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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.

                2. Cooking for Engineers. A show that delves into food science when presenting recipes and techniques, like Good Eats, but without the silly props and goofy characters. Now that Good Eats is off the air nobody does much of "why" on their shows.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: aynrandgirl

                    Isn't there something already like that on PBS? I can't remember the name of it, but the host wears a little bow tie and reminds me of Orville Redenbocker.

                    I'd like to see a show on cooking for one. There are millions of single people, retirees, widows/widowers, college students, you name it.

                    1. re: natewrites

                      You are thinking of Americas Test Kitchen, which has been publishing a magazine and books with their own refinements of recipes. They do have the occasional segment explaining so bit of food science.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      I don't know if it's quite on the same line, but CreateTV has Endless Feast
                      where a feast is put on in various parts of the North America, using local produce and people.

                      1. re: paulj

                        No, not quite what I was getting at, paulj. I literally mean the people behind Local Harvest. Thank you for identifying Endless Feast, I wasn't familiar w/it.

                    2. Just saw this post referenced in the thread about what FN shows to retire. I like the idea of coming up with an ideal rather than criticizing existing shows (though I could come up with a good list).

                      This may not appeal to the CHers or even the general FN viewing public, but I would love to see a show geared towards kids. Something that teaches younger viewers about how to cook and enjoy lots of different foods in a non-condescending way.

                      A couple of years ago on the Next Food Network Star, they had a challenge that involved the contestants working with a kid in the kitchen and then presenting it. There were a couple of contestants who did a really great job with the kids and made lovely kid-friendly meals that were not the standard restaurant kids-menu items.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: jlhinwa


                        Have you seen the online video show, Kids Can Cook of Tucson? It's worth a look!

                        1. re: HillJ

                          No, I have not seen that before. Thank you very much for sharing. My daughter and I will have to check it out!.

                          1. re: jlhinwa


                            This resource is a bit more academic in approach but informative and fun out of NM. The videos might be fun to watch and the recipes very approachable for young cooks. Enjoy!

                            1. re: HillJ

                              Thanks so much! This is great. My daughter is a little afraid of the kitchen so I have been looking for ways to get her engaged without making it a chore for her. She loves watching the NFNS and Chopped with me but I'd love for her to see something that is geared for kids.

                        2. re: jlhinwa

                          CreateTV has shown Chefs A' Field: Kids on the Farm


                          Some cooking shows, mainly on PBS, include the chef's children - though some strongly negative threads about that practice (esp. re. Bayless and Pepin).

                          1. re: paulj

                            Thanks! Another one to check out.

                            I could see that some some viewers having children of the chef could range from mildly annoying to wildly aggravating. For me it would depend on if they were being shown in a legitimate educational capacity or were just there for a perceived "cute" factor.

                        3. I'd love to see a really good and easy vegan cooking show, run by someone who actually is entertaining. Also, preferably male and attractive. LOL. No vegan biker chicks pls, ugh.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: choctastic

                            So Christina on CreateTV doesn't quite fit the bill? :)

                            1. re: paulj

                              Pepin and Ramsey cooking and flirting with the Playboy Bunnies at Hef's mansion.......
                              That's a show i would never miss..ever! :-D

                              1. re: paulj

                                She's fine, but your original post asked about one's dream cooking show...

                                --hate to say this but hot and male is kinda key for me. just sayin

                                1. re: choctastic

                                  do you mean guys like NadiaG's sidekicks? :)