HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Your all time favorite 'TV' cooking show chefs?

Keith Floyd (#1 IMO) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBkgJg...
Gary Rhodes
J. Child of course
J. Pepin
J. Oliver (lately
)Nick Narin

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      Although perhaps not "technically" a chef, Julia was my all-time favorite. I learned to cook
      primarily from her books, and her TV "mishaps" made me feel like less of a klutz in the
      kitchen. Also like Pepin, earlier shows probably more then some of the later ones -
      and the Jacques and Julia shows were priceless.

      Currently, I would say Eric Ripert and Batali. I was lucky to have the opportunity to
      take some classes and "side trips" with Mario with a group in Italy, and his knowledge and
      enthusiasm were amazing!. See some of that on the TV, though can't say I'm a big fan of "The Chew"

      1. re: ferventfoodie

        Julia attended Le Cordon Bleau at a time when that actually meant something. That you make her more of a chef than say Deen who had never had any formal training. LOL

        1. re: Puffin3

          Heston Blumenthal had no formal training, almost no 'training' at all, save what he taught himself. Thomas Keller never went to culinary school either AFAIK. Nor did Tom Collichio. Or Ferran Adria. I could go on.

          Ontological relativity aside, being a 'chef' means that you run a professional kitchen. For all her faults, Deen has done that. And Child has not. Formal training or lack thereof has nothing at all to do with it. As such, Deen is a chef and Child was not one. End of story.

          I'd still much rather watch Child, btw.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            correct, correct, correct, correct... and ditto.

    2. Alton Brown (How can you not love a guy who has Shirley Corriher as the resident geek?)

      Jeff Smith (He may have had problems but he also introduced me to cooking.)

      Cooking with Julia

      The Great Chefs series.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Kelli2006

        Nice list.....was The Great Chefs the series on the Discovery Channel where they featured masters, mostly from Europe? If so, that was indeed one of my favorites too.

        "ll add the The Galloping Gourmet Series with Graham Kerr, Justin Wilson and Biker Billy Cooks with Fire

        1. re: fourunder

          Great Chefs from New Orleans was the first of that series. It was on PBS in the 80's. Great show, one of my favorites.

          Justin Wilson, met him at a book signing.

          Pasquale (sp) used sing while he "steam and sauted" Dude was nuts.

          Julia of course.

          1. re: chileheadmike

            Pasquale was great, used to love it when he'd turn around on camera and say "Pardon my back"! liked "yoostan" and Martin Yan too.

          2. re: fourunder

            The Great Chefs series started in the US with NY, Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans, then spread to other North American cities and the series ended with Great Chefs of Europe.

            I am almost convinced that the Food Network used that series when they started recruiting because Emeril, Bobby Flay, the 2 Hot Tamales and others appeared on the Great Chefs series.

          3. re: Kelli2006

            Ditto with Smith. He's the first one that made me go, "I'd like to try to cook that."

            As great as Julia is, I just never found her engaging as a TV personality.

            1. re: ediblover

              I still remember my son (in early grade school) asking 'Can we make pasta?' after one of his shows. It was one of the few times I've used my Atlas pasta machine.

          4. chef guy fieri

            i especially am entertained by how he wears sunglasses on to the back of his head in the kitchens that he visits. i saw him on the rachel ray show and he seems like a real great chef. one day i hope to work at one of the dinners, drive-ins, or dives that he visits.

            23 Replies
            1. re: mikey031

              Is that the guy with the bleached hair and big mouth? LOL He has had no formal training and he's cut a commercial for TGIFriday. Nuff said.
              Pasquale's Kitchen Express was hilarious! At least you knew exactly what dishes he would prepare on each episode. LOL

              1. re: Puffin3

                so is it the bleached hair that disqualifies him? the big mouth? the lack of formal training? the commercials? Im just wondering your thought process here.....

                There are alot of famous chefs that lack classical training, learning from others in the restaurant racket or even trial and error at home. The hair/mouth comments arent even worth discussing. The commercials? Im sorry, hasnt every name in this post had a commercial, have their own show, make (paid) apperances on top chef and shows of the like, have their own cookbook/pan set/knife set? Im just wondering which of these things prohibit somebody from being a "favorite 'tv' cooking show chef?"

                Fieri is the face of the Food Network due to his overwhelming popularity, id say he is doing pretty well for himself.

                1. re: joe777cool

                  yeah, like that rick bayless burger king commercial

                2. re: Puffin3

                  Many of the classic French chefs learned to cook from their mothers! I am sure there are many here on CH that could stand with the "best" of them that have not been formally trained. IHFS (I Hate Food Snobs!)

