HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


What Kind of Cooking Show Host Do You Prefer?

Ok. This is not to bash anyone who has a cooking show...but....as I happened to catch a few moments of Paula Deen last night, she was making something with butter. The butter was melted and in a bowl. She poured the butter into the bowl and then proceeded to put the bowl to her mouth as though she were drinking the butter. My reaction was total shock--a little chuckle, but it got me to thinking about what kind of host I want to see when watching a cooking show.

My ideal host would be a cross between the personalities of Tyler Florence and Ina Garten--a little bit of John Folse and Nathalie Dupree and a pinch of Mary(ellen or ann) Esposito.

So I would guess I don't like a lot of flash--I would say I like my hosts more subdued.

What about you?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I also prefer my hosts a bit subdued. I think Ming Tsai is my perfect idea of a cooking host. He's knowledgeable, humorous, easy to understand, has personality and is cute (though I don't know what he's thinking of with his hair-do in recent times). But I also like more bubbly hosts like Andrew Zimmern (I know he doesn't have a cooking show now).

    Paula Deen is not too bad on her own. But if you mix her with a live audience, it's unbearable. But it seems that people eat it up. And considering how popular Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri is, I think most of America prefers the "flashier" hosts.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      Paula Deen "not too bad on her own"???? She is an absolute train wreck.

      A guy like Ming Tsai - well, you said it all: knowledgeable, likeable personality, engaging delivery, and highly skilled in the kitchen.

      Paula lacks knowledge, is a rather unpleasant person when you strip away the bubbly veneer (listen carefully and you'll see that she can actually be quite nasty), and she has NO skills beyond a typical 12 year old child.

      1. re: szmeterling

        Really, that's not true about Paula Deen. Paula's Party is terrible, I agree, and her show has become more grating as she has gained fame, but if you watch early episodes of Paula's Home Cooking she is neither unpleasant nor nasty, and displays very good home cooking skills.

      2. re: Miss Needle


        Is Guy Fieri the "spikey-haired" dude? That name rings a bell. I *think* that I saw one of his commercials, maybe after "Top Chef," or "Kitchen Nightmares."

        He might be good on his show, if he has one, but his commercial made me scratch my head. However, I may be thinking of someone else entirely. Like I said elsewhere, I do not know my "personalities" all that well. Real chefs, are something else, but one hardly ever sees them, at least not during my viewing hours.

        Thanks for educating me,


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Yes.. spikey haired dude. Love him on Diners, Drive ins and Dives. He's no Julia or Jacques, but has a personality all his own.

          ... just now picturing all 3 of them in a room with glasses of wine...

          1. re: iluvcookies

            Your imagination is far better than is mine.

            As with most of the "personalities," I find him over the top, but then I appreciate a more laid-back host/hostess. Just goes to show how old I am.


          2. re: Bill Hunt

            I am absolutely, 100%, over the top positive that you would not like this dude, Hunt. In fact, I think that watching his show would cause you actual physical pain. It's bad.

            1. re: pikawicca

              If he is, who I think, I do agree.

              I like subtle, knowledgeable and personable hosts. I hate "in-your-face," but I seem to be in the vast minority on this, considering what sells, and what they seem to be looking for with "The Next Food Network Superstar."

              Just an old guy, who loves food and wine...


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I'm with you, Hunt. I watched about 20 minutes of the very first Survivor episode, not knowing what it was. First and last "reality" (HAHA) show I have watched. "Knowledgable" and the ability to teach. That's what works for me.

        2. I got flayed once for posting an anti Rachel Ray comment so I definitely won't go there.

          I prefer the subdued. Love Ina. No nonsense. I cannot bear the overly peppy (on TV or real life) I do not prefer the hoakie/ over the top folksy... and here I will let you decide who among the food show queens fits into that category. SIGH!

          I also like Alton Brown. Sometimes I catch my husband watching him. Once Alton was making crepes. My husband was watching him in the office and several days later he casually sez "how about some crepes for dinner". If you knew him, you would at once eyeroll and chuckle. I think his show is an actual educational show. I adore it.

          I also love Mario Batali. I don't know why. I hardly ever cook his stuff. I love watching his foodporn show.

          12 Replies
          1. re: Sal Vanilla

            But did you get Bobby "Flayed" ? Not a huge RR fan either, but I like her cookbooks. Adam

            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              I liked the way Mario used to kick the oven door shut with his heel after taking something out. That was on his old show, Molto Mario.

              I haven't watched any food TV in a while. I prefer a host who is a good technical cook or a real expert on a particular type of food -- someone who can teach me something.

              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                "I got flayed once for posting an anti Rachel Ray comment so I definitely won't go there"

                I thought that was a pre-requisite for getting your Chowhounder decoder ring!

                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                  it's all about learning technique and tricks for me, and *not* just watching someone eat on tv. And low key, not hammy - so Batali but not Brown.
                  With Batali, I watch him and then I do what he did and it turns out great...
                  although I had to replay artichoke cutting a couple of times to get that artichoke lamb stew right. So goood.

                  1. re: pitu

                    I know that the CH Team wants more pithy comments, and less host-bashing, so I will second your opening statement. It should be about the food, the prep, the techniques and the little tricks. Educate me. If I want entertainment, I'll rent a DVD, or watch sports on TV. I still have episodes of "Fawlty Towers," that are now on DVD, and I have not seen in decades. Rather than some of the TV cooks, I'll go watch those.


                  2. re: Sal Vanilla

                    In recent years, I think Alton can be over the top too.

                    1. re: melly

                      Is he the person, who does "play-by-play" on the "Top Chef American?" Even when we know the chef involved, it is difficult to watch that show. Maybe if they cut out the beginning, and the end, plus the comments from the sideline, it would be watchable.

                      If so, he may have "had it" once, but now, I find watching him more like watching TV Wrestling, just with broccoli involved.


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Oh my,Bill, you have just unwittingly dismissed the darling of most chowhounds to irrelvance. I love it. Try and watch the "Fawlty Towers" episode, I believe the "Hotel Inspectors," where Mr. Fawlty declares that the guest in his hotel restaurant does not know the diffference between a Bordeaux and a claret. One of my favorites.

                        1. re: James Cristinian


                          Did not mean to poke the stick into the eye of a fav. I was just tellin' it I see it.


                    2. re: Sal Vanilla

                      I know exactly why you like those 3....they are knowledgeable and engaging, except for Alton. He's lucky that his shows are so packed with useful info because otherwise I would just want to throttle the annoying little dweeb.

                      1. re: szmeterling

                        I look at Alton a little like Martha Stewart. You always learn something but that doesn't mean you're going to blow out eggs and make ornaments. Or build a smoker out of a cardboard box, in the case of Alton Brown. :o)

                      2. re: Sal Vanilla

                        Well, I caught RR's show this afternoon, and she did a nice, simple but elegant salmon preparation. Fresh ingredients, prepared in a straight-forward manner. Can't complain about that.

                      3. I like Jacques Pepin very much and Sara Moulton, too. I guess you could say they're on the subdued side, but they both can sure cook up a storm. They seem approachable too. Just nice people.

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: Pat Hammond

                          I'm a Sara Moulton fan too. Subdued is more my style. Some of those over the top personalities send me running for cover. I never cared for Mario (I know...GASP!!!) he always seemed so condescending that it was off putting to me.

                          1. re: Candy

                            I caught Mario twice. Never again. Sorry to let you all see a minority vote here, but someone needs to say it. I *thought* that he was attempting to be too "cutsey." He probably had good info, but was not delivering it in a way that I was open to.

                            I was about to make reservations at B&B in Las Vegas, and my wife told me who was behind it. I decided to hold off, and maybe catch it another day.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              I'm glad the world is full of people with different preferences. We've been enjoying the old Molto Mario's over and over again. And love his delivery. He's one of the recent chefs and cookbook writers that I really go to. About a year and a half ago, we had dinner at Babbo when we were visiting NYC over my husband's birthday. Our expectations were high and they were exceeded. But, Bill, I'd dine ANYWHERE with you or NOT dine anywhere with you. You're a definite keeper --- but then I love Southern gentlemen.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Now, Mario, old or new, has not been on my schedule. We ended up passing on one of his places in Las Vegas. It was not due to the personality, but more on schedules. The menu looked good, but plans and guests' schedules got in the way.

                                I was a fan of Emeril Lagasse's show, prior to BAM and the live audience. Probably my favorites were the chefs on the old PBS, "Great Chefs of the World."

                                Though I am a product of the Deep South, and have spent a great deal of time in the areas around New Orleans, I never could get into Justin Wilson. I always felt that his delivery was over the top. Same for Paula Dean now, and remember, I am a product of the Deep South.

                                For me, it's more the cooking, than the "personality," but I feel that I am in the minority. Just look at the various chef's/cook's/host's popularity. Glad that the Food Network does not poll me - they'd be out of business by now...

                                We need to gather, maybe in NOLA, and have a Chow-down.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Paula Deen's voice to me is like fingernails on a blackboard. I'm from Atlanta though I live in NoCal now. My SIL's family is from Savannah and nobody that we know talks like that. Yuck. Maybe we should gather in SF --- we're at Lake Tahoe. Alan Barnes would show up, I'm sure.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    I agree with you. I can muster it up, if I have not had too much wine, and I need to make a point. Still, I was "born and bred" in the Deep South and traveled through much of it. I spoke with many, and have never encountered such.

                                    Still, I feel that many in other areas of the US expect this sort of dialect. Unfortunately for them, they are wrong and will be horribly disappointed, should they actually travel to the Deep South.

