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Thoughts on: TV cooking show "sets" and "methods" as well as who "outfits" these TV cooks.

iL Divo Jul 22, 2010 08:09 AM

Sitting here watching a show right now, all 3 of these things are making me take notice for some reason.

Although, I don't like this one particular cooking show, nothing else is worth watching while I'm typing out an email to my sister, as back ground noise. The "cook" says to add 1 tablespoon oil to hot pan. She literally put in a 1/4 cup of oil though. This happens on most shows I watch and wonder do they not have time to measure or is it really not important how much "whatever" goes in or do they think we'll not know that [that] was way more than a tablespoon? At least RR says to eyeball it. Mentioned before that the size bowls they often use are way too small and I feel awkward watching someone put in an over abundance of noodles or greens or whatever it is [in a bowl that size] when its' size is obviously and clearly questionable.

The set for this show is probably supposed to be her home where she cooks out of her kitchen. Thing is, to me it looks like a tape running outside the kitchen window with seemingly the same cars going up and down the street all the time. Or they park outside her house or turn left or right, drive really slow. Is this fake or is it real? Are the leaves outside her window real or fake? I'm not naming her because that's not the point, most of this pertains to most shows in one way or another.

This lady is often in similar clothing and it's probably typical of someone's idea of current trendiness. The appearance of her body shape is cute and small however the clothes they put her in don't show that. My question is does she have say so over what they put her in or is that left to the one dressing her? She's a tiny woman but her tops emphasize her mid section as appearing off balance. That said, I am no fashion icon or brilliant in clothing choices either, but these people make a statement with what they wear unless it's a chef's jacket.

My best girlfriend is a make up artist and does their hair often too although isn't a hair dresser. We've talked a lot but not about the clothes worn on shows.

The measuring bothers me as it is usually off, maybe due to time constraints but if people really don't know how to cook, they could think "boy a tablespoon is a lot of oil", or whatever the mis-measurement is. The sets I suppose are subjective, whatever you like or I like someone else might not. Their attire is also, maybe not a big deal.

Is there anyone else in here that notices or am I being way too observant? I'm assuming these shows aren't inexpensive to put on and attention to detail is being over looked.

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  1. mattwarner RE: iL Divo Jul 22, 2010 12:41 PM

    I have noticed the same thing about the measurements. I'm never sure, though, whether they're exaggerating amounts for the camera or if the visual proportions are skewed in my perception since the items appear so much larger on my screen than they do on my counter, if that makes sense.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mattwarner
      iL Divo RE: mattwarner Jul 22, 2010 07:23 PM

      It makes sense Matt. They are bigger on screen especially when the screen is 72".
      I've been cooking all my life and watching a quarter cup of oil being dropped into a waiting skillet & calling it a tablespoon or putting a scant pinch of salt in a sauce and saying "that's about a teaspoon I'd say" confuses an average cook I'd think ;(

    2. r
      raleighboy RE: iL Divo Jul 23, 2010 12:47 PM

      If you're talking about Giada, most things look big compared to her. That quarter cup of oil could easily actually only be a tablespoon

      7 Replies
      1. re: raleighboy
        j
        just_M RE: raleighboy Jul 23, 2010 12:54 PM

        I think iL Divo is talking about Robin Miller. Giada dresses too nicely to be the hinted at host. So iL Divo, who is it?

        1. re: just_M
          bushwickgirl RE: just_M Jul 24, 2010 12:54 AM

          I thought of Robin Miller as well, it was the mention of the possible fake car tape outside the kitchen window. Always wondered about that. Robin is normally fairly accurate when measuring, from what I've observed; maybe not with oil though, being that her show tends toward a healthier quick cooking style.

          Haven't watched Robin in awhile, though.

          1. re: bushwickgirl
            iL Divo RE: bushwickgirl Jul 25, 2010 01:49 AM

            Wasn't meaning to be vague or have this be a guessing game, also wasn't trying to be rude to any one tv personality. Was trying to engage anyone in their opinions about dress/sets/measurements. Watching that particular
            day the subject was RM.
            Can anyone address who decides on clothes and set decor also measurements

            1. re: iL Divo
              bushwickgirl RE: iL Divo Jul 25, 2010 02:31 AM

              I did not perceive rudeness in your OP.

              The following is my perception of what goes into making a cooking show:

              When you say measurements, you are talking about the recipe measurement breakdown? The show host is usually the one who develops the recipes. The recipes are run by his or her show's director/producer, to keep within budget and show focus, but I believe recipe R & D is truly the host's job, with the food prep for the show being the host's and his/her assistant's job. How the host prepares the recipe in front of the camera is a bit of a personal style; I outlined my thoughts about Robin's cooking technique in my post upthread. Recipes sometimes appear not to be closely followed on cooking shows, except when baking and unless mise en place is set up and strictly adhered to, but in reality, the shows are discussed, rehearsed and/or the ingredients and techniques are burned into the mind of the host. Take Tyler Florence, who is very comfortable in front of the camera and seems to be throwing a dish together with great ease, but he has it all very well choregraphed (in his head).

