue chef as Raichlen, his TV personality is a complete bore."
I would so much rather watch this "complete bore" than any of the dozens of schtick-y, slogan-y Rachael Ray imitators on FN. Raichlen manages to entertain and instruct just fine.
My favorites are:
Jacque Pepin's two most recent shows.
John & Capriel's Ktichen: Something about this show projects a very warm and cozy feel. They also are unpretentious.
America's Test Kitchen: Very informative show and it's hard not to like Kimble.
Chef at Home: I like the fact that you are invited into his home to watch him prepare a meal. Nice set up with that big house on Prince Edward Island.
Nick Stellino: Yes, he's not classically trained and yes, he talks way too much. However, he has a very likable personality.
BBQ Pit Masters: Loved the first two seasons. Great personalities and great, slow smoking style of cooking.
Least Favorite Shows:
Emeril Live: Hated it. Too over the top. Did he really need his own band?
Lydia: Too over exposed. (she can cook, though)
BBQ University: I love all things barbecue. However, the host (Raichen) is way too fussy and prissy. He is also extremely boring due to his bland personality.
Favorite informative shows:
Good Eats - I learned a lot from his show, like basic knife skills and how to open crabs. The informative parts are fun and I love the science aspect of it. I watch it even when I have no interest in the food (like home brewing) or don't care for his version or the food (like the lasagna or the red velvet cake YUCK!).
Essence of Emeril – It’s really a great show to watch, but because it came out around the time of Emeril Live, people avoided it. I liked Emeril’s recipes and the fact that he explained things on there.
Favorite entertaining shows:
Iron Chef – This was quite entertaining. I loved watching Kenichi and Sakai.
Anything G. Garvin – I don’t know what it is about him, but I love watching his shows. Perhaps because I can relate to his idioms and slang. He brings the energy. Plus, he makes the best red velvet cake I’ve ever eaten in my life. The downside is he gets so caught up in the moment he can forget to explain things and sometimes I wonder if he really likes all the food he tastes.
Nadia G’s Bitchin Kitchen – This show can be hilariously funny at times, but I only watch it if there are recipes I would want to eat. Her recipes are simple and cheap. The spice agent (Thanks, uh… Yehezkel Mizrahi!) is funny.
No Reservations- Bourdain is so tongue in cheek at times. I love it. But I like the ones where he’s out of the country.
Shows/chefs from time to time for recipes or entertainment:
Ina Garten – Her recipes are usually good and easy, but her demeanor is irritating, as she comes across as condescending. I usually just read the recipes I want.
Michael Chiarello – same as Ina Garten
30 minutes meals – some of the recipes were good, but the concept is a bit misleading. I have yet to make a 30 minute meal in 30 minutes. Her show induced a wave of vertigo, she’s running around so much.
Sandra Lee – Not only does she make dishes on her semi homemade show that take a TON of money to make, but they never look good. I made a meatloaf recipe of hers, and when it was done it looked like Alpo dog food. The f***ing Kwanzaa cake did it for me though. I don’t understand how a CHEF (who was accepted in culinary school!!!) could make something that inedible. And most of her dishes are like that. I hear she's on a new show about bars and taverns. That seems more her element.
Shows that I have watched recently that I enjoyed were:
- Luke Nguyen's Vietnam (Aussie show - chef from Red Lantern a well respected Vietnamese restaurant - chef was I believe born in a Thai refugee camp to Vietnames refugees then relocated to Australia) - He introduces you to Vietnam / cooking starting in the south and working his way north in Vietnam [2 seasons].
- Poh's Kitchen (first 2 seasons) (Aussie show)
- How to cook like Heston Blumenthal (six episodes) - some people were disappointed he stuck with relearning stuff about the basics - but I really enjoyed it (UK)
Jacques and Julia Cook At Home: These two are the best in my opinion.
Essential Pepin: I learned a lot from watching his show. He isn't pompous about his cooking skills like some tv chefs are.
Two Fat Ladies: I know their cooking isn't the most healthy but they introduced me to British cooking. I have the dvd set and have watched them numerous times and am never bored.
Not Sure List:
America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country: I learned things from these shows but I wish they would make Christopher Kimball and his bow tie and stay in the back office and let the others run the show. He really doesn't contribute much in the way of cooking as the others do. I will admit that I laugh when Jack Bishop proves him wrong. I am sorry I missed the hot sauce taste test. That being said I think Julia and Bridget as well as Becky are great. Yvonne Ruperti was ok but she seemed really enamored with Christopher Kimball. Like a girl infatuated with Justin Bieber.
Ina Garten: I do love her recipes but it seems so fake when her real life friends pop in or she goes to one of her friends stores. It just looks so staged. That being said her recipes do turn out great and she doesn't use a lot of fancy hard to find ingredients.
Lidia Bastianich: I watched her shows and did learn a lot but please enough of the slurping, lip smacking and mmm mmm mmm Lidia when you go and taste your food. Loved it though when her son's boys were on the show because they didn't act like they wanted to be there. She gave them lobster to eat and the youngest told her he didn't like it. She still wanted him to taste it and he hated it. He ended up putting it on her plate. Speaking of her son, Joe is one angry looking guy. I would hate to work for him. Her daughter Tanya seems nice.
Shows I Hate:
Rachael Ray: I used to like watching her shows when she first started but after she was Oprahfied she changed greatly. Her voice is worse than nails on a blackboard. Doesn't she know you don't have to shout all the time? Her recipes have gotten more bizarre and disgusting as time has gone by. Michelle Obama should label her a hazard to children for her recipes alone. She is a big contributor to the obesity problem. Sliders are supposed to be a bit or two not something you can only eat if you have a jaw like an anaconda.
Barbecue University and Primal Grill: The host Stephen Raichlen is a creepy guy. He put me off when during a show in an aside he said he has always been fascinated by fire since he was a kid and now he has a way to use it. Isn't that what arsonists always claim? I gave him a chance but to be honest the creepy factor was too much for me.
Christina Cooks: I know people can choose to be vegan or vegetarian but please you don't need to bash people over the head with it. I watched a few of her shows and came away not liking her very much. She opens with a segment bashing how other people eat and it is their fault they are sick. I know she had cancer and survived it but she can get her point across with out sounding so witchy. Also the guy that sings on her show is major creepy. That one song he wrote that was about some woman who wouldn't sleep with him unless they were married first and he said check please, I hope she kneed him in his family jewels. And for someone who claims to eat healthy and not all the deadly stuff we do she seems to use wine or beer quite liberally in her recipes. Alcohol may have some health benefits but it also damages the brain, liver, pancreas, kidneys etc. Guess Miss Know It All doesn't know it all.
Your reply made me laugh because we have the same likes and dislikes. At least, I'm not the only one who thinks Raichlen is creepy.
I have a feeling that each time Raichlen fires up his grills, one of the neighborhood pets go missing and Little Stevie gets a new coat to match his flannels.
Laughing with nikkib99, as our lists are quite similar. In general, I feel the quality of the shows on PBS are far superior to what FN puts out, especially in the last 2-3 years.
Love Jacques Pepin, he is truly a master. I always learn something from any of his shows (Essential Pepin, Jacques & Julia and his other mid-90s PBS show, not sure if it was also Essential Pepin, but it is responsible for really getting me into cooking as a young twenty-something).
Avec Eric - not only does Eric Ripert have amazing chef skills, he is easy on the eyes and his accent enthralls me. He could read an eye chart and I would be delighted to listen. My husband also enjoys the travel segments.
Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello - love the setting of his shows, love all his references to his Italian heritage.
Bobby Flay - especially Boy Meets Grill, not so crazy about the one where he grilled the same ingredient with a guest. I too initially thought Bobby was very arrogant, but he impressed me in some of his early shows where he visited all sorts of small towns across America. Also, his recipes are all outstanding.
Always try to Catch:
From Spain with Love - My husband laughs at how Annie Siboney always seems about 5 minutes away from hitting the sheets with whatever chef she seems to be speaking with at the moment, but I chalk up her behavior to being in a very passionate southern European environment. Overall, we love the show and can't wait to travel throughout Spain.
Tommy Tang - Easy Thai Cooking - reminds us of our travels to Thailand and our Thai friends
A Cook's Tour - old reruns on Cooking Channel every Wednesday morning
Lidia's Italy - I love her recipes, but I agree, her son Joe just always seems angry or annoyed that he's forced on the show.
Barefoot Contessa - again, excellent recipes, but sometimes we just have to laugh at the utter lack of reality that surrounds her.
Any old Julia Child shows
Mario's Little Italy in America
Essence of Emeril - really found myself annoyed by Emeril Live and all his schtick, but the man seems good and decent to his employees and can flat out cook, have never been disappointed by his recipes.
"Oldies but Goodies" - shows/chefs who used to be on PBS
Tastes of Texas with Stephan Pyles
Cucina Amore with Damian Mandola (of the original Carrabba's, before it got swallowed up in a corporate buyout)
Dessert Circus with Jacques Torres (dislike him for personal reasons, but he is a genius with chocolate and very entertaining show)
Giada - I was very in to her at first, but more recently, I feel like she seems a bit condescending, almost flaunting her perfect life. I do always love the shows where she cooks with Aunt Raffy. Even though I'm younger than Giada, I actually feel like I'm really Aunt Raffy at heart.
Paula Deen - especially when she calls one of the boys "Sonny Boy", it is like nails on a chalkboard for me. I used to like a few of her recipes, but any more, she is just a caricature, it's as if FN demands her to "Bubba it up".
I'm laughing at what you said about Stephen Raichlen, I just didn't really care for the show, but couldn't put my finger on a specific reason....
Common themes in my likes - Italians, Cajuns, Texans, French and any show that includes world travel....
Common themes in my dislikes - people who seem fake or dumb down their product, assuming their viewers don't know mascarpone from cream cheese.
I will echo similar likes and dislikes here.
My issue with Ray-Ray is that she makes the same stuff over and over and over again with very little change. (Might explain the pantheon of cookbooks she's been able to produce. Well, at least the chick knows her limits.)
Pepin? I'd be happy to sit, with a glass or two of wine, and watch him wash dishes while regaling me with all kinds of stories. Julia? I'd be happy if she was sitting with me.
It's Beekman Boys. Looks like a reality version of Green Acres. The summaries on the TV listings didn't look too interesting. I only caught a glimpse of a segment in which they were trying to sneak several kids (baby goats) into a B&B.
I'm surprised no one has ranted (or raved) about BBC America Chefs Race - UK v USA. It supposedly has a big name behind it - Jamie Oliver, though he doesn't appear on screen. I only had it on last night because there wasn't anything else of interest.
The 2nd season of Extreme Chefs was, I think, better than the 1st, almost on the par with BBC No Kitchen.
It's only in the UK. You can check online sources for the show.
There's also River Cottage Bread & Baking and Use Your Loaf with James Martin and Paul Hollywood.
Also check out The Big Bread Experiment. It's based on the efforts of a small English village to provide the town good, old-fashioned artisan bread. This includes sourcing and milling wheat for flour, setting up a bakery for the required volume, and training the locals to staff the bakery. Very interesting.
I mentioned Nadia - Bitchin' Kitchen. I like the spice guy, but not the pervy fish guy.
I tried watching Mexico and during the first episode I watched, Rick is out in the garden, shirtless digging a hole large enough to fit a few bodies and his daughter was cooking who knows what. At some point, she comes out to the garden with 2 glasses of lemonade in that natural way when you see your dad shirtless and digging a trench in what could very well be a suburban location.
I felt funny and changed the channel.
Julia and Jacques
Baking with Julia
Two Fat Ladies
How to Cook Like Heston
Okay in small doses:
Chuck's Day Off
Several years late, but let's make sure The Neely's are prominently on this list. I feel that at any moment the cooking could devolve into porn.
Rachel Ray (i just can't), Emeril, Guy F, Giada (used to like her), Lidia(stop tasting it for me)... I can't even watch FN anymore. Was glad when the cooking channel became available, until I noticed the recent infestation from the food network.
Roger Mooking, ugh!
Silly competition shows - cupcake wars, chopped, etc. Just annoying.
Some are too bad to even add to this list.
I didn't watch the first two seasons, but I've watched two episodes of the current third season and Worst Cooks in America is growing on me.
Maybe it's because I am a horrible person and I like laughing at some of the stupidity and failures, but I can also see this show as something that can be a vehicle for instructing home cooks in need of a very basic level of instruction and giving a sense of how to think about food.
The replies posted have been fascinating. Knowing respondents' demographics would make it even more so. I think the spectrum of food programming reflects a broad range of viewers' education, income level, sophistication, and personal definition of cooking. At the high end, you have programs hosted by Ina Garten, Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and Martha Stewart (this list is not exhaustive ... Madeline Kamen, Marcella Hazan and others belong on it as well). At the low end are programs hosted by Rachel Ray, Paula Deen, and Sandra Lee (also not an exhaustive list, unfortunately). At the high end, you learn technique, along with classic ingredients and recipes. At the low end, you learn how to add cheese and hamburger, butter and mayonnaise, and processed foods with lots of preservatives to almost any recipe. I think you can figure out where my food programming preferences lie. Also, the overwhelming preference for the chefs on my first list and the utter disdain for the cooks on the second speaks well of my fellow respondents and their personal definitions of cooking.
My all time favourite "show" is ( it was merely a short series that was an accompaniment to a popular cookbook) "Delia Smith's Christmas". I managed to find a hardly used copy through ebay and then I found a company in Toronto that could convert this old PAL VHS tape to North American standard DVD. It just brings back memories of when my mom was alive and we'd watch it together. I own a worn copy of the book and use it every year to prepare turkey or goose. I find her recipes do really work well.
Well, I never learned much technically from my favorite show, but I sure had a great time watching it. That was the Cajun Cooking shows of Justin Wilson that aired on PBS.
He was a character and always seemed to be making something that looked truely authentic and delicious from a few simple ingredients. Add to that some of the home-spun stories he told and it was genuinely entertaining. Unassuming, unpretentious and authentic. No "BAM!" or "KICK IT UP A NOTCH!" (those make me cringe), but you could count on hearing an "I Garontee."
I remember on show where he had a 1.5L of cheap wine (Carlo Rossi I believe) and he said while pouring a big highball glassful "people ask me 'Justin, how comes you drink dat wine all'a time' and I tells them, 'Cuz I like it!'.
He would have made Escoffier roll over in his grave, but Justin was a joy to watch nonetheless.
Anyone remember a cooking show from Halifax that was on for a couple of seasons about ten years ago? The 'chef' always cooked a lot of game. He was actually pretty good. His co-host was a pretty young woman who kept protesting his use of so much meat but at the end of every show he'd prepare a good looking dish and she'd always gobble it up. There was lots of ' innuendo'. Sometimes they be shown with him in some animal costume and her in some 'little red riding hood' get-up where he'd be chasing her across a field sort of like a Benny Hill skit. They taped it near the Halifax harbor and once in a while the damned fog horn would go off. Hilarious.
Almost sounds like What's for Dinner with Ken Kostick and Mary Jo Eustace but 1-she isn't young 2-it wasn't filmed outdoors in Halifax, I think it was indoors in Toronto (just checked WIkipedia -- it toured the country for its final season so maybe that's when you saw it in Halifax). They've dressed in animal costumes on occasion which made me mention it.
I really love Barefoot Contessa and anything with Jaime Oliver. They make the type of food I like to eat and it really isn't too complicated. I have learned a lot of good techniques by watching them.
I can't stand Bitchin Kitchen! I have tried to give this show a chance, but can't tolerate that woman for more than 30 seconds.
I am so sick of Emeril that I simply can't stand him. Just plain overkill in my opinion. And if I hear "BAM" or "Oh ya babe" one more time I'll scream!
Nadia with Bitchin Kitchen is the best hands down. It is the most entertaining and has very good receipes. Nadia is beautiful, clever, funny, has great eyes, great shoes, great dresses, moves gracefully, and I don't have to watch her cut an onion for five minutes.
J. Pepin is technical. The rest are all the same to me.
Shout out for Primal BBQ.
Sandra L. cooks for a typical American family.
Ciao Italia- great receipes by Mary Ann.
I just gotstuck the other day on some show with a guy named Rocca. he used tot be the un-funny guy on Iron Chef America, and some dimwit gave him his own show. I dislike him intensely. He manages to be both arrogant and a complete idiot at the same time. That is the exact sum of his talent.
What stuff? Trying to teach us something about food, or framing it in a humorous way?
Foodography is moderately educational. I'm not specially thrilled by Mo's antics, but not repelled by them either. He's no stranger to TV, radio, or stage. I wonder if it's the element of satire in his humor that repels some people.
Love Michael Symon's "Cook Like an Iron Chef.". Also Laura something's "French Food at Home," "Chinese Food Made Easy," anything with Jamie Oliver, Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence or Ina Garten. I hardly ever watch the Food Network. It has become a trashy game show network to me. The last straw was when they put Guy on tour with Ann Burrell. Really people?
I stick with the Cooking Channel, PBS and Create. Mostly for inspiration. Have been cooking since I was a teenager so my techniques are sound and I have a very well stocked pantry, so if I see something on tv that inspires me that day, I can usually whip it up.
Agree about the trashy game show, but what's getting worse are the reality shows where they showcase one particular business. C'mon how much drama can there be with a cookie shop? I'm not sure if they were trying for a Jersey Shore meets Cake Boss concept. Iron Chef is just getting old, but I'd like to see some of Symon's Cook Like An Iron Chef. I haven't seen it here in Canada. Now the travel cooking shows are interesting esp To Spain With Love hosted by Annie S... (forgot her last name). BBC has some great shows like the Rick Stein series or even Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers. It's too bad Tyler stopped his Ultimate to do that lame food truck race.
I know poor Tyler. It doesn't seem his type of gig so I'm thinking he didn't have a choice. Maybe he'll flip to the Cooking Channel where many of the others have gone. Symon's show is very 21st century. I love all of his recipes (being from the Great Lakes area myself), but the show is very nicely filmed and looks really sharp. I was intrigued by the cutting board he uses as it is very dark colored and asked him on Facebook what it is. He said it's a very thin piece of walnut. Also very expensive from my research.
I also loved Batali/Paltrow/Bittman and that actress what's-her-name in the road trip around Spain. If you take out all the ego crap, it was very interesting and beautiful.
I've seen Eat Street promo'd but haven't seen it and don't know about Crave. Is that a Canadian show?
I think Crave is American as it has mostly shown American places. I remember one episode where they showed the Baco Taco which is a taco with a shell make of bacon (basically get strips of good quality bacon, weave it into a sheet, fry it till crisp and fold it into a taco shell).
I agree about the Batali/Paltrow/Bittman series travelling through Spain. The one with Annie Sibboney was way better. She had an entire show just on pork alone. If you can hold of it, watch Rick Stein's Spain. It was a very good travel food series from the BBC.
Eat St. is basically DDD but showcasing the food trucks of America. It's sad that in Toronto there's too much red tape at the municipal level to ever get the variety of food trucks that New York has.
For some reason Sibboney's series hasn't captured my attention as much as earlier shows. In part it's because there are enough other things going on at the time, but also I haven't seen much that is new. For example, when I tuned into the 'fire' episode I saw the Basque specialist in charcoal grilling, the one who cooks baby eels and caviar over a grill. But I've already seen a couple of segments on him (Zimmern, Bittman?).
Eat St. has featured several BC trucks - Vancouver, Victoria and Tofino.
Hey what about that local Buffalo PBS cooking show where the local PBS hosts don an apron and cook... you know I haven't the foggiest what the hell style they are trying to showcase.
That aside, PBS was my goto channel before we got the Food Network for cooking shows especially on Saturday mornings to mid afternoon. I remember being a regular viewer of The Frugal Gourmet (I actually bought his book which is more like a paperback novel in size). I also used to watch America's Test Kitchen because I used to buy the magazines "Cook's Illustrated".