                                    I felt the same about the late Justin Wilson. It is but an affectation, but it does play well to some audiences.

                                    Now, please do not get me started on Hollywood's depictation of the New Olreans accents and idioms!!! Once, I could listen to a young lady, and hit her address within about 4 blocks in any direction. I know my NOLA dialects, but the hearing is fading now... [Grin - or Cry].


                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      "Once, I could listen to a young lady, and hit her address within about 4 blocks in any direction."

                                      I love that. My husband told my SIL's mother from Savannah, while sitting at her feet, "Anne, I could listen to you talk all day." It shoudl never be faked. BTW, for me, the more wine, the more Southern I speak. Especially if I 'm talking with a Southern friend.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        One's dialect and inflections should reflect their birth area, or the area of greatest influence. There is no need to fudge it, and too many do.

                                        OK, if one has been cast in a feature film to play a character from a certain locale, that is something different.

                                        I hate the "over the top" Southern accent. I hate it from Hollywood, and hate it from TV. Maybe I have worked for decades to affect a more universal delivery, and a less regional delivery, but still the listener's ears must be spared.

                                        I can read Eudora Welty, and follow along. Still, I do not wish to hear that speech pattern, or the dialect, especially when forced.

                                        Just my take,


                                    2. re: c oliver

                                      as i replied below, paula deen is from albany, georgia -- near the florida-alabama border. while i've never been to albany, i can certainly hear s. georgia-s. alabama-panhandle florida in deen's accent.

                                      i'm sure the savannahans have had a very hard time letting such a "hick" from the country become a self-made success there.

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        I feel that if she relaxed, and did not listen to her agent, or the director, she'd be a lot more easily listened to - at least by my ears. I find her delivery to be far too forced. Maybe I am missing something, and do admit that I probably have relatives, who might sound the same, but I'd rather like to hear her in general conversation. Just because a chef, or TV personality is from the Deep South, does not mean that they should force that on the audience.

                                        Again, just my take, and I AM from the Deep South.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          if you ever saw her shows at the beginning -- when i think the name of the show was "paula's home cooking," she had her ***much more natural*** accent -- unforced and not loud or "in your face."
                                          "her" kitchen was that of her producer, gordon elliott, by the way.

                                          paula has always tried to please, according to her memoir, but she needs to "displease" her handlers on this topic of "trumping up" her accent.

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            I missed those. It was not until her recent program, that I ever saw her.

                                            I felt the same about Emeril Lagasse. His old show was better, and then there was "Emeril Live," and everything was over-the-top.

                                            My feeling is that the producers at the Food Network push these people to be 100% in-your-face, but there must be people, who love that sort of delivery. I feel that way about most of the "personalities." Be pleasant, articulate your recipe, explain where necessary, and do not get into my face." That would be my instructions. One of the best cooking series, that I can recall, was the "Great Chef" series on PBS. These were about cooking, and little else.


                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              i loved the great chefs series, and have a couple of the series' cookbooks.

                                              and, as you say, essence of emeril is excellent. you could see he really knew how to cook, and had an appreciation for quality ingredients. he was also very gracious when he had a guest, or his restaurant-sous chef (from commander's palace) on the show with him. compare that show with the emeril live persona, and it is clear how the fn executives push their talent.

                                              i think i heard that food network is starting a companion cooking "educational/instructional" format sister network.

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                An actual cooking show would be a great change of pace, for us. I'm more interested in why a certain knife might have been chosen for a particular task, or why a spice was included, that did not seem to go with the theme. Instead, we get to meet family members. They may be great people, but maybe save that for the Biography Channel?

                                                First, we met the "Great Chefs of Hawai`i" on that series. Then, over the years, we met them in person in their restaurants. What a wonderful group of folk. We still get to drop in on them, and it's been decades!


                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                  >>>First, we met the "Great Chefs of Hawai`i" on that series. Then, over the years, we met them in person in their restaurants. What a wonderful group of folk. We still get to drop in on them, and it's been decades!<<<

                                                  oh, that is wonderful! when is your "the hunt for food & wine" book coming out? dibs on the title. ;-)).

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    If it goes to print, you will get both attribution and royalties!

                                                    On a side note, I have to say that that group of guys-n-gals are as nice a group of chefs, as we have ever met. They know what they're doing, are proud of the impact that they have had on Island cuisine, and are open and very approachable. Just great folk!

                                                    Most recent chef meeting was on of the "finalists" on Top Chef. From the attitude, I thought that I was in the presence of Jacques Pepin and not someone, who had lost. Oh well, gives one a frame of reference.


                              2. re: Candy

                                I, too, like Sara Moulton. She seems like someone you'd actually want to cook with. Oh, and remember Cooking Live with Sara Moulton? Way, way back when Food Network had real cooking shows? You actually *could* cook with her.

                              3. re: Pat Hammond

                                My wife has mentioned Pepin in a very flattering way. Apparently, she feels as you do. I have not seen that show, but with both of you (my wife included), it sounds like someone I should watch.


                              4. I like Lidia and find her to be informative, flexible, and charming at the same time. Ditto for Ming except for his use of the term "guys", as in "this is a one dish meal, guys". I miss Julia, she was the ultimate Host. (snif...) Adam

                                1. Well, not sure why I like Paula, she's way too much sometimes, but I like her humor- it's like she knows she's too much and parodies herself. And meanwhile, her cooking skills, if you notice, are excellent- easier to see on the older shows, but the gal knows what she's doing in a kitchen.

                                  Love Alton Brown. Love Jamie Oliver's new show. Ming Tsai is fabulous all the way around, plus I think his mom is a kick in the pants. Batali is on a pedestal all by himself, up on top. Always liked Sara Moulton very much. Guy Fieri is a guilty pleasure- I'd love it if he lived next door ( I think)- he's very entertaning. For the record, I don'tlike the "live" shows- not anybody's.

                                  I had to LOL over "My sister thinks Giada DiLaurentis' music on her show sounds like cheap porn music."- I couldn't agree more! I've always thought the same thing. I like her, like what she makes, the vampire smile is a bit much and I don't care to see her "lifestyle" show that's coming up. But I like her show.

                                  Ina makes some fabulous stuff, can't watch a whole show, though, usually.

                                  Rick Bayless shows someof the best food in the world, as far as I'm concerned, and I love the education I get by watching his shows, but there's something just a little creepy about him or his delivery, and his daughter I could do without. Sorry, hon.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                    I agree totally on Rick Bayless. It seems to me that the manner is completely forced and foreign to his own first impulses - we met him once and he struck me as a very quiet person. It would seem that what I take to be his real personality was not thought to show to advantage on a TV show and that he was coached into the annoying/creepy TV persona. I stopped watching the shows because of this (although love and use the cookbooks). Rather a shame.

                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                      I've been DVRing a lot of shows I was missing and tried to watch Mexico One Plate at at Time last night. Sorry Mr Bayless, I would crawl over broken glass to eat at Topo, but you were not cut out for TV hosting. I couldn't watch the show. The daughter doesn't add anything to it and their interaction seems forced. Give me Julia alone or with jacques, Jacques even with Claudine, even Chris Kimball who is nerdy but not as sanctimonious in performance as he is in his homilies in CI mag. (There are many more I've loved and lost, Joyce Chen, Fu Pei Mei, Theonie Marks, Graham Kerr as was, Madeleine Kamman - learned more from her show than from any other.)

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        rick bayless has a little creepy edge, to me. his low delivery style also seems weird; and how he gets up next to the camera is strange, too -- it's almost a little leering. (it always seems like he might have a little buzz on...). just sayin'!

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Yeah, the whole thing really turned me off. He didn't seem AT ALL like that in person when I met him (once, very very briefly) at Topo. I think he must have fallen afoul of TV groomers.

                                    2. Cheerful, self-deprecating and to the point. Like Julia, which leads me to my essential thesis that Mrs. Child was absolutely, utterly and forever the perfect TV cooking show host. No big ego anywhere, no silly schtick, no buzzwords, just a no-nonsense but amusing run through the recipe and the methods and we're done. Were the hell did that disappear to?

                                      Rachael Ray is a good deal smarter than she pretends to be, but her recipes and attitude skew towards the cheap and easy. And as a proponent of Southern cooking, I must say that I find Paula Deen and all her works to be well past appalling.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        Yes, Julia was. Perfect.

                                        Paula has slathered on the accent with a trowel and her new shows are disgusting. Before she got gussied up, she wasn't half bad.

                                        Sara Moulton is my ideal host. I also like Alton Brown, and liked Justin Wilson. Some camp is okay, but Paula and Rachel's schtick grates on the last nerve. Schtick is not new. The Galloping Gourmet was icky.

                                        No comment on Giada or Bobby.

                                        Florence, Esposito, Tsai and Pepin sans daughter -- also good. Ditto to the cooks on the late lamented FN -- I can't remember the name of the very enjoyable black chef and even, amazingly, Emeril was watchable in the beginning.

                                        1. re: dolores

                                          Are you thinking of Curtis Aikens, with the vegetarian show? He was great!

                                          1. re: dolores


                                            I agree with you on Emeril - in the beginning. We caught his act many times at Commander's Palace, and he was charming and knowlegable. Then, he opened his eponymous restaurant, as was the same, almost shy, but knew what he was doing. Then, the floodgates opened, and I will not watch. Luckily, we have many TV's in the house, because my wife still does, with her notepad.

                                            Barely know the rest, but Ms. Dean grates on me, and I am from the Deep South.

                                            We disagree about Justin Wilson, but that is just personal tastes. I mentioned him in another reply, and was not a fan. I could not get past the "schtick," as you so aptly put it, though the recipes were proably good. I just missed them, because I was gritting my teeth too much.


