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Food Network Chefs

Just throwing this out there. Want people's opinions about the chefs we all watch.

I'll give my answer and reason to these questions and feel free to give yours. I'll start by saying, I have unfortunately not eaten at any of these chefs restaurants. Remember Food Network only!

Best chef - I know this won't be popular, but Bobby Flay
Most overrated chef - Emeril. His recipes are weak, and his act is very dull now.
Most charismatic - Robert Irvine (yes even more than Rachel Ray)
Best show - Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I love this show. Hard to choose though.
Worst show - Simply Deliciosa. Not very informative and silly concept
Chef you'd most like to eat with - Guy Fieri. Just seems like a lovable guy.
Chef you'd most like to drink with - Anthony Bourdain.
Chef you'd most like to learn from - Tyler Florence. He seems to be patient and polished.
If you've been, best restaurant of a chef from Food Network - haven't : (
If you haven't, restaurant you most want to eat at - Mesa Grill
What type of show is missing from the Food Network - A show dedicated to ethnic cuisines, like Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Ethiopian, Moroccan. More than just Cook's Tour. I'd love a show dedicated to teaching Americans how to cook these wonderful dishes.

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  1. You are not going to get a real deep response here on this one. Too much snobbery. This is an anti-FN board. Nonetheless, I'll play along. It's hard though. Guy and Rachel are not chefs and Tony is not even on the network. Clearly you are new to FN and that's good. Keep chugging.

    Best Chef - Mario
    Most overrated chef - Tyler
    Best show - Emeril
    Worst show - The Neeleys
    Chef you'd most like to eat with - Mario.
    Chef you'd most like to drink with - Mario.
    Chef you'd most like to learn from - Mario.

    7 Replies
    1. re: SDMike

      But wait--isn't Mario on his way out the door, too?

      1. re: alanbarnes

        Mario is gone, Robert Irvine whom I just loved was fired, Emeril live is gone
        Best show- Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller
        Worst show- Everyday Italian.
        Chef I would most like to eat with-prob anybody but Paula Dean. she is a ticking time bomb with all that buttah

      2. re: SDMike

        Actually Mike, Tony is back at the FN with old episodes of A Cook's Tour....

        1. re: chefschickie

          Didn't someone say that FN needed to use the show before their ownership[ of the property ceased?

          1. re: Phaedrus

            Their broadcast rights were coming to an end. So they decided to rebroadcast his shows while they still could. This way they can pretend to be hip and edgy.

          2. re: chefschickie

            I see Tony B. on the Travel Channel occasionaly. In fact, there are marathon shows every once in a while. Love to watch him where ever he appears.

            1. re: Gio

              That's "No Reservations." FN shows "A Cook's Tour."

        2. Too funny. My opinion of "worst show" is yours of "best show." Guy Fieri is FN personified, and they've found their guy--relateable, "loveable," shtick-y. "Diners, Drive-Ins..." is fun to watch to see what comes up region-wise, but not for the food or the host. It's really not very interesting. How is it different from other shows?

          My public broadcasting channel airs many "ethnic" cooking shows; have you checked your listings?

          1 Reply
          1. re: amandaqtpie

            I agree if I want to learn about ethnic cooking and how it's made watching Lidia, no Sara Moulton, and some others are wonderful, but they are so boring. It's like watching someone read a cookbook.

            I like Guy and D,D, & D's because it shows places you can find wonderful meals that represent cities, enthnicities, and personality. Guy says when he likes something and says when he doesn't. It's a working class version of Bobby Flay's Food Nation. I'd rather watch shows of stuff I eat all the time, or wish I was eating all the time, than watch a show about some dish that costs $50 to make at home, $40 to eat out for three bites, and is boring.

            I agree that guy is FN personified. They have gone the way of personality and lost a little of the classic cooks (Sara Moulton, Ming Tsai)

          2. I still (and I know she's not a chef chef) love Ina Garten. She makes things accessible and everyone of her recipes I've made are delicious. Some stunners. And she knows how to throw a party.
            Worst show - hard to decide but I think I have to go with Sandra Lee's semi-homemade. It's just disgusting half the time and she is super annoying.
            But as I've mentioned before, I find Guy Fieri incredibly annoying but still kind-of like Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives because of the places they showcase.

            1 Reply
            1. re: AMFM

              You and I are right on.
              Ina is someone I'd love to have live with me; Sandra Lee is not good.

            2. Least Talented Male - Guy Fieri
              Least Talented Female - Sandra Lee
              Worst Show (tie) - Unwrapped and Hardy Boys/Partyline
              Most Annoying Female - Rachel Ray
              Most Annoying Male - Marc Summers
              WOrst Cleavage - Rachel Ray

              And to be at least somewhat positive -

              Most Talented: The Japanese dude on Iron Chef (he owns Nobu)
              Best Show : Iron Chef America (the original is cool but the ingredients are a bit too abstract for me)
              Best Cleavage: Giada

              1 Reply
              1. re: TonyO

                Masaharu Morimoto does not own Nobu. He was the executive chef there, but Nobu is co-owned by Robert DeNiro and Matsuhisa Nobuyuki.

              2. Favorite chef: Mario
                Favorite cook: Giada
                Best show: Iron Chef (America & original)
                Most annoying: Rachael Ray

                1. The best of the best: Tony Bourdain, Jamie Oliver, Rick Stern, some dead folks.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Not Food Network (not that I give a crab).

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Sam, do you mean Rick Stein from Britain? I like his shows on the BBC.

                      1. re: Diane in Bexley

                        Right--Rick Stein, sorry. He has a little rat dog and does mostly seafood.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          He *had* a little Jack Russell terrier, Chalky, who was 18 y/o when he died in January 2007. I absolutely loved Stein's Food Heros show. Also saw another series he did for PBS some years ago, but forgot the name.

