Best Culinary Shows On Television?
Alphabetically and across eras:
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
- As entertaining to watch and follow as his writing is to read.
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
- Sure Guy can be as subtle -- and times, irritating -- as his spiked highlights but, the show is as honest and real as the subjects it features. Having read "Roadfood/Goodfood" cover-to-cover in 7th grade, I can appreciate this show to no end.
Floyd on Food/Floyd on Fish
-Engaging and self-deprecating, Keith Floyd was sort of "pre-Bourdain" with an English accent. Bonus points for having The Stranglers author his theme song.
The Frugal Gourmet
What a tragic end for perhaps the most folksy of TV food shows ever.
Great Chefs of New Orleans/SF/Great Cities
Classic. Timeless. The show that started my love affair with TV food shows.
The original. The first. The best.
Throwdown with Bobby Flay
Contrived and feeling a bit padded and perhaps better suited to two 15 minute segments per episode but, ingeniously simple and no less engaging.
Concur with earlier comments here about this being one of the best current TV shows period.
I've always felt that these shows can be divided into two general categories:
entertainment shows (like throwdown, hk, top chef, cooks tour etc)
where the emphasis is on the activity surrounding the stoves; and
cooking shows (lidia, mike smith, ming, etc)
where the emphasis is on presenting food in a manner that one can learn and try themselves.
apples and oranges, really (food pun only slightly intended).
For competition, none better than Top Chef and Iron Chef. Outside of the over-promotion of product in Top Chef, there is no better show on TV in my opinion.
Love Good Eats and most things Alton Brown. Fitting in this mold is America's Test Kitchen which is a great balance of interesting cooking science, techniques, gadgets and I love the tasting lab. Good fun.
Jamie at Home is surprisingly good and Lydia's Italy is also tremendous. She seems to really like what she does and her food looks flat out awesome every time.
Being a techie...
I enjoy the shows that explain the reasoning behind the recipes...
America's Test Kitchen
Simply Ming (since Ming Tsai was an engineer)
Jacque Pepin (However, I thought he jumped the shark when he did the show with his daughter. It was a sweet concept that he wanted to teach her to cook.)
(SNL) Dan Ackroyd as Julia Childs.
(SNL) Phil Hartman as the anal-retentive chef.
Oh... and of course. Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee.
One of my favorites is Daisy Cooks! with Daisy Martinez. Here approach is very sensible and relaxed. I like her, and I like how and what she cooks. Unfortunately, I haven't seen her on PBS for probably a year or more.
I also like the Chirarello shows, but mostly I just want his house/kitchen. His is more of a lifestyle show than cooking, to me.
I didn't know that Bittman has show(s)... my local PBS doesn't carry them.
Let me go by chef first ....
Bobby Flay shows .... Any Bobby Flay show -- I mean really, even the Throwdowns show at least two and sometimes three recipes (when he has to do research) for a single dish. Boy Meets Grill is my fav.
Emeril's shows .... both Essence of Emeril and Emeril Live you can learn a lot on how to cook.
Wolfgang Puck shows .... There's the 2001-2003 Wolfgang Puck series now being re-shown on Fine Living. Excellent recipes, and there's the 2004-5 Cooking Class with Puck that is often rerun at 4am (TIVO or tape it) on Food Network.
Ming's shows .... the East Meets West reruns sometimes found on Fine Living and the Simply Ming shows on PBS.
After those, I'd say some of the two Michael Chiarello shows (Napa Style and Easy Entertaining). All of Tyler Florences (911, Boiling Water, The Ultimate) are good. Most of Giada's Everday Italian episodes and many of Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa eps are good.
I do like America's Test Kitchen (as much as I loathe their site and magazine shinagians) the show rocks. Well, one exception, I don't think finding a $200 pan instead of a $500 is a consumer breakthrough the way they think it is. But the recipes are outstanding.
Honor mentions: Rick Bayless (except I don't have and cannot find half of his ingredients which annoys the hell out of me) ... Ingrid Hoffman ... Todd English's show ... Martin Yan ....
Lidia oh Lidia (Bastianich that is!) any of her shows; also love Made In Spain because of the visits to Spanish restaurants and the host; the Mark Bittman show where he works with guest chefs; like the Test Kitchen because of the mix of elements including the taste and equipment tests, lots of good info there; DD&D--love the owners and the eaters--pure Americana; Bourdain on anything, anytime; Ina's recipes look really good and the ones I've tried are always delish and approachable;
Of course, lots of us have seen this show! I personally adore all three hosts, Tina Nordstrom is entertaining, and cute. She's not in the least bit annoying, as a few US female "TV personality cooks" can be at times.
The productions values are top-notch, and you get gorgeous views of the areas of Scandinavia each host has.
Andreas is a bit dorky, but in a very likable way. He's very talented in his approach to food. Claus Meyer is awesome. He's been part of Denmark's food education program, owns a few food-related businesses, and (to me, at least) comes across as very, VERY intelligent. (plus hey...I think he's very easy on the eyes! ^_-)
I love their website, as well. Very clean, and informative.
This is my favorite cooking show, followed by my wonderful memories of Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet. I loved his passion for food, shame about what happened to him.
My current favorite show is License to Grill on Discovery Channel, I cannnot get enough of using my smoker, and grill, and enjoy the host, and the spin he puts on different recipies.
I dislike the term "best", a very subjective, and debatable term, but this show is my current favorite
Great topic. Lots of different ways to go here.
Best In the kitchen/demo show: Simply Ming. Tons of useful info and tips. Goes beyond the usual "How to chop an onion" stuff. Rather than just say "simmer for 5 minutes until tender" he shows you what to look for so you know it is done, without guessing. The anti-Rachel Ray.
Best general culinary show: Both of Bittman's PBS shows. Never really followed his print column in the NY Times, but love his TV shows. He does a nice job balancing the focus between A-list chefs/restaurants and fantastic ingredients and where they come from.
Favorite host: Tony Bourdain. Always entertaining but lately has the habit of drifting off the foodie track and off into some literary/ spiritual tangent. Guess that's to be expected on the Travel channel where he can't be all food all the time. When he's on food, there is no one better.
Best Fun Show for Foodies: After Hours with Daniel on Mojo. Just an entertaining show to watch. Excess in all its' glory. World class chefs with top of the line food and wine in gorgeous settings and celebrities to boot. Season 1 in NYC was the best, but after less than exhilarating stops in LA and Miami, New Orleans looks like it has the show back on track.
I live in NJ, just outside Philly. Between Comcast and DirecTV, I get 4 local PBS stations, so my DVR's really get a work out. Not sure where you are located, but here are some links for the shows I mentioned.
Everything but After Hours with Daniel should be pretty easy to find. After Hours is on Mojo. Mojo is a High Definition channel that is offered on select cable systems throughout the country. It used to be called INHD. It is owned by a group of cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner, for exclusive broadcast on their systems. The first season of After Hours in NYC is available on DVD and I highly recommend it.
Thanks for the listings, DDR4040, and when I asked why I can't get those shows, my home electronics tech support (aka Hubby) said we-have-basic-cable-and-that's-all-we're-ever-gonna-get-and-you-shouldn't-watch-tv-anyway-and-you-already-have-food-network-and-400-cookbooks-and-blah-blah-blah-so-there. Good thing he's a good eater...