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Jan 15, 2013 06:53 AM

'Perennial Chef' Michael Stay Home!

Last night between watching episodes of Bonanza I stumbled on yet another 'incarnation' of 'Chef Michael'. I saw his first show years ago when he had a (cough) Sous Chef drift behind him on and off camera carrying a pot or something. You could set your watch when the dude would float past. Chef Michael prepared some less than memorable dishes and the show slipped into the past. He always looked like someone had just stuck an ice pick in his back.
A couple of years later he had another show. Then another then another. Always the 'ice pick' stare.
Then he went through his "my lovely son Gab" phase were every second sentence had "Gab" in it. Still the same old non-de-script' recipes. 'Chef At Large', Chef At Home', Chef With My Lovely Son Gab'. How about 'Chef Stays At Home'? Chef Finds A Job As A Line Cook'?
Last night I watched him explain to us how to make shrimp scampi. (Hey Michael. When you use 'clarified butter' why not tell us?) In the pan went a dollop of clarified butter then some sliced garlics when the garlics were burnt in went the shrimps then a hand full of flour then some whipping cream then some sherry then some herbs etc then it's been seven minutes with those shrimps boiling away transforming themselves into rubber bands in the shape of shrimps.
He does this all the time! Anyone with an once of cooking experience knows to quick sauté the shrimps just to color them then remove and add back after basically the cream sauce 'whatever he calls it, has cooked properly ie. the flour has cooked.
It was like watching another 23 minute slow motion culinary train wreck.
This is why Canadian cooking shows have such a dreadful reputation. The network continues to recycle the same old mediocre 'talent' year after year.

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  1. I won't defend his cooking style or recipies but part of the reason for the "ice pick" stare is that he has a slightly wandering eye. I've met him in person and he works quite hard to keep it from showing, and even harder when he's on camera.

    The only show of his I enjoyed (a bit) was Chef at Large and that wasn't because of his cooking but because of where he went and what he did whlie there. But I'm a travel junkie so it worked for me.

    1. You know how to spell 'Gabe', right?

      Michael Smith, what an obvious and predictable target. You chose to start a thread over this? Jesus.

      Also, I wasn't aware Canadian cooking shows had any reputation, much less a dreadful one.

      3 Replies
      1. re: magic

        So why is he "an obvious and predictable target" IYO?
        Now I know how to spell 'Gabe'. Thanks I'll never forget.

        1. re: magic

          Yup. If 'Auguste' Smith can screw up a simple shrimp scampi and get paid to do it I can screw up how to spell 'spelling'. LOL

          1. re: Puffin3

            And then there's the single word "nondescript."

      2. "Anyone with an ounce of cooking experience knows to quick sauté the shrimps and add back after basically the cream sauce whatever he calls it has cooked properly..."


        Anyone with an ounce of cooking sense probably knows shrimp scampi is not made with cream or cream sauce.

        2 Replies
        1. re: C. Hamster

          Tell that to the shrimps.
          I could c&p dozens of shrimp scampi recipes where cream/cream sauce is used.
          And you can drop the personal insult if you don't mind.

          1. re: Puffin3

            ... after your scathing review of Michael Smith including personal insults in regards to his eyes, his recipes, his cooking and his son, you complain about some snark returned?

            I agree with the poster below, change the channel, I know many people that are happy enough with his shows and books.

        2. What an odd post. It took me a while to figure out that you were talking about Michael Smith. I haven't seen all the shows you refer to, but I personally like the old "Inn Chef" episodes. You should just stop watching his shows, maybe.

          5 Replies
          1. re: TheCarrieWatson

            This was one of the very first cooking shows I saw and really liked him in it. While he is certainly not my favourite (Canadian) celebrity chef, there are more difficult to watch out there.

            1. re: chefathome

              Sure - where else are you going to get to see someone tour an emu farm? I also like that you get a composed dish in every episode with the actual recipe at the end. Of course, I've never actually made any of them, but I like the accessiblity and fairly straightforward low-key approach to the show. Kind of like watching Norm Abrams. You're probably not going to make a trestle table after an episode, but it's fun to watch someone else do it.

              1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                Just don't spend money on the shrimps then follow 'Auguste' Smith's scrimp scampi method for turning perfectly delicious sea food into rubber.
                My issue isn't so much with Smith, although he ought to know better, it's with the 'Food Network'. The FN executives should be working night shift at Wendy's.
                "OK everyone. It's Friday afternoon and we have to come up with next year's cooking show line up. Let me have that ball cap Mary. Now everyone write on these scraps of paper every FN cooking show we are showing. Now put them into this ball cap. I'll do the first draw. First one is 'Auguste Smith'. You guys keep pulling out the show's line up from the ball cap. Let's get out of here by three. Barry! I want to have next years line up all with different names. Yeah, 'Gabe's Daddy At Home' works.".

                1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                  I agree. Though not inspired to cook his recipes (they are pretty basic), I do use a few of his ideas. I like that he is a proponent of "cooking without a recipe". A friend of ours has both Smith's books and loves them. He says that everything he has made has been successful.

                  1. re: chefathome

                    The problem I have with Smith in IMO he's not good enough to just 'toss' ingredients in a pan and you'll end up with a good meal. That is the 100% wrong headed advice to give people who are just starting out in their kitchens. It's a guaranteed recipe for failure. The 'shrimp scampi' show is a perfect case in point. If he had been a line cook and made scampi that way even in a crappy restaurant he would have been fired.
                    And he does it all the time!
                    I haven't heard back here from the guy who claimed shrimp scampi was never made with cream but that's OK