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Anne Burrell ~ Roast Chicken July 13/08

OK, I watched the show and I’m glad it was roast chicken Anne decided to make today since it is good to know how to roast a decent chicken......my nonprofessional chef...TV viewer observations:

•Anne does flail her arms a lot but not as bad as I thought from what some people have previously said. Somebody there should direct her body movements more. I think it is part of her persona but some of it seems forced for the drama and only comes across as awkward.

•Somebody needs to dress her better in more figure flattering clothes or wear a chef’s jacket but I guess they are trying to keep her out of restaurant clothing so it is less intimidating.

•If the show is about secrets she should explain how/why chefs used this particular secret. Like the right size chicken to roast and what to look for in that chicken.

•She made that herb “paste” yet she then added all this extra oil and still called it a paste even though it was more like a liquid at that point.

•Given “everyone’s” phobias about salt and given the average viewer, she should take a few minutes to explain why she is using so much. Most people would expect her food to taste very salty so she needs to explain how she knows how much to use. Even when she has used a lot of salt in prep she still seems to like to add more afterwards.

•Puhleeze....multi-tasking...she is roasting chicken and beets....not a big deal.

•After touching the raw chicken she makes a big show of washing her hands yet pumps the soap dispenser with her raw chicken hand and never cleans it so the next time she touches it there is raw chicken juice on her hand and potentially on the food again. She also checked the temperature of the chicken and then put the thermometer right back in its protective tube. Wouldn’t you wash the thermometer and then return it clean to the clean protective tube? I'm sure she is careful but it is the impression it gives the viewer.

•Anne tells people to put the mashed potatoes in a hot but not very hot oven. Well, again, for the average view she should explain what those temp ranges would be.

•When she moves the roasted chicken she lets the juices run all over the place...floor...counter. Just move the chicken in the pan to the prep area.

•They should have this show on in the evening around the time people are preparing meals at home! They should rotate various chefs shows through that time slot. Yes, they are trying to appeal to a wide audience but give these new shows a chance when more people may be home and for those who can’t Tivo.

My overall impression......given the skill levels used in the average FN show these days, I did enjoy watching Anne although if I were in charge, I’d tweak a few things to make it better.

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  1. You write "After touching the raw chicken she makes a big show of washing her hands yet pumps the soap dispenser with her raw chicken hand and never cleans it so the next time she touches it there is raw chicken juice on her hand and potentially on the food again."

    After she "touches" the top of the pump isn't she then washing her hands with soap and hot water? You only pump the soap before you wash your hands, don't you? How would that potentially contaminate the food?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Maybe I'm a little OCD but given she was pretty intimate with the chicken putting the paste all the way under the skin from front to back.....you could see the oil/herbs all over her hand and she did pump the soap dispenser with the side of her hand which, to me, looked like it was glistening in the herb mixture. Most of the time if you just touch the chicken just with your fingers it is fine to use the side of your hand but to me in this instance it looked like the side of her hand which pumped the soap was coated in the herb oil which at that point would have had raw chicken juices on her hand as well which were left behind on the pump. Then the next time she used the pump she would have touched the surface and there is the potential she could have touched another surface. My thought process is that she may go to wash her hands another time and touch the contaminated pump but think of something else she needs to do and takes that hand and touches food that will be eaten. I think about this when I'm handling raw chicken myself and I always make a note of how far up my hands are contaminated and if I have to I pump the soap dispenser with my forearm.

      1. re: Island Girl

        If someone is pumping soap on to one of their hands it seems highly unlikely that they are going to leave that job until it's complete. Pump soap on to one hand. Put both hands together and get them both soaped up. Get a nice lather using some hot water. Thoroughly clean both hands under running hot water. Go on to next cooking task. Maybe you would change your mind going towards the soap pump. But once you have touched the pump on your soap dispenser then you are going to wash your hands, at least in my experience. Did you see her touch the soap dispenser pump and then turn away to do something else while not washing her hands first?