                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                    They may have learned from their mothers, but then they did very long and rigorous apprenticeships in French restaurant kitchens. Home cooking is VERY far removed from being a chef in a restaurant.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Does being a chef in a restaurant make one a good home cooking instructor? Or are they too far removed from the home context?

                      Chef Pepin is as well known for his 'French chef cooks at home' and 'Fast food my way', as for the more formal La Technique.

                      1. re: paulj

                        that's a good point. I figured "chef" meant chef, prof cred, as in a resto. I would even put good home cooks in a category above tv personalities

                        1. re: paulj

                          <Does being a chef in a restaurant make one a good home cooking instructor?>
                          No, there is no correlation. Some restaurant chefs are also good teachers, but not in general. Jacques Pepin is a chef who has it all. He was celebrated as a restaurant chef, and also as private chef for DeGaulle when he was President of France. Then he ran R&D for Howard Johnson's -- a great corporate and creative gig. And he's been writing lucid, informative useful cookbooks for decades, not to mention teaching cooking classes all over the country.

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            some really really good restaurant chefs are terrible in front of an audience or camera. not everyone has a flair for teaching or marketable personal appeal, in any profession.

                        2. re: ChefJune

                          the term 'chef' is throw around very liberally, we are all aware of that and it has been debated on these threads up and down and needs not be repeated.

                          The matter at hand is what qualifies for somebody to be a tv show chef/personality/entertainer....whatever term you would like to use, and as we have already seen the personality, restaurant experience, training is very different for names like Fieri, Child, Kerr, Smith, 2 Fat Ladies etc etc etc. In essence probably the only quality that one really needs to to be interesting to an audience. Fieri made a name for himself on Diners, Drive In's, and Dives doing nothing more than eating!

                          1. re: joe777cool

                            Maybe Fieri made a name for himself on tv, but he did work in and run, and still owns restaurants. Besides, the question posed was favorite TV cooking show chef. I interpreted that as someone who has a tv show on which they cook...

                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                              preaching to the choir, maybe you meant to reply to somebody else. Im not sure how a lack of formal training disqualifies someone from being a tv personality.

                            2. re: joe777cool

                              <The matter at hand is what qualifies for somebody to be a tv show chef/personality/entertainer>

                              Qualifies? Imho, it's the ability to sell the producer/network on one's marketability. Being good looking is a plus, as well. If one can cook, too, so much the better, but not required. The person who media-trained Rachael Ray for the cameras also taught her how to hold a knife....

                              1. re: ChefJune

                                " The person who media-trained Rachael Ray for the cameras also taught her how to hold a knife...."
                                Is this based on real knowledge? Or is it just supposition?

                                1. re: paulj

                                  rr's knife skills used to be appalling, but she put some work in and they are now not bad, although one can argue with her self-brand knife choices.

                            3. re: ChefJune

                              Of course, but the comment was regarding Fieri having no formal training. Yet, he also worked in restaurants...

                              Alas, formal training does not necessarily equate with delicious food. Taste is subjective. Just because someone attends culinary school does not mean they can cook a better tasting meal than say, my neighbor.

                          2. re: Puffin3

                            After a long silence, I have to chime in here. Guy Fieri HAS had "formal training." He has a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management from University of Nevada at Las Vegas. In many ways, that's far more encompassing than culinary school. For the record, becoming a chef by way of culinary school is a late 20th century phenomenon. The traditional method was through apprenticeships and OJT with master chefs. Any kind of education relies heavily on opportunity and good information. Culinary schools may or may not deliver.

                            As for Mr. Fieri, I find him personable and amusing, but he is a crime walking on the kind of food he promotes. Heart attack on a plate! But it sells, and in a commercial world, that's the name of the game. He does do "good works" on his own to promote healthier eating when he's not in front of the DDD cameras.

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              And according the M Ruhlman, culinary schools have shifted from being trade schools to something approximating that bachelor's degree.

                              1. re: paulj

                                not just "approximating." One has options with schooling, yes, a certificate is still available, but the associate's and bachelor's degree is gaining ground.

                              2. re: Caroline1

                                Good to "see" you, C1! :)

                                Re Guy, I get a kick out of him, too--but not ALL the food he promotes is a heart attack on a plate. Though that may be true of much of the DDD fare, the recipes on Guy's Big Bite are definitely less so. Not that he's Mollie Katzen, but I wouldn't want him to be. He's bold. He's passionate about food. He can be a goofball. I covet his Camaro SS. I enjoy watching him and have learned from him as well.