I was really enticed by the Bobby Flay's throwdown on sticky buns, vs Chang and decided to give it a try. What a disaster. I should have read the reviews and realized the problem I had was the same that everyone else had and that was that she had left something out. Bunch of upset people over on that one. So I am really careful, if there are reviews, to read those first, before I get too carried away. I Am with a lot of people here who like Paula but realize there is just too much fat in her food, but find her fun entertaining nevertheless. I have Rachel Ray's book and have done a few things out of there that came out well and have repeated numerous times.
Anyway my favourites are ATK and was Baking with Julia on PBS. Most everything from her book has come out great.
The newer folks, I just can't get into, somethings missing there that I got out of Julia, Jeff Smith time period. Maybe its the setting they used then, it was more warm, cozy and inviting, just like going to a friends house and watching them cook. Not too many people I know have the brightly, contrasty kitchen.
You watch, you learn, you decide what looks good, you decide to apply some of what you watch, you decide you want to do your own thing. Nobody forces you to watch TV. You can read cookbooks if you want. Or not. You can go to the Internet to see stuff, try their recipes, or not.
I was going to the Internet for sourdough bread. Not what I wanted. I read Sunset Cookbook, mix some live-culture yogurt, milk and flour, extended the fermentation, added a little more salt and sugar, did my own baking regimen, "This is fantastic." They said to use live-yorugrt to make your starter, with non-fat milk (lactose to generate lactic and acetic acid). WOW! THAT WORKS.
I tried pan-frying some supermarket skirt steaks. Even with paper towel drying, there was too much water to get a great sear. Cooks illustrated had a dry-aging-in-fridge recipe. THAT WORKED.
cake competitions when the gay boys are on (Cakes by Jay, Glen Cove, NY; Joshua John Cakes, Atlanta):
Mary Ann Esposito
Jacques and Claudine
Sandra Lee - why?
Guy Fieri - why, why, why?
Michael Chiarello - smug
Gordon Ramsey - evil
Ellie Krieger - is she human? she could have played the main alien on V
Anne the Restaurant Chef - member of the "got it goin' on" club
I don't have cable or working TV and only watch cooking/food shows when I'm staying with my Grandmother or at the dentist.
So here are my run downs:
Sandra Lee- I remember seeing her show once and thinking: "This isn't cooking, why is it on the food network?!"
Ina Garten -Annoying as anything, her voice rubs me the wrong way. So does her perfect life.
Iron Chef America - Watched this it was obvious the SECRET INGRIDENT wasn't a real secret.
The Neelys- Sometimes I think they have awesome ideas, sometimes they annoy me.
Daisy cooks - I loved one epsiode, with a cucumber cocktail. Didn't like the rest of it.
Kitchen Nightmares' - I saw one ep. Ramsey was trying to help some schmuck and the schmuck was ingrateful.
Jamie Oliver- Love him and his mission to get people to eat healthy. It worked in England but in America it seems people like being 'free' to dig their graves with their forks.
This is one show I download and will go insane lengths to watch and follow like a faith. Drummm roll:
I've made two recipes (winning ones) from this show and they came out AWESOME. I love the judges, the cheftestants, the quick fires and elimination challenges. It's more the style I cook then having a composed recipe. No I'm not cooking against others for Tom, Gail and Padma but hell if I had cooking show it would be called: Kitchen chaos or Here's what I have what can I throw together. It always inspires me to jump in the kitchen and cook my heart out.
P.S. On Rachel Ray she's from my area of the US and I kinda like that she's a local girl made good.
Everyday Exotic. This guy is so very impressed with himself, although his food looks really good. I just can't get past a grown many calling his food "my obedient ingredient". Yuck.
Bitchin' Kitchin'. Does anyone watch this show and get a sense of how to cook? I have to hand it to her for having a very original show, however.
ones i never liked...
40$ a day...i would spit in your food if i got tipped that little...
iron chef america (both versions..)
and its bastard child...next iron chef...really? at the rate they are going there will be a hundred iron chefs...
semi home made...
10 dollar dinners...if i hear when "i was in paris" one more time
I absolutely HATE David Rocco and his 'Dolce Vita'...trying too hard to be Euro-cool.
I HATE the abusive Gordon Ramsey...enough of the screaming already.
I LOVE the old Iron Chef....couldn't stop saying 'Fukui-san' when preparing supper, eveytime we took something out of the cupboard.
I LOVED 'Madeleine Cooks' from the 80's-real substance
I LAUGHED my first time watching 2 Fat Ladies
My FAVORITE cooking show was from France-La Cuisine des Mousquetaires- The host Maïté prepares ultra rich and fatty foods (Tournedos Rossini-hunk of beef filet with a hunk of foie gras-and she calls it a light snack!) her helper Micheline cracked me up.
Check it out, she kills eels live on TV
I don't make it a point to watch any cooking shows anymore. Perhaps, I've just weaned myself off of them. I'm a much better cook than I was before the Food Network, and I thank them for that. For the most part, I'll research a recipe or ingredient on the web, and go in the kitchen and create my own masterpiece. I do like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives to see the kind of food that's being turned out in strip malls and Mom and Pop restaurants. There are so many chain restaurants in my area, that I'd rather stay home and cook. Besides, I'm finally satisfied with the results that come out of my own kitchen!!!
Avec Eric is currently my favorite food show on TV, and one of the 10 best programs ever. Nice camerawork and production, and they really focus on the subject they're covering so you get a good feel for what they're doing. Plus Eric Ripert's professionalism, "genuinity" and respect for the food and people he interacts with are second to none. He's the anti-Ramsay.
I already posted once, but it seems like there's more bad cooking shows than good ones. I actually like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, more for the places he visits rather than Guy Fieri, but I haven't liked any of the shows with "The Next Food Network Star" winners. And it seems now, that you don't even have to win to get a show. Several of the runners-up have also had (bad) shows.
I absolutely can't stand Anne Burrell. Every time I've flipped past her show, she says something in that bizarre growly voice she does. I know a lot of people love Nigella, but something about her just bugs me.
Love: Good Eats - even though Alton uses modified Sesame Street techniques for conveying info. Everything I've tried from his show (tools, ingredients, techniques, etc.) has worked out really well.
No Reservations - more for Bourdain's somewhat literary perspective than his culinary background.
The Galloping Gourmet - and, yes, he was better when he was boozing.
Like: Bizarre Foods - not many people could even try to be non-judgmental as they sampled their all-penis dinner. The man truly has guts (sorry).
Iron Chef (current version) - nice editing, useful "color" commentary by Alton Brown, but way too much Bobby Flay. The mobile camera sometimes makes you feel like you're watching a sequel to Cloverfield where they cook the monster.
Justin Wilson - back when the TV cajun cook was actually a cajun and not from Massachusetts.
Barely Tolerate: Throw Down - did I say too much Bobby Flay? Now it's way too much. The man seems to know his stuff, but he is SO smug. Love his tall, blond assistant...
Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives - apparently, Guy Fieri will praise anything he eats while on camera. There is no way in hell every deep-fried monstrosity he tries is technically edible.
Man vs Food - ditto re praising every greasy horror and I'm afraid I'm going to see Adam Richman die on camera after eating 10 pounds of deep-fried twinkies.
Emeril Lagasse (live) - how did a Portuguese guy from Massachusetts become THE authority on cajun cuisine? I bought one of his cookbooks for my father and it was almost impossible to read because of the oh-so-creative colored fonts printed on a chartreuse background. Over $30 and you felt like you had a brain tumor every time you even tried to read it.
Loathe: Paula Deen - I couldn't spend 5 minutes in a room with her without screaming and running for the door. She is beyond irritating.
Rachel Ray - god, what has happened to that woman? And what's going on with her hair? And is there anything she won't endorse???
I'm pretty much out of it when it comes to knowing anything about shows on the Food Network. I never got into it for some reason, and the only shows I watch are on PBS. That said, I love Julia, alone or with Jacques. I loved that show from England hosted by a chef at a restaurant on the coast, specializing in seafood. I think his name was Stein.
I also faithfully watched 2 Fat Ladies. What an entertaining show.
I hated the Galloping Gourmet, the Frugal Gourmet, anything with Ruth Reichl and, most of all the smug hosts and chefs on America's Test Kitchen. I'm getting pretty sick of Lydia and all her perfect and loving relatives. Half the show is made up of her saying how delicious everything is or forcing her grandchildren to say how great it tastes.
If you have good food and good ideas for recipes, you don't need to constantly tell your audience how great it is.
I love Negella and Jamie Oliver's shows. They are the twin deities on top of the monument to great food! Long may they reign!
I wonder if anyone has ever played a drinking game to The Neely's show: everytime Y'ALL is said, you do a shot. The show comes on at 1:00 p.m. EST. here is a breakdown:
1:00 p.m. and 3 seconds, first shot
1:02 p.m. above the legal level to drive
1:05 p.m. slurred speech and loss of fine motor skills
1:07 p.m. vomitting
1:10 p.m. game over, all participants passed out and booze all consumed.......
I like Giada, her recipes are straightforward and you can usually take what she tells you, make it your own and have it work out.
Yan Can Cook is my favorite. I saw him live once and in my mind, he's such a celebrity that I was excited like a 12 year old kid.
Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray. Rachael is such a scary, cult like thing---it just weird, and none of the recipes look even remotely good. My inlaws always send her magazine and books as gifts to me and all I can think is "this is what you think of my cooking?".
Shows I can't stomach:
-Secrets of a Restaurant Chef (although Ann Burrell is informative, her personality is downright creepy)
-Robin Miller (ugh! This woman does not eat! You can't convince me otherwise! Also...her eyes freak me out.)
-anything with Emeril
-the 5 ingredient chick (just boring!)
Quite a while ago I watched one episode of Secrets of A Restaurant Chef. The chef used a spoon to taste something she was making, and then dipped it back in again for another taste. There was something else she did that also turned my stomach, I can't remember what - something like wiping her nose with her hand and continuing to cook - something completely unsanitary and gross - and I just kept thinking "if that is the type of "secret" restaurant chefs have then I don't ever want to eat in a restaurant again. That was the one and only episode I watched. Couldn't bring myself to see if it got any better.
Does this woman actually have a restaurant that is still open after her show aired? I can't imagine anyone wanting to eat there after seeing how she handles a kitchen. Too bad the show is what it is. That is the best name for a cooking show ever. I would truely love to watch a show about real secrets of restaurant chefs - ie: cooking secrets !! NOT how so unconcerned they are about basic sanitation even when they know they are being filmed. That amazed me - she knew she was being filmed doing that stuff and did it anyway. I wonder what she does in a restaurant kitchen when she thinks no one will see her.
I enjoy many of the shows but get really bored when they come on every day at the same time! Cooking for Real with Sunny would be fine once a week, but every day at 5 p.m. when we're just sitting down to a pre-dinner drink is very off-putting. I really like Ina Garten; Tyler; Bobby Flay's throw down; and,yes, even Big Bite (sometimes). I've just discovered a program on CBC (Canada) Best Recipes, simple format but good recipes 3 p.m. each day.
Good Eats - Though I find some of the gadget he rigs up to be ridiculous, given that he's always saying he hates anything that's a unitasker. Example: he cut two holes into the side of a large plastic storage tub and taped rubber gloves into the holes so he could scale a fish inside the tub.
America's Test Ktichen
Galloping Gourmet (for entertainment value only, most of his food looks unappetizing)
And I have to admit that I actually like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, though I think it's funny how every time someone uses ground beef, Guy always has to say "80/20?" - just to make himself look like he knows something.
Dislikes, pretty much the same as most:
Anything Sandra Lee - Only ever seen bits of a few episodes, but I will never forget her recipe for "apple pie napoleons," she mashed up an entire store bought dutch apple pie, and layered the mush between layers of puff pastry,
Anything Rachael Ray - I actually liked her at first, but she really gets on my nerves now. I find her husband repulsive on her vacation show. On the newer episodes of "30 MInute Meals" she seems really bored and like she's just going through the motions.
Easy Entertaining - Michael Chiarello's food actually looks good, but I find him be so cheesy and since seeing his arrogant attitude on Top Chef Masters, I just think he's a tool.
Favorites, in terms of actual learning, are the obvious ones:
- AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN
- GOOD EATS
- JULIA CHILD, especially the shows with PEPIN
Interesting but not A-List for me
- SECRETS OF A RESTAURANT CHEF (Anne Burrell's show)
- BAREFOOT CONTESSA
I am also seriously loving the new Cooking Channel show BITCHIN' KITCHEN. It really took me a couple of episodes to get it, but now I do. Nadia G is funny as hell, the recipes sound good, and there is a ton of real information packed in that show. I haven't tried making anything of hers yet, but I soon shall. This is the first time in a while I've looked forward every week to watching the new episode of a cooking show.
I have actually been giving Rachel Ray's new show WEEK IN A DAY a chance, since her stated goal is to take some more time, develop some real flavors, etc. Obviously some will find her intolerable, but this show has a more relaxed pace, many of the recipes are realistically conceived (i.e. not shoehorned into the 30 minute construct), and she takes time out to explain the reasoning behind some of her ingredients and methods. It's not in my top ten, but these are baby steps and it's good to see someone with her popularity actually make some more realistic and challenging food.
On the least favorite side, the latest batch of frenetic competition shows are frustratingly pointless, and no show exemplifies this better for me than CHOPPED. The contestants have an absurdly short period of time to turn five arcane and often unappetizing ingredients into... what? Usually a giant mess that gets ripped by the judges for not being something you would serve in a restaurant. I have not been able to learn anything about technique, ingredients or anything else from these shows, except that when you only have thirty minutes to cook a fabulous entree, you usually end up cutting yourself, spewing pea puree out of a blender all over everyone and/or serving raw poultry to a famous chef.
Ina Garten-barefoot contessa.
Japanese Iron Chef
Tylers Ultimate- the old one where he traveled the world!
BBC Kitchen Nightmares, FOX version is OK
Next Food network Star
Everything else on Food Network, especially all the next food network stars shows!
I tuned into the new Channel 232 (used to be Fine Living) the Cooking Channel, and see that Emeril is starting a new 'fast food, fresh' show. He looks like he's toned it down a bit, will be interesting to see how it rolls.
Also caught a Good Eats show about caramel and Alton Brown looked very thin. Maybe he's ben dieting, but his face looked very angular. I hope he's in good health. He's a great host, very entertaining and educational.
Haven't been watching much TV lately, it's mostly such garbage.
Three years ago I posted on here the 'Low Carb and Lovin' It!' was by far the worst cooking show that I had ever seen. It is truly horrendous. The only thing good about the show is that it is no longer in production. However given the ever lowering standards that FN has attained in recent years it is fairly bland. If that horrible show was to go back on the air would be an improvement for FN.
Still credit to FN for making the one time worst cooking show ever made and making it now look halfway decent. That is some trick.
I'm sure his family did loose weight. Most likely no one wanted to eat his dreadful food!
I'm sorry cauliflower (which he seemed to make every episode) is not a suitable substitute for macaroni and cheese. And people will be able to tell the difference between the two.
A senseless waste of video tape.
Original Iron Chef (Schtick appeal was awsome)
Tyler's Ultimate (Good recipes)
The Heat (Good for people wanting to get into business)
French Food at Home (Easy Recipes)
No Reservations (Travelogue extraordinaire)
Thirsty Traveler (Hic!)
The Wild Chef and In Search of perfection (Mad Scientists at work)
Top Chef (master and original)
Made to order (More like a sitcom with rehearsed situations and dialog)
Anything with Gordon Ramsey
Jamie Oliver (he needs to work on his hygiene!)
Chopped (Plain Awful)
Most, if not all, contemporary cooking shows can only dream to be as massively entertaining and informative as the classic Great Chefs series from PBS, my all-time favorite cooking show. From "Great Chefs of New Orleans" to "Great Chefs of New York" and their subsequent sequels including other cities (Chicago, San Francisco among many), the show was class all the way through: High production value, great chefs and great dishes, solid unobtrusive narration and real theme songs. DVDs sets are available -- albeit pricey -- but, for fans like myself, well worth it.
Iron Chef (The OG edition)
Madhur Jaffrey's Far Eastern Cookery
AB No Reservations
Iron Chef Masters
I never learned anything from Emeril Live. I won't even get into Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee..Giada's boobs are a real turnoff.
I Have learned a lot from Julia, Jacques, Lidia, Kylie Kwong, Ina and Sara Moulton. Jamie taught me a lot, too. Thanks to him, I purchased a mortar and pestle and make good use from it, Daisy Martinez's recipe for Sofrito, has really revolutionized my cooking. I will always have it in the freezer.
Food is expensive, and people who are truly passionate about it will always grab my attention. Some of early shows on FN were very good. I like learning from chefs and restauranters. I'm not trying to do it in thirty minutes. I want to make restaurant quality food in my own home.
Thanks to what I learned from talented chefs and cooks on food television, I don't eat out much. I can make much better food at home than I can purchase in a restaurant.....And I live in the Washington D.C. area. I purchase my herbs and vinegars online and make my own spice blends. Food television opened my eyes to a lot of things, especially the fact that the quality of the ingredients really makes a difference in the final outcome.
There is a lot of mediocre and bad programming out there, but the good certainly outweighs the bad. Food safety is very important, and I think more attention should be paid to that aspect of food preparation. We all know about hand washing, but placement of pots and pans on the stovetop is just as important.
Well, that's a few cents from me.
I have been a die hard Ina Garten fan since I first saw her show on TV. I have all of her cookbooks, and have never had one of her recipes fail on me. I've managed to change around most of her recipes to be a little more healthy (she loves her butter!) with excellent results. Her recipes can be used as guides to try your own thing, and i love that.
I think her Hamptons lifestyle is hilarious to watch. Her and Jeffrey are so adorable, her friends are goofy and they all love wine, all the time. A great show, I can always pick up a new idea for her.
Nigella has always been great to watch. Again, easy simple meals that are easy to build on.
I agree with Jamie Oliver. WONDERFUL! not all of his recipes may be to my taste, but I love to watch his enthusiasm. His Food Revolution has brought me to tears many times. I am so careful to keep my toddler away from junk food, and I know I have to be an example of healthy eating and a healty lifestyle to her.
Michael Chiarello always seems to burn his garlic, but his food looks so good. LOL
A real fave of mine is Chuck's Day Off. (this may only be on in Canada, he's a hot young chef from Montreal who makes wonderful homey dishes, very similar to Tyler's Ulitmate)
And come on, who can resist Paula Deen and her insane amount of butter, cream and over the top laugh? I smile all thru her show. She's such fun to watch.
I love reading how other CH'ers view various TV personalities. It seems that Sandra Lee is universally panned. I agree.
What's funny is that her new "budget" show embraces all things that she eschewed for years. Her "store-bought" concept wasted money left and right with things like premade season packets and sauces (and various other highly-processed foods). I mean, does she realize what a hypocrite she sounds like?
And her legendary Kwanza cake-I thought it was just an urban myth until I Googled it and Lord have mercy, it was even more stomach-turning than I had ever imagined.
I mean, you just can't make that shit up!
Giada-I like many of her recipies, but man alive, find another word in your lexicon for "creamy".
"How was your steak, Giada?"
I'd kill for that beach house though.
Give me Julia, Jaques, Two Hot Tamales and their peers any day. Food Network getting rid of Sara Moulton clearly indicated their rise to mediocrity and was a testiment for dumbing down the masses.
As Ruth Reichl said, “hard won knowledge is going to waste, drowned out by the stupid and the sensational.”
I"m looking at you spikey blonde-hair dude.
Julia Child - anything. She really is the best of the best. I've been loving watching the DVDs of The French Chef.
Cooking Live & Sara's Secrets with Sara Moulton - She was great with teaching and answering questions live from call-ins. Also featured interesting guests with good recipes. One thing I make often each summer is a Tomato Tart I got from a Cooking Live episode about tea.
Two Fat Ladies - so entertaining, plus they teach people where food comes from. They have some good techniques, too. Those two are a riot.
