HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


What TV Chefs have given you ‘mostly’ consistent recipes vs those that have been hit and miss.

Here’s a statement and my question:

FORGET personality, quirks, TV charisma, etc.

What TV Chefs have given you ‘mostly’ consistent recipes vs those that have been hit and miss.

SIDEBAR #1: I don’t watch cooking shows, so I don’t know these people like most of you do and I don’t most of THEM.

SIDEBAR #2: No average rating only GOOD or BAD allowed

SIDEBAR #3: I don’t cook from recipes (too damn old to teach a dog new tricks) but I do look at them and sometimes just shake my head in amazement at how technically wrong they are. So my list is garnered by just LOOKING at their recipes.

Here is my list (alphabetical by first name) on the


Anthony Bourdain
Bobby Flay
Emeril Lagasse
Giada de Laurentiis
Jacques Pepin
Jamie Oliver (just barely made this list)
Julia Child
Tyler Florence


Alton Brown
Guy Fieri
Lydia Bastianich
Mario Batali
Martha Stewart

WAIT: If you disagree then say so and put up some recipes (at least 3) that have worked very well for you in the past.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm competent beginner, casual home cook.

    Rachael Ray (I make her 60 minute thanksgiving turkey breast, and apple stuffing, every year)

    MIXED RESULTS: (May be more my own impatience and lack of skill)
    America's Test Kitchen

    Alton Brown

    1. BEST: Ina Garten. Lemon pound cake, barbecued chicken, Chinese chicken salad, filet of beef Bourguinnone. I'm sure I have made others, but this is what comes to mind. Also, her food is what I most want to try.

      I just made a fabulous osso buco by Bourdain. I have had some success with recipes from Bobby Flay, Giada, definitely Jacques Pepin, Tyler Florence. Can't think of examples off the top of my head.

      I will never try recipes from Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, or the Neelys. They never appeal to me.

      5 Replies
      1. re: lisavf

        Please share your Bourdain Osso Bucco recipe!

        1. re: lisavf

          Ina Garten is our favorite too.

          Alton Brown's recipes always seem like unnecessary work.

          1. re: lisavf

            Definitely Ina.... standing rib roast w/mustard horseradish sauce, provencal tomatoes, cheddar dill scones, tzatziki, so many others, just very solid recipes. Only 1 epic fail ~ her cornbread (should have known for good cornbread, go w/a Southern cook).

            Emeril & Bobby Flay's recipes always turn out delicious. I've made too many to list, but 2 of Bobby's salsa's, Emeril's short ribs, chocolate pecan pie and a Caesar dressing come to mind. Jacques Pepin, Giada and Tyler Florence (Mexican Pot Roast tacos) all good. Also Lidia Bastianich, beautiful cookbooks that speak to my soul and educate me further about my ancestral homeland. Recipes Pasta con Pomodori al Forno, Minestra di Pasta e Fagioli and Cavatelli with Cauliflower, Almonds & Toasted Bread Crumbs have become family favorites.

            The 3 "never try" I absolutely agree with. In all fairness, my fellow good cook sister-in-law tried some of Rachel's recipes and reported they were flat, flavorless or just didn't turn out well.

            1. re: ALLIEBTX

              Rachel has an entire bookcase at my local used book store dedicated to her entire line of books. They apparently are not keepers.

              1. re: Manassas64

                Interesting, I've been noticing the same thing at the thrift store I buy used cookbooks from. I always find myself organizing the books as I look through them and it seemed like every fifth book I saw was a RR. For many there were at least 3 copies of the same book. I wondered whether it was a case of the recipes not working or perhaps folks receiving them as gifts but not having interest in them.

          2. Wow, how did Alton Brown, Lydia Bastianich and Mario Batali get on the BAD list?
            These people are very technically competent and knowledgable. I can't even begin to post all the recipes I've tried that they've developed, dreamed up, been responsible for or just claimed as their own. If their taste is not to your liking or their focus is not in your range, it doesn't make them bad, just not appealling to you, which is fine and fair.
            The thing is, there are chefs out in TV Land for every cook, every level of skill and every taste. I can't say anything negative about any one of their recipes or styles. There's something for everyone, chose to watch or not. One man's garbage is another's treasure. I even look occasionally to the ones I deem as lost causes; perhaps there will be that one bit of info, that one spark of inspiration I never could imagine, that will be a eureka moment for me.

            Well, except maybe Guy Fieri, although sometimes I want the cocktail he just made.

            OK, I said my peace, carry on.

            6 Replies
            1. re: bushwickgirl

              I'm not sure how the OP can say for certain that these chefs are good or bad when he's never seen their programs or watched them in action and never tried to cook their recipes, just glanced at a few cookbooks! I don't make a lot of recipes from tv chefs, and I rarely look at their cookbooks, but when I want to be entertained or inspired I'll turn on the tv and watch them in action - and then if there's something that I want to try I'll look it up online and I can usually get the recipe.

              Ina Garten seems like a very reputable cook... I've made a few of her recipes and they worked out nicely.

              Alton Brown takes you through things step by careful step and he makes them extremely understandable and easy to follow. After watching his program you really KNOW how to prepare that particular item.

              On the bad side Paula Deen's recipes are a disaster - they looked good on television and they SOUNDED promising, but the two or three of them that I've tried to make were awful.

              1. re: Kajikit

                I've made tons of Paula's recipes! Everything, especially her cinnamon rolls, turned out very good.

              2. re: bushwickgirl

                When FN first came on I liked Alton Brown's food science schtick. Then after I had started doing my own cooking using youtube and other FN shows as beginner guides, I tried his TV recipes. Alton Brown only one to get on my permanent "cancelled" list because of his recipes. I made his gross cajun hot chocolate milk, and then gave him a 2nd chance with his pork brining technique. Both simple. Both disasters. I looked up his background and saw he wasn't a practicing chef and got his recipes from some college food science department. The whole show is basically very heavily edited and processed and artificial that looks better than it tastes. IMO. Ugh! Fraud!

                1. re: dach

                  I'm not much of a recipe person, but my 12 yo son is enamored of Alton, so we've tried about 4 of his recipes, and I must agree - they're not very good.

                  Measurements are off, the language he uses to instruct is often vague and depends too much on personal interpretation, and the recipes are just complicated to all hell for no good reason. They're so bad that my son is actually thinking he should start listening to his mom instead of following Alton's recipes. That's how bad they are. :P

                  And anecdotally speaking, no one gets more positive reviews than Ina Garten. Her recipes just seem to work for anyone I know who's tried them.

                2. re: bushwickgirl

                  Concur with @bushwickgirl. I've cooked dozens of AB recipes and they are great. I've done quite a few of MB's as well. I have no idea how these two could end up on the 'bad' list.

                  I regularly experiment around with things done by: Mario Batali, Tyler Florence, Alton Brown, Rachel Ray, Ina Garten, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Giada de Laurentis, Anne Burrell and Jamie Oliver. I've found most of their stuff to be solid.

                  The others not so much.

                  1. re: meadandale

                    I recently tried 2 recipes from Anne Burrell that I had seen on her show that I thought looked fantastic. Unfortunately, both were real losers. Even though I like Anne and I really like her approach to food on her show, those 2 failures have kind of put me off trying anything more. What did you try that worked?

                3. Regarding your 'bad' list could you possibly give just a couple of examples of what you found to be wrong with one of the recipes ("...amazement...at how technically wrong they are.") ? I ask because I've used several recipes from three of the five authors you have listed as 'bad' and, as the recipes have all turned out the way they were supposed to (I believe), and I am a cook (barely) who has to follow directions, I would argue that the recipes were 'correct' (at least for an untrained cook/me). Having said that there were some that I won't make again, because the people I prepare food for didn't care for the finished product, taste-wise (Alton Brown's version of onion soup springs to mind). Thank you.

                  1. HIT:
                    Anne Burrell
                    Ina Garten
                    Bobby Flay
                    Giada De Laurentiis

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dmjordan

                      My "HIT" list would be identical, with the addition of Alton Brown and ATK. Everything I've ever made of Anne Burrell's has been amazing... even if I have to tweak/adjust based on ingredient availability, time constraints, etc. When I'm searching for a recipe for something on FN's site, I always see if she has a recipe for it first, or if one of her recipes can work with the ingredients I have on hand.