                          Edit: The Taste of the Sea/1995. That's the first show I watched on PBS. Stunning!

                          1. re: Gio

                            I do love his show too - it was on for awhile v. early on Sunday mornings on BBC America. And, as a fellow terrier owner - his dog was. v. cute and not a "rat terrier", though indeed, a ratter (grin).

                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            Jack Russell Terrier = rat dog. Trust me.

                            When the weather cools off and the rodents start to look toward human habitations for warmth and shelter, my JRT's intensity meter pegs out in the red. On the job 24/7, food, sleep, and walks be damned. If there's a rat in, under, or anywhere near the house, the only thought in his pea-sized brain is to find it and kill it. If that means digging through the kitchen floor, so be it.

                            All the kids in the neighborhood know him as "the rat dog."

                      2. Alton Brown for everything except overrated, and worst show! He's awesome.

                        I love the shows where they go to different cities and visit restaurants and shops...$40 a day is just one, but there were others....Food Finds....also the one with the guy and girl...The Best of? Can't remember..

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: pringle347

                          you mean "$40 a day if you tip less than 10%"?

                          ITA about Alton. His show, and Ina's, are the only ones that don't make me yell at the TV.

                          Also prefer the PBS cooking shows--as I've mentioned before, one of the nicest little surprises about going hi-def is the PBS Create channel. Lots of cooking shows, not much schtick.

                          1. re: coney with everything

                            Yeah, the prices may not have been too realistic...but I love seeing the different restaurants. I remember before Food Network, when all we had were the cooking shows on PBS...and they were great!

                        2. You put way too much thought into this.

                          1. Favorite shows: Tyler's and Giada's. I find the most useful and best recipes there.

                            Worst Cooking: Semi Homemade

                            Worst Personality: Rachael Ray (and close second for worst cooking)

                            Best Cook Whom I Hate Anyway: Ina Garten (I have this anti-Hamptons prejudice, but she can cook and she has some decent recipes).

                            Best Chef I Can't Make Any Recipes From: Mario Batali (RIP) Too many hard-to-find and expensive ingredients. Often appealing recipes though.

                            Most Boring Food: Simply Delicioso

                            Most Useless Show: Anything by Bobby Flay. I don't grill. I live in an apartment. His recipes are useless to me. Doesn't he realize that some people don't have a grill?

                            Most Gone Downhill Show: Paula's Home Cooking. She was watchable once and her food looked tasty (if fattening). Now her food and her personality are both caricatures of themselves.

                            1. My current favorite is Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger. I do love Ina Garten, and have had good success with her recipes, but some are just too "rich". Even though I know she's not a real "chef", I love Ellie and find her recipes to be easy, healthy, and delicious. Everyone should try her Chocolate Mousse - made it last night for dinner guests who all raved about it. Waited til they were finished to let them know it was made with tofu!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: gillyweed

                                you know her show does always seem pretty interesting as well.

                                1. re: gillyweed

                                  I agree about Ina! I saw an episode where she made a dozen brownies and used about a pound each of butter, sugar and chocolate. She's almost as bad as Paula (but I prefer Ina).

                                2. Best Chef- Mario Batali
                                  Most Overrated Chef- Ina Garten
                                  Most Charismatic- Tyler Florence
                                  Best Show- Everyday Italian
                                  Worst Show- Semi-homemade with Sandra Lee
                                  Chef I'd like to eat with- Guy and Tyler
                                  Chef I'd like to drink with- Guy and Tyler

                                  1. The only FN "chef" I would spend time with would be Ina Garten. Although, as others have mentioned, her food is a little too heavy in fat/carbs/cholesterol for me, she does have some good recipes.

                                    Frankly, I am much more interested in PBS digital programming at this time. Our station, WOSU, has the Create! channel which has excellent programs from Ming Tsai, Lydia Bastianich, Mark Bittman, various cooking classes from CIA, other cooking schools. Really excited about the new Sara Moulton series which is starting April 19 @ 11 a.m. (opposite those awful Neely people).

                                    1. The shows/personalities I will watch: Bobby Flay, Giada, Tyler, Alton Brown, Guy, Ellie Krieger, Pairings with Andrea,

                                      Shows/personalities I cant switch the channel fast enough to get sway from: Ina Garten, The Neelys, Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Emeril, The Hearty Boys.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: swsidejim

                                        Does Ina know every gay man in the Hamptons ? I mean come on, nearly every episode has the some theme: Ina is home alone and a parade of gay men come over for dinner. Absolutley dreadful television.

                                        1. re: TonyO

                                          fair enough although it doesn't bug me. i like that she gets so much pleasure out of cooking for friends and family. but her recipes are really good. they look not that profound when you read them, but taste way better than average. don't know what it is...
                                          as opposed to some other books i have from famous people/places that are either more work than they are spectacular or are just not that great. i will actually try her recipes blind for parties at this point because they never really disappoint and they appeal to almost everyone.
                                          only issue with her is that i can't imagine not liking cilantro! :)

                                          1. re: TonyO


                                            Think of all of the "guests" on these shows. Mario's three stooges on high chairs with one always asking an inane question, Emeril's audience clapping profusely because he adds garlic to a pan, remember Flay's little living room soiree with foodie wannabees (do not even mention his wife), or chiarelli's napa knuckleheads, so Ina's guests and the "Oh Jeffrey can only stay for one night" whining is a bit melodramatic, but jfood has grown to ignore these stage props for the food. And yes Ina's recipes are easy to recreate at home and they are fantastic.