Too Hot Tamales - delicious southwestern/Calfornia food, teach techniques (e.g. how to clean squid), and good personalities. Engaging and not over the top.
Justin Wilson - not all Cajuns disliked Justin. He had great recipes and encouraged people to prepare good food and enjoy it.
Iron Chef - I loved the original, but also like ICA. Wish they would publish the recipes. For a while there seems to have been too much Bobby Flay. Give me Morimoto. :-) I'm also not much of a fan of Michael Symon (thought John Besh should have won) and Jose Garcas hasn't impressed me yet. Mario is not in the opening line-up anymore, even though he was on the White House special in January.
Barefoot Contessa - From Ina I learned the beauty of roasting veggies. Personally I am not learning anything from the Back To Basics series, but it's great for newer cooks. So what if she says on-deeve. I say on-deeve.
Frugal Gourmet - I know he had his problems, but I learned a lot from Jeff Smith. Particularly liked Cooking from Our Immigrant Ancestors.
Jacques Pepin - such a great teacher with good recipes. I always enjoyed him with Julia, too.
Alton Brown - I've always liked Alton, but lately some of his shows have seemed kind of stupid with the props and visiting "characters". Still learn a lot from him, though.
Tyler's Ultimate - though I liked it better when he travelled, sampling dishes and then making the ultimate dish. The new format is not as interesting as the original.
Molto Mario - I've learned a lot from Mario and his recipes that I have tried were good.
Sandra Lee - what a waste: of food, airtime, everything. Even my seven year old thought she was ludicrous. Spend less time on the matchy-matchy everything and more time cooking.
Robin Miller - find her extremely irritating.
Paula Deen - a fake and totally annoying. Her original show was not so bad, but over the years she has morphed into a caricature and is embarrassing to see. I hate that FNTV has set her up as the model of all things southern. I was born and reared in the south as were most of my family for the last 100 years. Her cooking is NOTHING like my family's cooking. The finger licking and wearing all that jewelry is just icky.
Diners, DriveIns and Dives - Guy Fieri just makes me ill with the way he stuffs his face and talks with his mouth full. That's gross.
Martha Stewart - what a snob with a holier-than-thou attitude. I hated the way she would treat her guests who were not celebrities. Haven't watched her at all since she got out of prison.
Rachel Ray - I used to like 30MM a long time ago, but she has become much coarser, louder and over exposed. Plus making up all those words is just stupid. I hate sammies, stoup, etc. I wish she'd have that surgery on her vocal cords. It hurts my ears to listen to her voice these days. The only "recipe" of hers I have ever used, and really I used it as a starting point, was the "Mini Sandwich Buffet".
Ellie Kreiger - somehow her personality just grates on me.
Brian Boitano - saw the first episode and was totally turned off by the whole thing. Sadly I read FNTV has signed him up for a series.
Bobby Flay I have mixed feelings about. Was absolutely horrified when he jumped up on his cutting board on Iron Chef. That totally turned me off, plus he always seemed arrogant. I think he is overexposed and now FNTV has him hawking stuff in their store. I don't care much for most of his shows, but I do tend to watch Throwdown. And I've enjoyed the few recipes of his that I have made.
Our local PBS channel does not broadcast much in the way of cooking shows. Guess it is not in their budget. I'm really interested to see what is going to be on Scripps' new Cooking Channel that will debut 31 May. When it was announced last fall, they implied it was going to be more like the old FNTV with teaching shows. We will see.
I'm not sure if this will qualify as a "cooking show", but ABC is touting their new Jamie Oliver show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution", which premieres Friday, March 26th at 9pm.
It seems to be loosely based on his two series in the UK "Jamie's Ministry of Food" and "Jamie's School Dinners." He goes to Huntington, WV (termed one of the unhealthiest cities in the country). Based on the fact that the press release says "he's turning his attention to helping people of all ages eat more balanced meals and cook with fresh ingredients, not only at schools, but also homes, workplaces and even restaurants", I'm assuming the "cook with fresh ingredients" might have him showing people good basic cooking.
I guess we'll see. And I guess we'll see lots of ads until it debuts.
Although "Nigella Bites" had lots of gratuitous closeups of Nigella stuffing food into her mouth, I found that I cooked a lot of the things she suggested after watching - and her recipes are good. On Chicago PBS they have a Rick Bayless show which is great.
I gave up on Food Network years ago. They've substituted programming for people who like to cook and already know "How To Boil Water" with garbage like "Semi Homemade Cooking" and the one with the 89 lb Italian American bird... basically a couple of sexpots who can cook about as well as you average foodie can and are coasting on their looks. I find Paula Dean's southern comfort food recipes easy and satisfying, but dude! Have they rammed her into the ground and broken her off or what! Enough already... Ugh and dont get me started on Rachel Fricking Ray. Ditto there.
I've always liked Bobby Flay's recipes but cant stomach his oozing machismo long enough to sit through an entire program.
Remember that reality show with Rocco DiSpirito? Now THAT was hilarity. His poor mother.
I don't know what hell I happened upon last night, but one of the guys from Queer Eye was hosting a show with a panel of idiots giving their idiotic opinions on french toast made by two eagerly pathetic cooks.
Wow. I am very glad the batteries in my remote are fresh, because an extra nanosecond spent on that channel would have caused my brain to implode.
Sad, sad channel which I am assuming is the formerly good Food Network.
You know, in our modern world of Haute Cuisine super-stars I have to mention the old unpretentious charm of Justin Wilson. Whether or not one learned anything educational regarding Cajun cooking is secondary to his entertainment value.
Just a simple guy (who poured cheap wine from a 1.5 liter jug of Carlo Rossi swill) cooking what he likes in a manner that was flat out funny. Those are among my earliest memories of what's become a mega-industry. He will be missed. "I gar-on-tee!".
re: JohnE O
The Frug was the best. I miss his shows. I have some on tape, but do wish it was still on the air in repeats. The show was well researched and he was a natural on camera. Religion is just another form of show-biz, so it stands to reason that his preacher days served him well on television.
Of all the show on FN there is only one ( for me) that tops them all on the GAG scale.....I REALLY can't STAND the Neely's....the guy drives me crazy with his pronunciations, and constantly mispronouncing the food he cooks with. On one show he kept saying the Hally pino... over and over, and I finally had to go over to the tv and see what this Hally pino was, it was a Jalapeno pepper. At the very least, FN truly NEEDS to get some of their hosts some diction classes, and teach them how to pronounce the food they will be cooking with. My skin crawls with these two.
The channel also gets turned off with Paula Deen. Has anyone noticed that her Southern drawl gets thicker as the season's go by?
Like others have mentioned I don't get what Ace of Cakes is doing here? Not a fan Iron Chef either.
Love Mary Ann Esposito and Michael Chiarello and have actually had great success with 5 Ingredient Fix, Giada, Guy, Ellie and believe it or not Robin Miller (I KNOW!)
I like Paula, she is funny and easy to watch. I am getting tired of so many re-runs on the older shows... especially hers. I watch Rachael, she has a lot of good recipes, but get off the 'hamburger' thing. Alton is also fun to watch. I have learned a lot of scientific things I would otherwise not know. Guy is another 'fun to watch,' both shows. I like his attitude and love for life. I think he is sincerely a very happy person. I do like Michael Chiarello also, he teaches prep ahead which is very helpful. I have 35ish people each year for Christmas Eve and he has made a difference in the stress level at my house. Tyler is another great chef and fun to watch. Maybe because he is so good looking ... LOL
I agree, the Neely's are very difficult to watch. They make me tired. My husband said, "couples just don't act like that." I get tired of hearing him say 'ya'll' ALL THE TIME. I do not like 'Worsst Cooks' contest and get tired of all the challenges. I don't care for Sunny Anderson either. Giada is okay, but put some clothes on your bossom lady...Robert Irvine is just plain mean. I'm not a big fan of Sandra Lee because I like everything from scratch, but my daughter loves her. Difference in generation I guess.
My favorite was watching Julia Child (guess I'm giving my age away). She was the best and the first to teach us everything about cooking. I enjoy the Barefoot Contessa and a good show on PBS. is Ciao Italia with MaryAnn Esposito. I'm still looking for the cooks of yesteryear who cooked real food such as Julia and the Galloping Gourmet.
I been really enjoying "Chuck's Day Off" from Montreal. Great vibe and great music too.
Jamie Olivier, the one at his farmhouse is beautiful to look at. Also Laura Calder is cute and funny while make nice looking food.
One's I don't like: Big Daddy's House and 5 ingredients thingy production qualities are bad. The sets are poorly lit and the demostrations are way too messy for tv.
They've started running Avec Eric here. I have seen Ripert on Martha and various chat shows, so am familiar with his emphasis on letting fresh seafood take center stage in his preparations. New, and charming, on his own show is his curiosity, delight, and eagerness to learn about new flavors and how food is raised/grown/processed. Though he's known for haute cuisine, there's nothing haughty about the man.
His website used to have some nifty recipes using the toaster-oven, which I bookmarked but never tried. Unfortunately, it's been changed and they are nowhere to be found, outside of buying the show's DVD package.
The Test Kitchen is by far the best for home cooking, Really outstanding. I like almost all cooking or food shows, even Rachel Ray. Exceptions:
Emeril and Flay are mildly annoying, probably because of overexposure.
I could never understand the appeal of the Iron Chef. Understandably, the concoctions they come up with are usually unappetizing. It is an over-the-top Japanese game show.
But the absolute worst ever: I cannot stand Paula Deen with her cornball accent and cloying "charm". This is a woman I would avoid like the plague at a party, or anywhere else. The greasy fat food she makes is even worse than her overbearing personality. Whenever I catch a bit of her show, the food makes me want to vomit, and I am not a fussy eater.
yeah i agree..dont like iron chef..bt my husband does dont know why...Rachel ray is my favorite i think she makes food thats practical and easy for busy ppl like us...not big on sandra lee she makes weird foods sometimes and then gets all marthastewart on us with her table settings holiday decorations and the matching outfits that she wears with her kitchen curtains...verytacky!
Funny how different yet the same we all are.
I love Julia and can watch reruns over and over again. She is in a class by herself. It's like saying your favorite band is the Beatles in the 70's... But I do like Licensed to grill. His enthousiam make me smile,
Does anyone remember a PBS series with a Lady from Mid West US???. She showed antiques with her white gloves on. He recipes were basic , somtimes Amish but always good and simple??
Today I like - without Julia
Ina Garten -
Canadian Shows: Laura Calder French cooking at home, and
Michael Smith Chef at Home - "cooking without a recipe"
EVOO - Rachel
F Word -
in search of perfection
My worst failure in the entire history of food - has to be Alton Brown's recipe for macaroni & cheese. It was so utterly horrible, even the dog wouldn't eat it! He and his show (Good Eats) are terrific, so I sadly know the fault was mine. The disaster was so great, it has become a family myth.
I don't think the failure was yours. I made that recipe and found it mediocre.
I LOVE Alton's show, but most of his recipes are bland and boring. Use his recipes if you want everything you make to taste like kosher salt and nutmeg.
I spent hours making his coconut cake, and it was wretched.
His risotto technique was good, but the flavour was unimpressive.
I'm convinced they don't even test the recipes for flavour.
Wow, I so totally disagree. There were complaints about errata in his baking book, and I think I have the entire collection of them, but Alton is my go-to guy for technique and several of my new favorite recipes (including that weird pot roast with olives and raisins) are from him. I think mac-n-cheese is one of those things destined to be less than the sum of its parts and would give him a pass on that, though I admit I've not tried his version of it; if I want cheddar I'll just have it on a toasted cheese sandwich where it can really shine.
Unless I missed it, I haven't seen anyone mention Rachel Ray's habit of calling viewers "kids". Maybe it's because I'm a southerner and it's considered disrespectful to talk down to your elders, but I'm offended every time she says it. It's very presumptuous to assume you are so knowledgeable or important that "kid" is appropriate. Anne Burrell may say "crap", but she isn't calling me crap! She and Ina Garten are polar opposites but I enjoy their programs equally.
"Of all things to tell us we're wrong about too...anchovies..."
Not sure I understand here...
Granted, plenty wrong with Rachel Ray but what's wrong with anchovies???
Maybe an 'anchovy sandwich' wouldn't be appealing (unless one's salt lick has run out) :-) , but as a seasoning, anchovies or anchovy paste can be an incredible addition to a lot of foods you wouldn't even expect to use them in (and no, it doesn't turn everything "fishy").
lidia's Italy - I have learned so many useful cooking tips about making things "your own" - plus the history factor just can't be beat on any other show.
Giada - My #1 killer recipe comes from her. Albeit, time consuming but I've never impressed company so much than when I pull off her Baked Angel Hair, omg - glass of merlot, a light salad, HEAVEN!
My bro-in-law hates eggplant and he had no clue on this recipe...he had three helpings and we told him after he cleaned his plate that there was eggplant in there (we originally told him it was zucchini). He tried to be pissed off at our trickery but he just couldn't - it was that good!
"Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee are very middle america. Most between the states of New York and California can relate to them. Most need Sandra Lee to tell them how to use the horrid things they purchase at big supermarkets and keep in their pantries and most need Rachel Ray to help them make quick family meals that aren't HOT DISH (i lived in minnesota for a couple of years) with tater tots on top every night.
I can't watch either, though I do find myself looking up Rachel's recipes on the food network website.
Call me an obnoxious new yorker, but I love Ina. And Nigella. Even though she's british."
For the record, Ray Ray is from upstate New York, and Sandra Lee was born in LA and raised in Washington State.
As a born and raised Midwesterner, I have to take offense. We are the nation's breadbasket, its butcher. Ina and Nigella are both far closer to what good Midwestern cooking is like than either of these two jokers. Anyway, I thought all New Yorkers ate out all the time.
In addition to Ina and Nigella, I would add Kylie Kwong, Mario, and the late great Keith Floyd to the list of television cooks I enjoy watching.
I can't stand the cake guy, Sandra, Ray Ray, Emeril, or Jeff Smith.
Nigella (she is my hero though her food can sometime be a bit questionable and I can't figure out why no one taught her how to cut with a knife poperly!)
Ina (awesome food, always inspires me to cook)
Giada (same; insperational recipies that I want to replicate)
cooking with Jaques and Julia (need I say more!)
lidia bastianich (i want her to adopt me and feed me till I burst!)
America's test kitchen (though they can be a bit anoying and aren't very nice to bloggers)
Iron Chef (but hate the Next Iron Chef)
Top Chef, my fav
No reservations (just cuz AB is the best)
Sandra Lee (her food, her tablescapes, her constant need to match make me want to scream, I am sure she is a really nice lady, but somehow, I fell she should live in stepford)
Emeril (i hate the word bam now, too much energy, too much yelling, cooking should be not frightening!)
Unwrapped (who cares how processed cheese and slim jims are made...I don't eat that crap anyway, and if I did, watching the process would make me quit...very scarry show!)
FN Challenge (I will never pair chocolate, pigs brains and mint and have no desire to watch someone else struggle to do so)
Jeff Corwin's new show (I find him anoying, very very anoying!)
It's a pan mostly used for japanese omelettes and it's called a tamago-yaki. They keep the final product even across the width, whereas rounded pans make more of a cigar shape. (The latter OK for chiffonade and maybe just to eat, but difficult to slice evenly for sashimi or sushi.)
You can use use it elsewhere (where are my saute pans?) but it's more of of a unitasker.
I sure do love Good Eats! Can't get enough of the food science, zany skits, and OMG-- don't you LOVE the yeast puppets? And what a bonus when Shirley Corriher makes a guest appearance. I am smitten with GE... I even sent away for a T-rex spritz bottle, so that makes me a particularly geeky food-nerd. How about Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class-- now that was a GREAT show! I learned so much from WP. Nearly every single recipe was something I wanted to reproduce at home, and he made it all look so easy! I miss the anchovy-loving queens of butter, those adorable Two Fat Ladies. Just loved watching them motor off to the fishmonger on their cycle and side-car. I got nostalgic for The French Chef so now I have the DVDs... Julia's a hoot to watch, especially when she deftly navigates her way through assorted kitchen mishaps ("Don't worry... The guests will never know!"). Another butter queen. And then there's ATK-- I liked what I saw but never managed to see more, thanks to PBS's bizarre programming. Maybe someday I'll get to geek out on some more.
What don't I like? Well, let me tell you-- I can't STAND audience shows. Must the camera zoom in on every single laughing, clapping, grinning individual in sight? I don't get it-- what makes this peanut gallery so "prime time worthy"? I'd rather watch actual COOKING. Add up all those wasted minutes for every show and you could have demonstrated a souffle.
Gosh, so many different opinions!
America's Test Kitchen
Pepin, in anything
Two Fat Ladies --thanks for the memory -- "It's a Tri-umph!"
Big Daddy (sorry, he just seems to have so much fun -- but I could never make that stuff-- sometimes I just tune in to count the sticks of butter !
Ace [Ok, more the joie de vivre than anything else]
Turn It Off:
Iron Chef (too fake)
Bobby Flay (Throw-Up with B.F)
Good Eats (no more moronic skits, pleeez)
anything with an audience
Guy Fieri - always the same song, over and over.
Paula D-- love her, can't take her show.
Maybe I am in the minority here...but I never actually get any recipes from any of these shows. I watch for inspiration and ideas (and entertainment) only. I also noticed that there seems to be "theme" days or weeks where 80% of them are all "doing lamb" or it's "fruit pie" week or something. Maybe the advertisers run the menu?
I have a t.v. in my kitchen that is almost always on FN. I relate to "Iron Chef" -on days where I didn't meal plan, "Rachel Ray" where I all I have the energy for is to throw together a pasta dish, The "healthier" based shows when my pants feel tight, "Guy" if I feel like a huge, sloppy piece of meat, or "Tyler" if I want inspiration to make something special on the weekend. I get some great ideas from all different shows but I (rarely) would actually take a recipe from one and use it.
I tend not to watch the food production shows where they tell you where Twinkies come from -or the Chef bio type shows where they get into details about a particular Chef's nasty divorce.
Iron Chef America, although I have gotten tired of the Bobby Flay, Cat Cora thing. You would think they are the only Iron Chefs on that program. I wish I had been able to see more of the original Japanese series. The ones I saw were a hoot
Good Eats: Educational and a dose of quirky humour, unless it is about some thing I could care less about, like popovers or when it is a simple subject that doesn't deserve that much detail, like the show about french toast, fer god's sake
Rick Bayless. He goes into wonderful detail about Mexican food and his shows have been like travel shows that dig deep into the culture and reality of the country.
Mario Batali. The man knows what he is doing. Loved the rivalry between Jacques Pepin's daughter and him on one show.
Jacques Pepin. I am in awe of him. His technique is great
Anthony Bourdain: Wish I could get him in Canada. Yes he is a snarky arrogant New Yorker, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Another show that digs deep into culture.
Andrew Zimmern: I love to be grossed out by wierd food. Another show I wish I could get here
Okay: Bobby Flay, Dinner Impossible
Waste of Time: Emeril Live. He is inarticulate and there is too much distraction,
Unwrapped: Its one ad after another
Sandra Lee: Belongs in a women's magazine "Three new uses for refigerator dough!"
Guy Fieri: Unlikable. I'm so tired of watching him stuff his face
I could go on, but I think I will stop there!
I agree with your opinion about Good Eats. It's a great show. Entertaining and educational. I also like the new Emeril Green program. His new recipes and personality are so much better than the old Emeril Live personna..
I hate Chef vs. City. And Chopped isn't far behind on my worst list. Are the powers-that-be at Food Network trying to gross us out with disgusting food combinations and situations?
Love Alton Brown/Good Eats, Tyler Florence/Tyler's Ultimate and America's Test Kitchen. I also really like Guy Fieri's shows (although most people I know dislike him) and Giada's Everyday Italian.