                      My "MISS" list would be "none" because when a recipe bombs, I assume it's something I've done wrong, and I don't think I ever go back and give it another shot to see if it was me or the recipe. I blame myself instead of the recipe because I rarely follow a recipe to the letter. I'm always trying to substitute ingredients to "lighten up" a recipe, or cram extra veggies in there, or avoid going to the store for something I don't have on hand.

                    2. <BAD:

                      Lydia Bastianich
                      Mario Batali> ???

                      I wonder how many of their recipes you have made? and were they from their accompanying books, or from trying to pick the recipe off their performance on the show?

                      I've been cooking Lidia's (you might also try getting her name right) recipes for years with great success. I find that most of what she does on her shows is pretty basic Italian cooking.

                      I don't have the same track record with Mario, but I can't imagine his people allowing poorly written recipes to hit cyberspace. Then again, I have no clue who does the recipes for TVFN.

                      As for Martha, she's been "famous" for years for her recipes not working!

                      1. <<SIDEBAR #3: I don’t cook from recipes (too damn old to teach a dog new tricks) but I do look at them and sometimes just shake my head in amazement at how technically wrong they are. So my list is garnered by just LOOKING at their recipes.>>

                        Chef, I agree with others here who would appreciate it if you would explain in more detail just what you find "technically wrong" with the recipes of the chefs that made your bad list, especially since you admit you haven't tried the recipes and are making your judgments "by just LOOKING".

                        It's one thing to say, as lisa did in her post, that there are some chefs and television cooks whose recipes we won't try because the recipes don't appeal to us. That seems to me to be fair; lisa's not making a determination as to whether those recipes work or not, or deliver what was promised, and many, if not most, of us have foods, food styles and/or cooking methods that don't interest us.

                        It's another thing to say, without having tried the recipes and without backing up your criticisms by being *specific*, that people (especially the professional chefs on the list) have failed to live up to the professional reputations that they've spent their adult lives building. So please give us some concrete examples of where, IYO, the folks on your "BAD" list have fallen short in the technicial execution of their jobs. TIA.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: Normandie

                          CH has requested that we do “Less bashing of TV hosts”

                          My goal is not to bash these people, if you disagree than please put forth your list or show me three recipes from people that I have labeled Good or Bad to show that I have made a mistake.

                          I am not going to explain the reasons why we (this came from a Friday night dinner discussion with 5 other Chef’s/restaurateurs) picked these people, again I don’t want to bash. If you use their recipes and find them good – excellent, they are on the show for a reason, because they entertain and their food appeals to people. I don’t want to bust anyone’s bubble or be highly negative.

                          I am sure that those I listed as Bad have good recipes – please TEACH ME which ones they are.

                          1. re: RetiredChef

                            With respect, Chef, I don't think it's my responsibility to do that. I'm not the one who first put these chefs/cooks on a "BAD" list, and I'm not the one who remarked that I sometimes "shake my head in amazement at how techically wrong they are".

                            I can't speak for the board organizers and mods. I can only state that I personally have never gotten the sense that there is a prohibition here against our discussing the "pros and cons" of various chefs' methods and techniques, as long as it's not personal.

                            It also seems to me that if we call into question someone's professional reputation without backing up our comments with specific observations, then that's needless criticism, without a worthwhile objective. If the mission of this board is to share information on how better to prepare and enjoy our food, it occurs to me that we wouldn't put down the way someone cooks without sharing useful information about the way it should be done.

                            Personally...while I admit to not having ever been a professional chef, I am a very experienced homecook and a very experienced diner at fine restaurants. I know Mario Batali's credentials, I see regularly the knowledge he has of Italian cuisine and Italian cooking by region, I watch him cook and I've eaten at his establishments. I just don't understand what he's doing "technically wrong". You're the one who said he does; I asked for an explanation of your comments, but if you don't care to explain, then you don't, and that's your right, even if I disagree with doing that to someone else's reputation.

                            'Nuff said--peace and out.

                            1. re: Normandie

                              All Right I will give an example and reasons why the Chef’s may have gotten included on the bad list.

                              Claims to be an expert in a certain style of food but lacks knowledge and makes glaring mistakes (mispronouncing terms, claiming product X came from region Y when in fact it comes from Z.)

                              Recipes that fail on paper – the ingredients / ratios are wrong.

                              Wrong cooking methods or styles are used.


                              On a major national show (not Food Network) this chef cooked Paella while mentioning that this was an authentic and traditional recipe even mentioning a semi-famous chef ?he/she? visited with in Valencia where this dish comes from.

                              In this so called authentic recipe they use onions, which are never used in Valencia, only garlic.

                              They use clams, shrimp and sausage – which is not a combination that is used in Valencia.

                              They overload it with way too much paprika.

                              The actual recipe given is wrong on ratios (most likely a transcription error)

                              And worst of all the chef this person mentioned on the air has denounced this Paella as being anything but authentic and wants his name edited out of the tapes.

                              This is just ONE recipe, and we don’t judge a person on one goof-up, but when many of this person’s recipes are just like this – containing multiple errors throughout this person’s repertoire you have to call their knowledge and skills into question.

                              Also to be clear, I have no problem with dishes being made in untraditional and unique ways but the competent Chef, know this and will tell people this is his version of (fill in the blank / Paella) and not try to pass it off as the “traditional and authentic” version.

                              1. re: RetiredChef

                                <<All Right I will give an example and reasons why the Chef’s may have gotten included on the bad list.>>

                                For you to post a list of specific "BAD" chefs, without explaining at the time where each of them individually falls short, and then when pressed, discuss an anonymous chef and intimate that what this nameless chef does wrong, in your eyes, *may* be why some of the others landed on your "BAD" list is analogous to the following:

                                Suppose you took a course and at the end of the term, the instructor posted publicly a list of the names of five students who failed the course. You see your name is on the list. You go to the professor and ask why you failed. His response to you? He tells you that you *may* (the implication there being that you also may *not*) have done some of the things that another student, whose name he can't give you, did wrong. He tells you that that other student didn't participate in class discussions, didn't come to class prepared, seemed not to have done the reading assignments, didn't substantiate with evidence arguments the nameless student made in essay questions on the mid-terms and finals.

                                I doubt very much, Chef, that you would accept that instructor's criticisms about what another, unnamed student *may* (your word) have done wrong as a justification for failing YOU in the course.

                                I know I NEVER would accept from an instructor his citing what somebody else I don't even know *might* have done wrong as a reason for failing ME. So, sorry, but for the same reasons, your posting of those five individuals on you *BAD* list without clarification also falls short. If this is a place where we're supposed to exchange information, with a goal of helping to educate ourselves, collectively, about food and cooking by sharing knowledge and tips, then why not just say, "Alton Brown is a 'BAD' chef because he starts his pans out too hot and because he chooses the wrong cuts of meat for the following applications and because he doesn't understand the flavor profiles that the following spices create with the following produce yadayadayada"?

                                I'll give you an example. I think Ina Garten is an excellent cook, but I think she needs to improve some of her knife skills. I'm willing to give you specific examples. For one thing, she sometimes does NOT use the claw position to protect her non-cutting-hand fingertips. She also uses the cutting edge of the knife to scrape food off her cutting board, instead of using a bench scraper or flipping the knife over to scrape up the food with the NON-cutting edge.

                                You see? Those are *specific* criticisms of two things that I know she's doing incorrectly, because I've seen her do it with my own eyes on multiple occasions. Those are two bad habits I wouldn't want my teenage stepchildren to learn from her as they watch her prep food. It's not *bashing* her to say that, because, again, we're all here to exchange not just ideas about food, but also how to work with it correctly. It *would* be useless, pointless bashing to say, "I can't stand Ina Garten because her haircut stinks" or "Ina Garten has no sense of decorating style" or even, "Ina Garten needs to improve her knife skills," without saying WHY.

                                This is the last time I'm addressing the point with you, Chef. I'm not interested in beating dead horses. We'll all have our own opinions, I know, as to who are the good, best, bad and worst chefs and cooks on these shows. We may have valid reasons for thinking these things, and we may not. But I know this. I would *never* tolerate someone saying publicly that I am bad at my job without challenging them to detail *why* I (note: *I*, not one of my nameless colleagues) fall short. It's informally referred to as, "putting one's money where one's mouth is," and when someone is unwilling to do that, his/her statements don't have a long shelf-life with me. Just my opinion, of course.