                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              Oh, I SO agree with you about Paula Dean. I'm from Atlanta and my sister-in-law's family is old Savannah. I have NO idea where that accent comes from but it's like fingernails on a blackboard. I can't hear WHAT she's saying because of HOW she's saying it.

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                she's from albany, ga. -- near the alabama-florida border.

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  Thank you for that. I'm just not a fan of the delivery, though I grew up with much of the food. I try, but can only take so much. I wish that she'd spend more time cooking and less time trying to "charm" the audience, but that is just me.


                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                    bill, if you read her memoir, "it ain't all about the cookin'' http://www.amazon.com/Paula-Deen-Aint... then you'd understand her personality a lot more. sometimes it *is* over the top, but i think her enthusiasm and flirtatiousness come naturally. of course, the tv producers always want to "punch up" sensational aspects for ratings. i'd guess that their strategy has worked successfully, despite the negative chowhound audience (for the most part).

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      Thank you. I had not read that piece. I freely admit that I am very likely to be in the minority on this one. Still, I find that too much in our society today is "over the top." I miss subtlety so very much - maybe too much.

                                                      I love the Deep South. Heck, I am from there. I studied Eudora Welty and Hodding Carter (Sr. Jr and III). I was a neighbor of several noted authors, but there is a limit, at least for me.

                                                      Still, I am in the minority, and care more about the food, and the techniques, than the personalities.



                                                      PS- maybe that is why I do not like the "spikey-haired dude." It should be about the food and not the personality. "Old dogs - new tricks" and the like.

                                          2. I want a host who highlights the food -- and the cooking techniques -- and avoids shining the spotlight on themselves.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              So I think we finally agree on something, ipse.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                Yup. I want a host to explain the food they're handling, the reasons why they're doing something a certain way, the spices, etc.

                                                All the mugging for the cameras and the dancing around... ick. I've also noticed on a few shows, on the decorating-type shows as well as the cooking ones, they seem to think there isn't enough action going on. Like maybe the producer is bored. They'll do "krazy kamera tricks" and play ditsy music. Why? I'm with other posters: just show me the food prep.

                                                Oh, and ditch the "my orgasmatron just hit 100" reaction when tasting something you just cooked. Tell me what it tastes like and ditch the eye-rolling swoon.

                                                Sorry to sound like a curmudgeon, but this stuff bugs me.

                                                1. re: juliasqueezer

                                                  Especially when the host is swooning and eye-rolling over a teensy-weensy morsel that is less than a crumb! (Giada and Sandra Lee do this all the time!)

                                              2. I love Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, on their own and together! I LOVE when JP wears a toga when they are making caesar salad- so silly. Currently, I do like lidia's show. She clearly knows what she is talking about and there is minimal weird stuff. In general I like the PBS shows. I used to like the foodnetwork when it first started, I liked the david rosengarten and molto mario. I also like a show with two women who cooked with kinda a southwest flair, but I cant remember the name.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: cassoulady

                                                  Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger in Two Hot Tamales?

                                                  I guess what most of us are saying is that we want teachers not entertainers. Food is secondary on a lot of the shows.

                                                  1. re: BostonZest

                                                    yes! i loved them! it was a lot of things I was not familiar with at the time, so I really enjoyed itl

                                                    1. re: BostonZest

                                                      I was going to add them, and then I saw your post. You saved me having to look up the right spelling of "Miliken". They had a couple different series, each with an accompanying cookbook. The skirt steak marinade with lots of lime, toasted cumin, garlic, and a couple BUNCHES of CILANTRO! The moussaka (best recipe ever) and the scandinavian pickled beets salad. They are my go-to and standby recipes.

                                                      I also liked David Rosengarten, but he's moved on past TV and does only print work.

                                                  2. I love Jacques Pepin but hate Sara Moulton (in one episode she said samwich and sammich--I don't know if the word "sandwich" ever came out of her mouth). He knows how to cook, how to teach, and how to write in a warm, friendly, and genuine manner. Unlike Rick Bayless, who is condescending and even competitive with his 7 year old daughter. We had to Tivo one of Pepin's episodes and watch it in slow motion to learn precisely how to cut up a chicken (he does it in 60 seconds), but now I can do effortlessly.

                                                    José Andrés, from Made in Spain, is my newest favourite. He might be over-the-top in enjoying food, but if you've had great food in Spain, you simply feel nostalgic. I also learn a lot from his show, even though the preparations appear deceptively simple.

                                                    America's Test Kitchen was fine for awhile, until they had some gaffes--calling Chicago pizza focaccia bread with a thin topping (it's a pie, and while not my favourite, is not made with a 1" crust). The other episode that turned me off was on tortilla chips--the winner being a Tostito only available in Connecticut or Vermont.

                                                    Alton Brown is good because it's The Science Guy show for cooking; gimmicky at times, but in the thread of Julia Child and her blowtorch. His travel shows, as with Anthony Bourdain's, are also great because they're humourous.

                                                    The original Iron Chef series because it was so over the top and the dubbing was hilarious.

                                                    Mario Batali and Lydia (?) too. Giada de Laurentis because she can cook, although I agree that the music sounds tawdry.

                                                    The flashier ones turn me off, although having a drinking game to Sandra Lee's show is fun, as is the unintentionally hilarious shock value (canned frosting made to look like a baked potato????). Paula Deen is adorable, but I'd never cook anything she made.

                                                    Basically, a show with someone who knows how to cook who can either teach me something or remind me of a place I've eaten, and who can do it in a manner that doesn't annoy me while speaking in a genuine manner. No signature words or phrases which cause me to grimace (EVOO, Bam, money, GOOD vanilla [as opposed to the cheap stuff which has never graced her presence]...), or other cutesy drivel.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                      I like your bit about ATK. I watch that show and often find useful tips, but I so often find that whatever it is that they're making ends up looking gross or just not how I want item XYZ to look (example: I was watching their country spinoff, whatever it is called the other day, and their "omeletes" were like giant cakes of egg puff - not what I like in an omelete).

                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                        ATK is best for their gadget & cookware review, or for items I'm wholly unfamiliar with. Brine, extra butter and cream, undercook the pasta slightly before putting it into the casserole for baking, cold dough, room temperature meat, no prepared items in the mix...

                                                    2. Julia, Jacques, Rick (Stern / Stein?), Fat Ladies, Jamie, Curtis (the Oz), Kerr, Sarah, Gordon, Ming, Bobby, ...

                                                      Here in Latin America we have whole bunch of others, quite a few that I really enjoy and others that Rachel Ray me.

                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                        Oh gosh, Canal Gourmet, they *do* have some really great on air talent. I try CG when I travel in Mexico.

                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          Tell me more, por favor. Any of these online? Who's good?
                                                          Is Canal Gourmet is the Latin American FC but good?

                                                          I saw an Italian woman (speaking Italian) on an obscure cable channel in NYC and it was awesome...never to be found again...

                                                          1. re: pitu

                                                            The channel is "el gourmet". The site is "elgourmet.com". Some of the good ones are Sumito Estevez from Venezuela, Osvaldo Gross, Paulino Cruz, and Jorge Rausch, and various others. The fat Japanese Argentinian, Iwao Koiyama, used to drive me crazy because he always trimmed and threw away enough expensive ingredients to feed the homeless. The cooking show from one of the Argentinian culinary schools was technically great, but they used so much salt I couldn't watch the program. There are a lot of good chefs; but some shows come and go without explanation.

                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                              gracias sam!
                                                              elgourmet.com is my new favorite way to practicar my espanol.

                                                              1. re: pitu

                                                                pitu, just caught Sergio Remolina doing salmon with a pipian sauce served with rice with toasted pumpkin seeds and new green beans with epazote. It was as he says, taking ordinary ingredients and making extra-ordinary meals. Really clear and grammatically correct Spanish. And there is no ego and showmanship from the Mexican balding, slightly chubby, slightly out of breath awesomely competent chef! He and Paulino Cruz are the best!

                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                  sam, maybe this is a topic for a new thread on international cooking shows/websites. Has this topic been done before?

                                                                  elgourmet sounds interestante.

                                                                  1. re: toodie jane

                                                                    You're right. I don't think it has been dome. I for one would be interested in food and cooking shows from places I don't know.

                                                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                I really like Sumito Estevez. He kind of reminded me a bit of Mexican chef Robert Santibanez. I also like Paulino and kind of liked the father/son team from (I think) Peru. This past Spring I couldn't really get with the dude in Uruguay doing all the back to nature cooking. Nice camera work, but not food I'd ever really be making.

                                                                There is (or was) also a (female) Mexican pastry chef that, while a little dry in her delivery, really had some cool desserts. I picked up a really cool pear tart recipe from her that I've adapted and modified for my use.

                                                                Most of the shows I've seen seem to be a nice blend of the best of PBS and the best of the early Food TV cooking shows.

                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                  Sumito seems like a really nice guy. The cooking in the snow guy is unwatchable. Paulino is incredibly talented, both as chef and in the way he speaks and presents. The father of the father and son team used to be paired with another old geezer, made for some fun and funny TV. The Mexican chefs are almost always good. There were two Japanese Argentinian chefs on after Iwao, but they’re now gone as well. Don’t know why. There were a couple of shows with a chef cooking seafood on the beach The Latin version of Top Chef is about shopping for ingredients and cooking only: no character or ego development, no cuts to the contestants talking. A restaurant makeover show in Buenos Aires features a gay designer paired with one of the elgourmet chefs. Not bad. Most shows have good technical content, good dishes worth trying, and almost no ego mixed in.