                                            But jfood still wishes for the Galloping Gourmet/Ming Tsai table guests...themselves, the food and a good bottle of wine.

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              I loved it when one of those stooges was Isaac Mizrahi.

                                              1. re: southernitalian

                                                I suspect he also have been at home on Ina's show.

                                                1. re: southernitalian

                                                  Mario introduced him as "Kitten". Hoot!

                                              2. re: TonyO

                                                hilarious Tony O,

                                                Although, I have never watched Ina's show long wnough to see her guests of honor. Once I see her face, or the title of her show on the on screen menu I cant switch the channel fast enough.

                                                1. re: TonyO

                                                  I would love to have her life. I'd say, bring on the gay men!

                                                  1. re: TonyO

                                                    What does that have to do with anything? (just wondering)

                                                    1. re: choclite_kiss

                                                      I think he means the plot get a little thin.

                                                2. Shows jfood can stomach:

                                                  - Mario (just scarfed a 4-top for next month at Babbo - :-)), Garten (glad her store closed in EH, the people were waaaaaay too self-important), Flay (loved Mesa Grilll in the old days), Chiarelli (obnoxiousas hell but would want him to cater a pool party), FoodTV shows versus VoodooNetwork, some giada (no comment), some iron chef, some drive-ins, Florence (before the Michelin look), Oliver (before the new hair-do)

                                                  - Ray, Lee, Deen

                                                  do not even know the others.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Jfood - just curious. What's "EH"? Where did she have a store?

                                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                                      East Hampton, Long Island - store is closed though.

                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                        Closed a few years ago. The young ladies who worked there felt everything/everyone was beneath them and jfood would not even walk into the store. Mrs jfood could handle that type better, so she would buy him stuff while jfood waited outside, usually walking around the corner for some outstqanding donuts.

                                                    2. re: jfood

                                                      Mmm, my friend ate at Babbo's this weekend and raved about the goat cheese with fennel honey, the culatello with hedgehog mushrooms and the venison with acorn squash caponata. Enjoy and report back :)

                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        Totally agree with jfood's puke-a-thons, but would have to add Emeril to that list.

                                                      2. I look at Food Network as not so much a cooking channel, but as a "food entertainment" network. If I want to learn how to cook something, I will watch PBS, but to learn about food (and not necessarily how to prepare it), I will watch FoodTV.

                                                        That being said, I love Alton Brown's Good Eats, Guy's D, D &D and Follow that Food. I can actually stomach RR and Paula...for some reason they seem like ppl I would like to meet---maybe not learn to cook from---just interesting ppl. I will say, that I am getting kinda sick of all the competition shows..."let's bake a cake to look like a Disney character"...blech. The moral is, I can always change the channel!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: L_W

                                                          Those bake a cake shows are shows my kids love to watch. They are 4 and 6. I like Giada, Ina, Tyler, Bobby, I do watch Rachael sometimes, but have only made 2 of her dishes. I don't like most of her other combinations. They seem too contrived for me. There are many shows I enjoy on FN, although I am tired of repeats. I really don't like the Neely's, Paula, Semi-Homade - her food looks gross, and Simply Deliciouso - did I spell that right?

                                                        2. I like: Alton Brown, Charm City Cake crew, Mario,
                                                          I don't care: Neely's, Tyler Florence, Bobby Flay, Paula Deen, Emeril, Michael Chiarello,
                                                          I would like to see go the way of Robert Irvine: Sandra Lee, Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri, Marc Summers, Deen Boys, Simply Delicioso woman, George whatshisname from The Secret of ..., anyone involved with the baking competition.

                                                          1. "Most charismatic - Robert Irvine (yes even more than Rachel Ray)"

                                                            even though he's a big fraud??


                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: mrsjenpeters

                                                              I've thought a great many things about RR charismatic was never one of them.

                                                              1. re: mrsjenpeters

                                                                You've never lied on a resume?

                                                                And who cares, the guy makes food that looks delicious.

                                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                                  I'd be willing to bet that most people have not lied on resumes. The guy is a bonehead....

                                                                  1. re: TonyO

                                                                    It's been a few years, but back before the Dot Com crash, the statistics I was seeing in Human Resources analyses were showing that more than 60% of applicants lied on their resumes, usually about level or depth of experience.

                                                                    1. re: MobyRichard

                                                                      Interesting and a bit disturbing even if it is likely not very scientific. I would guess the number would be higher if inaccurate information was treated as lies (stating that you worked somewhere 4 years and it was really 3.5) rather tahn just complete fabrications (claiming achievement of a degree when the applicant bailed out in their freshman year). It also amazes me how few companies chek the accuracy of a resume/application. I have worked for 15+ companies and only one ever required a college transcript.

                                                                  2. re: jhopp217

                                                                    no, i've never lied on a resume... i guess i'm too responsible. ;) not to mention the extent of the lies he was telling. royal family cake? come on...

                                                                    1. re: mrsjenpeters

                                                                      He gathered the fruit with about 20 other people that went on the cake. That actually wasn't one of the lies. He never said he baked, or designed it. He was one of hundreds of people who worked on it.

                                                                      Here's my point. If you wash the dishes after a presidential dinner, aren't you technically part of the "cook staff?"

                                                                      His biggest lie was to say he was knighted. So who cares! It's like saying you got the key to the city in anywhere USA, it's not that big a deal!

                                                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                                                        This was addressed ad nauseum in a couple of other threads. My main problems are the following:

                                                                        1) He is supposed to be a professional
                                                                        2) This is a resume, not a tease for TV, this is the vehicle with which he was going to get jobs as a professional
                                                                        3) If you are going to lie on your resume, what else are you going to lie about? Why should prospective employer/viewers trust you?