                                As to Valencia, do you mean to say they never use onions in paella, specifically? Because I have seen onions in Valencian cuisine. So I'm a little confused about your point there.

                            2. re: RetiredChef

                              Respectfully, without some knowledge/understanding as to why you have chosen the chefs and authors for either the 'good' or 'bad' list, we can't (well at least I definitely can't) even begin to argue pro or con for anyone.

                              For example, you may think (more accurately know because of your experience) that some of Alton Brown's recipes are technically wrong because he calls for making soups using an electric skillet, or because his Coq au vin is made with chicken legs. And if that is why he is on your list, then there isn't an argument to be made. It is 'what he does'. And it is your valid opinion. But those may be the same reasons why his recipes work for me, and why he might be on my good list.

                              Basically we need (again, at least I need) some frame of reference, some criteria to begin making an argument for (or submit recipes examples from) a chef or author. Thank you.

                              1. re: blackoak

                                Putting aside my difference of opinion on a narrower aspect of the question, blackoak, I agree with your point that in this, as in any other discussion like this, whether it's about food or cars or architecture, we're missing a frame-of-reference, or common definition we can all work from, as to what constitutes a "good" or "bad" chef or cook.

                                And, taking that even further, I don't even know how we can compare cooks to chefs. Of course, cooks and chefs, or at least certain among them, would share cooking styles, skill sets, ingredient preferences, techniques and so on. But a chef is not the same thing as a cook.

                                It would be like lumping together a group of certified public accounts with someone like me, keeping my home accounts. Now...l have good arithmetic and money management skills, and even to the extent that I have assumed bookkeeping, budgetary and fiscal planning tasks in certain paid jobs before, but to group me and people with similar experience with CPAs would be unfair to me (and my ilk, LOL) and disrespectful, IMO, to the education and training that CPAs have to succeed at, in order to get their professional credentials.

                                My point is that, ideally, would we would have one set of common definitions as to what makes a "bad" or "good" chef, and then another set to express what makes a "bad" or "good" cook...the minimum common denominator characteristics we could all agree on to define those roles. JMO.

                                1. re: Normandie

                                  blackoak, I can't get the post to take my edits, but I wanted to clarify that obviously I was referring, in first paragraph, to my difference of opinion with the OP, and not with anything you had posted.

                                2. re: blackoak


                                  I didn’t think this was a difficult question,

                                  “FORGET personality, quirks, TV charisma, etc.
                                  What TV Chefs have given you ‘mostly’ consistent recipes vs those that have been hit and miss.”
                                  But to help you out, let me share with you just one of the responses from another poster

                                  >>>Alton Brown's Chicken Fried Steak turned out beautifully. His chocolate chip cookies however were a flop. Tasted great but were flat...flat...flat.<<<

                                  What I understand from this post is that they LIKED AB Chicken Fried Steak, it probably tasted really good to them, and they might make it again and again. However they did not LIKE his chocolate chip cookies, I think they might not have risen and were probably very dense and crunchy.

                                  I guess the frame of reference you are looking for is: Did you like it? Did it taste good? Does this TV chef give you consistent recipes that are yummy in your tummy? Or have you had several flops from a particular chef that did not taste good?

                                  1. re: RetiredChef

                                    Like RetiredChef, I, too, am having a hard time understanding why so many see this as a difficult question. It seems pretty straight-forward to me (as RC has reiterated it in this last post):

                                    Who is good (whose recipes work consistently)?
                                    Who is bad (whose recipes don't work consistently)?

                                    That is the main issue of the question asked.

                                    The other issues are sidebars (as they are accurately labeled)--they are qualifications attached to the original question & they don't change the essence of the original question.

                                3. re: RetiredChef

                                  I have not tried many of Mario or Lydia's recipes so I'm not arguing whether these people put out good recipes or not. I am interested in how you can tell a bad recipe just by reading it. I've wasted enough time and money by not having that skill and now I tend to only try a recipe if it's been rated by others.

                                  1. re: RetiredChef

                                    There is a huge quantitative and qualitative difference between bashing a TV host and saying that what they are doing is technically incorrect.

                                    "I don't see how his addition of baking soda here is anything short of a disaster," is the latter. "OMG! He added baking soda?!?!?! He's the WORST TV COOK EVER!!!" is the former.

                                    1. re: RetiredChef

                                      you ask for details, but refuse to play your own game. not kosher. sorry. i won;t play along

                                      1. re: thew

                                        I'm not playing either... This thread is suspect.

                                  2. I don't even consider Bourdain a TV chef because he's never really cooked on air. Neither of his shows have been cooking shows. They are travelogues with food as the centerpiece and he's certainly never given recipes on air. His role on TV has been as host/presenter.

                                    1. RC, my list would include these chefs with television show

                                      Emeril Lagasse
                                      Rick Bayless
                                      Caprial Pence
                                      Jacques Pepin
                                      Ina Garten

                                      Rachel Ray

                                      1. I am so glad I'm not the only one who finds that Alton Brown's recipes don't work. Not only are his recipes overly technical and complicated, but he's very contradictory in his shows. I remember reading something by one blogger who said that his ribs and his mac and cheese are both excellent (as many people have said) but that in 10 years of shows, he's only had 2 hits, why bother watching him?


                                        Ina Gargen
                                        Giada DeLaurentis
                                        Tyler Florence


                                        I have mixed feelings on Rachael Ray. Even though I can't stand her or her food, her earlier shows, when she was still cooking sanely and not coming up with weird frankenrecipes mixing burgers with pasta and such, she had one or two good ideas that worked for me. I still make her Sherry Cherry Tomatoes as a side dish quite often. Then again, I have had one successful RR recipe, so that kind of ranks her with Alton Brown, doesn't it?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Avalondaughter

                                          The only show I normally watch or tape is Hubert Keller. His recipes and presentations are excellent.

                                          1. re: celeryroot

                                            I didn't know Keller had a show, maybe I will turn on the TV sometime and watch it. Thanks for letting me know.


                                        2. Hits:
                                          Nigella Lawson: Make her stuff over and over
                                          Rachael Ray (not interested in much of what she does, but it always works)
                                          Christina Cooks (PBS) lady: Great veggie food
                                          Jamie Oliver: Simple and good, but I don't make his stuff often.

                                          Martha Stewart: Great for basics, but some misses in there over the years.
                                          Giada: Generally good, but some came out not to my taste.

                                          Ina Garten--disgusted by the amount of butter/oil used in some of her recipes. Tried several times, but not to my taste.

                                          1. The only two I would disagree with on your BAD list are Lydia Bastianich and Mario Batali.

                                            That said.............. I have to agree with the posters who have taken issue with your approach to this. Personally I find it almost useless. If you are going to criticize a recipe as being 'technically wrong' you are, I would think, finding specifics about the recipe that are incorrect or won't work or are misleading. I can't verify your credentials, so I'll take you at your word that you are a professional. I would hope that a professional would provide substance to such a discussion.

                                            If you teach new chefs, are you the type who tells them there's something wrong with their dish but refuses to tell them what it is, or even give them some clues? That is certainly a recognized fom of 'teaching' but, for most of us here, I would think it all but useless as we don't have the training to dissect the dish (recipe) and recognize the flaws you might find.

                                            I spend time on Chowhound because I find it helpful. My biggest problem with your post is that, as you first presented it, it is not helpful to me in any way. Even after your additional comments it still comes off as more pedantic that useful.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Midlife

                                              >>>My biggest problem with your post is that, as you first presented it, it is not helpful to me in any way.

                                              Much like cooking we all have differant tates, if you don't wish to discuss:

                                              "What TV Chefs have given you ‘mostly’ consistent recipes vs those that have been hit and miss" than you are free to ignore this post."

                                              Than you are free to not to.


                                              1. re: RetiredChef

                                                Just saw this reponse, 3 years later, when someone reurrected the topic. Gee..... thanks. I didn't realize I was free to ignore it. ;o] On the other hand, if we just ignored posts we disagree with this would be rather uninteresting site.

