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Anyone else like to see some new innovative cook shows on Food Network?

I know how to cook American food whether it be southern, sandwiches, meals under $10, and gourmet. I've also learned a lot about Italian dishes. What I would like to learn is authentic Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, the kind you would cook at home. There must be
many good teachers out there that would be great Food Network hosts with the flair for teaching and imparting camera savvy at the same time. Why don't they do Next Food Network Stars for this type of cuisine only? I think the powers that be are very limited on their knowledge of what the public wants. Thank goodness for Marcella Viallodid (?) and her authentic Mexican cuisine. There is also the Cooking channel that features that great young Chinese cook from San Francisco. But other than these two, I would like to see something new and exciting.

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  1. Sadly, I think that ship has sailed. When I was learning to cook (many moons ago), I found the shows to be informative. They weren't flashy, but they were educational. TFN now seems to be appealing to the lowest common denominator, with The Cooking Channel not far behind (Bitchin' Kitchen anyone?). The reality/competition shows and over exposure of Giada, Paula, Bobby etc. do absolutely nothing for my knowledge or passion for cooking.

    I've found myself tuning in to public television more often than not for the type of programming you mentioned. Again, nothing flashy about it, but I do come away having learned something new.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Christina D

      Very well put, Christina. I agree wholeheartedly!!

    2. One thing about authentic Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian... Asian cooking in the US is finding ingredients. Once you start substituting with local ingredients, the FN haters will claim FN is dumbing down and Westernizing the recipes.

      "... the kind you would cook at home."
      From my Cantonese cuisine backgound, home cooking is rather plain and very different from what people have in restaurants. I remember classmates thought our family at chow mein, sweet and sour pork and Peking duck for dinner regularly. The reality was white rice, stir-fried veggies and steam or poached fish or chicken was the daily meal.

      8 Replies
      1. re: chow_fun

        There was a segment yesterday on The Splendid Table about a system for getting home style Vietnamese meals. In communities like Houston and Southern California you can arrange to have home style meals delivered (for professionals who are too busy too cook), or a single person can arrange to eat meals with a family. And as you say, the home style meals tend to be simple and inexpensive.

          1. re: huiray

            This is a little different from the Tiffin case. Tiffin men deliver meals from your home to your place of work. The 'monthly rice' is "How about someone to deliver a delicious, piping hot home-cooked meal, just like your mother’s, right to your front door after work?"
            http://books.simonandschuster.com/Imm...

            One is about eating at work from the same trusted source as your home meals. The other is about experiencing a bit of the old country, even if you are too busy to cook that way.

            1. re: paulj

              The Wiki article does concern tiffin carriers in Mumbai as a TRANSPORT servive between one's home and the office, yes. But perhaps you missed the focus of the 2nd & 3rd links I posted. Those concern CATERING services, which sell you food the caterer cooks, some of which will be "just like home food". They then may or may not employ dabbawallah service for the transport part, or they would have their own transport team.

        1. re: chow_fun

          Count me as someone who would prefer a more Westernized show rather than "authentic". My ideal show would involve using Asian techniques while highlighting ingredients that can be found at a modestly-sized Midwestern farmers market.

          1. re: chow_fun

            Where I live we have a very large and diverse Asian population. We have really great Chinese restaurants that don't serve chow mein or sweet and sour. They do wonderful sauteed vegetables like bok choy and water spinach. Their steamed fish and chickens are not bland and I would love to learn how they impart such flavor with this cooking technique. I would love to know how to make Thai "sexy catfish salad" and green papaya salad. Korean babeque beef and kimchi. While finding ingredients for these things would not be difficult for me, I really don't think it would be that difficult in the more remote parts of the country either.
            Let's face it, the FN haters will find things to criticize regardless. I'm just thinking out loud and wishing they could offer more and new ideas. I do like watching FN and it's for people like me
            that I'm putting the thought out to.