                                                            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                              Oh, the Two Fat Ladies! I just loved that show. The best combo of weird and informative.

                                                              My favorite of all time is Madhur Jaffrey's many series. She had one on Asian spices and cooking where she traveled into people's homes/huts and cooked along with them. She ate at Ho Chi Minh City snack bars and on boats. She's the queen of them all. I also like Nigella because she's a lot smarter and more interesting than she looks.

                                                              I don't watch the Food Network at all. I don't have anything against it because I don't know the chefs/cooks. Well, that's a lie because I used to watch Jamie Oliver and loved his shows despite the hambo act he puts on.

                                                              Mostly I watch PBS shows. I like Lidia and Jacques, and Daisy but have found that in the past couple of years the PBS shows have really worsened. Perhaps it's because I really hate America's Test Kitchen and the other show that's exactly like it but called something else. I don't like Gourmet's show either or the other show that was born out of a mag, with several different chefs.

                                                              Rick Bayless is verry irritating, but he's informative and I love the trips through Mexico. I also used to like the Rick Stein (?) show about seafood. He was the guy with a seaside restaurant in Padstow in GB.

                                                            3. I want someone entertaining and informative at the same time so naturally, Alton Brown.

                                                              Although I do like Tyler Florence, I learn a little from him and he's really friendly, approachable but he looks and sounds like he knows what he's doing. His recipes looks good too!

                                                              But still don't hold a candle to Alton =P.

                                                              1. Just based on personality on style, Ina Garten. She's simultaneously low key and enthusiastic which is a hard mix to do.

                                                                The list of TV cooking hosts who make me cringe and turn the channel is too long to list.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: taos

                                                                  I like Ina too..until the end of the show when she starts laughing over nothing.

                                                                  1. re: melly

                                                                    I never knew food was so funny. My wife and I laugh at the fact that she is laughing when she serves her hilarious food.

                                                                2. I would have to say that my preference from all of the chefs available on any TV channel today, Jacques Pepin is the best. But he's not on often enough.

                                                                  Batalli is good, IF you're in to Italian, but I have to admit that Italian is not one of my favorite cuisines. Cheese (of any kind) is not one of the first ingredients that pops to mind for me when I think "really good food," and in today's "contemporary" Italian cooking, there is just too damned much basil. But Batalli is one of the best "cooking instructors" on television today, bar none. Well, if you don't count that stupid PBS road show he's on... <sigh>

                                                                  I think Emeril Lagasse is an incredibly talented chef, but I've seen him do a few too many really dumb dumb dumb things when cooking in front of a live audience. Don't need all the "Yeah, babe" and "Bam" crap He may be truly coming into his own with the Emeril Green show, not that he isn't a major TV star already. But in my list of good stuff, the Emeril Green is a good show. And I find his charitable works amazing. A truly big hearted, generous, and loving man.

                                                                  Sarah Moulton is pretty good as a chef/instructor, but she's in a very inconvenient time slot in my area.

                                                                  I find a lot of today's dishes prepared on TV during cooking shows (as opposed to "food entertainment shows such as Iron and Top Chefs) less than striving to be top notch. Some of the things the current crop of chefs do leave me scratching my head. An example that pops to mind is a show with Tyler Florin I watched in the last couple of days. He was doing what was touted as a fantastic holiday meal with prime ribs. I think his total main course menu was prime rib, sauce for it, a sort of "Pommes Anna" made with smashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and creamed spinach. The beef, the sauce, the potatoes and the spinach ALL had a huge glob of fresh horseradish as a prime ingredient, and the sauce, potatoes and spinach all included a generous portion of cream. Only the carrots did not include horseradish and cream, but they were heavily spiced with cumin and other spices along with brown sugar. I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around that "Johnny One Note" meal! I have seen him prepare things that looked great, but he fell a few notches with this show.

                                                                  Now, please remember I am talking about MY preferences. Top of my "don't like' list is rather crowded. Don't much care for Ina Garten or whatever her last name is. She's a good cook but not great or inspiring, in my book. And for crying out loud, she uses preground store bought coffee! <sheesh!> Paula Deen is fingernails on a blackboard! I once saw Giada DeLaurentis make a major gaff that took her from sort-of-okay to idiot! class in my cooking book. She was making what she promised would be crispy delicious tarts that could be made ahead. She baked UNBUTTERED phyllo in muffin cups, immediately filled them with a custardy filling, ate one and raved about it. I know with certainty that five minutes later it would be getting soggy. Butter is the moisture barrier that keeps phyllo and puff pastry from turning to soggy oatmeal. You don't make mistakes like that on a cooking show. You reshoot the segment! If you know what you're doing.

                                                                  For Asian cooking, I love Martin Yan, though I do like his early shows best. Ming Tsai is also excellent. And I can't think of her name at the moment, but the Chinese cooking show from Australia with the woman who owns a restaurant. Whatever her name is, she's great! I really wish someone would give Morimoto a cooking show in which he shows how to make things from start to finish and without subtitles! I love his sense of humor!

                                                                  Other shows I would like to see? A really good German and/or Austrian cooking show. Can't think of any now or in the past, but I could be blocking. I think there was a show on TV briefly many years ago that featured a woman who did Viennese pastry, but I can't recall with any certainty whether that was on American TV. And I'd love to see a really good show about Middle Eastern and North African cooking with a chef/instructor who does really good step by step work without worrying about how he or she is coming across as a "TV star." Maybe someday? Meanwhile I'd better hurry up and get a new tagine!

                                                                  I do miss Julia. With the exception of Msr Pepin, few have come close to even standing in her shadow. Ah well, I do have a nice collection of cook books if I ever run out of ideas of my own... '-)

                                                                  EDIT: If you got the first version of this half complete and laden with typos, I apologize. Hit a wrong key! Clumsy fingers.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                    "And I can't think of her name at the moment, but the Chinese cooking show from Australia with the woman who owns a restaurant."

                                                                    Kylie Kwong

                                                                      1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                        I miss Kylie's show on the now defunct discovery home (well now green) channel-I think she is still making shows-i wish FN or PBS or Fineliving(now that is a good fit for KK plus it is in my satellite package haha) would pick up her show.

                                                                        i have her first cookbook and it is really something

                                                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                                                        Caroline1--I'll tell you, yesterday as I was taking a break from baking, I was channel surfing. I came across a cooking show on FIT TV--"A Lyon in the Kitchen". It was one of the guys who lost on the Food Network Star show. He was ever-so slightly condensending. Not like Flay, but like the viewer was not a cook. However, his show was intriguing because he explained EVERYTHING he did to a "T". This guy was decent--and it is Food Network's loss.

                                                                        I also forgot how much I like Jaime Oliver and for eye-candy Ming--but his new hairdo is a don't:)

                                                                        1. re: jarona

                                                                          I learn a lot from Jaime Oliver and love his recipes and unfussy style, but he looks like he's about to drool onto the food, which really puts me off.

                                                                          1. re: jarona

                                                                            i have seen the lyon in the kitchen show too and thought it was food network's loss as well. he's really quite good. but i think he was guy fieri's year and i don't think they'd take that one back!

                                                                        2. I like a host that knows more about the subject than I do. I want to feel like I'm getting a value for the time I spend watching them.
                                                                          I don't want loud, flashy, screaming at me.
                                                                          That said, I enjoy the post-prison Martha Stewart when she has guest chefs on her talk show.
                                                                          I like Ming. I like America's Test Kitchen.
                                                                          I hate Rachael Ray and anyone else who yells at me or calls me Kids or uses silly made up words.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                                            I wish she had to eat raw liver every time she says, "Yumm-Oh!" But if I channel surf warily, I usually manage to miss that.

                                                                              1. re: Caralien

                                                                                That'll work. All three would be better.

                                                                          2. Ming, Lidia, and America's Test Kitchen are my favorites. All are laid back and make things that run from beginner to expert. I like a show that varies the difficulty level of the recipes (I'm in the beginner/intermediate range). For entertainment value, I like Todd English. He has an easygoing flair - not over-the-top.

                                                                            1. Here's Jfood's list:

                                                                              Since Graham Kerr turned Jfood onto cooking while he recovered from surgery in the 1970’s he will always have a place on Jfood's A-List. Although it is hard to watch his new return engagement.

                                                                              Others that Jfood likes to watch include:


                                                                              Child (Perfection)
                                                                              Pepin (Close to perfection)
                                                                              Child/Pepin (A tear in Jfood's eye every time)
                                                                              Lidia (Another special place in Jfood's heart since he ate in Felidias weekly in the early 80’s)
                                                                              Flay (As long as he keep his wife off the show and does not do that corny living room with friends shtick)
                                                                              Garten (Jfood has made more of her recipes than any other)
                                                                              Batali (Resolution to try some of his recipes in ’09)
                                                                              Moulton (Zero personality but really liked watching)
                                                                              The guy from Sonoma
                                                                              Great Chefs of … (Loved that show especially when the chef’s spoke in non-English)


                                                                              Giada (Jfood knows, but he thinks she is good)
                                                                              Emeril (You do not need Essence in everything…give it up please)
                                                                              Oliver (Original Series)…his new gig is not very watchable
                                                                              Tsai (Love his show but where can you find 4oz of kangaroo essence)
                                                                              Fieri (Great entertainment though and Jfood loves DDD)
                                                                              Florence (sorta getting tired of him)

                                                                              Enough Already:

                                                                              Brown (Fallen from Grace)
                                                                              Ace of Cakes

                                                                              Can’t Stand:

                                                                              Two Fat Ladies

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                "The guy from Sonoma" . . .