                                            2. I want to add to the good list.
                                              Paula Dean for her baking...Her food is a little too rich and greasy.
                                              Ina Garten, I have made her Brisket, Short ribs, and some of her cold salads.

                                              As for the BAD list, some of the chefs tastes are way different because of where they live.
                                              As for Martha Stewart i WOULD NEVER MAKE ANYTHING FROM HER.
                                              I just dont like anything she does.
                                              But i must say this is a great thread. Better then most.
                                              Thank you RetiredChef

                                              1. I have made at least fifty recipes out of all of the Frugal Gourmet's cookbooks and I can't think of one that we didn't absolutely love and make repeatedly over the years.

                                                Alton Brown's Chicken Fried Steak turned out beautifully. His chocolate chip cookies however were a flop. Tasted great but were flat...flat...flat.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: KristieB

                                                  Which version of the recipe did you make? That episode was one of his most food sciencey ever. He gave specific ingredients, ratios and techniques for three versions of CC cookies: thin (flat) & crispy, puffy & caky or thick & chewy.

                                                2. I'm a home cook, not professional at all. I pretty much cook dinner in less than an hour every night, but I like to spend Sundays cooking more time consuming dishes. So maybe I'm not the most professional.. but I still watch tons of cooking shows and I try to learn from them...

                                                  Rachael Ray-
                                                  it doesn't always take 30 minutes, but I think she has a lot of good ideas. Her ingredients are usually items that I have or can easily get, and that earns point in my book. Some recipes that I've used-- beans and greens soup, baked chicken and olive meatballs, clinatro pesto...

                                                  Ina Garten- she's one of my favorites. Lots of her recipes are special occasion food- tons of oil and butter- but everything I've ever made of hers came out awesome. Crunchy noodle salad (w/less oil), macaroni and cheese, chocolate sheet cake, banana muffins, short ribs all came out excellent.

                                                  Martha Stewart- LOVE her. I've watched her show since I was a kid and I have all her books. One or two recipes didn't turn out well, but everything else has been great. Her complicated recipes, simple dinners, and desserts have all been successful for me.

                                                  Emeril- I made several recipes and they were all awful. Either too salty or bland or just wayyy too greasy.

                                                  Ingrid Hoffman- to make one recipe I ended up going on a goose chase for ingredients. It turned out awful. Another one I tried was some kind of coconut dessert... was too sweet and it fell apart..

                                                  1. I have to say I am shocked that so many people on here put Alton Brown in the "bad" column. I've been cooking his recipes reliably for years.

                                                    Just off the top of my head, his sugar cookie recipe is sublime, with accompanying frosting, his ham w/ bourbon/mustard/ginger snap crust has made me the star of more than one dinner party, and his eggnog recipe is absolutely to-die for. I've made his pate choux with much success, and many many others with great results. I can go through my list of recipes to pick out more if needed. Nothing I've ever made from him has flopped. Nothing.

                                                    1. Hits:
                                                      Joanne Weir (crostini w/ sausage & taleggio, linguine w/ goat cheese & arugula)
                                                      Ina Garten (Chicken pot pie!)
                                                      Martha Stewart (pate brisee, pate sucree, rough puff pastry,)
                                                      Misses: Mark Bittman-not a TV chef, sorry (His chicken w/ tahini was just gross...)

                                                      1. When Batali was “Cookbook of the Month” - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/561501 - I cooked from Molto Italiano, having never before used any of his recipes. See list of recipes, below. I had initial qualms about the book, due to some technical issues in some of the first recipes I tried, as well as annoyance at photos not matching the descriptions in the recipes, but this was my post-mortem comment:

                                                        “Despite some of my initial bitching, I cooked a lot of delicious things from this book. Some of my favorites include the duck ragu, the mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches, the lamb sauce, the osso bucco, the roasted potatoes, clams casino [should be Genovese] - and more I'm sure. I particularly like the idea of having that tomato sauce on hand, which makes making a number of the other dishes a lot quicker, and I used it on pizza this weekend.”

                                                        My point here is that a cookbook can have a couple of not so great recipes – or a TV cooking show host can – and yet one can also find some great recipes. If I find a couple of recipes that I end up making again and again, I am glad I’ve purchased that book. Patricia Wells’ “Vegetable Harvest” was a book that I pretty much detested, but make her prune pear compote again and again.

                                                        In terms of being able to read a recipe and know that there is something technically wrong with it – as a professional chef, that is great that you are able to do that. As a reasonably accomplished home cook, sometimes I can, and sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I discover that the recipe is “wrong”, and I often learn from that. Sometimes I “think” a recipe must not work, but it does, and turns out to be a really smart way to make that item (Simon Hopkinson’s Hollandaise Sauce comes to mind). At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and I, for one, find it hard to generalize about recipes without having made them unless they look blantantly problematic or disgusting.

                                                        “So my list is garnered by just LOOKING at their recipes.” With respect to this statement, where did you look at the recipes? Thanks.


                                                        Potatoes Roasted with Garlic Cloves (some of the best roast potatoes I've ever made), Eggplant Bruschetta, Eggplant Parmigiana, Grilled Mozzarella Sandwiches (so good, I've made them again and again), Mozzarella Skewers with Anchovy Sauce (lots of technical difficulties, but tasted delicious - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5614...), Shaved Fennel with Blood Oranges, Pecorino & Pomegranates, Clams Genovese, Chicken Liver Crostini, Pancetta-Wrapped Radicchio, Prosciutto with Baked Stuffed Figs, Tripe Roman-Style (I don't like tripe, but my husband said it was quite good, though not a rave), Chickpea & Pasta Soup (I prefer Hazan's version, but this had a nice tip in it that makes making her version easier), Cauliflower Soup, Black Risotto with Cuttlefish, Spaghetti with Caramelized Onions, Anchovies and Toasted Bread Crumbs, Spaghetti with Bottarga (I make this many ways, and, while this one isn’t my go to recipe, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it), Linguine with Monkfish, Thyme and Zucchini, Spaghetti with Garlic, Onions and Guanciale, Duck Ragu, Jumbo Shrimp Marsala House-wife Style, Bream in a Package (some tech. difficulties - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5614...), Monkfish Scaloppine with Chianti and Sage, The Devil’s Chicken (did wonder if there was an error on the pepper quantity), Asparagus with Citrus, Parsley and Garlic, Broccoli Sauteed in Wine and Garlic (not thrilled with this one), Grilled Marinated Chanterelles, Racicchio with Guanciale and Rosemary, Marinated Zucchini (a “meh), Grilled Jumbo Shrimp with White Beans, Rosemary and Mint Oil, Chicken in the Style of Canzano, Spaghetti with Garlic, Onion and Guanciale (noted some changes that I might make in the future, but still enjoyed the dish), PICI with LAMB SAUCE, Risotto alla Milanese, Osso Bucco with Toasted Pinenut Gremolata, the Basic Tomato Sauce (basis for a number of recipes), Marinated Eggplant

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                          P.S. Re: a comment further up, it's not bashing TV cooking show hosts if one is discussing their recipes/cooking ability, rather than their cup size, etc.

                                                        2. Every single Ina Garten recipe I have ever tried (probably 20 - 30) has been a big hit, minus the Parmesan Chicken with cold salad on top, but that was my fault; I burned the bottom of the breasts.

                                                          Almost all of Nigella's recipes have been amazing for me as well. I've had a few "Meh" and "This is fine, nothing great" moments but never anything I've really regreted or been disgusted by. 90% of the time I'm so happy I whipped out one of her books and given something new a whirl.

                                                          1. Hits= Pierre Franey, Frugal Gourmet, Jacques Pepin.

                                                            Miss=Alton Brown, James Barber

                                                            1. I can't really say that the tone of this thread made it fun to read, but I got bored of the cookware forum and headed for different pastures.

                                                              I agree that most TV chefs have something good (and bad) to offer either in their shows or in their books. I used to watch them quite a lot, but now I only watch a few. My standard now is that I only watch shows that inspire me personally to cook. Every cookbook has hundreds of recipes that are probably accurate and will produce good food but I will also never want to cook most of that food. TV shows are the same way for me. Sometimes I just review the info of my DVR or listen to the intro and then hit 'delete'.