I used to like Rachel Ray, but as with Emeril, I have been over-exposed. Paula Deen is getting awfully close, as is Bobby Flay.
I CAN'T STAND Sandra Lee, Ina Garten or Anne Burrell. Or Ted Allen. And what's with the "Unwrapped" series? A show about food factory manufaturing?!? Could a show be any more of a filler program with no redeeming value?
Lots of remaining programs/personalities left "in the middle" that I enjoy: Aaron McCargo, the Neeleys, Alex G., Sunny Anderson, Ingrid Hoffman (how is she hispanic with a name like that?), BBQ University on PBS, Man vs. Food.
I really like Good Eats. Lots of Good Info and Alton Brown is entertaining. I also enjoy the entertaining Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay.
On the Worst side, Chef vs. Cities is horrible, though it may be a stretch to even call it a "Cooking" show since it seems more about disrespecting food, food professionals and FN fans than about any actual cooking.
Omg any Canadians will know who I'm talking about (I hope) but this guy who travels in a trailer and there's and make these weird dishes that look really inedible? That guy, I hate him so much, the whole persona is just so gimmicky and ridiculous (and I usually LIKE gimmicky and ridiculous) and his food looks TERRIBLE!
You're talking about Bob Blumer who now has a new show called glutton for punishment - the premise being that he takes on various culinary challenges (and succeeds most of the time). I find this show so annoying since seeing an episode where he competed in a pie baking competition and claiming he had never made a pie before - something I find very hard to believe.
- Good Eats (super informative, I actually LEARN while watching this)
- America's Test Kitchen (see above)
- Tyler's Ultimate
- Rachel Ray (anyone can make beef slop for dinner)
- Sandra Lee (no comment)
- The Frugal Gourmet (used to like it, but the guy is a pedophile)
But his shows are still great to watch. Frug's problem was unfortunate, but certainly doesn't detract in any way from continued enjoyment of the show. The two things are totally unrelated.
To me, it was one of the best ever food shows on TV. It's not aired anywhere these days as far as I know, but my late Dad obsessively recorded the show off the air, so I have easily 30 hours of these shows on tape to watch whenever the mood strikes. The show holds up very well...much better than almost anything currently airing on the Food Network except maybe Good Eats; except for that, FN has really been in an accelerated nosedive in recent years.
re: yakitat jack
Back when I was in college, before the charges ever game out, I saw an episode when he was 'showing off' some young boy who was working in his kitchen. I'm not sure if that's the one that did him in, but I know I felt pretty creeped out about the whole thing.
(and I grew up watching Frugal Gourmet -- I remember watching it with my great grandmother; it was one of her favorite shows)
I have 2 choices for worst...Iron Chef and Barefoot Contessa. The former is too frantic for me that it spoils my appetite. The latter has no personality and the blandness brings on ennui. Oops...here's another one, and I can't remember the name of the show, but the food destroyer's name may be Sandra Lee.
1. Alton Brown, Good Eats
2. Ina Garten, Back to Basic
1. Top Chef
2. Duff Ace of Cakes
I never want to eat a cake that is touched and sculpted by many people for 10 hours. Too many people finger the cake...
3. Licensed to Grill, Robert Rainford
Fake personality, fake friends, fake guests
Did he have a beard and pony tail? If so, was probably Nick Stellino -- http://www.nickstellino.com/
Looking at the comments so far, it seems to be a mixed bag (2 for, 2 against) on his shows. I personally liked how he wasn't obsessive about his recipes -- he gave suggestions on variations, and recommended putting your own spin on things. Yes, the 'follow the finger' was a bit over-used, but not any more so than some other one-dimensional catch phrases from other TV hosts.
Paula Deen (but NOT Paula's Party), Like the Deen boys, the Neelys, Ina Garten, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, TNFNS, I heart Michael Chiarello, Lydia, America's Test Kitchen, Mexico, One Plate at a Time, anything Martha Stewart, including Everyday Food, Diners, Drive Ins & Dives,
NIgella, Jamie Wash-Your-Hair Oliver, Emeril, Duff Ace of Cakes, (I never want to see another cake baked and decorated in my life), RR's 30 minute meals, enough with the cake challenges too. Delicioso and whoever that is hosting it (her voice her voice)
1. Alton Brown!! Culinary shows are often dissed as a way to sell products, but AB instead teaches us how to use inexpensive things we already own to say,make our own jerky. I learn a lot by watching AB, and I love his quirky humor; reminds me of MST3K.
2. Marianne Esposito (Ciao Italia). What's not to love about her?
3. Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet). Grew up watching him and loved his focus on Jewish and Eastern European dishes.
4. The Nealys (Food Network). I love their restaurant in Memphis and they are so fun to watch, it's like I'm in the kitchen with some old friends. I love that they do lots of baking too.
5. Ina Garten. Only reason I don't rank her higher is because the show can be funeralesque at times.
1. "WRETCHEL" RAY!! Very poor hygeine, way too much oil in her recipes, and no way can these recipes be done in 30 minutes!! She once made a lasagne from start to finish in 30 minutes. *shudder*
2. Semi-Homemade. OMG. If you've seen this show, you will know why. Some of her ideas can be trashy. I don't think her show even belongs on FN as it's more about entertaining.
3. Ellie Krieger, because she makes you feel like a fat hog if you eat nothing but nuts & berries.
4. Paula Deen's cooking shows can have some yummy recipes but her interactions with her sons can get a little creepy...
I don't have cable, so I don't get to see the Food Network that much. When I do get to see it, I see that there is very little that I am missing. Good Eats, Tyler's Ultimate, and Barefoot Contessa are among the few shows on that channel that are worth watching.
There is much better stuff on PBS. For the poster above who said they hadn't seen Ming Tsai in a while, he is alive and well on PBS. His show is also running on the PBS digital channel "Create". I enjoy his show. I also like America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, Sara's Weeknight Meals, and Made in Spain.
In my opinion, all of the bad cooking shows are on Food Network. Sandra Lee and her over-prcessed food and "tablescapes" make me want to puke. I see now she has her own magazine now. What a waste of poor trees!
You're not really missing much on the Food Network these days...I think they jumped the shark quite some time ago. Alton Brown's show is just about the only one I can handle on that channel these days...the rest, I'm afraid, is not worth the time.
Elsewhere on the dial, I will watch anything Anthony Bourdain does...I LIKE the snarky, no BS, tell it like it is (or at least like he sees it) atitude and his self effacing humor. Jaques Pepin's current PBS show is great, as is America's Test Kitchen (I could do without their spam email though). Mike Colameco's show is also a winner...some fault it's low production values, but man oh man...I've gotten some great recipe ideas from watching the various NY area chefs he features on the show. I also like Andrew Zimmern's "Bizarre Foods"...it's a real eye opener as to how spoiled we Americans are and how other cultures in many cases make better and more efficient use of their food sources.
Plenty of good food shows on TV these days...unfortunately most of them are not on the Food Network. Too bad they sold out...it's great for the since their making a ton of $$$, which is what the TV game is all about. But it was a great channel to watch for those first few years...WAS being the operative word here.
re: The Professor
This week I finally watched an episode of her show ("Cook Like a Chef" I think) and her name is Ann Burrell (sp). She made a boulliabase. I thought her show was pretty good. She seems confident and creative and knows what she's doing.
TonyO, it's a good thing we don't share a TV! LOL....
I call my post "In Defense of Rachel Ray." I think she is fantastic on 30 minute meals. She has probably taught me the most about cooking. My mother was a great cook, but passed away when I was in my early 20s and before I was interested in cooking. Rachel taught me that you can make soups without your own stock boiling for hours. Now I'm not suggesting she teach culinary school. But she helped me to try new things and really begin to spread my cooking wings. I always thought you had to have a recipe, and her methods helped me overcome trying new things to my tastes.
I don't think I learn any new skills from her anymore, since my interest has taken me to watch "chef" shows, versus "cooking" shows. But I appreciate the early education. Her ideas for great for week night cooking, but less likely to end up on my entertaining table.
The food stars recipes I use the most...Ina Garten (simple but delicious), Giada (good shortcuts, easy recipe for the home cook), Tyler Florence (great recipes, even better eye candy). Admittedly, I don't set my culinary bar very high, but I like most the shows on..Lydia makes me drool like no other chef, when she tastes her food. I miss the fat ladies too.
My only dislike is Sandra Lee. I'm sure she is a nice lady, but somebody has to teach her what the word "perfection" means. I'm no linguist, but crab bisque made by starting with a can of crab bisque, just isn't it. I must admit I do watch...and text my sister snarky comments during the show. It's brought us closer together.
re: LA Buckeye Fan
Ina is my idea of what food tv should be. She takes things that appear complicated and simplifies them without dumbing them down. Also she sees the value in simplicity rather than the convenience. She's good at setting or understanding a mood or vibe for types of dishes/events. Very smart and low-key.
To be fair, I have not seen the show, but then I wouldn't, because how-to-make-a-delightful-meal--with-only-five-ingredients is an even bigger, more pinheaded gimmick than "semi-homemade" as practiced on FN, if that's possible.
I don't care how good the ingredients are. The gimmicky deliberate limitation just pisses me off.
I think most( bad and good) have been mentioned so I'll throw out some honorable mentions:
Embassy Chefs-really quirky host in a bowtie who visits a different embassy and kitchen each week. Very informative
All of Rick Stein's shows
Kind of on the fence on Cooking for Real-I like some of her recipes, but sometimes her personality does go a little overboard
I LOVE ALTON BROWN!! The show is so informative, it teaches you the science behinds the food so it enables to make your own recipes rather than merely imitating an existing one. He delivers his material with wit, he doesn't try to dumb down anything, it's entertaining so I remember most of the stuff he says, I LOVE IT SO MUCH!! And while there are some of his recipes I wouldn't like, when I'm making something specific that he made before, his version is usually the best (his cheesecake is to DIE for!).
I HATE RACHEL RAY!! I don't have semi-homemade or anything but that probably will be in this category too. I don't understand how anyone can defend her. I'm not against easy and fast meals, I just hate HER easy and fast meals. That woman knows NOTHING about cooking, she has made several mistakes regularly that even I, a complete novice at cooking has spotted out (thanks to Alton =)). Her recipes are complete crap, a hot dog salad, a HOT FUCKING DOG salad?! Everything she cooks looked like it is drenched in oil and I have had it with her pissing on my cultural cuisine! Get her the fuck off television! IIIII can make better thirty minute meals than her and many people have complained that her meals are unaccomplishable in thirty minutes.
Glad this thread got resurrected, there's been lots of recent changes and new shows on PBS and FN. Probably just reiterating the same...but:
Been enjoying America's Test Kitchen lately, when I can catch it. Kimball has an interesting, informative sarcasm about him and I love it. The taste tests and gadget reviews are helpful too.
The 'Challenge' shows, Dinner Impossible and Ask Aida just need. to. go. away.
Speaking of the 'Challenge' shows - who is that old hag judge that yells that everyone? She looks like she sucks on lemons all day.
Shockingly, I can tolerate Rachel. Her newer shows are a bit more toned down and less cutesy. Her hair is darker, the kitchen set has changed, and it's a good change from the old.
I'm 50/50 on Anne Burrell and Alex Gurnachelli (sp) - I'll watch them and normally will learn a thing or two...but they're not favorites.
Paula. Butter. Sour Cream. Mayo. Cream Cheese. GAG.
Throwdown is getting stale. These experts are picked as being masters of their craft...why does arrogant Bobby have to (more times than not) beat them at it? And HOLY ATTITUDE, Bobby's assistants are the snobbiest, rudest b#tches ever. Miriam and Stephanie? Maybe a drink or five would loosen them up.
Sunny Anderson I like, but she can get a little goofy sometimes.
I've always enjoyed Alton, Nigella and Ina. Giada is too much of a marketing machine - less cleave and more good food, eh?
Guy Fieri's live show is entertaining and that's about it. I'd probably never make anything from it, but I must admit I've laughed out loud a few times. I think this show is too much of a 'new' Emeril Live. Where's the band?! And speaking of Emeril, apparently the BAM catchphrase is now used for toothpaste?
Absolutely love Martin Yan, when I can catch his show. Ming Tsai's show isn't as good, but he gets points for being eye candy. Michael Chiarello too - I like his laid back attitude and easy recipes.
Does anyone else notice the food safety nightmare of Iron Chef America? Maybe they edit those bits out, but GEEZ.
Absolutely fantastic work done by the Ace of Cakes crew, but does anyone else think they're all a bunch of stoners? With the exception of Duff and Mary Alice - I'd love to go out for beers with them.
Bourdain and Symon - everyone knows you hate vegetarians! Get over it!
Neely's - go back to working @ your restaurants.
Okay, better get back to work :)
I disagree - I think he loses because he takes the original and tarts it up beyond belief. I can't remember specific examples because I stopped watching after four or five episodes, but if I was at a "cheeseburger" throwdown, and Bobby came out with a lamb burger stuffed with feta (which once happened to me at a restaurant), I might give him points for originality, but he'd lose for sure for straying from the essence of what a cheeseburger is.
Agree. Flay is egotistical and boastful and shows off how good he thinks he is by going way over the top with techniques and ingredients.
Not hard to figure out Flay's dish. His will always be the one with the peppers. The guy has no imagination. He found a niche years ago and it has turned into a great big run/chasm.
Barefoot Contessa--I love both these shows because I love their approach to food and dining.
Nigella --I love her show because, her recipes work. Her rice with cream and parmesean has been a favorite of my kids since they were little. Plus, she looks like she is having a wonderful time.
Jamie Oliver--His recipes are great and they work very well. Simple and not fussy!
On PBS- some years ago there was a show "Taste of Lousiiana" hosted by John Folse--it was my very favorite cooking show of all time--I love his cooking--I've been to his old LaFitte's restaurant in Donaldsonville, LA years ago and it was one of the best meals I've ever had.
Nathalee Dupree--she was a reserved version of Paula Deen
MaryAnne Esposito--I cannot recall the exact name of the show, however, I love to watch her. She is like a the favorite teacher you had in grade school who just explains everything with sincerity.
30-Minute Meals. RR, bless her soul, is just too frenetic for me. I feel I need a good dose of Zoloft just to watch her.
Semi-Home Made. It should be more about real food and less about Tablescapes.
We get a bunch of different shows in Canada and some which are hard to find for 'legal' download. My favorites:
1) Cook Like a Chef: This show was hosted by a rotation of around 8 Canadian Chefs with Restaurants spread around the country. It is one of the most informative shows I have ever seen. Each episode addresses a different ingredient or technique and it's basically like a half hour lesson with demonstration. What I imagine culinary school demos would be like.
2) Kitchen Nightmares, UK: Though I don't like the American version of this show for many many reasons, the UK version is great fun to watch. So many people owe this man so much for his help.
3) Made to Order: A chef and his manager from a swank Toronto restaurant (Rain) with a new menu everyday. I wish I could find this for download, as well.
4) Iron Chef Japan: I have probably never put anything I have seen on this show to use, but nothing compares for pure fun.
5) A cook's tour: The far superior ancestor of No Reservations (with the exception of the No Reservations Quebec episode).
6) Opening soon: More Canadian content. Restos opening, soon.
7) Top Chef: The ultimate guilty pleasure. Oh yes, and Padma.
8) The Thirsty Traveler: Not sure if this was a Canada only show but this guy has the best job ever: Travel to a new country and drink to excess of it's local booze while checking out the sights.
1) Iron Chef America: Everything good about Iron Chef is trampled on. These are not Iron Chefs, these are food network personalities impersonating Iron Chefs (except Morimoto, of course).
2) Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, USA: I don't understand what it is about American networks that makes them take something subtle, and wonderful and turn it into an action movie parody of itself. Pure garbage souped up with fake drama. 5% Opening credits, 20% previews before commercial breaks, 30% commercial breaks, 20%recaps, 5% glamor shots, 10% unneeded conflict, 10% content.
re: The Chemist
Since this thread is resurrected, I just wanted to add that I agree "Cook like a Chef" is one of the best for pure learning. This morning, the young French-Canadian woman was featuring lamb, and the incredible close-ups of her trussing a butterflied piece of lamb were like light bulbs going off in my head - I'd always cocked it up before, and she made it look easy. I like the way they gloss over cook times, etc., to focus on the important parts of technique. Plus, it has the absolute best score of any show on TV!
Ricardo and Friends - I wish this show was available to our American friends. I'm a Montreal born man, and I appreciate his passion. My daughters both scream to me "Dad, he's so gay!", and I just tell them "No, he's Quebecois". He concentrates on ingredients he can get locally, and often visits the fields or farms to get it right out of the ground. His love for food is either genuine, or really well done - who said "If you can fake sincerity, you've got it made."?
Worst Canadian shows:
Anything with Ken Kostick. I've had gay men tell me he's too much of a flamer for them.
Canadian Living Cooks - the Canadian attempt to duplicate "Two Fat Ladies", except no travel, and the more accurate title would have been "Three Boring Ladies".
"Chef at Home" - A popular drinking game at Canadian universities is to watch this show, and do a shot every time Micheal Smith says "flavour". Guaranteed to get you drunk in 30 minutes.
"Road Grill" - Matt Dunigan (ex-CFL quarterback) - please find a coaching job soon!
Just to add my 2 cents on US shows:
Good Eats, Feasting on Asphalt - like AB in most things, found his Caribbean show uninspired by comparison.
Tyler's Ultimate - I think he presents without a lot of pretension, focuses on interesting dishes, and has given me a few twists on old favourites that I've enjoyed trying.
Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives - don't like Fieri much, but he does visit interesting spots that aren't out of my price range if I decide to travel. Suffers from repetition (addressed below)
Any Iron Chefs - way too much gab filling the air. It's like the difference between watching a UK soccer match and a baseball game here - in the UK, they shut up and let the game play; here, the announcers seem desperate to fill every millisecond of airtime.
Ace of Cakes - What the heck does this have to with cooking? This is a show about sculpture using quasi-food ingredients. Boring as ...
Now, I'm going to address my biggest beef against many shows: repetition.
My wife and I used to like watching Emeril Live, but we tired of hearing "Bam!", "pork fat rules!", "Happy, happy!", and "Doc Gibbs!". Same thing with Ms. Ray - yes, we know by now what you mean by "EVOO", "sammies" are for children, and if I never hear "Yummo!" again, I'll praise the Lord. Guy Fieri - if I ever hear you say "That's money" in person, I'll shove $20 in quarters down your throat. Most of these hosts need to learn that they need new material to stay fresh. The only comedian I knew who could tell the same jokes for 30 years was Henny Youngman - even Rodney Dangerfield was always working on new material. They could take a lesson from Alton Brown - he only says "Good eats" twice or three times a show, and even then, it's usually done in a low-key way.
Best: Malto Mario, Lidia's Italy, Boy Meets Grill, Essence of Emeril (underrated due to how overplayed Emeril was).
Worst: Sandra Lee, Robin Miller (not bad but who cares), anything that's all about deserts, any "reality" or travel cooking shows (not counting Bourdain).
Iron Chef, Throwdown, Boudain's shows, and "DDD" are not really "cooking" shows, in that you really learn how to make anything, but I'm a fan.
Honorable mention: the Frugal Gourmet. I grew up watching that pedophile...
I am cable-free, so it's just PBS for me. Long-gone shows which taught a lot about techniques and ingredients include Marcia Adams' Amish Cooking from Quilt Country, and Nathalie Dupree's shows, particularly her some-time guest, Shirley Corriher. If I recall correctly, she somehow discovered Ms. Corriher, and bankrolled her further culinary education. She (S.C.) was authoritative and informative but in an engaging way; her book, "Cookwise", is great for learning the science of cooking/baking. I wish she had her own show. America's Test Kitchen comes close. I liked the late Jeff Smith's adventurous enthusiasm for various cuisines, and Jacques Pepin's virtuoso demonstrations of technique. (My mother, who never swore, thoroughly enjoyed his frequent references to baking things on a "cookie sh*t".) Marian Morash's cooking segments on The Victory Garden were ahead of their time in that they expanded home cooks' horizons with simple combinations of ingredients to highlight the flavor of the produce.
