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May 18, 2011 02:59 PM

Your dream cooking show?

Any time Food Network is discussed in this section, people complain that there aren't any good cooking shows on that channel (or any other). Some talk as though they haven't seen a good show since they were cooking novices sitting at the feet of St Julia or pretending to be Mario's sidekick as he toured Italy.

So who would be your ideal instructor, and why? What recipes or techniques would you like to see featured on such a show? How about the format - studio, no audience, small audience, on-site? Home kitchen or restaurant? Straight forward instruction, or enlivened with Good Eats style props and story lines?

You get bonus points for suggesting someone who isn't already too busy managing a mini-chain of restaurants and charities.

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  1. I'd gladly watch Harold McGee for 30 or 60 minutes as he explained the history, culture and chemistry of various foodstuffs. No audience, no studio. More like a documentary of a certain ingredient or method of preparation than a cooking show, although there might be some recipes introduced.

    So basically Good Eats, but more hardcore. And as far as I know Harold McGee doesn't manage any restaurants or charities (although he does, according to Wikipedia, do consulting work and write a column).

    3 Replies
    1. re: zooxanthellae

      I hadn't thought of Harold in this role. He does have a lot of good information to share. But would a 30 minute weekly show be a good way to present this?

      I have heard him on The Splendid Table, and I see he has some video clips, posted by the publisher of his latest book, Keys to Good Cooking
      FN Canada also interviewed him
      Alton thinks Harold would 'win on theory', Shirley 'on applied'

      Good Eats and Americas Test Kitchen are examples of weaving this kind of food science in with recipes and entertainment.

      The Keys book does appear to have made a big splash. I haven't seen any threads raving about it, and the Amazon reviews are quite mixed.

      1. re: zooxanthellae

        Harold and Shirley Corriher would be a heck of a show.

        I love the ease that Jacques Pepin cooks but I don't learn much from him. A cooking show with rotating CIA chefs displaying various techniques would also be high on the list.

        1. re: Kelli2006

          CIA does have some videos on Youtube

          CreateTV has played Chefs Story from French Culinary Institute featuring various guest chefs

      2. Hiroyuki Sakai doing mise en place demos. The man is amazing with a knife. Or Rokusaburo Michiba with fish.

        1. Just need a host. Chef is random, with a different one each one. Place is a random home (unrelated to the host and chef).

          Premise is for the host, chef and homeowner to come together and create a meal, using the ingredients and tools already in the kitchen (if there is a kitchen). The story aspect would be provided by both the chef and the owner; it's great since it changes every show. I'd love it since the limits make it fun and it gives insight into the processes that go into the unique processes of planning and creating a meal. The human aspect is great since each new chef and owner would have great stories to share.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ediblover

            Sounds a bit like Gordon Elliott's Doorknock Dinners which were on FN when I started watching it (late 1990s). Elliott is now producer for shows like Paula Dean.

          2. I LOVED the way back series(s) Great Chefs of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, where each episode they went into a restaurant kitchen in the designated city and the chef prepared some of his or her signature dishes.

            They didn't do them as restaurant dishes, but had adapted them for the home cook. I have all those books and still cook from them. It was the first time I ever saw Lidia Bastianich, and a whole host of other chefs who are now legendary.

            I would love to see shows like that again.

            3 Replies
              1. re: paulj

                I know, but I would like to see a similar show with 2011's Top Toques: Ripert, Boulud, Vongerichten, Batali, Mendes, Goin, Achatz, Mantuano, Des Jardins... you get the drift.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  Some of those have their own PR machines, whether PBS programs or books.

            1. A filmed version of Pepin's La Technique.

              2 Replies
              1. re: melo7

                Or if that is too expensive, reprint it as a flipbook. :)

                1. re: melo7

                  derives from his 1997 Jacques P├ępin's Cooking Techniques.