                                                              One show that survived even though I would give it mixed results is Giada's show. Despite my wife thinking that I watch it just to look at her, the simple Italian that she cooks often inspires me to make something new or adjust some ingredients to a recipe I already use. It just fits with what I cook (right now).

                                                              With that said, I really don't like a lot of her recipes. It seems that half of them involve putting something on crunchy bread, which I personally don't care for. But I still watch the show.

                                                              I also like that Rick Bayless show, Mexico: One Plate at a Time. And I also fondly recall the older Jacques Pepin and Nick Stellino shows. These shows also inspired me to cook and try different things.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: smkit

                                                                Agree on Pepin and Stellino. Both class acts.

                                                              2. every ina garten recipe i've ever made has been amazing. only one i wouldn't repeat is the the tequila lime chicken - not because it wasn't good but because it wasn't good enough for the effort.
                                                                i haven't made any that i thought were TOO butter heavy for what they were. i mean i eat light a lot but pound cake (and man is her lemon pound cake divine) should have butter.
                                                                she's not my favorite chef - other's i would rather eat at their restaurants. but she's my favorite to cook her recipes at home. everyone always raves.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                  I must admit that I have never watched Ina Garten and will have to try her out. It seems as if she gets a lot of praise here.

                                                                  1. re: smkit

                                                                    Hits: Ina Garten, every time. Giada. Tyler Florence.

                                                                    Hits and Miss: Rachael Ray: Besides the fact that some of her recipes have taken me more than an hour to complete (oh, to have staff that prepped everything before hand for me!), some of her dishes have been lackluster. Emeril: I've had some wonderful Emeril recipes, but my beef with him is that his recipes usually call for well over a dozen ingredients and a few times the cost and effort didn't equal the results.

                                                                    Miss: I don't think I've ever made anything I've truly regretted, but there are some chefs/cooks that prepare food that just doesn't appeal, so I'm not even inspired to make it. One case in point is Ingrid Hoffman, but that could be my fault because (let the flames begin) she lives in Florida, as I do, and I find the Hispanic cuisine in South Florida bland (will state categorically that I have not tried any fusion foods, so can't comment on that). Caveat: she recently made a Chipotle Tamale Pie that seemed more Mexican; I made it with ground pork instead of the ground turkey called for in the recipe and it was fantastic. I'm adding it to my rotation of recipes.

                                                                    1. re: MysticYoYo

                                                                      OT but...no flames here! I completely feel the same about the Latin food in south Florida. Maybe it is the Cuban influence? I adore regional Latin cuisine in almost any form...but I have never really developed an appreciation for Cuban. I do find it incredibly bland and very one-note. Even the textures are usually unappealing to me. Personal taste I guess...my ex is obsessed with the stuff. Too each their own I guess!

                                                                  2. Hits: Martha Stewart, particularly out of her big hors' d oeuveres cookbook. Claire Robinson from her 5 ingredient fix show. Anthony Bourdain from his Les Halles cookbook.

                                                                    Misses: Rachael Ray. Too many misses too forgive. Food overly greasy, bad flavor combos or the spicing totally off.

                                                                    1. Most of them are pretty good. I find the Test Kitchen the most consistent - usually a good balance of quality and relative simplicity. Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart are underrated by the chef snobs. Lydia Bastianich's food is pedestrian, and Batali's is overrated, but I find most Italian food very easy to prepare ad hoc.
                                                                      But Paula Dean is by far the worst - so bad that I won't even try them. Too much of her food is fried, greasy, fatty, oversalted, overbuttered, overcreamed, unhealthy southern garbage. But then I don't like a lot southern cooking, except for bbq and NOLA/Cajun. For example, shrimp and grits - at least as prepared by most chefs - is my idea of a truly awful combination.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: a1234

                                                                        At the last Chicago Housewares show they had a great line up of celebrity chefs, and I found Paula Dean to be one of the most underwhelming. With that said, she was one of the most popular demonstrations that day, but the type of person watching her was very different. I won't say what 'type' of person largely made up the crowd, but I will say there was a dearth of younger foodies.

                                                                        1. re: a1234

                                                                          Please not that even Southernors do not consider Paula Dean to be Southern anymore. Her cooking represents a caricature of the fresh and local ideal that is southern cooking.

                                                                        2. In fairness to the celebrity authors, I think it's tough to judge their recipes as being "good or bad" without having executed them. In cooking and in life, I've found that sometimes things surprise me! In my experience there have been a number of occasions where I've thought "really, they want me to add "x"... or, "that step seems completely unnecessary" only to find a positive, unexpected result. On other occasions I've been inspired by concepts and although the method or ingredients may not have been technically perfect, they've been a great jumping off point for an exciting dish.

                                                                          If I've understood Retired Chef's original post, I think he's saying, in his opinion, the celebrity chef's (who he neither watches nor knows about) books/recipes "LOOK good or LOOK bad"

                                                                          As someone who has taken the dishes from the page and, actually executed recipes (with and without tweaks to personalize dishes to our tastes), here are my conclusions:

                                                                          Consistently Good:

                                                                          Ina Garten
                                                                          Donna Hay
                                                                          Rick Bayless (I'm always stunned at how such complex flavours are derived from so few ingredients!)
                                                                          Martha Stewart (eg. her Giblet Gravy is our house turkey gravy, I've made tons of rec's from MSL mag and always been happy)
                                                                          Gary Rhodes
                                                                          Julia Child
                                                                          Mario Batali (recent hits include: Warm Shrimp Salad, Chx Thighs w Snap Pease and Agliata, Spicy Black-Pepper Coated Drumbsticks from Italian Grill and Cauliflower w Olives, Beet Salad w Robiola and Spaghetti con la Sarde from Molto Gusto)
                                                                          Ainsley Harriott
                                                                          Bobby Flay


                                                                          Paula Deen (In fairness I've only tried 5 rec's but none have been good)
                                                                          Michael Smith

                                                                          1. Are we limited to only The Food Network? I find the best recipes from PBS's Create Network.

                                                                            But if we're limited to the Food Network, here goes:

                                                                            Racheal Ray--made her pasta-pizza carbonara, and it was textureless. Not sure what I did wrong. But I love her ideas that employ basic stuff you have in your pantry.

                                                                            Paula Deen--love her rich foods, but often wonder if they can be modified to be more healthy.

                                                                            1. Good:

                                                                              Tyler Florence
                                                                              Ina Garten
                                                                              Jacques Pepin
                                                                              Julia Child
                                                                              Emeril Lagasse if you discount his use of essence
                                                                              Alton Brown

                                                                              The Food Network Kitchens recipes. Their recipes are either tested well or are classic versions of a standard recipe.

                                                                              The Cook's Illustrated or America's Test Kitchen recipes.

                                                                              1. I don't use recipes daily, but rather use t.v. hosts for inspiration as I cook. Maybe two or three times per week, I actually follow a recipe.

                                                                                Giada: inspires me, the recipes I have tried always seem work, are easy, semi healthy but she tends to use similar ingredients in many of her dishes.

                                                                                Bobby: always flavorful, inspirational, unique combos. Easy to read the recipe and see that it will work for you or not.

                                                                                Ina: Not as inspiring, but recipes are very consistent, always technically correct and taste delish. Her catering history is evident.

                                                                                Rachel Ray: some may laugh, but she is sooooo inspiring when you need to cook for a crowd of hungry younger people!!! My twenty something kids and their friends think I am "the bomb" when I make anything from her buffalo chicken pizza to whatever interesting pasta combo she is hawking. Fabulous! Thank you Rachel because I would have never thought up this stuff on my own :)

                                                                                Paula: I believe that many of her recipes are inspired from the back of a box, bottle or can of something..southern?

                                                                                Emeril: Just not consistently good to my taste, and I can't seem to tell that from just looking at the recipe (and I usually can). There seem to be better recipes from other chefs for his same dishes.

                                                                                Tyler: Everything he makes looks good- I just don't get the "wow factor" in flavor from anything he makes. His ultimate cheesecake and lasagna are two recipes that come to mind that are not "bad" and are technically correct......but really miss the mark on taste.

