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Is Christopher Kimball the new Alton Brown???????

jarona Feb 6, 2013 03:38 PM

Alright. I have been watching ATK for the past week or so after not watching it for a while. I've noticed that at the start of the show he has this scientific thing going on----almost as though he studied Alton Brown's Good Eats and tried to dupe a portion of it. Is it me? Am I so quick to find fault with Kimball that I'm grasping at straws? I loved Good Eats and IMHO, Brown did that scientific stuff much better.
I don't like copycats. Michael Kors has copied LV's Neverfull bag and a ton of other designer's goods. Dare I compare Kimball to Kors?

  1. steve h. Feb 6, 2013 03:43 PM

    You're grasping at straws.

    1. s
      sr44 Feb 6, 2013 03:52 PM

      He's the old Alton Brown. He's been peddling scientific recipe magic for decades.

      13 Replies
      1. re: sr44
        ninrn Feb 6, 2013 04:12 PM

        Agreed. ATK was on the air with Kimball well before Good Eats. If anything, Brown copied Kimball and just added a lot of zany and colorfully graphic stuff.

        1. re: ninrn
          sr44 Feb 6, 2013 05:08 PM

          He really seems (Kimball, that is) to think that cooking can be reduced to a formula. There are certainly formulaic elements, but once an element changes, you're toast if you just follow his recipes.

          1. re: sr44
            paulj Feb 6, 2013 05:14 PM

            Really? That's not my impression. But then I rarely follow a recipe exactly. I am used to looking for the distinctive features of a recipe. The recipes in their magazine usually go into more detail about the alternatives and why they chose a particular method or ingredient.

            Also in the magazine, article authors get their own byline. Kimball may be editor, and have his column, but most of the writing is by members of the ATK staff.

            1. re: paulj
              sr44 Feb 6, 2013 05:28 PM

              But the recipes in the magazine, although credited to an individual, sound as if they come from the same voice. Now, I suspect that few of the contributors have significant verbal skills, but the precision of the reporting leads me to think someone is standing by with a stopwatch. That's not to say I do the same...

              He must be related to Fanny Farmer, from whom my grandmother, the very one with the correct clam chowder and baked bean recipes, took lessons.

            2. re: sr44
              coney with everything Feb 7, 2013 04:42 AM

              "He really seems (Kimball, that is) to think that cooking can be reduced to a formula"

              well, yeah

              1. re: coney with everything
                jeanmarieok Feb 7, 2013 08:08 AM

                This is a pretty good article. I'm not a fan because of the aggressive marketing, but his journey has been interesting.

            3. re: ninrn
              Dee S Feb 7, 2013 07:27 AM

              Good Eats premiered in 1999 while ATK showed up in 2001. Cooks Illustrated has been around in print since 1993.

              Everyone copies everyone else. There are no original ideas any more. Alton found a way to lighten up a cooking show and it caught on.

              I like both shows for different reasons.

              1. re: Dee S
                kattyeyes Feb 7, 2013 07:51 AM


                1. re: Dee S
                  juliemoose Feb 7, 2013 05:04 PM

                  Cooks Illustrated has actually been around since before 1993. The magazine was around since at least the mid 80's, stopped publication for awhile, and then started publishing again in the 90's, til now. I know this because I was a subscriber.

                  1. re: juliemoose
                    mwhitmore Feb 9, 2013 07:53 AM

                    I think it was called "Cooks Magazine' in the original formulation, when it took advertising.

                2. re: ninrn
                  madeliner Feb 8, 2013 11:00 PM

                  :thumbs up:

                  1. re: ninrn
                    Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 01:39 PM

                    Check this recent post I made for evidence that Alton "borrows" from CI.


                    It's funny, I was a huge Good Eats fan back in the day, and only discovered CI in 2006. But Cooks Illustrated dates back to 1993 (and the earlier iteration, "Cooks", dates back to 1980.) Good Eats dates to 1999.



                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster
                      davis_sq_pro Aug 26, 2013 01:41 PM

                      And both of them "borrow" very heavily from McGee. Nothing wrong with teaching a bit of science and technique to the masses in my opinion...

                3. p
                  pedalfaster Feb 6, 2013 04:38 PM

                  Everything old is new again.

                  Just go with it. and yes, there is something to be said for making "old" science (and cooking) new again.

                  1. paulj Feb 6, 2013 04:40 PM

                    ATK probably has been doing more of the graphical and animated explanations in recent years. But they have always been testing recipes, which, to do well, requires understanding the science behind cooking.

                    Much of the science is presented by Guy Crosby
                    He also teaches a food science course at Harvard, and has real science credentials. He has also written ATK's The Science of Good Cooking book.