                                                                                You mean Michael Chiarello? He's from Napa Valley. To my female eyes, he's the most attractive guy on the food scene.

                                                                                1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                  yeah, that's the guy, but when he gets off-track and starts to try the smile thing he looks a little snarly.

                                                                                2. re: jfood

                                                                                  Good list, but I have to say this and it could get me into trouble. Julia Child. Yup! She was a great cook/chef and did bring French cooking into the homes of America. However, I found her to be just a teensy bit annoying.

                                                                                  That guy from Sonoma--Michael Chiarello--he is pretty good and makes things look easy and simple:)

                                                                                3. I can't find her anymore, but Kylie Kwong is/was my all time favorite person to watch.
                                                                                  Martio Batali and Lidia for Italian
                                                                                  and sorry, Ina Garten is not a favorite, I'd rather watch Martha Stewart cook. Ina is probably a very nice lady, but her laugh bothers me far more than Paula Deen's.

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                    exellent another kylie fan

                                                                                    i wish they would get her shows back over here

                                                                                    1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                      And another-- I always learn something when I watch Kylie.

                                                                                      One thing I've never seen in any other cooking show is the incredible cinematography on that show. It is stunning. I used to watch reruns just to enjoy that aspect of it.

                                                                                      1. re: BostonZest

                                                                                        I did too, and your right about the filming, they did an awesome job. She is an excellent story teller as well.

                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                          Yesterday they had a Kylie Kwong "My China" marathon on foodtv in Canada. My intention was to see the first 1/2 hour episode but it was such an engaging and beautifully filmed show that I ended up vegetating for the next 5 hours watching the whole series.

                                                                                          Favorite scene - Kylie taking over a street stall to cook by shoving money into the owner's shirt after he refused her.

                                                                                          Kylie rocks and even inspired me to cook chinese tonight!

                                                                                          1. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                            I am jealous Pizza Lover-A Kylie marathon-i wish Foodnetwork would run her show here esp since I no longer get planet green-but they never ran the My China series anyway and I saw all the others). bah humbug

                                                                                            1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                              I know how you feel - for a couple of years Kylie was off the air in canada. Best $40 you'll spend will be on the "My China" dvd set.

                                                                                            2. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                              oh me too~ bet I can find the dvds somewhere. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. And like someone else mentioned, she inspires me to cook anytime I watch her.

                                                                                              1. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                                I learned a lot from Kylie Kwong. She made food the star, and she was in the background. I was hooked after watching her first show. I miss her series, and I never got bored looking at her re-runs because I still picked up something I missed.

                                                                                                If FN produced shows like hers, I might consider watching them again. I had enuf of their old standby chefs on FN, and had hoped that we would see a lot of more new faces on the Cooking Channel. It was discouraging to see them show up there, too. Gag me with a spoon!!!!!

                                                                                      2. Putting aside the other "issues", I always liked Jeff Smith aka the Frugal Gourmet as a host. Good recipes, held your attention and not overbearing.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: JohnE O

                                                                                          I really liked the frugal gourmet's shows too

                                                                                          too bad he well, he had issues

                                                                                          his chinese dumpling recipe is the best ever

                                                                                          1. re: JohnE O

                                                                                            He was the second TV chef (Julia was #1) that I/we watched. Probably the first one who gave me permission to relax (well, Julia did that but her level of cooking was just too high for me). I have a couple of his cookbooks and his lamb with orzo pasta has been a fave for years. Love Batali and was thrilled to eat at Babbo while in NYC a year ago). I have three of his books and they DO turn out. Rachel Ray doesn't teach me anything I didn't already know so I haven't watched her in ages. And Paula Deen? I'm from the South but accent IS like fingernails on a blackboard. And I fixed her stuffing/dressing for T'giving and it was the wettest, yuckiest. I also used to watch America's Test Kitchen but not much anymore. It seemed they were just cooking too many things I wasn't interested in. I mean, really, how many dishes can you do the way they do? We should pick some new things to TiVo. I can tell we've missed alot and this thread will lead us in the right direction.

                                                                                            1. re: JohnE O

                                                                                              I loved the Frugal Gourmet when I was a kid. I especially loved Craig, his assistant who somehow always seemed to be the one actually doing the cooking. I would love to catch some reruns of that sometime and see what I think of it now, but I don't think it shows anywhere.

                                                                                              1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                You were a kid then and I was 40. I figured he was sleeping with his "assistant." Seems I was wrong :(

                                                                                            2. Jfood has a good list that echoes my sentiments for the most part, except my list diverges wildly re the two fat ladies, Ace of Cakes (for some reason they've wormed their way into my heart) and Paula, as I said before. And I like Alton Brown, I think he's taught my beloved husband a lot more about cooking than he realizes. But Feasting on Waves was just plain dull after the first couple, I mean how many Caribbean grill cooks can you schmooze with over grilled fish and jerk chicken and still be interesting? It was like watching the same show over and over. I like Oliver's new show.

                                                                                              jfood, why did you hate the Two Fat Ladies? Other than their food, while yummy-looking, was always a heart attack on a plate, that is. To me their throwaway humor was just hilarious.

                                                                                              Whoever mentioned the Too Hot Tamales- thank you, i've always loved them.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                Ace of Cakes is fine as long as you realize it's not a cooking show; it's a reality show about an eccentric little group of people working together, kind of like the old "workplace" sitcoms. (I haven't watched it in a while, but that's what it was in the beginning, at least.)

                                                                                                1. re: jlafler

                                                                                                  Well, you're right of course, it's not a cooking show, but I think there's some room for that type of thing on FN. It's a part of food, after all, even if it is on a commercial scale, overall, I think more than Tablescapes are. But maybe that's just because I'm not into tablescapes and would rather watch a bunch of talented stoned east coast art student types decorate fabulous overpriced cakes. I wouldn't say it's a do-not-miss for me, but it's fun to watch. For me. Sometimes that;s all I require after a long day's work.

                                                                                                2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                  TFL - jfood found their food choices not to his liking and thought they were almost the anti-Julia of the airwavesa at the time, almost mocking jfood's favorite.

                                                                                                  Ace - how many time can you watch someone make a cake, no diversity in what they do and what do you learn from the show other than some talented people can make a ckae look like whatever

                                                                                                  Two Hot Tamales - Thanks for the reminder. They are on jfood's "A" List. Loved them.

                                                                                                  Jfood has Alton in the Enough Already since the last couple of shows he watched made him smack his head with the palm of his hand. He loved him in the early days, but not on the "A" list any longer.

                                                                                                  Hope that gives a little deeper dive.

                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                    "how many times can you watch someone make a cake... ?"

                                                                                                    Jfood, it is really, how many times can you watch people crash, while carrying a cake? It's like NASCAR. It is not about the races - it's about the crashes.

                                                                                                    For us, once was enough - crashes, or not.

                                                                                                    Same for Alton Brown. We saw "Top Chef American," when Mark Tarbell was the contestant, and I had seen all that I cared to. Had to tolerate him, when John Besh was on, but under protest. My wife tells me that he has his own show. Glad that I do not have first-hand experience.


                                                                                                  2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                    I much preferred the one fat lady than the show with them both, was it Clarissa? Jennifer passed away, right. I enjoyed her cooking school and her shockingly blunt way with her students. And ditto, Two Hot Tamales, they are excellent and enjoyable to watch.
                                                                                                    I pretty much don't care for anyone anymore on the FN, there's just too much stuff other than cooking.

                                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                      Jennifer, the heavy smoker, was the funniest one, Clarissa was more or less the "straight man" to her. One tme they'd had to make a long trek somewher by foot and Jennifer was huffing and puffing and sitting on a log by the side of the road. A horse=drawn wagon puls up and stops. Jennifer looks up at the wagon driver and says "A saviour come." Cracked me right up. she was always saying little things like that.

                                                                                                  3. Julia Child, Sara Moulton, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Alton Brown, Jacques Pepin...I guess, IOW, experts in the convergence of food science, technique and culture, who also happen to be born teachers.

                                                                                                    1. I put hosts into two categories: educators, and entertainers. I prefer shows that feature the former (there's always something to learn) over entertainers (there's always another channel..), but if you can do both, that's great.

                                                                                                      Sara Moulton and Ming Tsai are both good educators: very low key, matter of fact presentations. Alton's an educator, too, but he tries to go both ways. Most of the time, I like him (especially when he gets away from special effects, and goes "Feasting on Asphalt"), and sometimes, he struggles. Tyler's Ultimate is pretty good; he does take time to talk about technique and ingredients. I really used to enjoy the "Frugal Gourmet", especially during his early years, where he really appeared to be finding ways to use cheaper cuts and produce, and still produce tasty meals. In Canada, we had the "Urban Peasant", which featured the late James Barber in a similar role.

                                                                                                      I relegate RR, Emeril, and PD to "entertainers". The problem with entertainers is they get old if they do not evolve; the first few 1,000 times I heard "EVOO" or "Bam!" were fine, but the last 10,000,000,018,237 times have gotten pretty boring. Entertainers are like sharks; if they're not moving forward, they're dying.

                                                                                                      Which brings me to the superstars, like Ms. Childs and M. Pepin, who manage to both entertain and educate. I think the key to both is neither takes/took themself too seriously. If something went wrong on their programs, they laughed and moved on.

                                                                                                      I can't put my finger on what bugs me about Ina and Giada; I don't think they're trying to be entertainers, and they stay on point, for the most part, but somehow, I haven't been able to warm up to either.