                                                                                1. My favourites for recipes that work for me as an average home cook are Jacques Pepin, Jamie Oliver, Ina Garten, Tyler Florence and - haven't seen his name yet on this thread - maybe because he might not be on-air outside of Canada - Ricardo Larrivee.

                                                                                  1. While I don't care at all for her on-air persona (I'll scream if I hear "yummo" or "sammy" again in my lifetime - lol!), I have a couple of Rachel Ray's cookbooks & all of her recipes have been right on the mark. Very little if any "tweaking" required except to adjust for personal taste. And all delicious, I might add.

                                                                                    On the other hand, I began collecting Martha Stewart's cookbooks back when she was still a happy housewife/caterer & long before she became a diva, & even back then every single one of her recipes required SERIOUS adjustments.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Breezychow

                                                                                      I don't have any Rachael Ray cookbooks, but I do take them out of the library once in a while, and I sometimes watch her show. Her recipes are sometimes a little too heavy for my taste... but her ideas are pretty good.

                                                                                      Re Martha Stewart- her baking times are ALWAYS off. I remember baking a batch of apple spice cookies and it took double the amount of time than the recipe stated to bake. Her Everyday Food recipes are pretty good though.

                                                                                    2. I usually do not follow recipes to the letter and prefer those that are more simple and straightforward. Given those criteria, when I do a search on the ingrediants in the fridge today I will usually look at recipes by:

                                                                                      Rachael Ray
                                                                                      Ina Garten
                                                                                      Jacques Pepin
                                                                                      Tyler Florence
                                                                                      FN kitchens
                                                                                      5 star recipes from epicurious.com

                                                                                      1. AB: Hits: Salmon in parchment, Grilled Pizza, Bar food episode (Buffalo wings), just to name three. Hate to use the word "inspiring" but the point is that he can embolden the beginner cook to take on pretty much anything. Which I have. Food snobs need not apply.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: egld02155

                                                                                          I have quite a few cookbooks but the only ones I go to regularly are Bourdain's and Ming's.

                                                                                          1. re: egld02155

                                                                                            Roast turkey, Prime Rib slow cooked then seared afterwards, onion soup( so the best )

                                                                                          2. I like this thread. It gives me a good idea of who to trust.

                                                                                            Bobby Flay - I've always been shocked how well his recipes work out. Flavorful and a hit with everyone. I know I can depend on a crowd pleaser when when I use one of his recipes.

                                                                                            Paula Dean - For Pies only. Both of the pies I have done from her recipes have been delicious.

                                                                                            Ina Garten - My picky brother in law loves her chicken recipes.

                                                                                            Hit and Miss:
                                                                                            Alton Brown - I don't get it I think I'm at 50% great 50% not with his.

                                                                                            Emeril - again 50/50

                                                                                            Racheal Ray - Big disappointment with a lamb dish I made from her but when she sticks to more classic dishes I enjoy them.

                                                                                            Guy Fieri - I made something I thought my husband would like, he didn't and thought it was greasy but lacked flavor. He seems like he might make better bar type food though.

                                                                                            1. I've had hit and miss with just about all of them. I might make a recipe exactly once but I take the technique and concept and use it over and over.

                                                                                              Giada probably is the one I have had consistently good luck with the recipe - instructions and taste and I get a lot of inspiration from her dishes even when I don't try the recipe - with her cooking, a lot of time I just take what I see on tv and have it it without even looking up the recipe because they aren't complicated. Her Pappa e Pomodoro Soup is my all time favorite that I make all the time and have to have when I don't feel good as well has her Little Thimbles (ditalini with a quick tomato sauce and mozzarella). Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders. Butternut squash lasagna. Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Spaghetti with Swiss Chard.

                                                                                              I have made a lot of Ina Garten's recipes all with success. Chopped liver. Mexican chicken soup. Smoked salmon spread. Croissant bread pudding. Roasted asparagus. French onion soup. Tomato basil soup. Potato fennel gratin. Buttermilk mashed potatoes. Herb baked eggs.

                                                                                              As much as her voice wears on my nerves, Paula Deen's corn casserole is a mainstay at our house after we had it at a friend's. Her versions of gooey butter cake have inspired me to try other flavor variations. But she made a chocolate cake with mounds bite size candy bars in it and it looked heavenly. But it was completely disappointing and a mess.

                                                                                              Even though I REALLY can't stand her, I did see Rachael Ray fixing some chicken tenderloins one time and I tried them and they were really good. Forgot the name of the recipe but it's about the only one of her recipes I have ever tried. The fact that she talks about mayonnaise being so dangerous grates my nerves since commercially produced mayonnaise is really quite shelf stable - it is what the mayonnaise is mixed with that tends to make it harbour food bourne illnesses.

                                                                                              Honestly - I could go on and on with just about every one of them with good and bad with Giada and Ina being two I have never had issues with - oh, and some of the ones we forget about - Rick Bayless recipes tend to be successful, Justin Wilson - one of the first chef personalities, Frugal Gourmet, Mary Ann Esposito, Julia Child, Jaques Pepin....

                                                                                              1. Good:

                                                                                                Ina Garten (tons of food and baking)
                                                                                                Bobby Flay (made 2 recipes, one salad/dressing and one cookie recipe)
                                                                                                Tyler Florence (made 3 recipes, veggie side, a salad/dressing and a cookie recipe)
                                                                                                Martha Stewart (tons of food and baking)
                                                                                                Ellie Krieger (food only)
                                                                                                Nick Malgieri (baking only) -- I hope he qualifies, he's been on tv a lot just doesn't have his own show


                                                                                                Dorie Greenspan (baking)

                                                                                                I can't think of any TV folks where I've made something and it didn't turn out, but I will say that the biggest disappointment in a cookbook is Dorie Greenspan's "Baking." I made 5 things and they all came out horrible. I finally googled a blog where people were complaining that the temps and measurements were all wrong in the book. I was about to turn in my apron. I thought I had lost the ability to bake!

                                                                                                Ina and Martha are the most consistent for me in terms of recipes. I have all of Ina's cookbooks and I don't even question something like 2/3 cup of mint in her pea soup. I just put it in there and it is never too much. Ina's Outrageous Brownies are absolutely amazing (if you like coffee and use good instant coffee in the batter. Using Folgers, not so much). I would say Ina's strongest area is soups. I have made every single soup recipe she has and they are all amazing and I make them over and over again. The corn soup, the ox tails soup (this is in the most recent book) and the pea soup are all "lick the bowl clean" good.

                                                                                                I've made a lot of baking recipes from Martha. I have her 2 original books (The aqua one "The MS Cookbook" and then the next one that came out after that "The MS Living Cookbook"). Her grain recipes recipes are fabulous. There is a bulgur and herbs one and a bulgur and pine nuts one that are just easy and flavorful. She also has a cauliflower puree recipe that will make you want to eat cauliflower :D I like Martha's recipes for a lot of the basics like Apple Pie and Beef Stew. I like that she has the basic recipe and then will have 3-4 different versions. I've made several appetizers, one is little ricotta cheese sandwiches. I've just never had an issue with her recipes (and I am aware that there was a dust up early on when she came out that her recipes didn't work, but I don't know if my editions of her books have been corrected or not or if that was just media hype from haters).

                                                                                                Martha's "Lexi's Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe (and it has changed to Alexi's in recent years) is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe (although I did win a ribbon at the county fair last week making Bobby Flay's Throwdown chocolate chip cookie recipe).

                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                  Wow, we must have been baking from different Dorrie Greenspan baking books. I yet to have a failure out of it and several of the recipes in it are my "go-to" for a particular item.

                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                    Can you tell me which ones you made that came out well? I will try them.

                                                                                                    It's a massive book, so I may have just hit on the duds.

                                                                                                    1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                      And I may have missed the duds :-)

                                                                                                      The recipe I use most frequently is the corn muffin recipe in the front of the book. I think it's called Corniest Corn Muffins, or something like that. I've never had it fail and 9 times out of 10 I add the corn. I've also had good luck with a cranberry upside down tort.

                                                                                                      Many of her recipes are very dependent upon baking powder as the leavening. I've found the recipes tend to work best when my can of baking powder is fairly new.

                                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                        The CCM recipe that I find on line looks like a straight forward (northern) cornbread, with just addition of a egg yolk and some corn kernels.