                    Alton is a good TV producer, but for food science he relies on the likes of Harold McGee and Shirley Corriher. Incidentally , McGee's degrees are in English, albeit his BS was from the best science school in the country ( :) ).

                    37 Replies
                    1. re: paulj
                      jarona Feb 6, 2013 05:17 PM

                      Dayummm! I stand corrected then, I just guess my distain for Kimball (although I do like ATK's other staffers a lot) just makes me grasp at the straws. I honestly thought he copied Brown. Oops! My bad!

                      1. re: jarona
                        wadejay26 Feb 6, 2013 05:27 PM

                        So now do you dislike Alton Brown?

                        1. re: wadejay26
                          jarona Feb 6, 2013 05:40 PM

                          Oh hell no. I love Alton Brown! I wish he would stop doing those Welch's Grape Juice ads and that Iron Chef stuff and go back to being Mr. Wizard. Oh..and he could stand to gain a few pounds--he looks better when he is less thin!
                          AB is entertaining for me...he never came across as taking himself too seriously on G.E. Kimball seems to take himself too seriously!

                          1. re: jarona
                            paulj Feb 6, 2013 06:20 PM


                            The many costumes of Chris Kimball

                            1. re: paulj
                              sunshine842 Feb 7, 2013 04:59 AM

                              but he looks just as dour and unhappy in each of those costumes as he does in his regular bow tie.

                              Yes, Kimball's been doing the science part for years and years, but Brown manages to laugh at himself on the way by.

                              1. re: sunshine842
                                kattyeyes Feb 7, 2013 05:51 AM

                                Hmm, Chris never strikes me as dour or unhappy! And he laughs at himself plenty on Cook's Country--both in the outtakes and on the show itself. He makes ME laugh, too.


                                1. re: kattyeyes
                                  sunshine842 Feb 7, 2013 07:08 AM

                                  to each their own - he makes my teeth itch.

                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                    Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 01:46 PM

                                    >> Chris never strikes me as dour or unhappy!

                                    You're buying the act-- believing the character he plays on TV. His body language communicates to me that he is insecure and controlling. It's subtle, but you can see it in how he carries himself and how he interacts with his co-hosts (if you're sensitive to these things.)

                                    Additionally, there are stories about how difficult he is to please, and how uncommunicative he is in real life. Even the NY Times article sheds light on the true CK, which is not the self-effacing, gee-whiz-I-can't-cook schtick he portrays on TV.

                                    In fact, I thought it would be quite funny to intercut repeating clips of him being repeatedly "surprised" by a technique CI invented, that he has to pretend is a new innovation that he has never heard of. Now, I love CI but artifice always rubs me the wrong way, and CK is guilty of it in a big way.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                      sandylc Aug 26, 2013 02:29 PM

                                      I get the idea that to work there for any length of time, you have to learn the ropes of dealing with CK. If you don't kiss up exactly the right way, you're gone. Drinking the koolaid, so to speak.

                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                        linus Aug 26, 2013 03:05 PM

                                        so, if we don't see what you see in his "body language," we're insensitive?

                                        television and the movies, even non fiction, always contain a good degree of artifice.

                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                          kattyeyes Aug 26, 2013 03:45 PM

                                          I'm not a psychoanalyst and don't play one on TV. Really? I'm missing that Chris is insecure and controlling? Well, thank goodness, 'cause boy, do I get enough of that in real life right in my face where I can't miss it. It makes for a long day.

                                          I tune into TV for entertainment and to learn. Is Chris hard to please and a general PITA? Maybe so. Are some of my favorite singers and chefs perfectionists? Could be. But I don't need to live with them. I just need to like what I watch and learn along the way. Fait accompli. Rock on, Chris.

                                          1. re: kattyeyes
                                            Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 03:59 PM

                                            If it works for you, that's fine. Truthfully, it works for me too (mostly). But, I can't ignore something when it's right there in front of me, clear as day. If it's hidden from view and I don't see it or detect it, so be it. But for CK, it's very obvious to me, that his on camera persona is a great deal more affable than the persnickety, anal-retentive dude that he is in real life.

                                            It does take away slightly from my enjoyment of the show, when one his personal "tics" surfaces, and he catches himself being condescending or boorish, but quickly pushes it back down for the cameras, and modulates his voice to make it more friendly-sounding. I've seen it happen many times. (I love the way Bridget calls him out sometimes-- there's some not-so-latent frustration there, but she is most graceful in the way she manages it, and him.)

                                            But in the end, the benefits I've gotten from the show (and from CK's empire) far outweigh any annoyances I have with CK's personal proclivities. In effect, I am a customer in spite of CK's presence and personality, not because of it.