                                                                                                      As for Martin Yan, who is in a class by himself: I have watched him since the early 70's in Toronto. His combination of flashy but unnecessary knife/cleaver work, really and truly atrocious puns, and cheesy patter make him an unintentionally hilarious host, but I will give him credit for trying to introduce more sophisticated Asian foods to a (mostly) white (and white-bread) audience in Toronto at the time. He has improved since then, but there are still hosts I'd rather watch.

                                                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                        not mentioned so far was david rosengarden's old show Taste, which was in the early days of food network. also i like that chef at home show and cookin in brooklyn.

                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                          I can't recall the name of the show that your "chef at home" remark calls to mind for me, but are you talking about the show where the chef picked up young good looking ladies in a supermarket, added things to their shopping cart, paid for their groceries, went home with them and cooked dinner for them and their husbands/lovers/boyfriends? And sometimes their kids too?

                                                                                                          I DID enjoy that show and he did teach cooking in a pragmatic way. But the thing I enjoyed about it most was seeing real people's kitchens! I found a lot of (unintentional?) humor in that show too! So how come he never "picked up" a fat ugly old broad whose husband would REALLY appreciate a gourmet meal? That would have been fun. And how come all the young ladies he did pick up immediately went and changed into something sexy as soon as they walked in the door? I sometimes watched to see if the husband/lover would come home and order him out of the house, but that never happened either. Some of his meals were terrific, some I thought were a little on the short side. Soup and dessert for the husband after a hard day at the office? Left a lot of room to worry about hanky panky!

                                                                                                          Is that the show you mean? If not, does anyone know the name of the show I'm talking about? Did you find humor in it too?

                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                            no. i meant the how with the canadian chef, who cooked in his own house out of very well stocked oantry, usually for his wife and kid, and occasional guest. i liked it because it shyed away from recipes entirely, and he cooked like I do, and i suspect most people do, by educated whim, based on what they have in the house, and by eye and taste not measurement.
                                                                                                            the name of the show was "chef at home" -

                                                                                                            the show you are talking about is called "take home chef"

                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                              The show is Take Home Chef, Caroline. I think I read that most of what happened on the show was scripted and/or staged. If you noticed, the women already had their mic pack in place when he "spontaneously" interrupts their shopping.
                                                                                                              I did see an episode when the lady was less than gorgeous and her kitchen was less than big bucks.

                                                                                                              The humor was definitely there... the gal who's occupation has ...high colonics....
                                                                                                              The time he phoned his mother in Australia for the recipe for a Pavlova....and the fact that he could not pronounce Gewurztraminer

                                                                                                              But the underlying feature was his rugged good looks and his ability to cook & teach and put people at ease.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                That's so funny - my mother-in-law absolutely loves Curtis Stone and she has no real interest in food and doesn't cook!

                                                                                                                The Chef at Home is Michael Smith. I kind of like him - he's a good cook and explains things well - but his manner of speaking sort of irritates me for some reason so I watch him in small doses.

                                                                                                                1. re: ms. clicquot

                                                                                                                  I enjoyed this show. It seemed very natural as opposed to something more staged, though I'm not convinced on the supposed spontaneity of his dishes. Also, the theme music was scary, especially after I found myself humming it days after the show aired!

                                                                                                                  1. re: ms. clicquot

                                                                                                                    Chef at Home is campy, but much better than Chef at Large. Yeah, his at home show is full of pauses and *flavour* but at least he doesn't glare at the fridge like he does any time he listens to someone - that cracks me up every time! My thing is his 'no recipe' schtick, yet he always manages to have exactly the right ingredients - I would like to see him do a show where he says "I've got mustard, some leftover chicken, and blueberries" and somehow make something nice.

                                                                                                                    I could also do with a little less Gabe....adorable, yes, but if he isn't served with a sauce of some sort, I don't need to see him.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bex714

                                                                                                                      Michael Smith seems eager enough but the 'no-recipe' schtick at Chef @ home should really be thrown out the window as we all know how spontaneous tv really is.

                                                                                                                      His new show Chef Abroad is a rehash of Chef @ Large which was entertaining - even with the bulging eyes.

                                                                                                                2. re: Caroline1


                                                                                                                  "Chef at Home" is about Canadian chef Mike Smith, who, at 6'8", is rather noticeable. He also hosts "Chef at Large", where he would pop up for brief stands at, for example, an army field kitchen, Canada's House of Parliament, or a major urban hospital. He has a new one, "Chef Abroad", where he travels to exotic locales (or so I'm told; haven't seen it yet). He's good for technique, and matter of fact explanation, but I'm getting tired of hearing about he intends to "build flavour". Just do it already.

                                                                                                                  David Rosengarten: I put him in the same category as I do Ina and Giada. Can't say why I didn't like him, but something put me off. I far preferred his columns in Gourmet.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                    OMG I have to say Caroline your comment about "soup and dessert for the husband..etc" cracked me up!!! I would have the exact same thoughts about the low cut tops, and makeup.. let the flirting begin! Take Home Chef was a fun watch.

                                                                                                                  2. re: thew

                                                                                                                    Oh I absolutely hated the David Rosengarten show. He was so discourteous toward his guest chefs.... trying to show how much he knew about what they were cooking....always two steps ahead bumping into their procedures. Nevertheless, there I was watching every show. I won't even mention Donna Hamilton. Why was she there anyway? Never mind, I know.

                                                                                                                    Julia, Jacques, Julia and Jacques together. My kind of cooking show. I was there in the beginning when the PBS in Boston began broadcasting cooking shows. I miss those early shows. I also miss the Two Hot Tamales and Chef ? Pyles from Texas. Every now and then I catch a Rick Stein rerun on BBCAm. His shows are so beautifully photographed and presented. Lidia Bastianich looks exactly like my aunt Madeline who was a fantastic cook.... so I *have* to watch her......

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      to my memory there were rarely guest chefs on taste... but maybe i'm blocking them out...and i liked that he examined one ingredient in depth - the history the tastes and various uses. that was when FN was geared to foodies and/or hounds, and not the broad base it aims for now

                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                        Gosh - well, perhaps he had 2 shows.... my brain is trying to tell me that I saw Ming Tsai for the first time on the show, but I'm not too sure about that. I do Know I saw the daughter of the family who owned/owns the Second Ave. Deli in NYC and she made their famous chopped liver. That was a delight. I mainly watched just to see the chefs and turned it off when they finished.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                          it was a few years back - so i wouldnt swear to anything one way or the other

                                                                                                                3. Deutsche Welle TV has a program (in German) that features a host, 5 chefs, each preparing one course of a five course meal. Lots of banter, lots of interaction with the live audience - including passing the food around. Great cooking skills; and NO respect for hygiene that would be a standard in American shows. The chefs dip and double dip and triple dip with fingers and spoons before passing the foods out. Last episode I saw they had hollowed out a whole Parm in which they made and served pasta on which they topped with truffle and the shaved Parm. The truffle at the start was about the size of Chicago; and they managed to use up the whole thing. Really good cooking. And you don't need to speak German to enjoy the show.

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                    THAT's what I miss about El Paso! All of the local cable networks carry Deutsche Welle as part of their regular line-up because Fort Bliss is home to the largest Luftwaffe wing stationed outside of Germany! I used to watch that show! Here there is a heavy premium to get German (or any other national) TV.

                                                                                                                    I think there was also a somewhat similar show on BBC America, with three young chefs who would create orginal dishes that were "passed through" to judges they never saw, then at the end of the show the judges decisions were passed back to them on each of the three courses. Two male chefs and a female chef, as I recall. Some really good cooking on that show too.

                                                                                                                    Not many really good cooking shows around today, and many of the classic skills and language are falling by the wayside. I regret that.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                      I don't know if you are all just a bunch of kids (I'm 45) or what, but doesn't anybody have fond memories of Madelaine Kaman, Pierre Franey, Madhur Jaffrey, and, despite his early clownishness, Martin Yan - even then you could see his greatness peaking through.

                                                                                                                      1. re: szmeterling

                                                                                                                        Hoo boy, inserted that comment in the wrong place.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                      Sam, you have given me a great idea for a question to ask on this board. May the deity of your choice bless you!!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                          Unfortunately the idea zoomed in one ear and out the other. I'm going to have to backtrack and see if it comes to me again, this time with pen & paper nearby

                                                                                                                    3. I will not do Sandra Lee or Paula. I've had good luck with at least some recipes from most of the other TV chefs.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                        I was lolling around watching TV this morning and did catch "Aunt Sandy". I am so intrigued with the question of HOW did she ever get a show. She isn't a chef--nor does she seem like a great cook. What kills me is that you can spend the same amount of time making food that does not include processed foods as half of the recipe. Then I'm listening to her advising about tablescapes with remnants of fabric as tablecloths and I'm thinking "OK--so everytime you entertain, the hostess/host should run out and but all this fabric and whatever for a tablescape". I don't get it. *Sigh* I remember the days that I used to LOVE watching the Food Network but now--well, if Ina or Tyler, or Jamie, Nigella or Alton were not on, I would skip it altogether.

                                                                                                                      2. I don't get cable, so no Food Network (sounds like I am not missing anything). But recently got a digital converter box for my old tv, and thus now get the PBS Create channel. So nice to get more cooking shows this way!
                                                                                                                        My faves: Lidia, Ming Tsai, Jacques Pepin, Christina Cooks, Julia Child, especially her show with guest chefs. Liked the old Mollie Katzen show, even the old Jeff Smith shows since he really got me started trying different cuisines, so sad he was a bit um, messed up.

                                                                                                                        I find "Ciao Italia" to be annoying at times, when Maryann is bossy with her guests, and liked the older Yan can Cook shows but not the newer ones with the live audience.
                                                                                                                        Saw a "low carb" cooking show which was a snooze fest, hosts were kind of boring. And there once was a show on, I think the person's name was Coleman, where it didn't seem like she actually liked eating food.