              I'm betting that for time and budgetary restraints, cooking shows don't do many takes. I've witnessed my share of taped flubs; no re-do's.

              The show's host, director and producer most likely chose the set, along with other staff member and production company involvement. Most sets scream home kitchen, and are TV kitchen studios or are occasionally someone's leased kitchen; other sets are more professional looking affairs. The less professional looking, the more approachable and familiar for home cooks, imo.

              The cooking show host's outfits are much less important to me than what's on the menu, the plate and the cooking skill of the host. I look at the food, the knife skills, the technique. The dress code now on most shows is quite casual, unless the host is a professional chef and wears a uniform, which may be offputting to home cooks.

              I don't think lots of time or thought goes into dressing the host, except by the host.

              1. re: bushwickgirl
                iL Divo RE: bushwickgirl Jul 25, 2010 09:50 AM

                I loved UR post thanks for being so informative.

        2. re: raleighboy
          f
          Fromageball RE: raleighboy Jul 26, 2010 10:16 AM

          I thought he was talking about Rachel Ray when he mentioned the ill-fitting clothes. RR has a cute body but her clothes do NOTHING for her!

          1. re: Fromageball
            iL Divo RE: Fromageball Jul 28, 2010 02:44 PM

            how funny that you assume I'm a he since my screen name is masculine right? sorry, but my husband is pretty convinced I'm a girl, as are our children..........hahahhh

            yea, no, not RR..........

        3. alkapal RE: iL Divo Jul 25, 2010 04:13 AM

          the bowls hardly ever seem to be large enough on these shows -- and i've even noticed it sometimes on america's test kitchen. it drives me nuts to see them trying to stir, mix, blend -- whatever -- without the food coming over the edge.

          second, the breaking of eggs is a problem with way too many tv cooks who should know (or should've been told) better. don't break the eggs on the edge of your bowl, and don't break the egg directly into your batter, or ground meat, or whatever.

          and sound effects! oh my goodness, is it only me who thinks that they have a special department for martha stewart's "everyday food" show that just does sound effects? i think they are the same FX people who used to work for "wild kingdom" from mutual of omaha.
          crunch, crunch, cruuuunnnnch. sizzle, sizzle, SIZZLE! listen to the chopping! they make using a chef's knife sound like a run on the guillotine fun during the french revolution.
          ~~
          and secret of a restaurant chef gal -- anne, dear -- DON'T freakin' lick your fingers and then stick them in the product you'll be serving!

          11 Replies
          1. re: alkapal
            iL Divo RE: alkapal Jul 25, 2010 10:03 AM

            SOARC's Anne, stop grunting & growling too, she's hard to watch.
            Tv for us is often a visual thing, right or wrong... It is. AB's attire is something I can't see beyond unfortunately.

            1. re: iL Divo
              alkapal RE: iL Divo Jul 26, 2010 04:51 AM

              oh YES, the grunts and growls are mightily annoying. gyack, she is atavistic! i've commented on her tight knit blouses not being flattering. hasn't she switched to a chef's jacket, now?

              the set, too, is a real distraction. who *designed* this show? it is over-the-top, and not in a good way.

              1. re: alkapal
                iL Divo RE: alkapal Jul 28, 2010 02:48 PM

                I don't think AB has switched over to the white chef jacket but I could be wrong.
                Being a hairdresser in my last life, I remember a favorite customer of mine coming in one day saying that's it, change this hair style. I said to what? She said I don't care but make it easy. She had the worst hair ever with more importantly, the worst hairline ever, so, very hard to cut. I gave her the now famous AB, totally bleached white and spikey beyond belief. On her, it was the best thing that had ever happened to her, the attention she got was instantly amazing and the men went wild. But for AB, I say, it's time for a change there too.............

                1. re: iL Divo
                  alkapal RE: iL Divo Jul 28, 2010 06:49 PM

                  il divo, would we recognize her if she changed the hair, i wonder?

                  1. re: alkapal
                    iL Divo RE: alkapal Jul 29, 2010 10:19 AM

                    who? < my old customer or Anne Burrell?
                    probably in both cases.
                    you know what I'd do to AB, make it shorter and dark, closer to her face and redo her makeup, she'd be darling..........but this is just my not so humble opinion so...............

                    1. re: iL Divo
                      alkapal RE: iL Divo Jul 30, 2010 04:17 AM

                      i was thinking of AB. i agree with your suggestion for a new do. and i think it would make her look younger, too. as she is, she just makes me think of billy idol or vanilla ice.