Annoyances: Lidia Bastianich and Ming Tsai talking while chewing and slurping loudly. She goes overboard on the olive oil; he needs to learn to pronounce "Sauvignon" and to stop saying "guys" so often. Ruth Reichl and others: Get your hair out of your face and your hands into the bowl, never mind the manicure. There used to be a woman whose name I forget (maybe Amy Coleman?) - tall, long reddish-brown hair, dark marble cooking island, who wore a denim chef's jacket of sorts, with long wide sleeves and big cuffs that would have gotten into the food if she'd ever stuck her long fingernails into it rather than just patting the surface.
The Antichrist: Rachael Ray
I was just lookig for that name Marcia Adams.. I grew with Julia and Jeff Smith, Victory Garden. Wok with Yan ...When people say I am a great cook I have to reply that I owe it all to PBS.. Later it was Nick Stellino and Jacques Pepin. All these were the best cooking schools around.
Don't like Rachel EVOO and her show. but once they showed her at home and she is the only person I know who has as many wooden spoon as I do... ;-)
One thing that I find very interesting is that so many people seem to like Alton Brown. I cannot figure the attraction. To me, he is like nails on a blackboard. He's obnoxious. Whenever anything with the exception of Iron Chef comes on that has anything to do with him, off goes our set. With Iron Chef, we just try to ignore him, and watch the rest of the content. I would really like to try and understand just what people find interesting about him.
Over a year, but I like America's Test Kitchen, Good Eats ok but so many repeats, Liked Lydia but now most of the 30 minutes is in Italy or somewhere else. I find that most of the cooking shows today feature more traveling than cooking. I cook in my kitchen not across the country. I guess no one will really top Julia Child, I feel that is where I learned more and that lady Dupree was pretty good
The best show is "America's Test Kitchen", I love that show. It has good segments and the cooks, and Kimball are pretty entertaining.
I enjoy "Simply Ming" too. I just... enjoy it.
The new "Everyday Food" by Martha Stewart is pretty good too. Not really fantastic on the entertaining factor, but they cook food that I actually have ingredients for! Hecks yeah.
The show I absolutely HATE is "Christina Cooks" - nothing like making a batch of vegan garbage with ingredients nobody can EVER find and if they do... it takes up your entire paycheck. She looks like a haggy 45 year old. I want to look like her by eating Vegan? NO thank you.
There was another show with some real loud Chinese guy that said "OK!" alot. I think it was called "Chinatowns" or something. He never explained what he was doing, he just dumped random items in a pot and then pulled it out and said "This looks delicious!" But NO idea what it was. They took it off the local PBS station after about 6 months. No wonder.
I will ammend a previous post.
My favorite show right now is License to Grill on Discovery Home Channel. I am an avid meat smoker, and griller so this show captivates me.
My other favorites: Healthy Eating with Ellie Krieger, Any Bobby Flay Show, Any Alton Brown Show, Anything with Rick Bayless, Any Giada show, Any Gordon Ramsy Show, David Lieberman, & Pairings with Andrea.
I dislike or wont watch: Ina Garten, RR, Iron Chef, The Hearty Boys, Emril, Mario, Sandra Lee, Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart, & Rocco.
The old shows are the best: The French Chef, Galloping Gourmet, Justin Wilson's show, Two Fat Ladies.
Can't watch Jamie Oliver because of the rapid-fire, nausea-inducing editing. Emeril is unwatchable in front of an audience because he's always "on." On the shows where it's just him and the camera, it's more about technique and less about acting like a jackass screaming at his food.
Accents maybe? Or maybe it was poor on-location sound mix. I've never had a problem understanding them.
I recently discovered Clarissa Wright did an episode of Great British Food Revival. Good stuff about small farming and locally sourcing foods, minus the pretention usually associated with such buzzwords.
good eats: Learn the basics of a narrow food focus each episode in a surprisingly well produced show
This Food That Wine:
Their overly scripted asides to the camera are delivered in such a way that each sentence has an identical rhythm and cadence. It sounds like someone on SNL spoofing a highschooler reading morning announcements on a PA. The vaseline-lensed soft-focus shots of supple lips on wine glasses takes the notion of food porn a little too seriously.
Licence to Grill: Insincere. You are either going to buy his personality or not. Hyper enthusiasm works with Ricardo, but not here. the bigger issue is the constant phony "food scenarios" that are presented. In one, he walks on camera with a bike helmet on, after a montage of mountain biking. He isn't sweating. He might as well have stood in front of a blue-screen and claimed to be flying.
Quick Question: Anybody think the challenge type shows are a bit of a put on? (Throwdown...I'm looking at you)
And has anyone noticed the increased frequency that TV cooks now wash their hands?... I know Rainford got nailed for hygeine by viewers a while back, but in Pepin's 90's show Jacque was like a surgeon as a matter of course.
Most ppl have the right idea:
education over entertainment.
Iron chefs (first over second)
"cook like a chef" (canada only?)
Pepin's Techniques (PBS rehash of his 90's show)
2 Fat Ladies (food porn when I was just a kid who liked to eat)
- Julia is a bit b/f my time (ive got the cook book)
No way List:
anything by RR
Emiril (I though good cooking was about balancce ?)
This food that Wine
Sugar (boring factor)
Take it or Leave it:
-all of the challenge type shows
-most other shows that bore me after they spiel their recipe list
re: Fast JABS
I hate "This food, that Wine!"
What about "Party Dish?" That show drives me crazy. I don't think it's still on Food Net; I think it's on Fine Living.
And I rather like Bob Blumer. Especially "Gluttony for Punishment." I want his job. Well, maybe not. He does some pretty crazy things. But it was so nice to see him succeed in the horrible leg of the Tour de France, yet get kicked off the egg line on a breakfast shift. Just shows how hard cooking eggs is.
I adore anything Bourdain. I like how he is a big egotistical, but can still make fun of himself. I love all the travel aspects of his show.
Love Top Chef.
Love Iron Chef (and Iron Chef America)
I HATTTTTTTTE Paula Deen - I think she makes southerners look like ignorant hicks.
Also not a fan of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Talk about egotistical - he goes to a place where they make the "best" of something and he tries to beat them. Ugh. Its disgusting.
Can't stand Rachel Ray. Her travel show is awful - she doesn't even eat in half the places she shows...it just feels like a commercial for the restaurants she visits. And her writers are awful and cliche.
I know this post is a year old, but I want to weigh in the Western canadian point of view.
Great Entertainment, horrible cooking
"The Urban Peasant" James Barber. Oh man. I used to watch this on CBC when I got hom from elementary school. I swear, he put liquor in everything, and most of the bottle ended up in his mouth. And he kept licking his fingers! Yuck!
"What's for Dinner?" No one has mentioned this! It was hosted by Ken Kostick, who I think was a chef, and Mary Jo, who was a model/actress. It was hilarious. Nothing ever went right. Favourites: pureeing soup in the food processor resulted in soup all over the counter, other food AND Ken, and Mary Jo just says "It's time for you to get the daily letter, Ken!" And then, when Mary jo was pregnant, she got tears in her eyes when she couldn't find a spice! And they were too cheap to redo the shot! It's on CBC again.
"Two fat Ladies" They were hilarious. But I swear they made a pie with bacon filling. Scary. And then they made gravy to go on it!
Just plain bad hosting:
"Chef at Home" Michael Smith's voice irritates me almost as much Rachel Ray's! (But not quite.) And the whole premise of the show "Cooking...without a recipe!" but follow along so you can get the recipe from the show! So stupid!
"French food at home" Laura Calder. I swear, she never opens her mouth! And I find that she speaks with strange diction, and is always smiling when she talks. A lot of her meat dishes seem interesting though.
Thinking about it, I can't think of a single tip I've learned when watching these four shows. Which I guess would put their educational content at zero.
"Barefoot Contessa" I love Ina. I just laugh when she says things like "on-dive," and when she and Jeffrey are talking about not buying a boat etc. If I had a rich husband, I'd do nothing but cook and get fat, too. But she was also very successful in her career. ANyway, I love little hints, which Ina gives a lot. "Coat nuts with flour before adding them to cake batter. Then they don't sink to the bottom of the cake."
Anything Nigella. She's just magnetic. When she's on, I can't even change the channel. I also love that she's a real-sized woman who is definitely cast as a sex symbol. And she cooks and eats like a normal person. I couldn't even tell you a single thing I've seen her cook. I just love to watch her.
Helpful, but slight problems:
"Good eats" I love all the "whys" but I hate the pageantry! Man in turkey suit? Why? Anyway, after watching the Beef show, I have never had a dry roast. It's been perfect every time.
"Everyday Italian" I learn some helpful things. My firends call Giada a lollipop (or sucker in other parts of the world?) because her head looks so big! I find she talks down to the camera, though, and her voice always raises at the and of sentences, as thogh she's askign a question.
Anything Bobby Flay. I don't usually learn things, but I love to watch him.I find "Throwdown" fascinating; how can he be so good at everything?
Paula Deen. "And when y'all come back, we're gonna deep-fry bacon-wrapped lard!" Although, I did steal one of her cookie "recipes;" slice pre-made cookie dough in thin rounds, take mini chocolates and place on rounds, top with other round and bake.. They were great!
RR: I won't even channel surf when her show's on for fear of having to hear her voice. I just can't get past it. I've watched her on mute, though. Meh.
Hot off the Grill: I can't stand the host. Why is he shouting? Does anyone know?
Anything Jamie Oliver: I just can't see past his dirty hands.
Anyway, that's my opinion! Oh, and I've never seen "Semi-Homemade." Thankfully.
I understand the idea of striking while the oven is hot, but some of these people just have to learn about the concept of overkill. Emeril and Ray just need to take a couple steps back, I think alot of people would cringe less. I guess the dumbing-down of the network doesnt help much either.....
At present I'm having trouble watching most programs. I find many on Food Network to be horrid or borderline deplorable. But it appears this is the sign of the time and I vote with my remote and click happily.
When I watch a cooking program I'm seeking inspiration, maybe a little education and I really don't want showmanship or television's version of entertainment. As such, here are much picks:
All Time Faves:
Julia Child. Thankfully I had enlightened sitters when I was a small girl. They allowed me to indulge my curiosity for all things PBS. She was the benchmark and catalyst for my original interest in food and training in my adult years.
Jacques Pepin. I have always adored all things French and he provided me with solid instructions in an easy to understand manner that made you want to learn more. In addition, he presented French cuisine that was easy to prepare and didn't require exorbitant preparation time for those lacking that option.
Jeff Smith. The Frugal Gourmet began my foray into the kitchen during my late teens. I learned a great deal about spices, simplicity, and flavor. I felt comfortable experimenting and embracing various foods from different cultures. His material was always well presented and he felt like an old familiar friend when he spoke.
Martha Stewart Living (Classic). Love her or hate her, Martha never cared. She liked what she liked, espoused luxury and a lifestyle that very few maintained without assistance. I loved her! The reincarnated show is an abomination. It feels very forced and I don't imagine she's very comfortable. I would prefer to see her preparing for
Thanksgiving, table dressed elegantly and the Spode dinnerware proudly displayed.
Two Fat Ladies: These girls could cook and were a riot to watch. Their humor and calorie killing dishes made this show a hit. The were creative and provided a different element to television cooking that has been sorely missed since they left.
Shows I Enjoy:
Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. I enjoyed the first season of Hell's Kitchen, but found that his behavior would be disturbing for someone under his tutelage. However, the foul mouth is warranted in this series. The catastrophe's he encounters are desperate need of a few whacks to the cheeks and straight talk without all the fuss.
Andrea Immer. She knows her wine and is a trained chef. I believe both have assisted her in making the subject of wine more user friendly. She is skilled at presenting detail without clogging your head or giving the impression that her opinion is the 'only' way.
Marcus Samuelsson. I'm enjoying reruns of his show The Inner Chef. He is very considerate and encouraging to the would be chef and provides assistance in bringing the dishes together. I'm impressed with the things he's done thus far and feel certain that we'll see more of this talented chef in the years to come. His dishes look appetizing and I've already selected a few to try at home.
Rick Bayless. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching crackers. He presents good information and is passionate about the subject. However, I believe this is merely his personality. I've seen him cook in person and he was the same way.
Ina Garten. There was a time when I really loved Ina. I find her food delectable and have purchased the books that she's written. However, there's something disturbing about the underlining gluttony. I can't pinpoint it exactly but I find myself groaning on occasion. The sounds and salivating are normal, however, one gets the impression that she loves to eat and can't wait to dive in. While her weight is not my concern, I believe it is very telling that it has increased with each new season. In regard to the pretentious behavior previously mentioned, I will have to disagree. Ina's world is a far cry from most and that is simply her reality. She cannot downplay what she is.
Giada DeLaurentis. I really liked her at one point. But most recently I've begun to notice something odd. Her inconsistent speech is strange. She speaks completely different on Behind the Bash. I can't handle her stressing the Italian pronunciation of words much longer. It is very annoying. The constant cleavage is offputting and I wish she would return the focus to her food, not her breasts. Lastly, I'd prefer if she would refrain from having guests cook on the show. She has this uncanny way of speaking to them as if they were children.
I like many of those listed...Nigella, Barefoot Contessa, Top Chef, Good Eats and Martha Stewart's Everyday Food
I DON'T like: Semi-Homemade, or anything with Rachel Ray.
I also like a show that used to be on the Fine Living Network called 'Made to Order' about a two of brothers who own a couple of restaurants (in Canada?). Each show focuses on putting together tasting menus requested by their clients. I love it.
Gingerleen - I couldn't agree with you more; however, I must admit that both Rachel & Sandra Lee weren't so bad in their humble beginnings (early 2000s). Poor Rachel has grown too big for her britches & Sandra is going through a rocky divorce.
I really like your golden gate logo - I love San Fran & one of my favorite all time restaurants, Mecca is there. I was there in the mid 90s for the 1st time & feature it ever since on each trip to the city by the bay. Can't wait to see the "new do" when I'm on the west coast next month !
I really like:
The Hearty Boys (every recipe I've tried has been excellant)
The Frugal Gourmet (turned me on to cooking!)
Paula Dean (yeah, she's a heart attack on a plate, but she makes great 'pot luck' dishes')
Lydia's Italy (never cooked her stuff though, I just like her style)
I don't like:
Simply Delicioso (what is she cooking?)
Semi Homemade (enough said)
Essence of Emeril
Mario Batali (I love his food, I hate his show)
Rachael Ray $30 a Day
Barbecue University (so boring, and nothing I haven't heard before)
Okay, let's start with worst, there are more of them
1. Essence of Emeril - Seriously, this show is worse than watching paint dry. Not only does he sould like he does nothing but read off the teleprompter, you can tell that if he's not yelling BAM, he's lost.
2. Emeril Live - Just too overplayed. I'm sick of all things Emeril
3. 30 Minute Meals - they might be quick, but there are WAY too many ingredients and I can only hear her tell me what EVOO means so many times before I lose it.
4. Tyler's Ultimate - Just all around over complicated smugness
5. Anything with Sara Moulton - this is actually unfortunate because she is so so so talented, but she is extrememly boring. There is just a monotone quality to her show that makes me crazy.
6. Semi-homemade - Yuck. That's all I have to say about that one
1. Good Eats - entertaining way to learn about all kinds of stuff - I like all of his shows, actually.
2. Anything with Bobby Flay (except throwdown)
3. Nigella Express, Nigella Feasts
4. I miss the Two Fat Ladies making bubble and squeak
5. Barefoot Contessa - simple and delicious
6. I'm 50/50 with Giada. Her food is great, I'm just tired of looking at her cleavage and her teeth.
7. I am actually pleasantly surprised by the NFNS newbie, Amy Finley. Her show has potential. It needs a little work, but it could be really great.
8. The Original Iron Chef
What does everyone think of "The Gourmet Next Door?" I've only caught one episode thus far, too soon to judge. Has anyone visited the web cook show "Under the Tuscan Gun?" I love it. A short version of it will be featured soon on Epicurious. Also like "Chef at Home" on Food Network Canada.
Biro (PBS). He just sort of goes about cooking. No drama, and not a lot of stage presence, but it is great to watch someone that competent just go about their business. Great recipes, too.
Charlie Trotter: Amazing technique, althought he premise that he is just sort of making it up as he goes along seems a stretch.
Two Fat Ladies: How I miss them. Great food, interesting prersonalities. Pity they are no longger aired.
Anthony Bourdain : Cook's Tour. Very funny.
My least favorite:
Next Food Network Star, Top Chef, etc. Why do they have such low caliber talent? I understand Top Chef is supposed to be much better this season (and Harold seemed like he knew his stuff), but is Gordon Ramsey really amazed that the crew he assembled can't cook?
A few years ago when Food Network Canada was born they started off with a whole slate of new shows, most of which crashed and burned with painful results.
1) Canadian Living: Based on the popular magazine that includes some easy to prepare recipes in it, they took the three main chefs from the magazine and plopped them in front of a camera. One of them stuttered all the time, the other didn't have any lines, and the third tried her hardest to keep you awake through the one-camera borefest. A magazine adaptation that deserved so much better.
2) Rob Feenie. Oh, Rob, if you were more stiff no one would've been able to tell you apart from the pine trees outside your kitchen window. Set in the glorious Okanagan Valley in B.C., the sheer impracticality of his recipes combined with his absolutely pedestrian delivery amounted to yet another borefest. The FNC bosses decided to give him another chance and retooled the show by changing the setting to one of his restaurants and brought in his sous chef, who looked like she wanted to club him with a saute pan whenever his back was turned to her.
3) Christine Cushing Live. Oh dear. Canada's version of Martha Stewart, except lacking the pretentious veil and the talent. So you got to see a mean spirited, control freak chef burn stuff on her stove live. Of course FNC just had to give her another chance so they retooled the studio at great expense and let her insult the staff, to boot. It's still on, banished to 6am EST in the morning.
And now for the good stuff:
1) Cook Like a Chef. Fun show to watch. They'd bring in a head chef from a different restaurant from all over Canada and they'd prepare some of their signature dishes. Sorta like Iron Chef without any of the competition and dubbing. And they actually gave recipes.
Okay, so there weren't that many good ones :)
This has been such a fun thread that I actually have read the over 250 responses so far!
One caveat: I used to be a chef, so I mostly use these shows for ideas and/or entertainment-- if I want recipes, I go to a cookbook or, these days, online. And usually for baking, which is more exacting measurement wise...
Two Fat Ladies
Good Eats. Yes, I'm a geek. I also like his self-deprecating personality.
Both Iron Chefs. I liked the first for it's over-the-top and the take-no-prisoners-I'll-cook-anything attitude, and the new one because you get to see more actual cooking and judges are more knowledgable. ICA is my 9 years old's favorite show!
Molto Mario -- somehow even when he's immersed in teaching us how much he knows he still doesn't treat us like idiots. He's not at all afraid to make mildly obscure cultural references.
America's Test Kitchen
Ming Tsai. Both on FN and PBS.
I used to love Knock Knock Dinners with Gordon Elliott. Classic: The episode with Iron Chefs Michiba and Morimoto... where they used fish sticks! Boy, was I jealous.
We used to love Naked Chef when he was in what looked like his own kitchen with the little fridge.
I really like Epicurious, but the constant repeats drive me crazy. Is this show made any more?
Taste of America. Not a cooking show, but he's so unabashedly goofy...
Ellie what's her name. She immediately lost me even before her show with the commercial where she says "Call the food police, the nutirtionist is eating chocolate!" Talk about pandering to stupdity... I tried watching her show, just to be fair... yuck.
Paula Deen I had found to be OK, annoying laugh but some OK ideas. But she totally lost me with the commercial where she sticks her tongue in the chocolate fountain. Was this supposed to be folksy? Now I just find her annoying.