                                As to my other classic TV chef favorites, I gua-ron-tee I loved Justin Wilson, too. And was a huge "Dessert Circus" fan before Jacques Torres became Mr. Chocolate and opened up all his chocolate shops. Also used to love to watch Sara Moulton, and wished I had as gorgeous a pepper mill as was featured prominently in her kitchen.

                                I don't watch as much food TV as I once did, but when I do tune in, I love Tyler Florence (haven't seen him in a while, they moved his show to an earlier slot on Saturday a.m.) and enjoy the hell outta Anne Burrell when I do have a chance to catch her.

                                ETA: Who remembers? :) I do--fondly!
                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZIgwY...

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  Here's one thing I really like about Guy. I assume that hes not allowed to go "eww, this is shit!" But you can tell when he really likes something because he'll keep chomping on it rather than doing the obligatory tv personality taste.

                                  1. re: JonParker

                                    We went last year to a local place that was featured on DDD, and the staff there just raved about him. Said he was just as nice and genuine and easygoing as can be.

                                2. re: Caroline1

                                  Guy Fieri qualifies as a chef on every count. He does own restaurants, (that doesn't qualify as a chef, it makes him a restaurateur) but he does or has cooked in them. Runs the kitchen. RUNS THE KITCHEN. That's what makes a cook a chef.

                                  Whether or not one finds Fieri "personable and amusing," doesn't take away from the fact that yes, he IS a chef.
                                  BTW, we had a very salty, unimaginative dinner at his restaurant in Healdsburg last summer.

                            2. Graham Kerr and Jeff Smith. Those were the first cooking shows I ever watched and they were the ones that really got me into the kitchen. Even sober Kerr is a hoot!

                              I know Smith had some serious issues, but I still miss that crazy old pervert!

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Avalondaughter

                                These two are the ones I remember most growing up. My dad even purchased Smith's book, the one and only time he ever purchased something over the phone (I can still hear him arguing with the sales person over the additional shipping and handling charge!)

                                Martin Yan was another that I was fond of with his "Cooking with Yan" show and his constant "Wok" play on words.

                                Today I enjoy Fieri, Alton Brown, Bobbie Flay (although he comes off that he is a prick in real life), Emeril, and Giada Di Laurentis - although maybe not as much for her food ;)

                                1. re: joe777cool

                                  Bobby Flay is one of my least favorite cooks, but he's got a reputation for being very sweet and humble in real life.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    <but he's got a reputation for being very sweet and humble in real life.> I've been acquainted with him for years, and I would say just the opposite.

                                2. re: Avalondaughter

                                  I watched The Frugal Gourmet with my dad when I was a kid, so I have a soft spot for Jeff Smith as well. We had a couple of his cookbooks laying around, and I loved the little anecdotes before the recipes. A lot of his shows are available on YouTube if you search.

                                  1. re: Avalondaughter

                                    Never liked Jeff Smith. Pretentious. I liked Graham Kerr in both his "Galloping" days and the later "MiniMax" healthy cooking iterations.

                                  2. ah yes, CHEFS not personalities:

                                    -Pepin
                                    -LaGasse
                                    -Yan
                                    -Fieri

                                    Wasn't sure if Alton Brown or Justin Wilson really fall under the chef category, but I find them both entertaining and informative

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                      Alton is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, but he has not worked in a professional kitchen, IIRC.

                                    2. I have really enjoyed watching, for educational reasons, Rick Stein, Antony Worrall Thompson, and Andreas Viestad. I don't really like any of the Food Network personalities in particular, although I do watch and learn some things. I really enjoyed that Great Chef's series on BBC America and I find Ainsley Harriot very entertaining. I seemed to get more out of the older shows on FN (Sara Moulton, etc.)

                                      1. 1. Julia
                                        2. Jacque
                                        3. Nigella
                                        4. Ina
                                        5. Martha

                                        Lately I have been liking Chuck's recipes, I have tried a few with great success.

                                        1. Keith Floyd is highly entertaining and quite a good cook.
                                          I still miss The Two Fat Ladies.
                                          Pierre Franey was one of my PBS favorites back in the 80's.
                                          There was a Diana Kennedy series on TLC back in the 80's that I'd pay big money to own on dvd.

                                          1. I'm not familiar with enough of the material, especially from the older generation like Julia Child's, to have an opinion about who is better than who.