                                                                                                                        Have seen Giada and Paula Deen when visiting someone, and did not like either. So many others I have not seen and am curious about, like Ina Garten and Sara Moulton, Alton Brown etc....and of course the chick with the pre-fab food (forgetting ehr name) which I'd like to see for the entertainment factor after reading about her "kwaanza kake" recipe here on Chowhound :-).

                                                                                                                        1. The following play into my decision to watch, or not watch a cooking show(not all are based on a host ability to cook obviously)

                                                                                                                          - easy on the eyes
                                                                                                                          - heavy focus on cooking meat, either grilling, or smoking
                                                                                                                          - a host that is having a good time
                                                                                                                          - a host that is not health food obcessed, and isnt afraid to cook with butter, bacon, pork, liquor, etc.
                                                                                                                          - a host that does not try to push some politcal or "green" agenda, I watch tv for entertainment, not to be hit over the head.

                                                                                                                          Hosts I like or will watch: Bobby Flay, Rob Rainford, Alton Brown, Gordon Ramsay, Guy Fieri, Yan, Rachael Ray, Giada, Ellie Krieger

                                                                                                                          1. Love Mark Bittman - is personable and caters to the lay food lover.

                                                                                                                            1. There are so few celebrity chefs I enjoy watching. In my opinion Food Network has really gone downhill the last two or so years. One show I really enjoy watching is "Iron Chef America" as it inspires me and I actually learn something. Much of my cooking is similar to what they do on that show. Michael Smith (CDN) is pretty good as is Tyler Florence. I loved "Cook Like A Chef" when it was on. On PBS I enjoy Jose Andreas. "At the Table With..." is neat - it highlights a different chef's life from childhood to present each week. I find it interesting.

                                                                                                                              However, I do like Jamie Oliver on his "Jamie at Home" show. I love how he uses produce from his own garden. I also loved "Jamie's Italy". Perhaps it is partially because I've been to the UK and Italy many times - it is relatable.

                                                                                                                              Most of the others can be placed into the same category - too basic, simple and no challenge whatsoever. I really wish someone would come on to challenge and show us skills and highlight interesting ingredients. "America's Test Kitchen" sort of tries that but it still is not intriguing or arresting enough.

                                                                                                                              1. ANYONE but the Neely's.
                                                                                                                                I think they're a great couple, but "the Spice Fairy"? blech. .

                                                                                                                                I like Laura Calder, French Food at Home - she seems to have a touch of the theatre in her and I like that she's a bit romantic and geeky and eats with her hands... They kind of sexed her up which took a bit of the shine off her, but I still love her!

                                                                                                                                I have a not so secret crush on Guy Fieri but watching him stuff his mouth full of the food on Diners Drive in and Dives grosses me out. not to mention his silver AND gold accessories... :)

                                                                                                                                Ina Garten makes me laugh with her a-huhuhu - huh-huh huhuh laugh - it's so breathy and upper crust-y.

                                                                                                                                NIgella. *sigh* I just want to be in the kitchen alongside her...

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Bex714

                                                                                                                                  laura calder = quirky and seems to have a displayed more of her character and what seems to be a good sense of humour in the second season. From what I saw in the first season she seemed too controlled and the narration was contrived.

                                                                                                                                  The show itself still needs a revamp - and would be more interesting if they actually put her in people's kitchens in France cooking variations of dishes in different parts of the country - be true to the name of French food at home.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                                                                    I see what you're saying about her humour this season and yes, she was rather stiff in the last. I just liked the prim nature of the first season. it's almost as if some producer said, Laura. we like it. it's a good show, but we need to make it SEXY. d'uh. food IS sexy!

                                                                                                                                    a travelling Laura Calder? interesting..... maybe give her a few more seasons to get a bit more relaxed onscreen first

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bex714

                                                                                                                                      That same producer probably also suggested what I call the show's new "ADD cinematography". I have never seen such constant unnecessary editing and camera movement - I always end up switching the channel because I get a headache. Perhaps the cameraman/editor/director is getting paid per shot.

                                                                                                                                      I don't see the show lasting in it's current format for more than one or two more seasons.

                                                                                                                                2. I also loved Biba's Italian Kitchen from back in the day...

                                                                                                                                  1. I'm home sick with a stomach bug. Food is not appealing to me right now, but I am catching Anthony Bourdain. He is now on my list of top hosts--even though it isn't a cooking show per se.

                                                                                                                                    1. did i mention i was one of the 8 new yorkers at jaime oliver's "underground supper club" when they were shooting his new series Jaime in America?

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                        Do tell ! How exciting that must have been......

                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                          Yo, whoa, tell us 'mo! I love the guy!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                            from the meal &tc it is clear what the setup of the NY show will be.. jaime spent a few days hitting various neighborhoods exploring foods, and he finishes the show with a meal inspired by and shopped for in said 'hoods. first were 2 cervices - one with fluke one w/ sea bass, bought at fulton market that morning.

                                                                                                                                            then jaime was shown a chinese dish of pork wrapped in a pancake and pan fried - sort of a chinese knish. but he made it with crab, and had an italian-esque tomato concasse/salsa to put on top. Next was some huge low and slow cooked beef rib chunk, rubbed w/ egyptian spices - zatar/sumac etc. also a big old pot of mac and cheese and a salad. for dessert a cheesecake - not as dense as a typical NY cheesecake, but very tasty - i think there was a mild lime and coconut flavor to it, and it was served with berries and figs.

                                                                                                                                            it was a good mix of people, jaime is really sweet and friendly, the conversation ranged across food and new york and a million other topics - it could easily have been an awkward scene, but it wasn't at all. low key - everyone got into the swing of it very quickly and easily.

                                                                                                                                            it was cool.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                              Thank you for the recap. Interesting mix of dishes/flavors. Lucky you to have been there.

                                                                                                                                          2. Contrary to what seems to be most of the people on chow, I really like Rachel Ray. She cooks things that my parents and I make (i.e. Gimbotta) or I can see myself doing. Granted, I can't eat most of what she makes because I'm vegan, but that says even more. If I'm willing to watch a show about food I can't even eat, then obviously it's entertaining. I absolutely adore Alton Brown, his mix of culinary background and scientific knowledge makes his show worth watching.

                                                                                                                                            However, I can't stand Bobby Flay, he just seems so arrogant and jerk like. Today in the paper, they released that he's facing lawsuits for improper tip pooling practices at his restaurants. I don't like Giada either, since I watch the FN to be entertained and informed, not seduced.

                                                                                                                                            1. Paula Deen exaggerates her "southern-ness" and I wish she wouldn't. I promise we do not all sound and act like that. I cringe at her butchering of the English language and all that over-the-top hooting and hollering. I am from lower South Carolina originally and have known women like her all my life. I love her though.
                                                                                                                                              The one tv chef I love the most though is Mario Batali. He is so nice and is such a wonderful teacher. I thought I would share with other Mario fans an essay he recently wrote. Here it is if anyone is interested:

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lewes17266

                                                                                                                                                What a super tribute to his teacher Batali wrote. Inspirational, dynamic, compassionate teachers make all the difference. It's easy to see that experience had a great impact on Mario when we watch his own enthusiasm during his TV programs. Thanks for the link!

                                                                                                                                              2. Three shows I miss are:

                                                                                                                                                Justin Wilson's Cajun Cooking

                                                                                                                                                Biker Billy Cooks with Fire....didn't he use a stick of butter in everything?

                                                                                                                                                and The Discovery Channel's Great Chefs from Around the World

                                                                                                                                                1. My ideal host would be a person who went into enough detail on the "why," of the ingredients and then, in a pleasent manner, told us what was required.

                                                                                                                                                  They would be less a "personality," and much more of a teacher. The presentations would be detailed, and we'd not be subjected to aspects of their personal, or political, lives.

                                                                                                                                                  I would chose for them to be knowledgable (or read from a teleprompter very well), and articulate. I do not care for them being overly "perkey," or "folksey." I want to learn about the dish(es), and could not care a whit about anything else.

                                                                                                                                                  Many decades ago, PBS did "Great Chefs of ____." These were real chefs (though that is probably less important), and not TV stars. They spoke from knowledge and with passion about their food - not their private lives, or their travels, especially when that did not pertain to the dish. They informed, and we found that entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                  All too often now, it is about the entertainment value, and if you learn something along the way, so be it - you got lucky. I think that many are on "performance enhancing drugs." I'd not be surprised if the US Congress didn't investigate some of these, when they finish with MLB (Major League Baseball).

                                                                                                                                                  In the earliest days, we enjoyed Emeril Lagasse, when he was playing less to a live audience. Yes, it could be cloying, but was so very much better, than when he went "Live."

                                                                                                                                                  To the OP, I am sorry, but I do not know the personalities, that you reference. They could be good, or not. I just do not know them.

                                                                                                                                                  I cannot think of one of the TV personalities, that I have seen, that I would care to see again. Heck, I'd take reruns of "Great Chefs!" For me, give me the food, and send the rest for "Actual Real Augmented Housewives of Toledo," or whatever.

                                                                                                                                                  Even though I am from, and was living in the area, I could not tolerate the late Justin Wilson. He was OK with his comedy albums (showing my age here), but did nothing for me (or my wife), when the began his cooking programs, also on PBS in our location, New Orleans.