Hell's Kitchen. Anyone else find it insulting that the producers would think that we might find this trash entertaining?
Behind the Bash. What a waste of time. Generally I find "lifestyles of the rich and famous" shows to be a waste of time. An occasional interesting idea.
Sandra Lee: Liked the concept of using pre-made items, but the rest...
Good & bad; generally the details have been hashed over repeatedly, but I'll throw in a couple of cents:
Emeril Live (If he holds up the heat control knob one more time, I'll sceam. Oh wait -- I already have...)
Rachel Ray. 30 minute meals that take a crew and a script editor a day to plan and shoot? Anyone else notice all of her ingredients are within easy reach, each batch magically appearing in the front of her fridge or cabinet?
Bobby Flay; I like Throwdown but the others are only OK.
Bizzarre Eats: I don't know why I like this show, but I do...
Bourdain: Like his in your face attitude, but his regular insulting of vegetarians drives me nuts, as does his elitism in general. Yes, elitism.
Nigella -- good ideas, but if I wanted soft porn I could find it online.
Giada -- as with Nigella.
Top Chef and Next FN star. I have kids -- I hate it when these guy start cursing. Grow up already, both the contestants and the producers who air it.
Easy Entertaining w/Michael Chiarello
Yan Can Cook
There are other things that I find annoying:
Frequent use of items that most people impossible or expensive or difficult to find, such as creme fraiche. Hello? I have yet to find it anywhere in St. Louis. (Maybe Straub's, but I'll have to check my credit rating first...)
Complex recipes/presentations that the chefs keep saying are simple while they add layer after layer. Emeril does this constantly. I'm not daunted by complex recipes, just annoyed at the lack of reality.
Shaky cameras and too close close-ups: Concepts that are supposed to provide visuals that look interesting and artsy but have been overused for *decades*. Enough already; try something else.
The overuse of chicken stock. I realize I'm very much in the minority here. I find that in most (not all) cases it's heavy and covers up other ingredients, and yes, I've heard all the "you must have used..." and "you need to try..." lines. I'm not a big fan, OK?
Ditto for bacon and proscuitto. "Pork fat rules" is another triumph of self-righteousness over creativity. Yes, they have their places, but geez...
Chefs that talk while eating. Drives our whole family crazy. Take a bite, look delighted, and edit out the rest.
I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of shows, but it's late...
re: Richard 16
I am so happy someone else likes Taste of America. The host, Mark Dicarlo I think, is so funny and engaging. I don't catch it that often, but my SO always teases me because he says it is one of the only things that makes me hold still for longer than to minutes.
As far as cooking shows go I like:
Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller - more for ideas about multitasking ingredients than actual verbatim recipes and she is endearing in a Katie Couricy way
Easy Entertaining w/Micheal Chiarello- I have used several of his recipes and none of them have failed. His food tends to be well above the pedestrian level quality and taste wise but it is still accessible and somehow a bit more elegant.
Barefoot Contessa - Her baking recipes are always solid, but reserved for special occasions as they tend ot be so fattening. Her heavy breathing is a tad off-putting, but I still will watch for the food.
I used to like Dave Lieberman's show, but he just catered Lindsay Lohan's birthday beach bash, and as a pop culture lover who is a bit tired of LL's antics, it has momentarily put me off of him. Weird how that works...
At our house, the tv is most often displaying the Sci-Fi Channel (me), HGTV (the Sturdy Wench), or TFN (both of us).
For food shows, my top picks are:
Good Eats - What hasn't been said already? His ribs and Thanksgiving turkey recipes are the best I've tried for those foods and required no tweaking. I always get an education from Alton's brain dump. Plus, I was introduced to Shirley Corriher (food scientist) on his show, and I was so impressed with her I got her cookbook, "Cookwise," which I recommend. Courtesy of Alton I also found out about Harold McGee and his famous "On Food and Cooking," what seems to be the premier food reference text.
Iron Chef America - OK, I admit I watch it mostly to learn about plating and presentation. I enjoy Jeffrey Steingarten's snarky comments, but it's always a bonus if Ted (from QEftSG) is a judge as well. I have fantasies about tackling Kevin Brausch and yanking off his soul patch. WTH is up with that? It looks like a dirt smear! My wife (the Sturdy Wench) and I like to propose future battle foods: "Cheez-Whiz!" "M&Ms!" "Breakfast sausage!" "Velveeta!" "Clam juice!" You get the idea.
Nigella Feasts - O man! I see her and I have to lay down on the floor, wave my arms and legs in the air, then curl into a fetal ball. Somehow, she's hard-wired straight into my libido. Nigella + a pot of apricot glaze + a small paintbrush = whew.... A cold shower sounds good right now.
Oh yeah; the few recipes of hers I've tried have come out pretty well.
Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares/The F Word - Not a nice man in the world, but he knows his food and restaurants. I learn a lot about restaurant life from him and it's prevented me from opening my own restaurant--a good thing since I'm not cut out to do so, but almost convinced myself I was. His recipe for broccoli soup is the absolute fastest, easiest, best-tasting I've ever found. (How could it not? Broccoli, water and a pinch of salt!)
Recipe for Success / Restaurant Makeover - I love biography shows, and these two are pretty decent, altho I believe RM is no longer in production. These shows clearly paint the expense, hump-busting work, and sleepless hours required of a food entrepeneur.
Barefoot Contessa - Good recipes. Does she ever cook for someone that *isn't* a gay pal? (Aside from Jeffrey.) She seems really down-to-earth.
Shows I Avoid:
Anything Paula Deen - I spent 16 years in Texas, I love all things Southern, and she seems like a genuinely nice person. I'd love to sit down over coffee with her and listen to her talk. Sadly, her recipes IMHO seem uniformly bland, stuffed with salt and fat, and are best avoided.
Semi-Homemade - Ditto Paula Deen, Sandra seems a nice person but crap for recipes. I find the color-coordinated kitchen/apparel too much to take. The Sturdy Wench likes her, however, and says her recipes appeal to lots of working women and moms short on time.
Anything Bobby Flay - I hated Bobby Flay for years when TFN first featured him. I thought he was arrogant, opinionated and a snot. Either he's mellowed some or I've grown more accepting, and now I can overlook his East Coast abrasiveness. However, I learn about the dangers of overcomplicating my recipes as he does. How many times do I really want to spend the ingredient money for Bue Corn Roasted Barbacoa and Bacon Tamales with Jalapeno Prawns with Tomatillo and Smoked Garlic Salsa and Anything Else Vaguely Southwestern I Can Cram In?
Rachael Ray - Ditto Paula Deen. RR is so over-exposed it's scaring me off tv watching.
Ace of Cakes - Food takes a distant second to technological cleverness and boho fashion and angst.
Guy Fieri - Yes, he's got passion and energy. So do Al-Qaeda terrorists, and I don't want to watch "Cooking with Osama." ("Today we cook Baked Oppressive Capitalist Running Dog with Trinitrotoluene Sauce!" Hey, when Osama says "Bam!" he *means* it!)
Anything Emeril - Please, Emeril, get off the air for a while and let America heal. Focus on your restaurants or your family or whatever, just get out of the public eye. You and Racheal Ray. Please.
There's others, but this is enough for now.
oh god, too funny. Does the sturdy wench know that she is referred to as such? It cracks me up because when my father bemoans my "weak and fragile" health, I tell him that it was his failure to marry a sturdy matron that resulted in such defective offspring. Sturdy wench has a far nicer ring to it... so evocative.
I like both of Michael Smith's shows Chef at Large and Chef at Home. Chef at Home is definitely my favourite I just love watching him walk around his great kitchen with his fabulous pantry and he just throws impromptu meals together.
I also like Christine Cushing.Some of her recipies aren't the greatest but I like her stage presence.
Before this post I thought I was in the minority as a Rachel Ray disliker but I now see that I was oh so very wrong.
You'd better believe it! She's the daugher of a high school football and baseball coach, and was a jock in her own right in school, so "petite" and "waif-like" don't describe her. When I was dating her, by way of letting me know what I was getting into, her dad told me she could drop into a football lineman's "hit position" faster than any guy he knew. Yet she's a girly as any other woman I know.
She is disinterested in cooking, yet she likes watching cooking shows. We argue about Sandra Lee but we both like Masurhiro Morimoto on IC/ICA, a serious "take no crap" chef.
Speaking of, has anyone tried cooking Ming Tsai's recipes? I saw his show several times and I have his Blue Ginger cookbook but his recipes seems to require exotic ingredients.
I liked the first couple of episodes I watched, just because I can appreciate the artistry it takes to make those cakes. BUT after seeing a couple of episodes it all seems the same...so I'm done.
Same with that Robert Irvine show. Watched a couple and now they're the same. Never need to see it again.
What a great topic! Fun reading everyone's replies, and really got me thinking about what I like and why.
Good Eats. I like the schtick, but the science is what really gets me. Plus he's so enthusiastic, and that's contagious.
Kylie Kwong- She seems so sensible, down to earth, love the accent, her food looks like a real person could cook it, and the porny production values are fab.
Two Fat Ladies. What more can I say that hasn't already been said? Oh, except that John Goodman's portrayal of Clarissa on SNL still makes me laugh.
Iron Chef Classic. Weirdest and best. I have yet to see Battle Caviar...
Jamie Oliver's School Dinners- I never saw Naked Chef, but his obvious enthusiasm for his mission is endearing. It's good work.
Like it, don't love it-
Anything Nigella. Don't get me wrong, I adore her books, think her food looks great, and she's incredibly easy on the eyes, but I find the over-the-top porn steaminess a little precious.
Barefoot Contessa. Her food seems great, and I bet she's a wonderful friend to have (those parties!!) but the whole thing seems a little too smug and rich.
Sugar- On food network Canada. The baking recipes are nice, but host Anna Olson is as bland as her tasteful all-white set.
Molto Mario. We used to watch it all the time, but got a little tired of hearing "Parmesan-the-undisputed-King-of-cheeses" one time too many. Yeah, tell it to Roquefort.
Can't remember the name of the show, but it was about some celebrity English chef who moved to the south of France with his wife and their brood of children, where he pottered with local foods and was pushed around by his (apparently) spoiled and bratty kids. All quite self indulgent, if one has no other context for him.
Iron Chef America- like Mark Dacascos and AB; can't stand Jeffrey Steingarten and Kevin Braush. The whole affair is a pallid recreation of the fabulous original.
Chef at Large- some of the travelling scenarios are fascinating, though the man himself I'm meh over.
Kitchen Makeover- I don't like Ramsay's tv persona, generally, but the one ep I've seen of this so far impressed me. Will give it a chance.
Anything Giada- pretty lady, nice rack, food seems fine what little I've seen.
Anything Rachel Ray. What little I've seen sets my teeth on edge.
Bobby Flay. Too full of himself for my taste.
Anything Emeril. Overexposed, hate the syncophantic studio audience.
Chef at Home. Snore.
Hell's Kitchen- don't need to see vulgar, abusive temper tantrums in the kitchen, no matter how much they spice up ratings.
Surreal Gourmet- Bob Blumer just skeeves me out for some reason.
Fond memories of:
the Galloping Goumet: there was something about his blissed out expressions as he ate his dishes that let my primary-school self in on the little secret about food and sex being so entwined...
The Frugal Gourmet. He was a dear, and we had all his cookbooks. As an earlier commenter said, it's really a shame about his Problem.
And, because they're nice enough to mention twice, I really miss the Two Fat Ladies.
wow...thanks for the memories! My interest in cooking began with the shows on PBS, back in the early 90's. Like others have said, I learned most of my skills and most importantly, gained a passion for cooking from these shows. I have most of Jeff Smith's cookbooks....dog-eared and stained they are! I was surprised to read some of the comments on The Urban Peasant, earlier in the thread. I really liked that guy, for some reason. He had a wonderful set, I thought. Does anyone else remember "Bill, the mailman" who used to drop by for lunch, just as The Urban Peasant was finishing up his recipe? There was another guy who did a lot of German dishes...can't remember his name. Just wondering if he was the one the earlier posters were actually referring to. And, yes! The Great Chefs series on Discovery....the reason I went out and spent $24 on a bottle of sherry wine vinegar aged 25 years!
Guy Fieri was just at a local mall doing a Super Chefs Live! tour date - I made sure I wasn't anywhere near there.
http://www.simon.com/mall/event_detai... (Beverage sampling from Coca-Cola??????)
And while I'm ultimately not surprised, I'm still stunned to read that FN execs have said they don't want chefs or people with professional training. They have become the cooking channel's MTV.
Iron Chef (original)
Two Fat Ladies (vale Jennifer Paterson )
The Cook and the Chef (I want to have Maggie Beer's babies)
The Food Lovers Guide To Australia
Kylie Kwong (excellent food porn, but dodgy recipes, IMHO)
Nigella (see above)
Surfing the Menu
Anything with Ainsley Harriot
Anything with MArtha Stewart (she just doesn't translate well to the Aussie audience)
Anything with Peter Russell Clarke (it's an Aussie thing)
Anything with Iain Hewitson (another Aussie thing)
And the winner for the absoultely Worst Cooking Show Of All Time:
... and here in Oz, Take Home Chef was called "Suprise Chef" with Aristos... nary a Curtis to be seen... and he DID take home fat middle aged men.
If I heard EVOO refered to as "me old mate", I swear I was going to hunt him down and go postal on his lardy a$$.. and let's not even mention "A bit of "Arold"
(for a quirky review of this show, try http://www.4bitterguys.com/cgi-bin/co...
Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way
Molto Mario. I am Italian-American, and I credit him with teaching me *real* Italian cooking
America's Test Kitchen
Top Chef (more for drama than cooking)
Hell's Kitchen (more for drama than the cooking)
Anything Lidia Bastianich
Anything Flay (except Iron Chef)
Anything Rachel Ray
Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee
Anything Nigella (she tries too hard to be too sensual in the kitchen. I don't know, but I don't always want to think about *that* while I'm coking.)
Entertaining with Michael Chiarello - too smarmy, his "parties" seem contrived
Anything Jamie Oliver (tries too hard)
I was just flipping channels and stumbled across Wendy Brodie's Art of Food, which I've never seen before. Wow!! Can't believe it hasn't been mentioned here.
Sorry, CH, I know TV personalities are people too, but this was just harsh - it reminded me of that old SNL sketch about NPR, with the two buttoned-up-to-the-chin doily-wearing hippie ladies. "Ooooh, and look at the mushroooms. Ooooh. Look at the coloooors. My, they look nice."
I'm not even sure if Art of Food is PBS but it had all PBS's worst failings, down pat.
I really dislike most of the shows on the Foodtv network anymore, all you hear is the background music instead of what they are saying. I have written to foodtv about the background music, but it is apparent they don't care. I do like Michael Chariello as long as he doesn't squeeze the lemon in his mouth as he did one show and he has let up on the only gray salt bit, Kylie Kwong, Jacque Pepin, Julia Child, Ina Garten, the Two Hot Tamales, Rick Bayless, Sarah Molton, Martin Yan and Ming Tsai, as well as Giada DeLaurnetis when she is showing you some foods from her family. I am not a chef, but do like to cook, and want to learn new techniques, how to prepare foods, etc., from all countries, not who is more cuter or loud. I don't need anyone shouting at me or playing the loud music in the background. I use to like Rachael Ray when she spoke to you without shouting or all her slang words, those get quite old anymore. Too bad FoodTV did away with their message boards so they could learn what people really like or want. They use to have so many good shows on that have been cancelled, it seems we see only a few with so many shows that it is a turnoff the tv time.
Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, via BBC, was great... a different world from Hell's Kitchen.
Basically he'd go into a failing restaurant and try to help turn things around. It was raw. It was honest. It showed the business side of things... the need to change and adapt based on the market. The need to actually profit on food. To cook to your strengths. And it showed the human side - difficult employees, stubborn owners, stupid decisions, bad cooking etc.
These weren't fancy places catering to glam crowds (like the Rocco type show) - more likely cold little frumpy eateries in smaller cities/towns. Places, perhaps, where the chef/owner wanted to try something unique but found that people wanted the familiar crap and thus their passion simply eroded.
He'd get them going in a new direction, but it was never the typical formula ending. Places failed. Were sold off. Or the owner/staff simply reverted back to their old habits. Some seemed to do o.k.
I'm sure we've all entertained the thought of opening eateries (and kudos to those who have done so) - this series should be required watching for anyone near that decsion. It's nice to imagine a big, new, bright kitchen playland where cooking is the only concern. It's closer to reality when the dining room is ill configured, the kitchen badly designed, and there's 20 years of grease and smoke that needs to be scrpaed off the tiles above the 4-burner in a 6x6 kitchen that has to crank out 20 meals.
Now that's reality TV.
I can't believe that there are only 2 mentions of Michael Colamecco on this thread! He is on PBS sunday late afternoon in NYC and also on WOR radio at 11am weekdays here in NY. Is his only a local show? I hope not cause he has a great attitude and is interesting and fun to watch. What are your opinions on his show?
There has never been anything that RR has made that I have ever wanted to make. I mentioned this in an earlier post but the last show I saw was when she made hot dog chilli fajitas. Of all the shows to latch onto on FTV why that one? I you need to learn to cook watch someone who is an actual chef.
She threw olives, herbs, and garlic into a foil pouch and tossed it in the oven one day. I'd never in my life thought of or heard of doing such a thing, and I thought it sounded spectacular. While I'm sure it wasn't her original idea (I seem to recall she even credited a friend for introducing her to it), it was still the first I'd ever heard of it. A new pub here in town serves warm olives with garlic and herbs as an appetizer, and it really is phenominal.
To be honest I'm not really a chowhound. I'm only just starting to learn about food and cooking. So I am a bit confused at the criticisms of Rachael Ray. Yes, her personality is annoying, but what about her food? I would love it if someone would give a detailed analysis of her general recipe style, with examples, explaining the pros and cons. Probably I could never actually make any of her recipes in 30 minutes, but that aside, isn't it possible that over 50% of her recipes are actually pretty good tasting?
I definitely have not actually gone through any RR recipes, so I can't tell you they taste bad... but a lot of what she makes is pretty simple... which isn't bad, per se, but a lot of people on this board (and really, many other non-gourmet-type people who make dinner for themselves or their families most nights) don't need a recipe, let alone a 30-minute demonstration, to make hamburgers or chicken. I would have probably found her show somewhat useful when I was first learning to cook -- when I was 14, but even then I would have found her laugh irritating. But to me what's fun about watching food tv is seeing people come up with amazing combinations I would have never thought of, or demonstrate gourmet techniques I don't know yet, or talk about ethnic foods that are foreign to me... I don't want to watch someone make meatloaf on a bun and giggle over it. I'm not learning anything from that. However, if you are looking on the foodtv website for recipes you want to try at home, I don't think hers should be avoided, if you're new at cooking and looking for something quick. I just think she makes boring, annoying television.
I checked one of her books out of the library to see if I could deal with her recipes w/o her onscreen mannerisms, and made a Thai Chicken that was actually pretty good -- enough that I copied it out to do again.
Ironically, the page design, font choice, and lack of exact measurements (two turns around the pan of oil, palmfuls of spices, and the like) made it very annoying to use...but then, I'm a professional writer with just enough graphic design training to give me a host of pet peeves.
Here are a few I remember from watching her show.
-- Guacamole (as in, avocados) with pomegranate reduction.
-- Quesadillas made with with pizza dough and fried in a ton of oil.
-- An Atkins-friendly meat salad made entirely of greasy/oiled up beef and pork.
-- Indian stir-fry made with spaghetti instead of rice or rice noodles.
-- A pasta dish called "Green With Envy" that looked like a pile of vomit.
-- HOT DOG NACHOS. WTF!!???!?
I love reading this topic... it reminds me of the shows that I've forgotten from my younger years watching PBS.
Favorites: (Old School) - These folks were very engaging and tried to relate stories to the audience.