              1. re: paulj

                Thank you for that site. It's so much better when you see a demonstration and then what the dish should look like. The restaurant where we used to order the "sexy" catfish salad went out of business and I don't see it on many menus. The one we ordered had double fried catfish that was shredded into crispy flakes. It was delicious. Now I think I can improvise and make it. I appreciate your taking the time to locate this information.

          2. Why don't you put together a production company, find an exciting cook, and make a proposal to FN? Or find a cook who already has a show on a local station, or specific language channel?

            I believe Marcella stated TV with a local (San Diego) Spanish language show. And CC Ching stated in the UK (BBC). Is Indian Bal Arneson a FN Canada show?

            PBS has had Chinese (Yan), Thai (Tommy), Korean (the travel show). Youtube as Japanese (Cooking With Dog).

            A number of FN regulars originally appeared on their Melting Pot, which had various 'ethnic' segments.

            1. Too late, as another poster said. The FN does not seem interested in such things anymore. It's now largely a place for trite entertainment variety/song-and-dance shows with a few pots and pans and some food somewhere on the sets.

              1. Do you have any nominations? Besides NFNS competitions, how have TV cooks been found?

                RR had some classes, a local TV show, and cookbook. Hungry Girl and Pioneer Woman are popular bloggers. Others are chefs who seek to expand their fame with TV appearances. Bayless started with a restaurant and cookbook. Julia started with a cookbook and guest appearances on TV. Pepin also started with books. PD was discovered by a FN host and producer.

                Besides covering an exotic cuisine, how is a show supposed to be innovative? Alton got into making Good Eats because he thought that the production values of instructional shows were poor. Now many instructional shows are as much travel log as instruction. The cooking itself might even be done against a scenic backdrop.

                Does BBC's No Kitchen Required meet your definition of an innovative show featuring exotic cuisines?

                1 Reply
                1. re: paulj

                  By innovative I meant something just different from the same old, same old. I do not consider
                  Asian food "exotic" just as I don't consider Mexican Made Easy exotic. The way they would find the chefs, cooks, instructors could be through a competition featuring other than American food or they can do whatever they did to find Marcella Vallalodid. There are some excellent Asian cooks here in So Calif and while they may not all be good at instructing or getting in front of a camera and preparing the food, there certainly has to be some that are. The same holds true with New York and other big cities. They're out there but is FN even interested in finding
                  something new and interesting. No I don't watch BBC's No Kitchen Required. I'm just a plain ole' home cook, retired, I guess bored to even be discussing this, but looking for new ideas to be able to recreate for my family and friends.

                2. The innovative cooking show I would like to see would be on basic molecular gastronomy (or as I like to think of it, artisanal processed food) that can be done at home. Have a really weird, futuristic set and a quirky host. Alton Brown meets Bill Nye? Have enough nerd humor and camp to entertain people who won't cook what is being demonstrated, but enough info to help those who are interested.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                    Did you watch the nerdy pilot show that involved making 6' diameter donuts?

                    Jeff Potter was trying to put together such MG show
                    http://www.cookingforgeeks.com/blog/p...
                    He has a couple of chow videos, as well as a book.

                  2. You mean a real cooking show? Now that would be innovative for FN. No competition, no judges, no audience. No dumbing down to the lowest common denominator and Americanizing every foreign dish

                    This I'd like to see too.
                    Not too sure how authentic Marcella is cooking. Seems more Americanized Mexican to me or maybe it's the forced accent

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Having grown up in a home with both parents from Mexico, I don't find most of her food Americanized at all Penuchas con conchinita pibil Really? She's much more authentic than Bobby Flay with his honey and chipotle in every dish. But she does qualify her dishes by saying they were learned from her mother while living in Tijuana. Yes she does take American short cuts like canned beans sometimes but we all do that I don't find her accent forced at all
                      Good English with excellent pronunciation of the Spanish words. I think she's cooking for the average home cook who would like to do some Mexican dishes that appeal to American families but they don't want to get quite involved like say Rick Bayless' dishes might appear. My opinion.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        ...forced accent?!?!?!??? She sounds just like every other Mexican who's grown up on both sides of the border. I hear it everyday, sounds pretty normal to me.