                                                                        The bits he lied about isn't such a huge deal, it is the fact that he thought fit to do it and FN let him get away with it.

                                                                  1. re: Claudette

                                                                    Gorgeous garden too. I envy the herbs and the fruit trees!

                                                                  2. I like Giada, Michael Chiarello, Tyler, Alton and Ina. I can see why people find Rachael Ray annoying, but I don't mind her. Paula Deen's regular show is OK, but her "party" show makes me gag. The worst show, IMO, is that Quick Fix one with Robin Miller. At least Semi-Homemade has some comedic value!

                                                                    eta: I really liked Nigella's show on the Style network and I love her cookbooks, but I can't really warm up to her current FN show.

                                                                    1. Best chef: It was Ming Tsai, so what happened? Why did he and FN part ways? Now, I'd have to say Emeril. His recipes have always turned out well for me. Notice I did not say his was the best *show*.

                                                                      Most charismatic: Guy Fieri. Say what you will about the guy, blue collar and rock-n-roll, he's got charisma to burn.

                                                                      Best show: Good Eats

                                                                      Worst show: Tie between Quick Fix with Robin Miller // The Budget Gourmet. These shows are poorly hosted, boring, offer recipes that don't interest me. IMHO these shows are unwatchable. DD&D is almost unwatchable, it's a rehash of every other episode, featuring diner food of enormous burgers, sandwiches, pancakes, plates of fries, etc. Notice you never see salads or much veg? Wonder why....

                                                                      Show I most dislike: Tie between The Secret Life of... // Unwrapped.

                                                                      Chef I'd most want to eat with: Paula Deen. I hate her recipes, but the woman herself fascinates me. I'd love to hear about her life and her experiences. She came up the hard way, literally from nothing with nothing, and kept her family together, raised her kids while working her ass off in the brutal culinary world. Love or hate her, but respect her achievements.

                                                                      Chef to drink with: Mario. I read "Heat" by Bill Buford, and Mario is a larger-than-life sort of a guy. He'd drink me under the table, of course, but man, would he have stories! (Anthony Bourdain used to rule in this category, and then I realized I enjoy his writings and tv show enough I want never to meet him. He strikes me as likely a raging asshole when he's drunk and I'd like to keep enjoying his words, thanks.)

                                                                      Chef I'd most like to learn from: Alton Brown. It's not enough for me to know how, I want to know *why*. As an aside, I'd love to learn better knife skills from Chef Masuhiro Morimoto. My wife and I enjoy him on ICA and watching him slice fish for sushi is watching perfection in motion. He's incredible. Every cut smooth and paper thin. never torn flesh or incomplete cuts. He's got the hand skills of a surgeon.

                                                                      FN chef restaurant I most want to eat at: Les Halles.

                                                                      FN chef I'd most want to invite over to my house: Ina Garten. She's sophisticated but not pretentious, she reminds me of Myrna Loy in the "Thin Man" movies. She'd be a dynamite guest, she'd work at putting me at my ease as much as I was trying to do the same with her, LOL.... If I couldn't get Ina, I'll take Mario.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: KenWritez


                                                                        I like that you gave reasons that didn't seem like straight up bashing, but I gotta say, maybe you did stuff I didn't do, but from what I've heard (and mentioned in articles (Emeril's recipes from his show are terrible - and I can attest to two) but his food at Domenico is to die for.

                                                                        I agree totally about Guy. Who cares if he's a cook and not a chef!

                                                                        I like your comments on Morimoto and I agree, but Sakai from the old Iron Chef put him to shame. Did you ever see the show when he visits a school and peels something like 12 apples in the time it took the culinary student to do 1. Amazing!

                                                                        The Myrna Loy comparison is a tough one because I'n trying block the physical aspects

                                                                        Bourdain seems like less of a jerk lately. Although to be honest, if you read Bourdain, chefs all over the world are a bunch of pretentious drunks. Have you read Nasty Bits? One of the most saliva inducing books ever written. The chapter about Thomas Keller is like incredible.

                                                                        1. re: jhopp217

                                                                          I'm re-reading Nasty Bits for the 3rd time. I really enjoy it, even when Bourdain's being an arrogant shithead. Because he admits to it, I find it much easier to take coming from him than from someone who thinks he's Jesus in chef's clogs. Also, I saw his episode of NR from Lebanon and he displayed a touching side of humanity. I like him for that. I can tolerate more easily someone being a jerk if they're honest about it than if they're not.

                                                                          I never saw Sakai do his peeling/carving thing, but I know he's a craggy old chef that's seen and done much, and I respect him and all the original IC chefs.

                                                                          Yeah, Guy's a cook, not a chef, and AFAIK he's never pretended to be a chef. I cooked Emeril's warm butter poached shrimp (but halved the butter) and they came out great.

                                                                          Jhopp, have you or anyone else noticed this? It seems some cooks get better results with different people's recipes. I do well with Emeril and Alton but poorly with Giada or Paula Deen. Sounds like you do poorly with Emeril's. Other people do poorly with recipes from those people but do well with Giada's, perhaps, or someone else's.

                                                                          There are some chefs that don't fit Bourdain's "all chefs are bastards" rule. I think Wylie DuFresne from WD-50 seems a calm, collected sort, very intense and focused and not into yelling. Even in Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, he visits the kitchen of a respected colleague and admits kitchen crews don't have to be loud, belligerent, rapacious pirates like his own.

                                                                          1. re: KenWritez

                                                                            What I laugh at is how he respects some chefs, but it's just too easy to make fun of them. When he did No Reservations in New Orleans and he sat with Emeril, and he knew how much time, money, and sweat Emeril had spent getting things back to normal, and he was almost ashamed to say "I've said some nasty things about you." But then he recognizes that Emeril is good at what he does. Gourmet Cajun food.