                                                                                                        In most cases if you are familiar with recipes from a good basic cookbook (like Joy), you should be able spot deviations in TV recipes, and think about whether they make sense or not.

                                                                                                        The OP gave an example of a 'bad' paella recipe - bad being a deviation from 'authenticity'. In general if a posters says a TV recipe is bad or was a flop, it would help to know why, or what was wrong.

                                                                                                        1. re: paulj


                                                                                                          I was not responding to the OP, my response above was to a specific question asked by Manassas64 regarding an author and cookbook that have not been the subject of a TV show.

                                                                                                          Whatever your point, it's lost on me

                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                              Thanks. I have that recipe flagged. It must have been next on my list to make when I abandoned this book. LOL I made the chocolate chip cookies first and then the pumpkin muffins second and I thought I was losing my mind. I think I made the plain pound cake after that and started to really doubt my abilities. I can't remember what I made after that, probably the blueberry muffins and most likely cookies since that's the thing I made most often.

                                                                                                              My main complaint was not enough flavor and/or sweetness and the baking times were way over. I did appreciate that Dorie was on the eGullet in 2006 when the book first came out with people posting their recipes and issues and she was troubleshooting. Don't know when I've seen a chef do that!

                                                                                                              I will definitely try the corn muffins next. You've given me a reason to look at this book again. I saw the recipe for World Peace Cookies in a magazine recently and have been on the fence about trying them. It's a beautiful book and a great reference book with lots of ideas. So even if I never made another recipe out of it again, it's still a useful tool.

                                                                                                              1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                I understand that the World Peace Cookies are rather tempermental and not the easiest cookie in the book to make. IIRC that was a recipe with a lot of comments on the EG thread wtih Dorrie.

                                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                  "World Peace Cookies are rather tempermental"

                                                                                                                  Your comment just sent me into a fit of giggles this morning.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                    A lot of reviews on that cookie have to do with they are too rich/chocolatey, too. Such a controversial cookie. LOL

                                                                                                                    Is there a cookbook thread? Another cookbook I have is the Rose Bakery "Breakfast Lunch and Tea" which I love but it's also conversions and made for the Englilsh pallet.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                      I have trouble explaining why it made me laugh, but I guess it's the notion of world peace being so difficult to achieve, and the World Peace Cookie is apparently also difficult to create as well. It just hit my funny bone I guess.

                                                                                                                  2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                    Hi DiningDiva

                                                                                                                    I just wanted to let you know I broke down and tried another Dorie Greenspan recipe from the Baking cookbook. I decided to try her "Almost Good for Everything Pie Crust" recipe. I made sure to google the issues ahead of time (found several blogs calling it an epic fail and a "Melty mess") and adjusted to make sure I didn't use more than 4T of water (as that seemed to me the prevailing thought to fix this). I still had a bit of a melty mess of a pie crust, but the flavor and texture of the crust was wonderful.

                                                                                                                    I am determined to find a recipe that works, as is, perfectly, in this book before I die ;o)

                                                                                                  2. Good: Rachel Ray: Simple, uses common ingedients.
                                                                                                    Alton Brown: more in depth, but explains why things work and they do.

                                                                                                    Bad: Paula Deen: Adding a stick of butter doesn't make everything taste better, at least when I know its in there. Maybe at a restaurant where I could kid myself.
                                                                                                    Sandra Lee (well actually I don't know if I've ever made one of her "recipes")

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Shann

                                                                                                      Shann, "recipes" from Sandra Lee. Agreed. Processed.

                                                                                                      I've had mit and miss luck with Tyler. Bought a ton of ingredients once for his french onion soup, and it was only so-so. Bummer, considering what it cost.

                                                                                                      Can't remember the one Italian woman's name from Food Network, not Giada. But anyway, I made her Charolette Russe, and it was ghastly, very eggy and not chocolatey at all. Expensive to make, didn't set right. However, it was visually appealing. I guess that doesn't mean squat if it tastes like crap.

                                                                                                      1. re: natewrites

                                                                                                        What would be so expensive in french onion soup? The cheese? The special serving bowls? :)

                                                                                                        Perhaps the trickiest thing with soup is getting the salt right. A recipe can't tell you that. You have taste - repeatedly.

                                                                                                    2. Good:
                                                                                                      Michael Chiarello

                                                                                                      Martha Stewart (I'm still recovering from trying to make her pierogis)

                                                                                                      Tyler (needs adjustments)
                                                                                                      Emeril (dishes are overly complicated...more ingredients than necessary)
                                                                                                      Lidia (way heavy on the olive oil...maybe just not to my taste)

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Christina D

                                                                                                        After reading your post I looked up Stewart's pierogi recipe and I can't figure out why you had difficulty with it. Is this the recipe you used?


                                                                                                        What was the problem with it? I grew up in a family where my grandmother made pierogis (or pyrohy in my family) for every holiday meal.

                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                          I used this recipe:


                                                                                                          Its been a long time, but I remember the dough as being incredibly soft and difficult to deal with. The recipe is basically the same as the one you posted (save 1T of sour cream), but the cabbage recipe directed the reader to roll it to 1/16th inch thick. Her potato version said 1/8th inch. This may have been the problem...it was so soft and thin, it couldn't handle the weight of a cheese and cabbage filling. Then again, maybe it was me.

                                                                                                          The filling on this one was no party either. :op

                                                                                                          1. re: Christina D

                                                                                                            You figured it out. She had you rolling the dough too thin. Plus, adding a little cream cheese (a couple tablespoons) will help keep the dough a little stiffer and easier to work with. If you followed Stewart's recipe she made a mistake in not having you chill the potato filling. It is much easier to work with if it is cold and then brought up to something still below room temperature.

                                                                                                      2. Surpised not to see comment, either way, on Laura Calder.

                                                                                                        I find her shows to be very helpful and incredibly easy to follow. One of the saving graces of Cooking Channel IMHO.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                          Cooking Channel isn't widely available.

                                                                                                          One day I hope to have it so I can see what the fuss is all about.

                                                                                                          1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                            But CC recipes are available on line to anyone. More Laura Calder on Food Network Canada.

                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                              I follow CC on Pinterest and find very nice recipes there. Doesn't make up for the fact that I can't watch the show.

                                                                                                        2. Let me repeat an earlier request - if you talk about a bad recipe, try to explain what was wrong. It will help the rest of us a lot more than a simple yea or nay. It's one thing if the recipe has errors (e.g. Tbl instead of tsp), and quite another if it isn't as hot, or sweet, bland as you like.

                                                                                                          1. From the replies here I'm guessing it's more about we cooks and our abilities rather than the cooks we're following.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                              Ha, good point. It would be like my criticizing Ryan Hall's marathon plan and not qualifying for Boston. As I read the criticisms in these threads, I was thinking I'd had good luck with most of the people's recipes I've tried in this thread, even Paula Deen (cinnamon rolls). But I'm picky about what recipes I use and change on the fly if needed. I don't think I blindly follow anyone's recipes, nor would I write off every recipe just because a couple don't pass the sniff test, especially if it were as minor as the authenticity of onions.

                                                                                                            2. Thinking back I always thought 'The Two Fat Ladies' showed how to prepare their dishes very clearly.

                                                                                                              1. Good:

                                                                                                                Emeril: None of his recipes have ever turned out poorly for me, they're all either good or really good. Calling for essence in every recipe is annoying though, and his recipes sometimes seem unnecessarily complex, but the flavor is good.

                                                                                                                Alton Brown: Haven't made a ton of his recipes, but the ones I've made have been good. His oven gyro meat was perfect, surprisingly. His recipes are usually fairly basic and more about technique and different ways of doing things though, he's not a world class chef, so I think he's good for what he is.

                                                                                                                Giada: Her recipes are usually fairly simple, make sense, and use good ingredients.
                                                                                                                Ina Garten: Same as above.

                                                                                                                Rick Bayless. I only have his first cookbook, and some of the recipes from it aren't that great, some are really good though. His online/newer recipes seem better, they are authentic and have the right ingredients, but sometimes require a lot of tinkering to be really good imo. Almost put him in the mixed category.