                        Tijuana and the Baja peninsula are not like mainland Mexico, the culinary traditions are quite a bit different.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          It appears that FN has become the MTV of its genre. Sad, indeed.

                        2. well yes I'd like to see better more interesting stuff regarding cooking shows but thankful when a dope of a cooking show disappears. when all 3 of my cooking tv channels (at the same time) feature the same show I get very annoyed and put out. especially since I can't watch countless hours of the same reruns for "Mr. "Shtstick" Guy Ferry's banal DD&D's

                          1. I watch PBS now for cooking shows. America's Test Kitchen is my favorite. They show interesting cooking techniques interspersed with product testing and taste tests. What I really like is when the host (Chris) doesn't like something, he isn't quiet about it. But he's not obnoxious either.

                            1. Supply equals demand.

                              Not enough demand, mon ami.

                              1. Since FN and The Cooking Channel are blurring the show lines more & more...

                                I'd like to see Chuck Hughes host a show on restaurants across Canada.
                                I'd like to see Spice Goddess out of the studio kitchen and in her native India cooking.
                                I'd like to see David Rocco visit Little Italy in NYC and find new gems there to report about
                                I'd like to see Food Curated by Liza turned into a "gal on prowl for Brooklyn's food scene" turned into a show
                                I'd like to see the Edible Publications line up turned into a show highlighting diff locals.
                                I'd like to see a show on cocktails, spirits and brewing that is step by step
                                I'd like to see a show about Greece and Greek food.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: HillJ

                                  There was a Greek show recently; maybe that was on CreateTV.

                                  Canadians have been complaining about some sort of DDD knockoff.

                                  I like Chuck best baking wedding cakes in Mexico. :) His 'aw shucks' manner would be out of place in a stuffy Canadian restaurant or diner.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    Chuck's show is filmed at his restaurant in Canada, paulj. Why would he be out of place at another CAN resto or eatery?

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      Have you seen his 'week off', on site in Mexico?

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        Only a very small segment of that show. But, I love Chuck Hughes and that aw shucks attitude you are referring to, works for me. He's playful, capable and fun-spirited in his kitchen. Don't need to be a hard-ass, bad-ass chef to have a point to make, or a skill to offer.

                                  2. re: HillJ

                                    Last March FN announced a Chuck Hughes show like this:
                                    "Eat the Street
                                    Series Premiere: September 2012
                                    Every city has one – a single street where block after block, restaurant after restaurant, meal after meal, you can experience a magical, mouthwatering tour through cultures and cuisines of every conceivable variety. Join Cooking Channel’s own Chuck Hughes as he takes a tour of America’s great food streets, tasting his way through cities and learning about the people and history that have made these flavors special."
                                    http://newsroom.scrippsnetworks.com/a...
                                    this press release was flagged on this board
                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/841604

                                  3. I sure would. I would even like to see some of the Culinary Masters like Scott Conant have a show and show us his expertise. He sits in 'Chopped' and reigns from on high but I have never seen him cook anything. I believe most of the other judges have had a go. (Sorry off topic) Hey how about a show were no one goes home and you pick a winner at the end? IMO because Food Network has a targeted audience most of any ethnic cooking is shoved and showed at some rediculous time slot. Aarti Party, Big Daddys House and Down Home with the Neelys are all shown very early in the morning on Weekends. While Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri and Giada De Laurentiis flood Prime Time. If I see one more italian styled show I think I am going to scream....Seriously??? Come on people.

                                    18 Replies
                                    1. re: Ottojr

                                      BBC No Kitchen Required does not eliminate anyone. The same three chefs compete in each episode.