Julia Childs (Charming personality and stories... I would love to watch SNL's skit of her played by Dan Akroyd again.)
Martin Yan (humorous and presented food from his "heart")
Jacques Pepin (All good... kind of jumped the shark with me when he had a series with his daughter)
Jeff Smith (Informative and he cooked)
Galloping Gourmet (I was really young when this show was on... I always thought he had a magic oven. Uncooked food goes in... Cooked food comes out the lower shelf.)
Pure Entertainment Value
Iron Chef, Original - (The Aussie dubbing is hilarious. I wonder if they're translating directly or ad-libbing into the show since some of the comments seem so over the top)
Food Science Geeky (I can relate to that)
America's Test Kitchen
Shows/Hosts that scare me:
Rachael Ray - Can anyone be so perky without holding some type of anger inside?
Paula Deen - something about licking fingers and continuing cookings makes my stomach turn... Although I like her fried chicken recipe. (Paula Deen actually reminds me of a food science teacher I had in the university. She was a Southern Belle with a chemistry degree (ph.D?, I forget). She'd demo for the class then we'd go do it ourselves. There were a few times where she'd forget she was wearing big rings and they'd get covered in doughy goop. She was a hoot and definately a sweetheart.)
This has been such a fun thread to see develop, and I've loved reading about all these shows that I either ignore or never heard of (abit too much Rachel bashing IMO, even though I'm not a fan.) It's tempted me to give Ina a chance....
As a different followup, I've posted a message on the Home Cooking section about recipes you've made from watching said shows, that either turned out wonderfully or terribly. Sometimes, as I've learned, what they show on TV isn't what works in the recipe, and vice versa...
My favorite is Pairings with Andrea on Fine Living - I can't watch it anymore, because it got moved from an excellent 6 PM slot, to some impossible daytime slot, and I don't have Tivo - anyway, the host is Andrea Immer Robinson, former sommelier at Windows on the World (pre 9/11 NYC). Very knowledgable but unpretentious. Her vocabulary for describing flavors is immense (as it should be, given her Master Sommelier designation), and she's absolutely brilliant at explaining why a certain dish would pair well with a certain wine, and what you can do to tweak a dish to pair better with wine. Food is fast and easy, but sophisticated. She has a lot of the annoying tics that other food hosts do (foodgasms when tasting, etc), but they don't bother me because watching half an hour of her show is so informative it's like taking a class in food and wine pairing.
I don't drink wine but I love that show too, it's interesting to watch.
Also on fine living I recently began watching the cookworks with donna something-rather. Although it's very much geared to beginners I picked up a few tricks and somehow it's enjoyable to watch.
Worst to me on canada FN:
- Anna olson anything - she is boring and awkward!!
- Chrisine cushing live - so boring and shouldn't be "live".
- Rachael Ray of course, no doubt... for all the reasons mentioned on this page.
- Almost any BBQ show, road grill the worst, License to grill and bobby flay's shows.
- Don't like bobby flay for some reason
- Anthony bourdain - stuck up and annoying, sometimes constantly complaining and seems to have a negative attitude.
- Martha Stewart (stuck up, interrupting and constantly having to be one up on everyone)
- Ina, she seems talented and her recipes are great but the show puts me to sleep.
- Ingrid hoffman's simply delicioso: she seems ok as a person but her food is all the same, tortilla, avocado, lime, shredded cheese, enough already!
- French food at home - zzzzzz
The main - not geared to my type of cooking
Ace of cakes - artistic but fondant covered cakes are not my thing.
Love anything from:
Giada (fashionable and classy, she seems genuinely passionate about food and her heritage)
Jamie oliver (didn't like him at first even though watched naked chef but now I do)
Gordon Ramsey (picked up a lot of tips and basics)
PBS shows like Julia Child and Pepin
Good eats is informative if I'm interested in the subject as is food detectives
Iron chef America - some inspiration and a good watch.
French Canadian Ricardo and friends had good energy!
Everyday Exotic with Roger Mookin.
Food safari - excellent show showcasing local home cooks and traditional international recipes.
Guy's big bite: I kind of enjoy watching it. Not the diners and driveins though, yuck!
Cooking for real - sunny anderson has energy.
Michael smith: Not bad but on chef at home it's like he's constantly talking to a 2 year old. Chef abroad is interesting though!
Restaurant makeover is ok
Since you're also in Canada (and close to me, in pictureque Durham Region!) I thought I'd branch off your post....
Best: America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, Nigella Bites, Good Eats, Iron Chef (original series from Japan), Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (UK version)
So-so: Cooking for Real (agree with you, love her energy), No Reservations, Bizarre Foods
Worst: BITCHIN KITCHEN (for those who've never seen it, every episode is available on YouTube...), Brian Boitano, French Food at Home (I think of her as Rachael Ray on valium), the one with the three slobs rigging up equipment from a junkyard (you know what show it is, they all speak French -- sort of like culinary Junkyard Wars), TASTE with David Rosengarten (he was more nauseating than Rachael), Christine Cushing anything
Not horrible, but waste of bandwidth: Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Ace of Cakes, Hell's Kitchen, Throwdown, Paula Deen, Kitchen Nightmares (US version), Anna Olson, Guy Fieri anything
For the Canadians out there, have any of you watched the new "Zeste" channel? Basically it's old Food Network reruns voiced over in French. What's even weirder is, Zeste is in HD but Food Network isn't, go figure....
wow...I have to disagree with you about TASTE. The Food Network has been on a downhill slide since David Rosengarten left. TASTE was a prime reason for watching the network...it was a laid back, informative, and always interesting show... and much better than the glossy crappy fluff they're airing nowadays.
And it's only gets worse. Now there's TWO channels of fluff with no substance. FN really blew it with their second channel.
re: The Professor
TASTE just never clicked with me. When FN first came to Canada (they didn't branch off their own Canadian version of the network until 3 years later) that was back in the days of Essence of Emeril, Emeril Live, Too Hot Tamales (I miss them, they were great!), Molto Mario, Hot off the Grill (I miss Flay's cute Canadian assistant!), East Meets West, Wolfgang Puck, Cooking Live with Sara Moulton, etc. Yes, the glory years of the FN, before they jumped the shark and became a game show/reality show network. I actually enjoyed ALL of their programs, except one.... as soon as TASTE came on, the moment I saw that stark white room and that annoying music, I was changing the channel or turning off the TV. It was the only show on FN I couldn't stand.
Back in those days the online flamewars were between Emeril fans and Rosengarten fans. You can guess which camp I was on....
I enjoy cooking shows that actually teach me something about food/food preparation/
ingredients/et cetera. Julia Child (when shows were filmed in black and white), Jeff
Smith (Frugal Gourmet), and Graham Kerr (before AA) were my introduction to
cooking and the enjoyment of food. The Two Fat Ladies (RIP Jennifer) were a
total combination of food and fun that made me feel like I wanted to be in a
kitchen with them.
So many of the FN cooks I liked are no longer there - Two Hot Tamales and Sara Moulton
(call-in show) thought I still get a 30 minute show with her. Iron Chef (both versions are
fascinating) have introduced me to many new ingredients or new ways to deal with
It seems that many of the "food" shows I really enjoy are about eating as much as
cooking: No Reservations, The Hungry Detective, A Cook's Tour, Jamie Oliver's
trip through Italy (although he did prepare several dishes), and some hysterical guy
named Floyd that I saw several times cooking out in a field, in the middle of a
street, on a dock, really had to improvise equipment!
Guess I should admit that I watch tv - FN, BBC, Style, TLC, Discovery, Travel Channel -
a LOT....... so, perhaps I'm really not too discriminating ;)
Paula Deen is like watching my mother, my aunts, my grandmothers in the kitchen. Yes,
some Southern cooks do use the butter, mayonnaise, sugar to excess - just not every
Alton Brown - quite interesting (in an AB way" and Feasting on Asphalt was a hoot)
Emeril is Emeril. I don't watch his shows as much as I did several years ago, but I
very much appreciate his influence on food and making the FN a reality.
That would be Keith Floyd. My favorite Floyd was Food a la Floyd from about a million years ago when he was trying to create some Roman dish using what they used at the time and out in a open field, over a fire, in the rain. He ended up getting a bit tipsy and bitching about the weather - hilarious.
He's completely insane but some of his recipes are pretty darn good.
And I love Ina Garten. She's not always that interesting to watch, but I've never had one of her recipes fail me.
Late post, but OMG, I used to love watching Keith Floyd!!. He did a show when he gathered and cooked cockles that was hilarious.
I too am a big Ina fan. She is a wonderful and smart chef. People often call her smug, but I think she is a genuinely shy person. She reminds me of myself. I'd love to meet and cook with her someday.
my WORST... must be Rachel Ray, so little talent, so overexposed. She is the reason that some of us foreigners hate Americans (ha ha).
...closely followed by Gordon Ramsay ( foul mouthed British bully who delights in verbally abusing and screaming at powerless Kitchen Hands) Absolute pig of a man
NEUTRAL .. Martha Stewart. I don't mind her. At least she has class. Loved the movie with Cybill Shepherd too. Will watch any show where Andy Dick is her guest.
Nigella... Wow, what a looker although she does overdo the sex bit ! I am so busy laughing at her antics I cant work out if she is a good cook or not,
LIKE .. Jamie Oliver ( down to Earth British chef). His enhusiasm is a joy and he cooks stuff a non chef like me can actually copy.
Kylie Kwong _ Australian/Chinese chef. A credit to our Nation ( Australia that is !)
Gday, (ok not overly original)
I hope you are living in the US. I hate the idea off Ray having soiled the airwaves Downunder and points in between.
That being said Ramsay is a talented chef. Foul mouthed or not he is in fact an exceptional chef. His restaurants are definitely worth as visit.
PS. Very sorry about Steve Irwin…Now he would have made an interesting host of a cooking show.
Rocknrope - Thanks for creating this post. I agree with a lot of the responses (loved when someone said Giada has huge ham hands). I want to weigh in on Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie. Big, big snooze. I can't explain why I dislike it so much as I'm as epicurious as the next person and I usually like what Ruth Reichl does (in spite of her somewhat creepy last memoir). I've watched all of the episodes and have now deleted it from my tivo.
Jacques Pepin is always great, including the most recent "Fast Food My Way". Used to get a kick out of his series with his daughter Claudine - she was always trying to start a fight with him.
My husband hates the typing between the Diary of a Foodie segments. It just bugs him. I think the show is very interesting with gorgeous cinematography.
A friend and I used to watch a lot of Jacques and Claudine. We'd pretend we were Jacques and say in an exaggerated French accent, "This is my daughter Claudine. A bit toothy, and not much of a cook. But she is a nice girl."
She has huge ham hands.
And I have decided that she doesnt have a big head - she has a HUGE forehead.
I like her too... but I hate her weekend getaway show. She harrased some people this weekend who were making stone crabs - this is why when Rachel Ray, the deen boys and now Giada come by keep the fly swatter close.
i was watching Giada this weekend, and while I have to say I do keep watching, the most ANNOYING thing about Giada is the way she prounounces words starting with a "CR" such as cccrrrispy and cccrrrunchy and the way she uses her hands. she puts them up while she's describing something and sort of half bends her fingers while her eyes get all buggy while she describes something she's eating as ccccrrrrispy and ccccrrrunchy. Shove it, you waif.
Rachel Ray - Claim to fame; EVOO or Sammies
Paula Dean - Take a stick of butter, a cup of mayonaisse and dig in.
Galloping Gourmet - I loved him, although he always seemed drunk.
Julia Child - She was in a class by herself
Lydia - I always learn something from her
Ina Garten - She is what she is but she can cook.
Sandra Lee - Ive only watched her a couple of times but she didn't bother me because I don't think we are meant to take her seriously.
Good Eats - I like it. Nice to have an entire half hour devotes to ONE subject on FN.
Nigella Feasts - I'm still waiting for FN to pull the plug on this or something, it's just waaaay too good for current FN standards.
Lidia's Family Table - always a joy to watch.
Everyday Food - being very anti-Martha, I really didn't want to like this show, but I love the show, love the recipes, even love the magazine.
America's Test Kitchen - again, nice, half hour show on one topic.
Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way - what? 30 minute meals are not all about nutmeg and "EVOO... that's Extra Virgin Olive Oil"?
Everyday Italian - I like Giada, she obviously loves cooking and while she can be a bit annoying, I like her much more than dislike.
Barefoot Contessa - Yeah, she can be smug. But her biography is an interetsing one, she's had a LOT more to her life than just being on FN and writing cookbooks. And Jeffery is a professor now, but in the recent past he was also Dean at the Yale School of Management.
Mexico One Plate At a Time - love this show, love how cute Lanie is when she's on the show.
Hearty Boys: Good show, when I remember to catch it. With once a week airing and the horrid timeslot, FN is really just trying to kill this show.
anything Rachel Ray - Get. Her. Off. My. Planet. NOW.
Sandra Lee - I'll sum it up to this... "to make our olive tapenade, we start with... a jar of store bought olive tapenade!" But I don't think her show is going anywhere because the cutting cheese sticks, melting them in the microwave and dipping in tomato sauce commercials seem downright gourmet when aired during her show.
that Robin Miller person - I think the most disturbing thing is that FN seems to be covering their ears, closing their eyes and going "LALALALALA!" to ignore the obvious eating disorder this woman has.
This thread is so fascinating to read. I agree with much.
I love Lidia (who cares about her hair?) because I always learn and am inspired to cook and she really knows her stuff. I always want to eat her food. I also like Good Eats and ATK. Good Eats can be corny but it has the feel of a local show and I like that. Also I love the mister science stuff he does. I love ATK because they're not snobs - the food is real and the technique stuff is great and they don't assume everybody is rich.
I always wanted to like the Two Fat Ladies show - I found them charming - but I never liked their food so much.
I loved the original Iron Chef. I think ICA is horrible. Everything I loved about Iron Chef has been sucked out of it. The FN lost me with that show. I literally don't turn it on anymore.
Bottom line for me is I want to LEARN something. The trouble I have with 90% of FN shows is that they talk down to their audience. Even Captain Kangaroo treated his audience with more respect. This is clearly not about choices that individual hosts are making - it's a systemic problem at the FN. Some executive at the FN clearly decided that we all need to be spoken to like children. Once upon a time, they had some interesting food shows with hosts who simply cooked the food and discussed the cuisines as they cooked. No yelling. No stupid abbreviations. I don't learn anything from what they have on now, and even if I did stand to learn something, I couldn't sit through the show long enough to learn it because the hosts condescend so horribly. What happened to those quiet little ethnic food shows the FN had a long time ago? I seem to remember a nice show with two Latin American cooks and I seem to recall that I actually learned something, about specific traditional cuisines (not some quicky fake approximation of mexican something.)
I think it's sad, really, that there's a whole network devoted to food and I can't watch it. I thought I loved cooking shows but the FN has taught me how much I can hate them.
This has probably been said, but I think the whole food network is now about entertainment, not cooking or food. I never watch it, except for Barefoot Contessa and the occasional Alton Brown.
I adore Lidia Bastianich. I have her cookbook, most of which seems to be demonstrated on her show. And of course, Julia is one of my idols in more than just the cooking realm. What a lover of life she was.
I saw Rob Rainford give a cooking demonstration. He was a real jerk. I couldn't believe it because I LOVE Licence To Grill and was really taken aback how different from his TV persona and unlikable I found him to be. I think it is a great show and really showcases the beauty and versatility of grilling in a whole new way. Great show, great food, but what a jerk. That's all I will say about him.
Also, I don't get why everyone hates Rachel Ray. Ok, obviously her personality is a big target for us all. That much I get. But if you get past that I think her food is very strong. Not haute cuisine, I'll agree to that, but so what. Her food is nice, comforting, and done well. Nothing wrong with that.
What about the "New Scandanavian Cooking" show that was on PBS a while ago? It was so great. I don't think I ever would want to cook (or eat) much of the food but the show was fascinating.
"Molto Mario" was incredible (is it still on?) That guy is such a wealth of information.
There was a great show, I think it was on Style Network, that starred an Asian/Australian woman chef. Very interesting recipes and great production value. Anyone remember the name of it and if it's still on?
And of course, anything with Jacques Pepin is superb, especially the Quick and Simple series.
And Good Eats has a lot of great information, but Alton can be pretty cheeseball at times. And sometimes it seems like he is making things really complicated. But I watch it every time it's on.
Emeril Cooking Live. By far the worst. It's not cooking. No disrespect to the man himself, but the format of the show teaches you zip. You could read a recipe and get the same info.
America's Test Kitchen
Iron Chef America (a distant third)-nothing really to be learned, just an hour of good, distracting entertainment.
Anything Racheal Ray--and people are dead on about her being a low-class weasel when it comes to tipping.
Something called "Chef at Home" that I stumbled upon once. God, this preening ass was annoying. If I was in a kitchen with him for 5 minutes, I 'd be driven to make use of the toaster a'la Dennis Leary's character in Suicide Kings.
Anyting with Anrea Immer--while she may be knowledgable she has become a complete product placement shill to the mass production, factory wineries. All that knowledge and no soul!
Honorable mention to the food/wine guy on Queer Eye. Don't spend all your Gallo endorsement money in one place.
Whoever mentioned "Taste with David Rosengarten" gets a big +1 from me. Can't they replace one of Rachael's 17 shows with reruns of this? He was entertainingly smarmy, with just enough self-effacing humor to make the haughtiness tolerable. But what was up with the stark white set? It looked like he was cooking in the Matrix.
I think I've read all the posts here and I'm wondering one thing: why hasn't anyone mentioned Paula Deen? It seems that, at least in my circle of foodies, that it seems split down the middle, OK, maybe a little to the left. Would mention of her horrific calorie/fat bombs and played up accent warrant some sort of retaliation, or is she "authentic Southern." Thoughts from fellow chowhounders? Just be nice to me, I'm only the messenger.
I wondered about that too with her 'super southern' accent. She seems a bit too fake to tolerate. yes, she does cook up fat bombs - well, it's kinda obv. that she's not a little lady - but my take is that if you slather enough butter on ANYTHING, it will taste good! She's in the Sandra Lee/Rachel Ray category as far as i'm concerned.
I always seem to like public access cooking shows the best,they don't seem so fake and without money or the look of the show so much as a motivator its much more personable,with the freedom to make mistakes.I like watching humans more than robots.One on Puget Sound Access here in Washington theres an overweight vietnam vet that went too cooking school and now he teaches people how to cook healthy and shows footage of his progress in the gym and loosing weight.Theres another where 2 women cook vegitarian food and drink wine,then when the foods done they invite all there friends over to eat.By the time the foods ready to server there laughing and about to fall over lol
Historically, no one beats Julia, of course.
I don't catch it often, but when Felidia Bastianich is on, I revel in her wonderful mix of correctness and earthiness. I've learned a lot watching her prepare meals.
Nigella Lawson is great for her mix of style and contemporary dishes. Who wouldn't love to be a guest at the casual dinner parties at the end of her shows.
I remember seeing some of Martha Stewart's specials a good while ago, maybe ten years ago, and being incredibly impressed at her abilities. I find her boring these days; I think she's turned the whole thing into a schtick, with the celebrities cooking by her side.
And I can't watch the Food Network chefs who transform cooking into pop entertainment, with lots of slapdash technique, shortcuts, and secret formulas for jazzing up the flavor (which are usually spice mixtures or sauces that they have branded and sell in the supermarket).
Ms. Bastianich's given name is Lidia, not Felidia. Her husband is Felice and their restaurant name is a combination of their given names. I'm surprised how many people who really like her have misspelled her name (Lidia, not Lydia) and how many people have misspelled Rachael (not Rachel) Ray's given name.
My likes: virtually anything on PBS. Five years ago I broke my ankle and spent virtually all day Saturday watching food shows on the local East Lansing PBS station in the morning and the Detroit PBS station in the afternoon. I particularly enjoyed Joan Nathan and Lidia in the morning and adored Nigel Slater in the afternoon. I think it was Real Food. The episode with Nigella Lawson (she made her pea and garlic soup, which is great) is food porn of the highest order.