                                                                                                                                                  Sorry, but I do not think that I added much to the thread,


                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                    I can honestly say that I've learned a lot from Lidia Bastianich and love her warm style and step-by-step instructions. It could be because I'm partial to Italian food and have taken lessons from some wonderful Italian cooks. I love that Lidia shares something about Italian culture with viewers and at times brings in her family.

                                                                                                                                                    Ming Tsai is another favorite. He's got a good sense of humor and an easy way about him.

                                                                                                                                                    Jaime Oliver is starting to grow on me. I need to watch more of his shows.

                                                                                                                                                    Am sorry, but have never been a fan of Rachel Ray for various reasons.

                                                                                                                                                    I would be interested in knowing if any of you have any favorite French chefs besides Jacques Peppin? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                  2. I hate to admit, I'm a simple girl, single mom, busy, working. I like Rachels tips ... too much for me but some tips are nice. Love Altons science it is fun, love Flay, just a quality and he makes grilling approachable for those who don't grill. Guy, Off the Hook ... to quote, just different. They all offer a quality which I like. I like approachable. I cook in a hurry and quick but try to always make it good. I on the other hand try fun stuff on the weekends with more time. But I like sensible, still affordable, but quality food. There is is a line that I think can be met between ... quality, affordable, good and fun. Not just always gourmet.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I've noticed an interesting distinction here, and, as a very new first-time subscriber to cable TV, it's something I've noticed myself, too. Not all, but a majority of the posters here, seem to favor the hosts on the PBS cooking shows over the hosts of the cable network shows.

                                                                                                                                                      I was looking forward to indulging myself in the Food Network offerings, but after only a few weeks of Top Chef, Iron Chef, This Chef and That Chef, they're all beginning to look and sound alike to me. What I've realized is that I rarely learn anything from them; they're all about entertainment, and, truthfully, I'm not so entertained by most of them.

                                                                                                                                                      I'll take Lidia Bastianich and Ming Tsai any day over Guy Fieri or Paula Deen. More steak, less sizzle, please.

                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CindyJ


                                                                                                                                                        I do agree with you. There is/was a series along the lines of, "So, who wants to be the next Food Network superstar?" It was a quasi-reality show, and the payload was getting to host their own show. As the "judging" wore down, it *seemed* that the only ones left standing were pretty much clones of existing hosts. IIRC, the one contestant, who was less like most of what I see, was the eventual winner - made me beileve that finally, the network people (who comprised part of the judging staff) decided that "same-old, same-old," wasn't cutting it anymore.

                                                                                                                                                        I find it akin to watching the local TV news in six major US markets - the players all look, and sound the same, especialy if one watches the early morning news. Obviously, the gene-splicing experiments are paying dividends for TV.


                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                          I think you've hit the nail on the head, Bill. As long as the "bottom line" shows a profit, and advertisers are plentiful, the content (or lack thereof) will remain as is, on the Food Network and all others. Interesting, isn't it, that there are no clones of Lidia Bastianich.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                                          Let's face it - the Food Network is not the Cooking Network.

                                                                                                                                                          They are in the entertainment business whose theme is food. If people want to learn how to cook then they should buy some good cookbooks and practice, practice, practice (after all isn't that the fun part??)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                                                                                            I have never learned from a cook book in my life, EVER. I just watch and learn from human interaction and techniques. Not all perfect. But food network is what has made food and cooking interesting again. Not a cookbook. And I don't practice anything. Entertainment is learning and cooking. It is all in one. Emeril and Bam and Julia is what made cooking fun again That IS entertainment no matter how you look at it. NOT a book. I don't use any books. I use recipes I see and enjoy watching and takes notes and then develop my own creations from base recipes and ideas. Not pages of a cook book on my desk. Sorry to dissagree

                                                                                                                                                            For me, the Food Network is a True cooking show and is the Cooking Network. Kudos to all involved. They do a great job

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                              kchurchill5, I like to see the dish made too. Have you ever watched the "Bitten" cooking videos at The New York Times website?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lewes17266

                                                                                                                                                                Oh sorry. The Mark Bitten videos are actually called "The Minimalist." Google this: "The Minimalist Columns The New York Times."

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                                                                                              and while i don't disagree about the cookbooks entirely, watching ina make her food she definitely gives tips that aren't in the cookbook and that really help.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                Very true, some tips you get via the shows. I realize they are "commercialized" but I still enjoy them and learn much more. I guess not learning ... just some tricks, hints or combinations I may not of thought of. I use it as a base for developing my own recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                  Hello All. great topic! I prefer a show host that actually has a clue about food. They are really very easy to spot. While many on the FN now seem to be way way over produced. Think back to the cromagnon days of food tv..ie..Galloping Gourmet, Julia...the "umph" was there because of the knowledge and dare I say the passion. I mean I like Emeril's recipes but I dont necessarily need applause over the word "garlic". The PBS shows lean more toward my taste. So now I see one of my favorites on PBS,,,Daisy Cooks is going to be on FN...calling it Viva Daisy. Her recipes are top notch and authentic. I just hope that she doesnt get "caught" up in the FN "Lets sell you personality" thing as opposed to great food being the focus.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Pizza Lover

                                                                                                                                                                Well put, and a perspective, that I often forget.



                                                                                                                                                            3. Here is my list of Rants & Raves:

                                                                                                                                                              RAVES (new & old):
                                                                                                                                                              Julia Child
                                                                                                                                                              Ina Garten
                                                                                                                                                              Pierre Franey
                                                                                                                                                              Jacques Pepin
                                                                                                                                                              Two Hot Tamales
                                                                                                                                                              Michele Urvater (from very early FN TV)
                                                                                                                                                              Ming Tsai
                                                                                                                                                              the guy from Sonoma (Michael something)
                                                                                                                                                              David Rosengarten (again early FN TV)
                                                                                                                                                              Sara Moulton
                                                                                                                                                              Two Hot Tamales
                                                                                                                                                              Great Chefs series
                                                                                                                                                              Hubert Keller
                                                                                                                                                              the other Keller from the fancy CA restaurant
                                                                                                                                                              Nathalie Dupree (what happend to her?)
                                                                                                                                                              Tyler Florence (marginally OK)

                                                                                                                                                              Paula Deen (why hasn't she had a heart attack yet with all that butter and I don't want to see Santa Claus (her DH) anymore either
                                                                                                                                                              Sandra Lee - nuff said
                                                                                                                                                              Bobby Flay
                                                                                                                                                              Michael Symon - used to like him, he has morphed into FN personality
                                                                                                                                                              Guy Fieri - he is one scary looking dude, don't want him sticking his finger in my food
                                                                                                                                                              Emeril - although his shows with WF on the Green network are OK
                                                                                                                                                              Alton Brown - a mere caricature lately
                                                                                                                                                              The Neelys - heard the NAACP are looking for them for impersonating people of color
                                                                                                                                                              in fact I will be so bold as to say 80% of the FN lineup
                                                                                                                                                              Giada - those melons aren't real, no way, no how

                                                                                                                                                              1. You know who I don't like Kylie Kwong. That woman does not know how to cook, every single dish I see her make is like the same, Chinese people use more than brown sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine, and ginger please!

                                                                                                                                                                1. Just bring back Julia Child -- w/ or w/out Jacques Pepin. Or bring us Jacques Pepin -- w/ or w/out a resurrected Julia Child. I like knowledgeable, urbane, generous and not filled with themselves. And yes, Ming Tsai can be described that way too.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ClaireWalter

                                                                                                                                                                    Jacques Pepin...easy homestyle recipes that look great and I bet taste that same.
                                                                                                                                                                    Ive been watching cooks since Julia and Grahm Kerr on the early days of PBS...
                                                                                                                                                                    I dont even watch the food network anymore...Im so tired of cooks pimping their restaurants or cooking lines.

                                                                                                                                                                    Give me Cook's Country kitchen and I'm happy.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I prefer my hosts not to say buzzwords.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/10/fo...

                                                                                                                                                                      Certainly not this! FN goes Wii Video...do "we" really need this?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Someone who doesn't babble! I want to hear about how to COOK, not about what your great granny used to do with avocados or how you went fishing with your dad on the second Sunday of the month and on and on and on...

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                                                                          I could not concur more! Why do people think we want to hear about their extremely uninteresting stories? I just remember watching the Next Food Network Star and all the judges keep telling the contestants to share more about themselves and I was just thinking, "No I don't want that, who are you? You don't know me!".

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I've been catching Rick Bayliss / Sabores de Mexico on the Casa Club TV channel. What a great guy (albeit terrible accent), really a pleasure to watch (albeit really simple Mexican dishes)!

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                            Bayliss is a regular guy. I've literally stumbled across him and his family in the airport before a flight from New York to Chicago. Frontera Grill is a solid destination. They can build a decent drink there, too.

                                                                                                                                                                            Jose Andres has an interesting shop in D.C., best enjoyed on Sunday mornings. His TV shows are uneven and goofy but I like them up to a point. I understand he has been taking English lessons. Pity.

                                                                                                                                                                            Lidia Bastianich gets my vote for "Best TV Cook With a Pulse."

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Quelle surprise! Paula Deen cooking with butter ... who would have imagined? She's definitely not on my list of the best chefs on TV.

                                                                                                                                                                            I like hosts who can teach me something. Currently, there are two who do that far better than anyone else. The first is Ina Garten ... everything she does is simple, elegant, very doable, and delicious. Equally superb is Jacques Pepin ... he is unsurpassed at teaching classic techniques and offering incredibly simple ideas with a continental flair that really give a lot of bang for the buck.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. In order of preference: Julia
                                                                                                                                                                              lots of others. For me it's how the chef is able to actually demonstrate how to actually cook something. All that 'BAM!" BS is just that. IMO.