                                      1. re: Ottojr

                                        Interesting idea about focussing on a chef (even a celeb chef, and Conant's a good start) and letting him/her just show what they do best in a casual, non-shticky setting. I have no idea what many of these judges and other rotating celebs can and have done to get where they are. Maybe we'll find the next Jacques Pepin. I also think that a creaitve, smart, and serious rosyter of health-related shows would be very usefl, with reference to low carb, vegetarian, etc. Bring these large audiences in. The current template (competitions, start chefs, "reality" and the occasional ethnic throaway) is tired. Can the BBQ, pizza, and burger manias, avoid trends like the urban artisan/locavore/tattooed art-student-butcher scene, since, wherever it is, the food and the style's mostly the same, and the aura painfully self-congratulatory. More food history, too, via some richly produced specials (ala Burns), and maybe some selective food anthropology with hosts who are neither Zimmern or Bourdain. And keep Bob and Susie way off camera.

                                        1. re: bob96

                                          What they need is something like Avec Eric that aired on PBS.

                                          1. re: huiray

                                            Over and over and over again. Lots of Avec Eric. :-)

                                          2. re: bob96

                                            Did you enjoy Supersizes Go...?

                                            CreateTV is again running Christina Cooks,

                                            Do you want FN to compete more directly with BBC and PBS?

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              I think there's room to expand their reach, yes, either through bought in production or there own. No reason they could not seek to capture the attentions of, say, folks who might have fallen away (or been driven away by the nonsense) but who still enjoy food-related documentaries, profiles, even, dare I say it, a look at what food studies scholars are finding out about the way the world's peoples eat. A Gastronomica (but much less precious) for the air? And Avec Eric was fascinating, if limited, and refreshing in its pace and seriousness.

                                              1. re: bob96

                                                Why the focus on FN? Many of their shows are produced by other companies or groups. Marc Summers, Gordon Elliot and Alton Brown have done their own productions. DDD is an outside production. Most innovation comes from outside the network(s), not from within.

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  Since the topic is about FN, I though I'd suggest ways for them to grab more of this product pie and maybe a different viewer segment. Most networks buy in lots of outside product; maybe FN could look to buy some innovative stuff for itself. But ratings and demographics drive everything, so who knows.

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    But doesn't FN commission those production companies to actually make shows? Does FN "suggest" the content they'd like to see in these shows?

                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                      It could go either way. FN could commission something, or a producer comes up with the idea, and tries to sell it to the network. I believe that's way has happened through out television history. For example, what's the origin of Star Trek? or Dick van Dyke show? For Cooking Channel they found many of the show on FN Canada.

                                                      I suspect that in most cases, innovation comes from outside the networks.

                                                      http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/0...
                                                      says that idea for DDD came from the producer, David Page.

                                            2. re: Ottojr

                                              Isn't the fact that Conant has a reputation in the NY restaurant world, and has multiple restaurants enough? Does he have to prove to FN viewers that he can still cook?

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                Doesn't have to prove anything, but watching Pepin, Bayless, Ripert, even early Batali is a treat. Besides, of the millions who watch, say, Chopped, how many have eaten anything made by Chris Santos or Alex Guarnaschelli? Dpes just sitting behind a judges' bench confer anything? The network has loads of half-baked chefs behind stoves. Why not spend time with successful innovators like Conant and see what makes him tick.

                                                1. re: bob96

                                                  http://www.scottconant.com/
                                                  May be Scott is getting all the TV exposure that he wants.

                                                  His Wiki entry list more than a half dozen TV appearances.

                                                  It's quite likely that FN has asked him to appear as a contestant on one of the 'all stars' episodes, and he declined. Same probably goes for instructional shows. FN can't just draft people to appear; they have to willing and interested, especially if it involves a substantial time investment.

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    Of course it does. I was suggesting a format that allowed well-known or interesting chefs time to just cook what they wanted to, and tell us about--no gimmicks, no contests, not challenges.

                                                    1. re: bob96

                                                      I think that's was Essence of Emeril was and it was *totally* different than his BAM Emeril Live show. It was far more tolerable to watch, he was much more low key, more the chef instructor than the chef as entertainer.

                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                        Emeril has had some low key instructional shows on Cooking Channel, but no one seems to have noticed.