                                            But Mario Batali has a wonderful teaching focus. He explains which details of the steps he teaches are important and why they work. Plus he crams a lot of encyclopedic information in his patter during his demonstrations, like regionalism, history of the dish, etc.

                                            I'm looking forward to trying out Floyd, et al. Thanks for the thread!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: AsperGirl

                                              Mario is my favorite. Didactic, personable, not full of himself (as opposed to Joe B.). I enjoy his enthusiasm and knowledge and dedication to the food...NOT the hype.

                                              I really enjoyed the "Floyd on..." series. Would love to get that on DVD. Sorry he's no longer around.

                                              Two Fat Ladies were entertaining. Alos both had interesting backgrounds. But their cooking is SOOOOOO British, not sure their cooking would cross the pond and work here.

                                            2. Graham Kerr in his original show The Galloping Gourmet, (not the diet-comeback version) and Julia Child.

                                              1. This is tough . . .

                                                Sara Moulton (I loved Cooking Live back in the day)
                                                Two Fat Ladies
                                                Two Hot Tamales

                                                (though how do you argue with Julia and Jaques - plenty of others that I love but maybe aren't my favorite "TV" show chefs - not everyone comes across as well on TV as they do in person)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. Many of those already mentioned and I'll throw in Dean Fearing although, I don't recall if he had his own show or, if he used to do guest appearances on others shows.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: JAB

                                                    I saw him on Julia's "Master Chefs" series.

                                                  2. This isn't so much about my favorite cooking show chef... but does anyone remember James Barber, the Urban Peasant?

                                                    I really liked his approach to teaching people how to cook on TV.

                                                    I first started watching cooking shows in the late 80s, so people like Jeff Smith and Graham Kerr (and Julia of course). I also enjoyed Molto Mario because he actually cooked, and he actually tried to teach the viewers how to cook.

                                                    Two Fat Ladies. Oh, and I liked Ming Tsai back when Asian Fusion was kind of cool.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: egit

                                                      My Dad gets stopped a couple of times a month by people asking for autographs/wanting to say hi etc. He looks EXACTLY like the Urban Peasant. Was that a Canadian show btw? I remember having Urban Peasant cookbooks in the house...

                                                        1. re: rwarren

                                                          That explains a lot of it, then - my parents live on the Island. Didn't realize Barber was 'local' (BC).

                                                          1. re: montrealeater

                                                            Laura Calder also has some BC connections. She studied at a cooking school in Vancouver before studying and working at La Varenne in France. And the inspiration for her latest book, Dinner Chez Moi, came from a visit to Bamfield.

                                                        2. re: montrealeater

                                                          I've been asked if I'm Nigella Lawson on numerous occasions in London. In Fl where I live now nobody knows who she is.

                                                          I like watching Bobby Flay.

                                                        3. re: egit

                                                          James Barber was going to be my addition as well, glad you added him. Pretty cool what an engineer who breaks his leg skiing can "re-train" himself to do. I always appreciated that he gave alternatives to ingredients when making dishes... pesto for example, if you don't have expensive pine nuts just use walnuts. He made ingredients and cooking far more approachable.

                                                          I'll add Laura Calder from French Food at Home, great recipes, good show and she's fun to watch.

                                                        4. As the OP, Keith Floyd and Gary Rhodes.

                                                          Floyd for the sheer fun of it.

                                                          Rhodes as the godfather of modern British cooking (so many modern chefs in the UK owe him so much)

                                                          1. From the shows I have seen - and there are some big ones I haven't (Julia! is she on Youtube?):

                                                            - Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall of the River Cottage series and many spinoffs. I don't always agree with his politics, but i've learnt a lot from him and there is no better move-to-a-country-idyll porn than River Cottage
                                                            - Heston Blumenthal - love his enthusiasm and relative seeming lack of gigantic ego - he reminds me of an enthusiastic small child, just really into doing what he does
                                                            - Gary Mehigan on the Masterclass segments from Masterchef Australia - I heart these segments, so, so much and have learned a TON - the balance of basics and tricksier stuff is perfect for me
                                                            - Keith Floyd - I remember watching his show staying with an aunt and uncle in the UK in the mid 90's. My aunt loved him and we always had fun watching him get progressively tanked

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: montrealeater

                                                              I'm glad someone finally listed Heston Blumenthal. I think a lot of my fellow Americans are really missing out if they've never caught his shows.