                                                                            Then there are the people he despises. Rachel Ray! He once said "Rachel Ray has done for food what Hitler did to Poland." Maybe a bit of an overstatement, but freaking hilarious.

                                                                            If you want to read his take on the Food Network, check this out. Pretty funny and very revealing

                                                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                                                              I just looked at Ruhlman's blog.

                                                                              His latest blog enty talks about him inadvertently ending up at Stephen "Top Sommelier" Asprinio's new restaurant in West Palm Beach.

                                                                          2. re: jhopp217

                                                                            here's a short video of sakai peeling an apple. with what looks to be an 8" chef's knife, no less.

                                                                        2. This is going to read like a love letter to Alton Brown, but I think the guy is the best thing Food Network has going for it.. so.. here goes:

                                                                          Best chef: Mario - the man exudes a certain joi d'vivre in the kitchen, and he creates spectacular dishes.

                                                                          Most seemingly full of himself: Bobby Flay. And yet I don't dislike him. His Throwdown show is often interesting, and I think the man has lots of talent.

                                                                          Personality I'd like to see on Food Network: Mark Bittman. I love his Minimalist video podcasts, and I think he'd be a great asset to the network.

                                                                          Most Interesting: Alton, by leaps and bounds.

                                                                          Most overrated chef: Emeril, Emeril, and, oh yes - Emeril. My estimation of him has been kicked down a notch. BAM!

                                                                          Most charismatic: Mario, Alton (in his own quirky way), Duff from Ace of Cakes (despite that incessant laugh of his), Giada

                                                                          Most annoying catchphrases: Yummo! (Rachel), Emeril's tired old slogans

                                                                          Best show: Good Eats (perhaps one of my favorite shows ever), Iron Chef, Ace of Cakes, Everyday Italian

                                                                          Worst show: Emeril Live, Sandra Lee

                                                                          Chef you'd most like to eat with: Alton. He could explain the strange chemistry and fascinating history of everything on my plate.

                                                                          Chef you'd most like to drink with: Alton. He's funny, he's witty, he's down-to-earth, he's brainy - just seems like the kind of guy who'd be a great friend.

                                                                          Chef you'd most like to learn from: Mario & Alton

                                                                          If you've been, best restaurant of a chef from Food Network: I've only been to one - Kittichai, which is the restaurant of Chef Ian Chalermkittichai, who once appeared as a competitor on Iron Chef America. I went on Valentine's Day and had a prix-fixe dinner... very good, lots of interesting twists on Thai cuisine

                                                                          Biggest Curiosity on Food Network: The "Chariman" on Iron Chef America. Who is he? What does he do? Why does he get so wild-eyed and crazy when he introduces the "secret ingredient?" Whatever the case, he makes me laugh..

                                                                          Host with a scary Joker (from Batman) smile: Rachey

                                                                          Host I'd like to, er, have breakfast in bed with: Giada

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: sanangel

                                                                            Most seemingly full of himself: Bobby Flay. And yet I don't dislike him. His Throwdown show is often interesting, and I think the man has lots of talent.
                                                                            Flay used to drive me nuts but I think getting married and doing the Iron Chef America thing has calmed him down a lot. I don't mind him so much.

                                                                            Biggest Curiosity on Food Network: The "Chariman" on Iron Chef America. Who is he? What does he do? Why does he get so wild-eyed and crazy when he introduces the "secret ingredient?" Whatever the case, he makes me laugh..

                                                                            Have you not seen the original Iron Chef? Its a schtick, a take off from the original Chairman. The American guy is an actor, he was in a Jet Li movie from a while back. I freaked when I saw him, he played a kung fu master/bad guy.

                                                                            Host I'd like to, er, have breakfast in bed with: Giada

                                                                            I prefer Nigella Lawson myself, as well as Padma and Casey from Top Chef. And I totally agree about Alton.

                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                              Oh, that's right -- I forgot about Nigella Lawson & Padma (rawr!!). Well, there's always room for 2 more, heh heh...

                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                I'm the model for the "Chairman". If in doubt, check out my resume.

                                                                              2. re: sanangel

                                                                                <Chef you'd most like to eat with: Alton. He could explain the strange chemistry and fascinating history of everything on my plate.> Hate to burst your bubble, but maybe he couldn't... if Shirley Corriher hadn't told him already, he'd have a hard time with it. He plays the role of a food scientist very well, but he's really not. I'm guessing over the past years he's been doing Good Eats that he's rather digested her book, and also Harold McGee's, but even if he's memorized them, it still doesn't make him more than a believable actor.

                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                  Nobody on this post said that AB is a food scientist. As a matter of fact, it's a running joke on Good Eats that the words "food scientist" are a cue for none other than the aforementioned Shirley Corriher to appear on screen and explain things.

                                                                                  That said, reliance on the work of others does not make anyone less well-informed or less of a scientist. Ever heard research described as "reinventing the wheel"? It's not a compliment.

                                                                                2. re: sanangel

                                                                                  If you like Bittman, PBS runs his shows on their HD Create channel. Sadly there don't seem to be too many of them as I think I've seen them all already! But he doesn't seem to have any catchphrases...

                                                                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                    ok i am going to say it

                                                                                    i am not fonda alton b

                                                                                  2. re: sanangel

                                                                                    The Chairman is Mark Dacascos. Check him out on IMDB, he's been in a TON of B-movies and a lot of TV series.

                                                                                  3. There isn't much that I watch on the FN these days. But here's how I sum it up:

                                                                                    Best Chef: Mario.