                                                        CreateTV has aired Chef's Story, with a different guest chef each episode. Most of the recipes are online; I'm not sure about clips. And there's a book.
                                                        http://www.createtv.com/CreateProgram...
                                                        These were guest lectures to students at French Culinary Institute

                                                      2. re: bob96

                                                        Ming Tsai often has guests on his Simply Ming show. That may be one of the more practical formats for guests - an established TV chef inviting other chefs to work with him. That way the guest does not have to carry the whole show himself. Come to think of it, Sara Moulton has also had frequent guests.

                                                        There must be other shows that regularly have chef guests. I see that Conant has had guest appearances on Martha Stewart and No Reservations.

                                              2. I know a low carbohydrate show would be appreciated in this house and in my grown childrens homes. However this style of eating doesn't appeal to all. There are so many good ideas for lowcarb on reddits keto site. I love trying them all, and we both are so much healthier since banning wheat and most other grains from our foods. I'm more interested in that than seeing all the high carbohydrates that help to cause type 2 diabetes, which none of us in the family have, probably due to not over taxing the insulin production and release caused by big carb meals.

                                                1. Haven't read the whole thread yet, but "innovative" and "Food Network" are words that just don't belong together anymore. In fact, the phrase is rather oxymoronic at this stage of the game.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. Having thought about it more, it's not just subject matter that needs to be changed. I would like to see them come up with a format that is different from the chef standing in from of a camera and talking while cooking. I think that going away from that standard is one thing that made Good Eats so watchable. Of course, it also made it so expensive that Alton Brown supposedly lost money on the show but made up for it in speaking fees and other income that he wouldn't have without the show. One reason I like Giada more than most here seem to is that her show at least has some fresh camera angles and is cut to have a bit of a different pace.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                      Do you like Nadia G for the same reason?

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        I've never actually seen her show. The description sounds interesting, though.

                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                          Opinions about BK are quite polarized.

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            I just saw it listed for an over-night showing tonight on Food Network, so I will DVR it and check it out.

                                                    2. While not a cooking show, Cooking Channel tonight has a show that tours Indian cooking in the NY neighborhoods. The guide is Madhur Jaffrey.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        That does sound interesting will have to keep an eye out for that one.

                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                          I hope Madhur does more tours of Indian cooking! As my wishlist above included, get out of the studio kitchen and get inside the kitchen of Indian chefs!

                                                        2. Agreed! If you take the new Food Network Star lineup, the chef who seems by far the most interesting is the guy who handcrafts everything... wouldn't it be great to have a show where he showed you how to make a basic component from the ground up, and then showed you three or four different ways to use it? But of course that's MUCH too challenging for the average Food Network audience member....

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Kajikit

                                                            Give us an example of a basic component that would be too challenging for a FN audience (one of them) but just great for a CH (one of us). It would be interesting to see how such a component is treated in FN and CC recipes, and compare that with Chow recipes and CH discussions.

                                                            And how would such a show differ from Good Eats? Isn't there also something on CC called Kelsey's Essentials?

                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                              I'm envisioning a show in which the host gives recipes for how to make your own marshmellows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars so that you can have 100% hand-crafted s-mores.

                                                              I am also envisioning me watching something else.

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                Well, it wouldn't have the Alton Brown kitsch factor for starters. And two, didn't Alton Brown quit making that show awhile ago?
                                                                Seriously, he made ricotta from scratch. That is NOT something that occurs to your average home cook to try, but it's not really that difficult. I just bought a cookbook on Amazon called 'Make it at home' that's going to show me how to do some of this stuff... I'd love to see it on the tv.

                                                                1. re: Kajikit

                                                                  That kitsch is part of why GE has some serious fans.

                                                                  I remember my mom trying to make cottage cheese decades ago. Not that she was ever happy with the results, but it shows that you don't have to have a video demo. Come to think of it, there were lots of things that my parents tried to make from scratch (donuts, potato chips, fries, etc), simply because they were not available where we lived. On the other hand, I make lots of things that they never even heard of.