                      1. re: alkapal
                        iL Divo RE: alkapal Aug 9, 2010 09:49 AM

                        I know huh..............some time soon, I hope they change her stylist

                    2. re: alkapal
                      b
                      betsydiver RE: alkapal May 2, 2011 09:12 AM

                      in fact,all the while.i thought you were referring to alton brown! trying to imagine him with a spiked out, bleached out 'do. since my hair is already mostly salt with a healthy shot of pepper, i recently got the spike out and love it; many compliments,easy care, great base for hats.BTW, il divo maybe we think of you as a he because of your cute icon; like one of the tenors, or something; maybe you're s bass?

                      1. re: betsydiver
                        iL Divo RE: betsydiver May 2, 2011 09:35 AM

                        Betsydiver

                        First: I love spiked out do's. They can be (and are) total winners on some.
                        Second: I am a shoot from the hip girl. Also do things on impulse.
                        Choosing the username for CH was easy but will admit a dumb choice.
                        Should have chosen a cooking related term but couldn't think of anything original that spoke to me. Could have used something related to my profession but that seemed lame and tired. A family title? < Not original enough for me.
                        BUT.....the name of "my boys", now that seemed brill! < But wasn't cause everyone thinks that's either me, my husband or son, it's NOTA, it's Sebastien from Il Divo.
                        I refer to the group as "my boys" they know it, I've told each of them that, they just giggle. Perhaps "iL Divo-tee" would have made more sense. Can I have a do over please? :))))

                        1. re: iL Divo
                          alkapal RE: iL Divo May 2, 2011 04:17 PM

                          we'll just keep it an inside secret that you're a kick-butt gal!

                          1. re: alkapal
                            iL Divo RE: alkapal May 6, 2011 08:42 PM

                            ^^^^^ uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh^^^^^
                            yes I am :)

            2. SanityRemoved RE: iL Divo Jul 25, 2010 07:37 AM

              I always thought that Rachel Ray was the biggest offender of the measurement follies. Instead of telling what the measurement was she would give it an undefined term of measure.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SanityRemoved
                iL Divo RE: SanityRemoved Jul 25, 2010 10:07 AM

                Yea, but, atleast I understood her "2 rounds around the pan" visualizing how much I perceived that to be. Also, with RR, I don't make her recipes usually as I find them not to my liking or completely wrong in ingredient measuring ie. her pasta fagiole (sp?). That said I honestly do enjoy her mile high lasagna

              2. pdxgastro RE: iL Divo Jul 29, 2010 10:51 PM

                My cable company offers MAG RACK in their ON DEMAND. They have cooking videos that give the written ingredients at the end. It'll say 1 TB of oil but you could have sworn the chef doing the demo earlier poured a lot more.

                edited to add: However, America's Test Kitchen is always *extremely* precise in their measurements. The cook will have a ramekin of oil but will only take 1 TB out of it and put it in the frying pan etc.

                2 Replies
                1. re: pdxgastro
                  iL Divo RE: pdxgastro Aug 9, 2010 09:53 AM

                  just finished watching GDL make a veg of artichokes and breaded topping, then baked.
                  what I still don't understand is why she'd use a tiny bowl to put the bread crumbs in and the butter and olive oil and parm cheese etc then grab a big stainless spoon to stir it all. it is hard to watch when you know she's got a bigger bowl somewhere, why stoop to using this little tiny barely bigger than a ramekin thing?

                  she also really has a love of nutella. uses it so often, she must have limited ingredient imagination. I don't much have a go to staple.........

                  1. re: iL Divo
                    pdxgastro RE: iL Divo Aug 15, 2010 11:06 PM

                    Too-small bowls peeves me too!

                2. alkapal RE: iL Divo Aug 15, 2010 07:13 AM

                  why does the show "everyday food" make the sounds of preparation and cooking so loud?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: alkapal
                    iL Divo RE: alkapal Aug 16, 2010 07:42 PM

                    you know what? I don't watch that anymore or DVR it. just couldn't take it. couldn't put my finger on the fingernail on the blackboard feeling it gave me, but no longer.

                    1. re: alkapal
                      mattwarner RE: alkapal Aug 29, 2010 02:22 PM

                      I kind of like that it sounds like cooking. I always found the slightly, ahem, dead-behind-the-eyes look of all of their cooks to be the creepiest part of the show. Sort of like "Cooking In Stepford."

                      1. re: mattwarner
                        alkapal RE: mattwarner Aug 29, 2010 06:40 PM

                        the sound is unnaturally loud. sound on steroids.

                    2. Manassas64 RE: iL Divo Aug 22, 2010 02:55 PM

                      Food Network had a behind the scenes show recently and they talked about how they tape some of the shows and in the Tyler Florence instance, they do the show twice, once at a distance and once for close ups.