        1. re: Servorg

          I totally agree with you that when she washed her hands after prepping the chicken her hands were spanking clean and germ free. My issue is with was was left on the top of soap dispenser and who knows maybe she did clean it off screen afterwards. Everyone does things differently in the kitchen. Humour me here.....let's just assume she hadn't wiped down the top of the soap dispenser. Anne moves on to work with the beets and as she goes to rinse her hands of beet bits she touches the dispenser but then notices she missed one beet and goes back to chop it up and now she has contaminated the beets. I'm just saying there is a risk that's all...............I don't consider myself germ phobic but I'm aware what I touch when my hands aren't clean.

          1. re: Island Girl

            Anything is possible. But is it likely? Or even remotely probable? Once the hand washing cycle starts who normally aborts that mid stream (as it were) and goes back to cooking before finishing the washing? Not something I would ever do. Just touching the handle of the pump, which routinely seems to get soap residue on it make me complete the whole running water and rubbing of hands deal, once I have touched it. So any possible contamination on the pump handle is a non issue since after touching it you then wash your hands.

            1. re: Servorg

              Well, I know I've done it in the past so that is why I noticed it on her show...yes, normally once I start to wash my hands I don't stop but I can't say that with 100% accuracy.......the timer goes off...the phone rings.....like I said originally these are just MY observations...

              1. re: Island Girl

                ah, but you don't have those little FN studio fairies that clean and fix things ;-)

                1. re: Island Girl

                  >>> ah, but you don't have those little FN studio fairies that clean and fix things ;-)

                  Plus there's that little thing known as "editing" ... you have know idea what she actually did or didn't do. She might have even cleaned it afterwards but you'd never see that.

                  Many shows don't even bother to show the cooks washing their hands even when they do do it. It's pretty much a given.

      2. I watched this morning as well, and while it was a good show, it didn't teach me anything I didn't already know (while I know to turn the chicken over to crisp the bottom skin, I usually forget to do it).

        I do think her potatoes were *too* creamy for my tastes - looked lot there was a LOT of heavy cream that went into those potatoes for the amount of the potatoes she cooked.

        What I did notice was that she took the covered potato pan out of the oven using a towel to protect her hand from the "hot" handle, but when she went to plate the potatoes, she removed the cover with her bare hand. Continuity editor didn't get that one right. :-)

        I do agree with you on the amount of salt she uses - she says "add another pinch" but hers definitely seems upwards of a teaspoon or more...definitely more than a "pinch" of salt!

        Re: her flailing arms - she's definitely dialed WAY down on the arm movements since the first show. Perhaps after filming that one, she (or the editors/producers) saw and she conciously held back on the flailing.

        Looking forward to next week's seared bass episode and the following week's grilled pork chops and their sides.

        2 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          This was the first show I managed to actually watch so if that was toned down flailing I can't imagine what the first show was like.

          I agree, I'm not a professional chef and I thought the same thing too that she didn't teach me anything I didn't already know. A couple of tricks here and there.

          Yes, the potatoes did seem really loose by the time she had finished. I wish she would have explained why we all go to the bother of roasting garlic when all you have to do is throw in some garlic to the water. In my mind it is two different preparations and roasting the garlic gives more flavour. If boiling does the exact same thing I wish she would have said why given one caramelises and the other doesn't.

          Good one....I missed her taking the lid off with her bare hands.

          Now I just need to remember to watch the show next week.

          1. re: Island Girl

            To me, roasting garlic makes the garlic more mellow and sweet - a good combination with the mashed potatoes. Throwing the smashed cloves in the cooking water would make it (to me) a bit harsher than I might want. I'm assuming when she drains the potatoes, and then uses the food mill/ricer, the garlic goes in with it. Boiling garlic and roasting garlic are two different flavors, IMO.

            And her first show (see previous posts on the first one) had her with a LOT more arm windmills and a bit more over the top-ness than she's been these last two shows. And with that show (bolognese sauce) I learned a lot more than this one (same with the roasted leg of lamb last weekend).

        2. I did like the show. I haven't seen the first couple. She does need to work on her performance. She seems nervous or something. I agree about the salt and the paste, but the chicken looked very good and I lked how she turned the chicken so that the entire bird was browned. She does need to explain more about why she does the things she does, but I am sure that will come in time.

          As far as her wardrobe, I don't like to comment, but I feel she does need to dress more professionally.

          The potatoes were very wet, in my opinion, but the presentation of the dish was very nice. I will watch again - glad I have a dvr for the early morning time as my family is usually getting ready for church.