                                                                  A competitor on Sweet Genius made marshmallows from scratch. Travel shows and competitions are better sources of new ideas than instructional shows. The pace of instructional shows is usually too slow. Once I am introduced to a dish or ingredient on a show, I prefer to do my own research on how to make or use it.

                                                              2. People have been wanting innovative cooking shows on FN for years now. What has been offered instead are repackaging of the same old 'stars' and more shows about cake decorating.

                                                                1. The Food Network sucks now!! I like watching people cook.....not in competitions, but actually cook and describe what they are doing. That is now gone and has been for years. They should rename it the "Food Competition Network", it would be more appropriate. Sadly, I scan PBS for reruns of Nick Stellino.........Martin Yan...........Mary Ellen Esposito..........people who actually demonstrate cooking!! I never watch FN anymore.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: JNUNZMAN

                                                                    Doesn't anyone look at FN outside of primetime?

                                                                    When do you get reruns of Stellino and Esposito? In my market those are either at 5pm or 11pm.

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      Outside of prime time I work. I never developed the habit of watching daytime TV very much when I am home, nor do I watch a lot of TV during the day on Saturday and Sunday. Somehow I don't think I'm alone in that viewing pattern

                                                                      I have seen some of the non-primetime shows at the gym or on the random day off viewing, and frankly, a lot of those shows are a real snoozefest, deadly dull and not particularly inspired. Nick was fun to watch because he was so cheesy and Mary Ann made you feel like you were in the kitchen having coffee with her while she cooked. Some of the daytime shows and hosts on the non-primetime FTV shows are not especially interesting...or at least in my limited viewing haven't been very interesting.

                                                                  2. So who's going to watch Symon's Suppers tonight (or has ever watched it)? That's a real cook, demonstrating and talking as he cooks. Or has he been in the FN stable too long (Melting Pot before becoming an Iron Chef)? How about his 'cook like an iron chef', taking a key ingredient and demonstrating 3 ways of using it?

                                                                    Other promising shows this evening:
                                                                    - Sweet genius
                                                                    - Ruths Gourmet Adventures - Brazil

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      I believe that tonight's episode, Porterhouse steak, is a rerun. I've seen it a couple of times already. I like Symon's shows, but the channels film very few episodes and then rerun them way too frequently.

                                                                      I preferred Cook Like an Iron Chef, because that focused more on ingredients and cooking. The new Symon's Suppers has him doing the folksy-family thing too much (like they seem to want all their hosts to do). Although the episode with his parents was kind of interesting.

                                                                      Also, this show is on The Cooking Channel, not Food Network. I know they are related, but I believe that FN has a much wider audience, as it is now part of most cable packages. Cooking Channel is only available on upgraded packages, at least in SF Bay Area.

                                                                      As to the OP's question: We would all like to see some innovative programming, but those shows are few and far between. Best advice, get a DVR and record your favorites whenever they might be on. Check out your cable channels for PBS stations (including Create TV) you might find that you have more options than you think.

                                                                      1. re: pamf

                                                                        Reruns are a problem - on all channels (including CreateTV). Symon's Suppers so far has 1 season with 8 episodes.

                                                                        If you want to reduce the chance of seeing a rerun that you have already seen, watch a show that has been produced for many years, for example Good Eats, RR's and PD's shows.

                                                                        Essential Pepin, his latest series, has 26 episodes.
                                                                        At the current rate of play on CreateTV
                                                                        http://www.createtv.com/CreateProgram...
                                                                        they'll run through them all in a month.

                                                                        ". In each ingredient-driven episode, the 75-year-old culinary legend provides step-by-step instruction for creating a mouth-watering dish and demonstrates his impeccable technique, from chopping an onion or peeling a softly boiled egg to breaking down a leg of lamb. The series encourages novices to take their first culinary steps and entices seasoned home chefs to try something new. "
                                                                        Looking at this blurb, makes me wonder why any of you are still watching FN - doesn't this provide everything you want in a show? The show does have one fatal problem - he includes family and friends. Some CH posters just hate to see daughters on cooking shows.