                                                                                    Most Overrated: Giada. In my opinion, all she has going for her is her cleavage. I'm sick of seeing her fake smile all the time and her fake enthusiasm.

                                                                                    Good Cook, but bores me to tears: Ina Garten. I know, a lot of you will hate me for that. I watch her from time to time, but I just can't get past her lack of personality.

                                                                                    Favorite host: Alton Brown. Always interesting! Even when he's making pancakes.

                                                                                    Shows I've never seen because I have a feeling they stink: Simply Delicioso and Sandra Lee

                                                                                    Host whose popularity I just don't get: Giada and Paula Dean. Paula Dean, what can I say? If she eats her own food, she'll be sure to drop dead from a heart attack at any moment. And if I never heard her "hey ya'll" again, I'd be happy.

                                                                                    Shows I wish I'd never seen: 30 minute meals, Paula Dean, Everyday Italian

                                                                                    My wish for the Food Network: stop trying to mass market everything (chef's, food products, types of shows)


                                                                                    1. Best Chef- Mario Batali
                                                                                      Most Overrated Chef-Guy Fieri
                                                                                      Most Charismatic-Paula Deen (on her home cooking show--not that godawful party thing)
                                                                                      Best Show- Good Eats
                                                                                      Worst Show- Semi-homemade with Sandra Lee
                                                                                      Chef I'd like to eat with- Mario Batali
                                                                                      Chef I'd like to drink with- Tony Bourdain

                                                                                      The FN chefs mostly don't bother me. If I don't want to hear someone, I change the channel or turn off the tv. Having said that, I find I absolutely cannot watch Sandra Lee whose food is just awful ("just add green jello and look how pretty it is!), Rachel Ray whose voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me, and Guy Fieri who's too loud and annoying. Mostly though I go by what they cook. I've made dishes I saw on Ina, Mario, Alton's Good Eats, Tyler's show, and all have come out great. I enjoy Paula's personality on her home cooking show when she's calm; otherwise she's hard to take. Also I've usually found that I don't want to make her recipes because they're way too fatty for me.

                                                                                      1. I must say that Throwdown as a television show enrages me.

                                                                                        It makes Bobby Flay seem incredibly full of himself - "Oh let's see, I'll go across the country to see who is known for making the best of some sort of food, and then I'll beat them."

                                                                                        And I like Bobby Flay. And I regularly watch Throwdown. The concept is horrible though.

                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: cor

                                                                                          interesting, I get the opposite out of the show as I feel that it humbles Bobby Flay & makes even more likeable in my eyes because he rarely wins the challenges. It also shows how talented he is that he can compete in so many different styles of cooking.

                                                                                          1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                            For a chef of his caliber, I would expect him to be able to do a lot of these challenges, except maybe for baking. But he also has the full horsepower of the Food Network behind him in terms of research, test kitchen, etc. They show him with his staff of two, but I would guess that there is an anonymous staff working diligently to feed him information. He still has to integrate and execute their information, but the bulk of the research work is done for him.

                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                              I like the show and also agree that it humbles him. But I haven't seen an episode where he hasn't tried to "improve" on a tried and true local favorite. It's always so obvious which is the champion and which dish is his 'take' on it - i.e. "how he'd do it better". I sometimes squirm when he takes it too far. The Kentucky episode comes to mind. That said, I still like him and I still watch the show.

                                                                                              1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                It really angered me that he won the biscuit Throwdown with the cook from the Loveless Motel in Nashville. If you have ever been to this place, you would know how wonderful their down home style cooking is. Bobby created his usual "improvement" on the recipe and made some kind of weird take on homemade jam and won. I wonder how many times the judges can figure out which is his submission (because it varies from the traditional) and choose him because of his name appeal. Suck ups!

                                                                                                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                  So there's no chance the two judges actually preferred his biscuit and jam over the other cook's?

                                                                                                  1. re: KenWritez

                                                                                                    He always adds the same ingredients to everything.

                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                      That is my beef about Flay. I understand he made his name by going the southwestern route but in his grilling show, it seems he did everything southwestern, add some poblano here, some chipotle there, some cilantro there and its a Bobby Flay creation. He does the same thing on Iron Chef and this show. I was expecting him to do a Habanero Lasagna or a mexican doughnut or something as his "original" touch.

                                                                                                      At least Batali has gone on and expanded quite a bit into southeast Asian tastes, mainly after he visited Thailand, Vietnam etc.

                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                        mmm.. habanero lasagna... hopefully prepared on the grill..

                                                                                                    2. re: KenWritez

                                                                                                      Ken, have to try to recall what his riff was on biscuits and jam. Think it was something like black pepper biscuits with mango/blueberry jam versus traditional Southern buttermilk biscuits with strawberry jam. Which do you think the judges thought belonged to which contestant? And no, I don't think a boy from Brooklyn can outdo a Nashville cook who has made thousands of delicious plain biscuits.

                                                                                                      1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                        I watch Throwdown all the time. I like Bobby and he's probably won as many as he's lost. I rarely watch it and say Wow Bobby got killed, or Bobby's doesn't look very good. When I watched the Jambalaya challenge, it was the first time I said to myself "if Bobby wins, this is fixed." The editing tried to make it exciting, but the verdict came and Bobby lost. He loses the ones you'd think he would lose. IMO he won that biscuit challenge!

                                                                                                        1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                          A friend of mine was a judge for the Lasagna Throwdown. I asked him about his thoughts and he said Bobby was very approachable and sincere. It was clear which lasagna was Flay's and he voted for it beause "my culinary conscious got the best of me". It's not opoular to vote for the "star" and hopefully most judges have some integrity. Despite losing, the value of being on that show is immense to a small restaurant/bakery etc. I think some of those that are challenged come across as rude morons.