                                                              1. 1. John Folse
                                                                2. Nathalie Dupree
                                                                3. Jacques Pepin

                                                                I really have to give a special mention to Martha Stewart--although I would not classify her as a chef, her instructions to great entertaining, great eggnog and her knack for a good recipe put her in a class of her own. Also...special mention to Ina, Eric Reipert and Chuck Hughs.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: jarona

                                                                  I recently discovered John Folse's show on Create. What a fine, fine chef. I had heard of him before; one of Justin Wilson's cookbooks has a picture of John Folse helping him with a gumbo.

                                                                2. Ya James Barber was great. He used to show how to slice an onion on every episode. LOL I used to pass him once in a while in my commercial fishing boat in Howe sound. He had a small sail boat and once in a while he'd stop me to buy some live rock cod or ling cod. Always offered me a shot. Anyone ever watch the Bruno Gurusi (sp) cooking show? Now that show was a hoot.

                                                                  1. Another shout out for Sara Moulton. Brilliant, well trained - but very practical and down to earth as well.

                                                                    J. Pepin too, in that very same vein. (Funny how both are now on PBS, not Food Network!)

                                                                    1. Lately, I'm loving the way Ann Burrell cooks, planning to try some of her recipes this winter.

                                                                      Long time faves:

                                                                      Jacques Pepin
                                                                      Pierre Franey
                                                                      Ina Garten
                                                                      Nigella Lawson

                                                                      I still have two Frugal Gourmet recipes committed to memory decades later, but can't call a pedophile a favorite anything.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                        There were some ugly allegations, but nothing ever proven in court and criminal charges were never brought. There was just a civil case settled out of court. In the absence of any proof I prefer to remember the positive aspects of his persona and career.

                                                                        1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                          I think 20 accusers, all young men with similar stories vs. 1 is a typical pattern. Just before trial, Smith paid out settlement money to 7 young men, not one case. Clearly the evidence was stacked against him. There was an 8th settlement in a separate case. One was a hitchhiker he picked up and allegedly attacked. http://www.current.org/people/peop813...

                                                                      2. Justin Wilson. Martin Yan. Julia Child.

                                                                        1. Justin Wilson. Martin Yan. Julia Child. Jeff Smith. Done.

                                                                          1. The ones I've enjoyed the most have been Alton Brown, Jacques Pepin and Martin Yan. I think I've used a lot more of the information from Brown than anyone else.

                                                                            I hate to say but the cooks on America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country are also very good if you can tune out Kimball. They show you step by step how to do something.

                                                                            1. Concur with The Great Chefs series, the affable homeliness of Jeff Smith and the self-effacing candor of Keith Floyd.

                                                                              One of my all time favorites not mentioned on the thread is the elegant, erudite but, far-from-stuffy Madhur Jaffrey who, through her shows "Far Eastern Cookery" and "Flavours of India," introduced me to world cuisines in their locales long before Travel Channel and No Reservations franchised the concept.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Kris P Pata

                                                                                When and where did those show? I've only seen her as a guest on other people's shows (even though I was familiar with her books from nearly the start).

                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                  PBS syndicated in the US from the BBC's original broadcasts. I was raised in SoCal and locally, I recall both shows being part of then-affiliate KCET's Saturday morning - afternoon cooking show block through the 90s.

                                                                              2. Madeleine Kamman has not yet been mentioned here. I remember her show mostly for the constant sighing that this or that ingredient could not be found in the United States, or if it could, it would be vastly inferior to the French version. She was sort of anti-inspirational. And rather fabulous.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                  There's a thread on the France section about how difficult it is to find kale in Paris. :)

                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                    I went over to look - how weird! Or maybe not so weird. I imagine it's also pretty tough to find corn on the cob. (Note that I'm basing this on a single conversation I had in 1987 with a French guy in Newport Beach, CA, who turned up his nose at the grilled corn I served him and informed me that "in France, this is only for the pigs." So my information may be woefully out of date, or just plain wrong.)

                                                                                2. Martha Stewart
                                                                                  Ina Garten
                                                                                  Michael Chiarello
                                                                                  Lydia Bastianich

                                                                                  1. Julia, the ne plus ultra.
                                                                                    Justin Wilson, my first favorite.
                                                                                    Martin Yan. I still can't cook Asian very well, but because of Martin I keep trying.
                                                                                    Mary Ann Esposito on Ciao Italia.
                                                                                    Lidia Bastianich
                                                                                    Jacques Pepin
                                                                                    The Twos -- Hot Tamales and Fat Ladies.
                                                                                    Mario Batali
                                                                                    Emeril -- he can become a cartoon of himself, but the dude can flat-out cook and teach.
                                                                                    Alton Brown -- learning "why" is as important to me as "what".