                                                                                                                Dianne Kennedy

                                                                                                                Bobby Flay: I like that he makes a lot of non-authentic, Mexican-inspired food, but he uses many of the traditional ingredients to do it, like queso fresco, serranos, dried chile de arbol, and not canned green chiles, pepper jack, and chili powder. I like authentic Mexican food, but I also like Tex-Mex, Cali-Mex, and Nu-Mex food when it uses good ingredients and not cheap substitutions.

                                                                                                                Julia Child and Jaques Pepin: I don't think I need to elaborate.

                                                                                                                There are a lot of really talented chefs on the The Cooking Channel as well, though I can't remember their names off hand.


                                                                                                                Tyler Florence: His "Mexican" recipes especially are really bad. Here's an example: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ty...

                                                                                                                What the hell is "Mexican spice blend?" He uses canned green chiles, canned enchilada sauce. Cheddar and Jack cheese. Canned stewed tomatoes inside? Are we supposed to use green or red enchilada sauce? The chipotles and tomatoes seem really out of place either way. There's also corn in the filling which is a little bizarre. This looks like a recipe you would find on the back of the can of enchilada sauce. Recipes like this are the reason I almost always look up recipes for Mexican food in Spanish. He needs to go easy on the cumin and chipotles and stop putting them in every "Mexican" recipe. His salsa roja is another example.

                                                                                                                Paula Deen: I've only made a few of her recipes, but they were all very average or bad. Most of her recipes look bad just looking at the ingredients, and often are excessively rich. Lady brunch burger? I have a really hard time imagining that someone who could come up with such a monstrosity could have a decent palate. It would make a good April fools joke. I also bought her bourbon glaze at the store one time and it was sickeningly sweet.

                                                                                                                Rachel Ray: I've created a verb for her style of cooking, to Rachel Ray. When I don't really have much in the way of ingredients and wing it with some half assed concoction, I'm Rachel Raying. "I came home drunk and didn't have anything to make, so I Rachel Rayed some crappy potato casserole with processed nacho cheese and lunch meat ham."

                                                                                                                Guy Fieri: This guy has the worst case of cooking ADHD I've ever seen. Check out his Dragon's Breath Chili recipe for example:


                                                                                                                The ingredient list is a mile long for no apparent reason, he is definitely not a less is more kind of Guy. It would take about 4 hours to make, not including cooking time, yet he can't be bothered to make his own chili powder? All this time and effort and he's using some awful store-bought chili powder? It's the most important ingredient. The ratios are suspect (1 cup of chicken stock to 4 lbs of meat)? I'm not sure where "Dragon's Breath" comes from, since it doesn't actually contain much capsaicin for the size of the batch. He reminds me of when I started cooking and thought that throwing tons and tons of different ingredients into something would make it better. He's kind of a one-trick pony with the bar food or "man" food as well.

                                                                                                                1. Generally works - Nigel Slater, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

                                                                                                                  Generally hit & miss - Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                    Harters, not sure if you read on CH but we've selected Nigella's "How To Eat" for the Dec. COTM. If you have this book, it would be of great value and sincerely appreciated if you were able to pop by and share your hits and misses from this book with us. Here's a link to the announcement thread:


                                                                                                                    I actually didn't own this book but felt compelled to add it to my shelf after reading the overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon and, praise during the nominations. Though I have a few of Nigella's books, I haven't cooked much from them at all.

                                                                                                                  2. America's Test Kitchen-not really a 'chef' but their recipes usually turn out wonderfully at least 90% of the time

                                                                                                                    1. Hits in no particular order:

                                                                                                                      Jamie Oliver
                                                                                                                      Jacques Pepin
                                                                                                                      Julia Child
                                                                                                                      Nigel Slater (UK TV)
                                                                                                                      Nigella Lawson
                                                                                                                      David Rocco
                                                                                                                      Mario Batali
                                                                                                                      Lidia Bastianich
                                                                                                                      Rick Bayless
                                                                                                                      Sara Moulton
                                                                                                                      Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
                                                                                                                      Mary Ann Esposito

                                                                                                                      No Misses because:
                                                                                                                      If I don't like what a chef is doing/cooking/presenting on his or her program I am highly unlikely to buy and cook from one of his or her books.

                                                                                                                      1. I've never seen a recipe from Anthony Bourdain. Where did you get one? The most consistent for me are Ina Garten and Anne Burrell.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                                                                          Anthony Bourdain has a cookbook, Les Halles Cookbook.

                                                                                                                          And I am very surprised no one seems to have mentioned Heston Blumenthal, who has had several UK shows (check youtube). His recipes add days to making the dish, but they are incredible at the end. Chicken tikka masala, chili con carne, stocks, etc.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ttochow

                                                                                                                            chili con carne from a British chef; sounds as risky as one from Ina Garten. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/712363 :)

                                                                                                                            Rich chilli con carne with spiced butter
                                                                                                                            good thing that is spelled 'chilli'.
                                                                                                                            star anise, red wine, red kidney beans, piquillo peppers, Marmite??

                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                              Thanks for the reminder about that thread paul. I love Ina but jc's OP had me laughing out loud.

                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                I grew up in Texas, so I was a bit skeptical too. Ok, a lot skeptical. Blumenthal is big on people using methods he develops, not on the precise recipe.

                                                                                                                                Anyway, the waitrose recipe is a dumbed down version. The one I followed uses a lot of flamed bourbon. The star anise combines with the onions to accentuate beef flavors. Here is the show. I have the corresponding book, but cannot find an online version of the perfection recipe.


                                                                                                                                This dish, like all I made of his, is incredibly rich, complex, and flavorful. A whole new level. But be prepared to spend days on each one!

                                                                                                                          2. It is ironic because I now eat a plant based diet with zero meat poultry fish so my shopping cooking and eating style has been radically altered.In my quest for a more intellectually stimulating lifestyle I had Directv turned off a year ago so I do not watch television. BUT having said all of that:

                                                                                                                            The Good

                                                                                                                            Ina Garten for the perfectly cooked New York strip steak and roasted bone in.... skin on chicken breasts....perfect results every time I prepared either one. I have prepared other Ina recipes but these two are outstanding.

                                                                                                                            Emeril for his roast turkey ..prime rib and roasted lemon garlic pepper whole dungeness crab recipe....oh..my my:)

                                                                                                                            Giada...because her recipes are simple....I have done her chicken picatta using Meyer lemons from my tree and quite a few of her simple pasta preparations. Girl can cook!

                                                                                                                            The Bad

                                                                                                                            Paula Deen.....Her food is so rich and unhealthy that it is intimidating to even consider it as an option and her inability to differentiate between a normal portion size versus over feeding someone is terrifying:(

                                                                                                                            Rachael Ray...most of her food seems similar to Paula Deen's in that it is all about huge quantities of rich fatty ingredients ...huge portions of potentially unhealthy food.

                                                                                                                            Sandra Lee...I did try one of her recipes that I used several times but her dependence on non fresh unhealthy ingredients in order to take short cuts makes no sense to me in a culinary and nutritional sense.The recipe I tried and made several times was a crock pot recipe of pork chops made with herbs de provence Dijon mustard and I added honey mustard....I modified her recipe to simplify it and suit our palates. It was delicious served with steamed white pearl rice. Very easy but that was my only foray into Sandra Lee's world:)

                                                                                                                            1. Alton is now on my BAD list because he apparently cannot pronounce the word "risotto." I had to sit through an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen yesterday listening to him pronounce it "RISATO" about 8 times, while every other chef on the show was saying it correctly. You'd think a light bulb would go off at some point.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. Something here doesn't add up.
                                                                                                                                  You say you don't watch "cooking shows". Then you put up a long list of cooking show personalities.
                                                                                                                                  Not playing.
                                                                                                                                  FYI every cook book author you list has basically put their name on cook books that professional cook book 'ghost writers' create. If you read 'the small print' in any 'celebrity' cook book you'll see something like: "With the kind help of 'X'. 'X' being employed by a publishing house.
                                                                                                                                  "Good morning Brenda. I just got a call from Mario's agency. They want us to check out all the vids of Mario using tomatoes. We need to come up with about sixty recipes. How soon can you send me a draft?".

                                                                                                                                  1. I liked Alton Brown's mayo recipe.

                                                                                                                                    1. Ina and Jacques Pepin