                                                                                                          1. re: TonyO

                                                                                                            Yeah nothing was worse than the doughnot guy. He was shocked and then mad and didn't wanzt to do it. I'm sure someone from FN tapped him on the shoulder and said "look buddy, this illy compeition is going to change your career, just shut up and make a donut.

                                                                                                            I thought one of the better challenges was the first one ever. You actually felt bad for the chowder guy. I have to admit that his looked a little better, but Bobby got lucky and played right into one of the judges comfort zones.

                                                                                                            The only one I have any connection to is the Ice Cream Sundae challenge. Bobby played to the kids and won. I can tell you, the ICe Cream Man in Greenwich, NY is hands down the best ice cream I've ever had. I am not an ice cream lover, but I'm in that neck of the woods one time a year, sometimes twice and I always make a stop to the ICM. It is absolutely incredible. She just made the mistake of going gourmet when kids were judging.

                                                                                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                              You're right about The Ice Cream Man in Greenwich. We live not too far from them; but don't get over there often enough in the summer. It seems like we have an abundance of ic makers here in the North Country.

                                                                                                        2. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                          I remember this biscuit challenge, he did the black pepper on top of his biscuits, and I don't recall his jam, something exotic probably.

                                                                                                          Diane, I think you're being unreasonably prejudiced against Bobby and the biscuit judges. I'm not a fan of his but I do respect his abilities. He's a trained chef with 20+ years of experience in assembling flavor profiles for his dishes, so he's very familiar with getting the best out of his ingredients.

                                                                                                          The Nashville cook, awesome lady though she is, doesn't have those kind of chops. Think of the difference between a paramedic and a neurosurgeon.

                                                                                                          Accusing the judges of sucking up to Flay is petty and mean-spirited, but most all, groundless unless you've got proof to the contrary. I think you can do better than this.

                                                                                                          1. re: KenWritez

                                                                                                            Ken, the point of a forum is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. TonyO validated just exactly what I stated - that the judges can figure out which entry belongs to which chef and that there is the potential to award the competition to Flay based on this.

                                                                                                            I have actually met Bobby, about 8 years ago when he visited Columbus for a FTV. He is approachable and willing to discuss the finer points of technique. He was very nice in discussing culinary careers and cooking schools with my daughters. I just think he has a lot of chutzpah (and help from FTV) in winning over small cooks who are known for their one little thing, which they have been recognized in their local area for their excellence. I much preferred his earlier show where he traveled throughout the USA and showcased regional cuisine and cooks (can't remember the name).

                                                                                                            1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                              Hey Diane;

                                                                                                              I wasn't trying to attack you or your preferences in biscuits or biscuit makers. My *only* aim was pointing out what I saw as an unjustifiable conclusion from you, that's all. Everyone's entitled to their opinions: Good, bad or indifferent, and I'd never take that away from you or anyone else. I apologize if I offended you.

                                                                                                              Now, changing the subject, I remember what'shisbucket, the donut guy whose last name was, IIRC, "Israel." He flipped out when Bobby showed up--I fully expected him to have a psychological meltdown right there. Then there was another cook whose specialty escapes me, who'd never heard of Bobby Flay. The camera caught him talking on his cell phone: "I'm being challenged by some guy named Bobby Fay."

                                                                                                              FN can't force cooks to compete and I imagine there've been some who refused. (I wish FN would air *those* but the show would be pretty short, nu?) The cooks know what they're getting into, a producer would have to explain everything to them, so I don't have much sympathy for them.

                                                                                                            2. re: KenWritez

                                                                                                              Ken, have you ever made biscuits? They don't take "20+ years of experience in assembling flavor profiles." Good biscuits take the right flour, knack and LOVE!.

                                                                                                              1. re: KenWritez

                                                                                                                I'm also going to guess that if these people are truly surprised, there are quite a bit of nerves when the challenge starts

                                                                                                    3. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                      I totally agree. Especially since he rarely beats them.

                                                                                                  2. Hey sugarsnapp, I'm going to have to agree with you about Alton Brown. I liked him for many years, but now he just seems self-important. Even shows that are re-run 5 years later that i have seen before now come across to me as a bit obnoxious. A perfect example is the sushi show. At the sushi bar he completely dismisses putting wasabi on his nigiri. He said something like "If it doesn't come on it, you don't need it." He then went on to daintily dunk (upside-down) the very corner of his piece into the soy sauce and made it sound like armageddon if you got a drop too much on it. I'll put wasabi on my sushi if I want, damnit! lol

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: jackbauer

                                                                                                      Jack, you may or may not know this, but there is some serious"rules" when eating in a sushi bar. Especially if you are in Japan. One thing is you never, ever dip your rice into the soy sauce. I read an entire article about this, and never realized how wrong we Americans do it.

                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                        Damn right, I'll shoot anybody who says differently! I'm sure if I went to Tokyo my sushi etiquette would be severely frowned upon. I guess dipping your rice in the soy sauce considered extremely rude. I'm glad I eat it here in the good 'ol US where I can eat it how I want. In fact, if I want to dump the contents of 4 or 5 pixie stix on my black marlin nigiri, then (as Alton would say), goshdarnit, I will!

                                                                                                        1. re: jackbauer

                                                                                                          Great handle! Wish I'd thought of it.

                                                                                                          Regarding the sushi, I agree. I like the way we do it, however, I'm sure that there's a reason why you're not supposed to dip the rice in soy sauce in Japan... like probably because it quickly begins to fall apart when you do, and if you don't get it in your mouth quick enough, you have a royal mess on your hands!

                                                                                                    2. Alton Brown is a joke. At one time, he was my favorite, but that quickly changed when I made 3+ of his recipes and they all sucked (sucked=didn't turn out right).