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: jmckee

                                                                                      Pepin - awsome skills, beautifully restrained
                                                                                      Pierre Franey -still have Cuisine Rapide from the series
                                                                                      Eric Rippert - current lead

                                                                                      1. re: BrittanyHound

                                                                                        okay, can't resist giving shout out to Keith Floyd.
                                                                                        Two Hot Tamales - great show fantasic, under produced show compared to today's glam. Almost 90's version Julia - looking to recover from chicken escaping cutting board. Met one Tamale at their place in Santa Monica - gracious

                                                                                    2. When I was really young I used to watch cooking shows with my parents on PBS - the usual rotation of Martin Yan, Jeff Smith, Jacques Pepin, Julia Child. Once I grew out of that phase I didn't see a single cooking show until FoodTV went live during college. The three shows I watched religiously were David Ruggerio's "Ruggerio To Go", Emeril Live, and Grillin and Chillin with Bobby Flay (Country Boy! City Boy!)

                                                                                      1. Let's not forget Joyce Chen. She was the first to introduce asian cooking to many of us. Along with Julia and Jeff Smith, they all were the true "pioneers" of cooking. Thanks to PBS!!!

                                                                                        1. I love Julia's recipes, but my only experience with her on TV has been via Dan ackroyd. The only TV chef who motivated me to Google his recipes right away was Rick Bayless.

                                                                                            1. I don't know if I could narrow it down to one or two alltime favorites. My first favorite would be Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet, which I watched with my mom when I was a kid. He had such a wonderful way of making cooking look fun--I don't remember so much about techniques (other than all that wine he used!) but he cooked with love, he shared his cooking with love, and it made a wonderful impression on me about what home cooking could be like.

                                                                                              Jeff Smith by all accounts was amazing as a tv chef/cookbook author/etc, but living and working very close to where he did, the sad and awful stories about his abuse of young boys for me overshadowed his talent and contribution to the world of food.

                                                                                              1. I liked a guy who used to be on TV in PA,can't remember on which channel,named Franco Palumbo.I'd been cooking from scratch as a married mother for over 20 years at that point, but I learned how to chop well and safely from him,and a lot of other useful kitchen skills. He was a skillful chef AND instructor, and was always cheerful and never snooty. Alton Brown is fine,too,combining the how with the why of cooking,baking and roasting,though I do think he is overly fussy sometimes. I have sometimes followed his advice in cooking something that i have cooked for years,and sometimes his way was MUCH better, resulting in a much better result,tastier and with a better texture and look. other times, it made the dish more complicated or messy to make,and the improvement was slight or absent rarely,not AS good,and I thought he might be WRONG. Still, I HAVE learned a LOT from him,and I much enjoy both his sense of humor and his well done science lectures and cooking demonstrations. I only saw Julia a few times,but she was a delight, her love and enthusiasm for cooking were obvious,as was her talent,and I liked how she always signed off with, "Bon Appetit". I liked Graham Kerr, too, he was quite entertaining,I thought, but as a long term Anglophile, perhaps my view is jaundiced.

                                                                                                1. Sarah Moulton. Great at explaining what she's doing. Does not assume all viewers are Courdon Bleu grads or speak several languages.

                                                                                                  1. Mario Batali, Molto Mario was a great show and I learned a ton.
                                                                                                    Alton Brown
                                                                                                    Emeril
                                                                                                    Ina Garten
                                                                                                    Jeff Smith

                                                                                                    1. Ina Garten
                                                                                                      Jamie Oliver
                                                                                                      Nigella Lawson
                                                                                                      Martha Stewart
                                                                                                      Giada DeLaurentis

                                                                                                      I just discovered a show called Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel. It's a cooking/reality show that follows actress Debi Mazar and her Italian husband Gabriele. I love the way he cooks because it reminds me of the way my Italian family cooks.

                                                                                                      1. What is the name of that Boston chef that had a short series on Fine Living? He drove around in an old pickup truck and his kitchen was in a basement. He smoked cigars. That guy is hilarious. He'd often cook up a bunch of food and hit the street to test it.

                                                                                                        Then there was this other guy who cooked in his home kitchen in Maine. Kind of a hipster, but I enjoyed that show. That was on Fine Living too I think.

                                                                                                          1. re: Aislyn

                                                                                                            I like Chuck best in his Mexican explorations. His boyish enthusiasm comes across best when he's learning to burn chiles Mayan style or making street food deliveries by motor bike. It's a bit like Jamie Oliver, but with a greater sense of adventure and fun.