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May 21, 2012 09:27 AM

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?"

            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.