                                                                                                      Btw, I have a culinary degree and work at the USDA as a food chemist, so its not likely that I messed up the recipe.

                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                          Off the top of my head right now, I remember the popcorn, first and foremost because it completely ruined my nice stainless steel mixing bowl. I also remember making pancakes that turned out like rubber cakes (and it wasn't from overmixing, either). I'll let you know of the other ones as I remember them.

                                                                                                          1. re: chemchef

                                                                                                            I thought that popcorn in a bowl idea looked pretty sketchy.

                                                                                                            1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                              He made oatmeal in a hotel coffee I have not tried it and quite frankly never will. The idea simply grosses me out. Are those things ever really cleaned?

                                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                I saw that nasty oatmeal thing and thought, not only is that coffee maker probably filthy, but what are the chances it's going to be properly cleaned after someone makes oatmeal in it? I thought he was kidding. Very selfish.

                                                                                                                1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                  I don't remember that one, but I have done his steel cut oatmeal in the crockpot, which was one of the few recipes from him that worked out well for me.

                                                                                                        2. re: chemchef

                                                                                                          I'm curious--so how do you account for lay people and culinary types who've tried his recipes (not necessarily your three) and liked them?

                                                                                                          1. re: KenWritez

                                                                                                            I don't try to account for other people's experiences. I'm just voicing my own opinion.

                                                                                                          2. re: chemchef

                                                                                                            I really like watching Alton Brown. I did recently order one of his books because it sounds like Good Eats on paper.

                                                                                                            But I made his strawberry pudding last month. While it looked so inviting and yummy, it was NOT! But at least I got drunk eating it. It tasted better after a few bites.

                                                                                                            But honestly, I kept thinking to myself wondering how that recipe ever could have tasted good to anyone.


                                                                                                            1. re: chemchef

                                                                                                              From AB's show, I've made and enjoyed his corn dogs, corn bread, chili, corned beef brisket, waffles, fried chicken, oxtail beef stock, chicken stock, and leek soup. I also used his shows on bread making and home brewing as introductory primers.
                                                                                                              I did not enjoy his lentil salad. I had to throw it away. Also, his collard/mustard greens did not work, but I think that's because I only had unsmoked turkey legs to simmer them with. Adding liquid smoke did not work...
                                                                                                              I'm planning on making his kosher dill pickles, sauerkraut, and smoked pork shoulder soon.
                                                                                                              From his books, I use his pizza dough recipe regularly. His grilled pork tenderloin glaze was also nice - simply orange juice concentrate and rooster (aka shriacha) sauce.

                                                                                                              1. re: jtpeters

                                                                                                                Good. I'm glad other people are better at choosing which recipes of his are worth a try! :-)

                                                                                                                1. re: chemchef

                                                                                                                  From AB's recipes, I've made:

                                                                                                                  Boiled cabbage
                                                                                                                  Green bean casserole
                                                                                                                  Roast turkey
                                                                                                                  Pot roast
                                                                                                                  Standing rib roast
                                                                                                                  Baked meatballs
                                                                                                                  ...and a few others I can't recall right now.

                                                                                                                  All of them came out very well and I'm happy with his recipes and so were my dinner guests. Only one or two other recipes of his flopped for me, so that's a ratio I can live with.

                                                                                                                  Now if you want to talk unsuccessful recipes and Giada Delaurentis....

                                                                                                                  After thinking about this issue and my experiences with making celeb chef recipes, I believe some people do better with some chef's recipes than others. For me, AB and Emeril's have always worked out well. Tyler Florence's, Giada's and Robert Irvine's have never come out of my kitchen worth eating. Anthony Bourdain's and Ina Garten's are hit-or-miss for me. I've seen posts by others who have had reverse results. I'm thinking there's some connection between a cook, his personality and technique(s), and the demands of the recipe. One recipe will work fine for me, but poorly for another cook.

                                                                                                                  (AB's meatloaf recipe is the best I've ever had. Just make sure to double the amount of glaze if you like a thicker coating of it.)

                                                                                                                  1. re: KenWritez

                                                                                                                    I've had good luck with Tyler and Ina's recipes, but have tried more of Alton's b/c I was so intrigued with his show.

                                                                                                                    Having said that, I have a culinary degree, so don't often use recipes for "everyday" dishes.

                                                                                                            2. My husband can't cook at all and is not even allowed in the kitchen (too much broken glass and round pans that are now square due to the "human tornado"). Because I detest Sandra Lee's incompetence he insists, while channel-surfing, on checking out the colors of her curtains and Kitchenaid (mint green? baby pink?) or her tablescape, Then he goes straight to Mythbusters. Yeah, let's blow stuff up. www.cookingwithdee.net

                                                                                                              1. Best chef - Bobby Flay
                                                                                                                Most overrated chef - (or cook) Rachel Ray
                                                                                                                Most charismatic - Flay
                                                                                                                Best show - Iron Chef America, followed by the old Irvinesque Dinner: Impossible.
                                                                                                                Worst show - "Semi-Cooking" (snicker) with Sandra Lee
                                                                                                                Chef you'd most like to eat with - Mario Batali (off FN, Daniel Boulud)
                                                                                                                Chef you'd most like to drink with - Flay (off FN, Anthony Bourdain)
                                                                                                                Chef you'd most like to learn from - Flay or Tyler Florence

                                                                                                                What type of show is missing from the Food Network: Cooking shows? LOL Ok, that was a shot. Um, regional cuisines from around the world. Would love to see more Caribbean, Indian, Southeast Asian plus all the other places no matter how little, which might not deserve entire shows to them, but certainly many episodes of shows.