I liked Julia Child's last show (the one with celebrity chefs visiting her in her kitchen) but it seemed a bit sad. The extent to which she was slowing down was obvious and I was surprised by how frequently she referred to a guest's technique as something she'd never encountered before.
I've only seen the Food Network from time to time Sunday afternoons at the Y. So much of it is irritating in one way or another, although I enjoyed Ina Garten and Michael Chiarello, partly because they were so cool and calm throughout the show and really projected an air of confidence.
I can't conceive preparing any of Sandra Lee's or Paula Deen's preparations (I had one of Deen's once and it was vile). I can understand the objections to Rachael Ray but I loved the one episode of 30 Minute Meals that I watched part of ... I thought it was hilarious that she mentioned having to complete a certain number of tasks before the next break. And a couple minutes into a new step of some dish, she realized she had left out an entire jar of something from the preceding step.
And I will always remember a Kitchen Makeover (?) show that Alton Brown orchestrated. The crewmember who was on screen the most (perhaps more than Brown, himself) is, I'm certain, a veteran of gay porn. He stole every scene he was in.
Restaurant Makeover is frightening for the displays of filthy "before" kitchens and the designers are so arrogant. I remember one episode where the interior decorator dismissed the room as being too 1980s and the restaurateur made a very pointed comment about the decorator's hideous 1980s hair. I'd love to see the outtakes from that episode.
Here's my 2 cents from a Canadian perspective:
-- Absolute Worst --
This Food, That Wine
No cooking or wine value and horrifying close-ups of people's mouths while they are drinking wine.
Geeks destroying any hope of making something edible.
Licensed to Grill
He was my teacher at college, annoying in person and on tv.
-- Just Plain Bad --
Food Network Special Presentations
How can ALL of these possibly be so bad
Kevin is annoying and I'm not sure why
Christine Cushing Live
She used to be good and each new show sinks to deeper depths
-- Surprisingly Good --
Ricardo and Friends
Uses lots of local Quebec ingredients and seems to know what he is doing.
We all know Mark McEwan is a pr*ck, but it's fun to watch on tv.
The Family Restaurant
Entertaining, the real deal about restaurants.
Return to Tuscany
I think this is BBC material, which explains why it is good.
-- Consistently Good and Great --
Made to Order
Jacques, Julia, Lydia
and of course The Two Fat Ladies
BTW - Please keep your Sandra Lee, we don't want her in Canada, we are already a bit afraid of your Paula Deen.
re: Karl S
I completely agree that one of the worst shows is "This Food, That Wine"! My husband didn't believe me when I told him that they probably hired a porn director to film the show. But he too thinks it's ridiculous now.
Other hated shows:
Anything Rachel Ray. Her voice is so annoying and her ideas suck. I could go dumpster diving and make something better than what she comes up with.
Sugar. Who is that host and why is she sooooooooooo boring? She's also on that show Kitchen Equipped. Very flat personality and awkard interviewer.
Can't stand Bobby Flay. Ever since that incident on the original Iron Chef where he jumped up on the cutting board like an obnoxious prick, he's been on my blacklist. Plus a recent competition in Iron Chef America (turkey battle) was so uninspiring. No originality whatsoever.
Shows I absolutely love:
Good Eats w/ Alton Brown. He kind of looks like the Phantom of the Opera but he knows his stuff. I learned how to butterfly chicken from his show.
Also, Jamie Oliver Great Italian Escape. It's fun to live vicariously through his adventures.
And of course, the Japanese Iron Chef. Favorite battle was foie gras and lobster tie-breaker between Sakai and Chenichi!
Lidia and Jacques are the strongest technique-balanced-with-homecooking-sense on the market these days. They have also avoided the travel-lifestyle crap that infests most food and house programming these days (and intentionally caters to upper middle class and lower upper class demographics and wannabes). I hate that crap.
ATK is usually worth watching. I don't find the shtick annoying in the least, but I can understand that others would. The two main chefs are gems who should have their own show.
Daisy is quite good and underappreciated.
I miss Two Fat Ladies.
I miss the older B&W French Chef episodes; I wish those were rerun. (Just like the original Crockett's Victory Garden, episodes that are perennially interesting.)
I miss Sara Moulton. There is virtually nothing on the Food Network worth watching anymore except some Good Eats episodes. It's been downhill since David Rosengarten's departure: the network is clearly in an anti-technique tailspin. Horrible.
Ciao Italia features a local person (I am in Boston) who uses a local market of mine for props. Her technique runs unevenly, but when she's good she's good. She's the only person whose travel dimension at least sometimes is translated in a way that a home cook in the US might use for profit. But only sometimes. Normally, when there's travel on a food show, it's filler that's cheating time that could be used for cooking instruction.
Ina Garten, like Martha, is really a caterer. Catering is really a different kind of cooking, built around indestructible choices, as it were. Ina is good at what she does as the anti-Martha, as it were. The two personalities occupy two sides of a specific niche. Michael Chiarello used to be better but has gotten too self-absorbed in creating an atmosphere around his personality; very bad.
I thought Rachel Ray's growth was correlated to interrogation techniques being developed at Guantanamo Bay. She was preceded by Emeril in this.
John Diamond was a journalist/broadcaster - you can find tons of stuff about him out there on BBC - he was pretty famous - he died in 2001 from throat and tongue Cancer - her mother and sister died of throat and oral Cancer as well. They had two kids - whom you will see on the show from time to time. Her father was Nigel Lawson member of Parliamant. I guess she was a writer for a long time, mostly food - which is how she got into TV. I think she has been doing this for about 7 years (TV coookbooks that is)- she wrote/writes a column for the new york times every thursday I think. She remarried one of the Saatchi's recently. As you can read she is a favorite of mine. She's tough.
Nigella is a saint. This is probably the saddest thing. But when her husband lost his tongue to cancer - he could only make murmuring sounds and Nigella learned to understand what John was saying - they developed thier own language. I also love her because she doesnt hide her children from us (the way that the famous do) and because she didn't let sadness kill her. And through all that she did her show that first appeared on the style network and in England.
OK, I'll play.
I love Nigella. Always have. Her lush, Raphaelite beauty draws you in, but her intelligence keeps you there. She knows she's not a trained chef; her goal is to teach you how to feed yourself and your loved ones well. She lets you know when she's whipping up something quick or when it's time-consuming but satisfying both in the preparation and the consumption. She camps it up as only an Englishwoman can (as her late husband noted, she's a gay man in a woman's body). What can I say? Hubba-hubba.
I used to think Giada was ripping off Nigella-- and I still do. But I've grown to love her as well. Her recipes are easy and reflect vernacular Italian cooking, her technique is good (that Cordon Bleu training!) and her enthusiasm infectious (I don't find it cloying-- she reminds me of the bubbly, pixie-ish Italian girls I studied with in my college days). She's pretty and telegenic, sure, but the whole cooking package transcends the cleavage.
I love Kylie Kwong-- the great food! That wild Aussie accent! Her hilarious mother nagging her about her extravagant kitchen tools in the same Aussie accent!
Anyone here like License to Grill? I actually enjoy that one as well (hey, I'm on my grill at least once a week-- in summer, four to five times a week).
Lidia Bastianich and Ming Tsai on PBS-- great shows.
Anything with Julia Child is wonderful.
I miss Sara Moulton. The Cooking Live show was fascinating to watch, and she even took calls while she did it! Love her.
I do NOT mind Rachael Ray at all, although her voice does sound like a belt sander on a rough oak floor. She's overexposed, absolutely. But if her 30-minute Meal schtick gets people off their fat asses, trying to cook something she does (and maybe gaining confidence in the kitchen in the process), I'm fine with that.
I frickin' hate Sandra Lee.
Actually, the moment I fell for Giada de Laurentiis was in her special show on Italy when, in Venice, she spotted a poster with her late grandmother pictured (actress Silvana Mangano) and asks a passer-by to take a picture ("Può prendere una foto?"). It was a bit silly and touristy, then she says gently, "Ciao, Nonna" with genuine affection as she goes. It was really quite sweet.
I have to give Rachael some credit, as well. Although I personally find her kind of annoying and I don't watch her show(s), I think that she really relates well to young audiences who are in danger of never cooking/only eating convenience foods. I grew up in a house that taught me to appreciate food, but most of the people I went to college with didn't.
I've never been able to maek it past two minutes of Giada, all the soft focus lense, crazy camera angles, etc. and the food seemed, well, really basic. I think its jsut for the guys to ogle at someone. And I've tried and tried to watch License to grill, but the camera work drives me crazy!! I like the host, and the recipes sound god, but I get a headache from the film school tricks
This post cracks me up, in part just because it echos so many thoughts I've had as well:
- What's up with Giada's head? (And, yes, quite a pair for such a small frame too).
- Shouldn't Sandra Lee's show be called "Not Really Cooking"?
- Aren't you afraid Ina Garten is going to eat her husband one day?
- Why does Bobby Flay seem like such a prick? The throwdown show is at least a little more humanizing.
- When exactly did TV producers go in full-bore on the "food porn" analogy by borrowing production techniques from high-end blue movies (gauzy lens, slow-mo, second camera close-ups, the music...)
- Why does Rachel Ray have a show (shows, actually)? When did her waist disappear and why does she now sound like a barking seal?
- My wife got me started on Nigella - as she put it, "She talks dirty about food." And indeed, her descriptions do often sound like a bawdy romance novel. I love it.
- Why does the Hungry Detective guy seem to eat BBQ every single place he goes? ("I'm here in the Adirondacks, and I found this great BBQ place!")
- Why aren't there more Kylie Kwong shows? (every time it's on they're showing the same episode with pickled bamboo)
Bourdain - I actually think his first series was the best, he's actually become nicer and more obsequious in the new shows on Travel, but I still like them more than just about any other food-related program.
Iron Chef - prefer original, but the Iron Chef America is pretty good too. Batali in particular amazes me with what he's able to pull off.
F-Word - actually very hit and miss even within an episode but there can be some great moments. I especially like the food critic who's often a guest. Ramsay's shtick can get old. Particularly amusing that he does a little "throwdown" every week with a cook-off with an amateur - and loses as often as not.
Kylie Kwong - need new ones.
Road Tasted - OK, not actually a cooking show, but the Deen boys are pretty charming.
Molto Mario - I record these when they're on during the day and watch later - the focus on serious regional Italian is educational and dishes often sound great. Also a curious selection of guests, sometimes celebs but never identified as such (one episode, he says "We're here with Joe, Mary, and Maggie" - I'm making up the first 2 names - and after 10 minutes I realize that Maggie is Maggie Gyllenhaal).
Nuff's been said, I won't be negative!
I could say cause BBQ is just so darn good,we did hit a lot of BBQ places...but thats cause BBQ is such a big piece of America as far as food goes....I also eat a lot of Lobster....but in many different forms....funny thing, we actually "didnt" go to BBQ in DC and did it on camera...as in, nah I am not up for BBQ now....little inside bit...
I cannot believe none of you have mentioned the worst of the worst, Mr. Food. Comes on our NBC affiliate every noon. www.mrfood.com . Really bad. I cannot watch Sandra Lee, the television gets turned off when she comes on but this gus is so horrifyingly bad it is fascinating.
Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee are very middle america. Most between the states of New York and California can relate to them. Most need Sandra Lee to tell them how to use the horrid things they purchase at big supermarkets and keep in their pantries and most need Rachel Ray to help them make quick family meals that aren't HOT DISH (i lived in minnesota for a couple of years) with tater tots on top every night.
I can't watch either, though I do find myself looking up Rachel's recipes on the food network website.
Call me an obnoxious new yorker, but I love Ina. And Nigella. Even though she's british.
Yeah, what is with the defrosting spinach while still in the box? That just turned me way off.
The only decent thing is that she is a short woman of relatively normal US size- not a scary skinny mini.
I like french food- Julia did put some very high calorie stuff in her dishes. But she had a great philosophy about eating well and enjoying food- in moderation. Not the crazy super-sized stuff that most of us 'mericans like to do.
Why is everyone so nasty to rachel ray? I don't think it's her choice that she's over exposed. Food Tv reruns everything to death. I enjoy watching her shows. Would any of you have said "no" to any of the opportunites that have come her way. I doubt it.
One thing that really BUGS me about all food shows in general is "wish you could smell this".
Where do I start?
RR is repetitive.
Her excessive hand-gesturing is out of control.
EVOO, Yum-O and Delish! (enough said)
She does NOT have a "cute" personality, it's annoying and her accent is like nails on a chalkboard.
HER FACE IS ON EVERYTHING AT THE GROCERY STORE!
She doesn't actually know what she's doing. (She herself has admitted it in multiple interviews.) Read reviews of her recipes on FN.com and see just how many of her so-called 30-minute meals have gone awry in real time.
FN has for some unknown reason given her multiple shows besides the one that she might have actually had *some* talent for (30MM) - there are so many other talented, qualified and more entertaining personalities that they could have gotten for these shows!
She's cheap - on her $40 a Day show, servers are lucky to get a 10% tip. As a former server myself, I find this highly insulting.
I'd take Ina's nervous laugh over RR's incessant, stupid giggling anytime.
Her 30MM show embodies everything that FN is moving towards - the fact that most viewers don't really want to know how to cook, they want to spend the entire day on their asses watching Rachael Ray and learning shortcuts, and then spend only 30 min. on dinner.
Chefwannab hit on some very valid points. If I may add my 2 cents:
Rachael Ray is nasty and unsanitary. She scratches her head on her show, does not pull her hair back when preparing food, NEVER washes her hands after shaking hands with audience and before preparing food, and rubs her butt at the beginning of each episode (talk show).
She has a horrid laugh that is so annoying. She morphs words together to form stupid, elementary words that we are supposed to find amusing (ex: "spoonula"). Not so, RR. She is repititious, refers to her family too damned much, and tries to convince us that EVERYTHING she uses to "cook" with ( I use that term loosely) can be found at "any old grocery store"). Again, not so.
Her recipes are supposed to be "figure friendly," yet she never gives a calorie count at the end of her sessions.
Her measuring of ingredients is NOT universal. ("a palmful," "eyeball it" , you get the idea). How would a blind amputee cook with these directions? They are at a disadvantage as it is!
I am sick an tired of her referring to her lineage being "1/2 cajun, 1/2 Italian." Yet, she NEVER cooks true cajun cuisine. Wonder why? Because she would be called on the mat by us southerners for fraud!
When interviewing her celebrity guests, she interrupts them and makes light of serious topics. So juvenile!
Get the picture? Perhaps watch a few episodes of her talk show and you will see and hear exactly what we have enlightened you about.
Otherwise, you merely asked a generic question.
Also if you pay attention to her family stories, you will find lots of inconsistencies. Over the years her father has gone from being Greek, to Italian, to Cajun, etc.
Last year FN aired four or so of her Thanksgiving episodes back to back and they were obviously filmed during different years. One year the Italian style turkey breast is what she claimed they ate every year at Thanksgiving. Next episode, next year, she claimed the rosemary roasted whole turkey was their family tradition. You get the point.
Bottom line, she is deceptive and unreliable.
Giada anyone? Yes her head looks big but that's b/c her body is so small. But I love Everyday Italian - Her recipes are easy to replicate and actually work plus I like to kid myself that they cant be that unhealthy as she is soooo tiny! She's very pleasant to watch.
Ina Garten is my ultimate fave - very reliable, easy and elegant dishes! I like the fact that her food are basically 'familiar' dishes that are just a bit fancier. Plus it's so cute the way she tries to impress Jeffrey with her cooking. She's def. a safe resource to turn to when entertaining . . .hmmm, I also enjoy watching Lidia Bastianach (sp??) sometimes, but her dishes look a bit too rich - lots and lots of butter!
First the worst:
Only watch the last few minutes of Sandra Lee for the foofie cocktail, Kraft magazine does her cuisine better.
Rachel Ray has sold her soul, or cloned herself.
Flay burns everything and ditches his co-hosts.
Iron Chef, when Flay wins
Taste of America on the Travel Channel, he acts like a kid you have to coax to eat, he's bored, no spirit of adventure.
Top Five - sez who?
F-Word - boring
Duff and this exploding cake business his dad financed. Oh big woo, you gotta deliver an over-priced cake in a dusty van.
Caprial bossing her husband around is very annoying
Now for the best, some are off the air:
Julia Child anytime. On a Master Chefs episode you can see a very youthful Emeril. My favorite is Baking With Julia. I highly recommend the companion book. My inspiration.
Cooking Showdown - a Japanese show with English subtitles shown on Channel 18 here in Los Angeles. The best part is the field trip to see where and how the actual food item is produced.
Food 911 - hunky chef guy cooking in my kitchen, oh yeah
Take Home Chef - ditto
Ham on the Street - not so hunky but still very cute
Iron Chef - the original with subtitles
Iron Chef America - with Ted Allen or Joel from the Soup on E!
Lidia Bastianich - my other hero, anytime
Diary of a Foodie - lots of info
Baking Magic - with Rose Levy Beranbaum
Justin Wilson - his food looks darn good, full Cajun or not
Bittman Takes On - what a riot, the one with Michel Richard is the best
Taste with David Rosengarten - FoodTV should air his re-runs
Let's Eat Out - local PBS show on Channel 24 KVCR
No Reservations - Bourdain has mellowed along the journeys
Two Fat Ladies - I miss them
Kitchen Nightmares - the only Ramsay show I like
Fairway Gourmet - a French chef who loves to golf
Melting Pot - lots of good chefs were featured
re: la vida dulce
I thought this would be really schmaltzy, what with bowling frozen turkeys, etc. But the host has a pretty dry sense of humor, making him completely different from your average FN host. And the stuff he makes actually seems pretty tasty and grounded in some sort of authenticity. (Like making his mom's special cheese or feeding Venezuelan baseball players hot dogs topped with crushed potato chips because that's how they serve them there and that's where he grew up.)
On the other end of the originality spectrum, I just watched the Hungry Detective because he was in New York. Ok, I like the Shake Shack and Dinosaur BBQ just fine too, but even in New York, the guy's eating barbecue with mac'n cheese and burgers? The show's perfectly pleasant, I guess, but I feel like whenever I catch a glimpse of him, he's pretty much eating the same big old platter of food.
Appreciate the honest feedback, I am a meat and potatoes kinda guy...so I tend to go that route...the fairway market in the NYC episode was fantastic, and for 29 bucks w a view...cant be beat! We try to find places that fit most people budget and tastes, as far as ethnic places go....later on in the shooting we got to check some out, like Viet in Houston and Bangladeshi in Atlanta...a few others...I love "dives" but sometimes...they really dont look good on camera...as far as BBQ goes...I was really skeptical of Dinosaur at first being its in NYC...but that guy knows what he is doing, it was better than many of the southern places we went to during the filming season...
The Hungry Detective went to The Shake Shack? The one in Madison Square Park in the center of Manhattan? The trendy place with absolutely huge lines? Run by a famous restaurateur? The place that usually tops most lists about where to get a good burger?...
Isn’t the whole point of the show about a guy ‘tracking down' good places off the beaten path?
Yea, but I have to say, its one of the best burgers around...and unless you live in NYC or that section of it, you dont know what the heck shake shack is...I sure as hell didnt...we liked the "middle of the park" thing and were choosing between the shack and another place....I was not into it until I had a burger...the quality speaks for itself...and thats what sold me...although the burger at B/R old Fashion here in L.A that I tool Alton to in Feasting on Asphalt still ranks #1
re: la vida dulce
Cooking Showdown! Yes yes yes!!! Awesome show! Very educational and entertaining, and it's neat how they compare two similar dishes. The cheesy b-list celebs are funny too. Wish more people watched this, but then again, if that happened it might go the way of the original Iron Chef and end up as a bastardized watered down version on Food Network.