                      As for the clothing, I am pretty sure the clothing is provided for most if not all of them (well, maybe Ina's black silk pajamas are her own ;o). It would say it in the credits if it was. When you see Ellie Krieger, she pretty much has the same knit top on in about 9 different solid colors for the entire run of her show. Even her cookbook covers she has the same exact top on except it's a slightly different color. Rachel Ray used to dress in a similar way. I think the point was to have a non-descript outfit so that it didn't take your focus off of what she was making.

                      The measuring bothers me, too. This is across the board on PBS and FN. On Ina's show today she had a chef teaching her how to make an omlette and he poured oil into the pan and she asked how much and he said I'm a chef, I don't measure. She said "I measure everything." So I think home cooks measure and trained chefs do not. That is my takeaway.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Manassas64
                        iL Divo RE: Manassas64 Aug 23, 2010 09:25 AM

                        I really enjoyed reading your post Manassas, I also love the city by the same name, gorgeous :)
                        I don't watch EK but I have in the past sort of sorting through the channels and noticed about her tops.

                        RR has a different style for sure but I'm not sure it's her. Seems it's designed for how they want the viewers to perceive her. She's probably a jeans and tee type of girl, maybe even ill fitting ones [that wasn't meant to be a cut at all and I realize it could look like one, but it isn't] just my opinion. They try to "style her up" for tv but all I can imagine is a cig in one hand and a raspy voice, and probably not a real girly girl in real life. Not afraid of colorful language hence she's often in lack luster noncolored clothing.
                        Again Manassas, liked your takeaway........

                        Sometimes I watch things on television and think "we'd be great friends or neighbors". Other times, there'd be no connection in real life. The second mentioned is the latter although she does make for "good tv".

                        1. re: iL Divo
                          Firegoat RE: iL Divo Aug 30, 2010 01:09 PM

                          I don't know about that... whenever you see RR on her own time she's in skank outfits cut down to the navel. Whoever dresses her for either her FN shows or her talk show needs to move up a size. She's not an unattractive woman, but they sure dress her that way.

                        2. re: Manassas64
                          paulj RE: Manassas64 Aug 30, 2010 12:01 PM

                          I recall one chef that measured things like salt in the palm of his hand, and encouraged his audience to learn to do the same.

                          1. re: paulj
                            s
                            soupkitten RE: paulj Sep 1, 2010 08:56 PM

                            justin wilson! "that's ex-act-ly one tablespoon, I GUA-RAN-TEE!"

                            then he'd measure it from his palm into the tablespoon, & it would be perfect. awesome. :)

                        3. c
                          cookiebaker RE: iL Divo Aug 22, 2010 04:00 PM

                          Has anyone else noticed the yellow filters they use on Ten Dollar Dinners? I guess it is to give the set a warm glow, but it really bothers me. Why give everything a unsightly brown tinged?

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: cookiebaker
                            Manassas64 RE: cookiebaker Aug 22, 2010 05:50 PM

                            I didn't notice that specifically but I caught a few minutes of her show after Aarti and the show just didn't have a welcoming look (for lack of a better phrase). It wasn't like Semi-Ho set which is bright and sunny (and always color coordinated) so even though I don't like the Semi-Ho and any of her various shows, her set does cause me to pause.

                            1. re: Manassas64
                              alkapal RE: Manassas64 Aug 23, 2010 04:18 AM

                              why do you call her a "ho"?

                              1. re: alkapal
                                Manassas64 RE: alkapal Aug 23, 2010 06:42 AM

                                The name of her show is Semi-Homemade. We refer to it as Semi-Ho for short on other message boards.

                                We also refer to The Home Shopping Network as The Ho on various boards, too.

                                I forget not everyone posts on all the same boards I do sometimes ;o)

                              2. re: Manassas64
                                iL Divo RE: Manassas64 Aug 23, 2010 09:55 AM

                                you're right on with that. I like how she dresses up her sets and yes, it's all very matchy matchy, which I think is the total intention.

                                Alka........I'm thinkin it's short for semi/home made, so semi ho or sem/ho just for short.......bu not sure

                              3. re: cookiebaker
                                iL Divo RE: cookiebaker Aug 23, 2010 09:20 AM

                                Gosh Cookiebaker, I don't like them [the color hues] at all either. Matter of fact, I don't like the show and thought I was pretty main stream with the opinions of others so it surprises me she's still on and set up to do more shows, probably airing already. < Not for me though. In one regard I'm an awful person > I have major teeth fetishes. Like for example, I wouldn't necessarily watch a Lyon in the Kitchen or whatever that show is called. That man was on this NFTVNS too. But his teeth are gorgeous as is his smile and I'll leave it at that.

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