                                            Mr Taster

                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                              linus Aug 26, 2013 04:22 PM

                                              kimball would have to be an actor of day-lewisian proportions to not have a large dose of some kind of affability in his makeup. nobody who "acts" that way on t.v. -- the costumes, the self deprecation -- can be such a complete asshole (then again, bill cosby seems like a pretty nice guy on the t.v.). i don't get how one can call his persnickity attitude artifice when it's right there on the t.v. show, and he teases himself, and allows others to tease him, about it.
                                              persnickity and affable are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and one man's persnickityness is another man's attention to detail.

                                              it also seems...disingenuous to think kimball doesn't have a massive, massive influence over all the content of the magazines and the t.v. shows. surely they both are what they are because of his personality.
                                              yes, one can like or dislike part of all the man's personality, whether onscreen or off, but how can you separate them from the products?
                                              surely they are what they are because, not in spite, of him?

                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                kattyeyes Aug 26, 2013 04:30 PM

                                                I dunno...unless you think these bloopers are staged somehow, Chris strikes me as pretty funny. And a good sport!

                                      2. re: paulj
                                        jarona Feb 7, 2013 04:18 PM

                                        Yeah. He doesn't have that look of a fun guy--even if he IS in costume. You know how you can just tell if a person has a great sense of humor or not when you meet them? Kimball just comes across as someone not humorous--and even with the costumes--he just seems to take himself very seriously. I dunno.He's a N.E. Prep schooler--not that there's anything wrong with that--but he just has this air of snootiness. I still watch the show though b/c I've gotten some decent and foolproof recipes from him though.

                                        1. re: jarona
                                          linus Feb 7, 2013 04:27 PM

                                          i don't find him snooty in the slightest and think he has a rather dry sense of humor i enjoy.

                                          1. re: linus
                                            ItalianNana Feb 7, 2013 04:52 PM

                                            I'm with you, Linus. My latest issue of Cooks Illustrated just arrived and Kimball's editorial was about rabbit hunting in a Ford pick-up (up behind Mike Lourie's dairy barn) right after a late Dec snowfall. It captured perfectly his sense of joy in the outdoors, the natural rhythm of rural life and appreciation of simple things. This is a man who has a wood stove and chops his own wood!

                                            Not the lifestyle of your typical snooty TV celebrity.

                                            1. re: ItalianNana
                                              sandylc Feb 8, 2013 09:27 PM

                                              The man drives a Maserati. The folksy thing might be a hobby, but it isn't his entire life.

                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                jarona Feb 9, 2013 07:16 AM


                                            2. re: linus
                                              kattyeyes Feb 7, 2013 05:13 PM

                                              +1 to you, linus and ItalianNana as well.

                                        2. re: jarona
                                          wyogal Feb 9, 2013 08:16 AM

                                          That's because AB is an entertainer, that happened to be on a food show.
                                          Whereas, Kimball is about the food.

                                          1. re: wyogal
                                            sunshine842 Feb 9, 2013 03:10 PM

                                            er, no. AB started out as a cinematographer and director (behind the camera) and trained (somewhat ironically for this discussion) at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont.

                                            He also won a Peabody award for broadcast excellence, and has published a half-dozen books, one of which won the coveted James Beard award.

                                            Not a fluff entertainer. He knows his way around a kitchen as well as many other pros.

                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                              wyogal Feb 9, 2013 03:27 PM

                                              Yes, but, I feel that his focus has been entertainment, which, gee whiz, includes jobs such as cinematography and directing.
                                              Anyone can go to cooking school.
                                              Just because I said he's an entertainer, doesn't mean I said "fluff." Especially with the JB award.
                                              IMO, he wanted more entertaining cooking shows.

                                              1. re: wyogal
                                                sunshine842 Feb 9, 2013 03:29 PM

                                                but that's just it...he's not an entertainer who just happened to be on a food show, which makes it sound like the whole thing was just an accident, and he really doesn't know his elbow from his ear when it comes to food.

                                                The whole thing was pretty carefully planned to marry the two areas in which he is highly skilled and make the best of both.

                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                  wyogal Feb 9, 2013 03:32 PM

                                                  I am saying that his focus was different. I'm not saying he doesn't know anything.

                                                  1. re: wyogal
                                                    Tom34 Feb 9, 2013 05:47 PM

                                                    I like both but fully understand your point and tend to agree.

                                              2. re: sunshine842
                                                scoopG Feb 9, 2013 06:34 PM

                                                While any James Beard award might be "coveted" to industry insiders - the finalists are self-nominated.

                                                1. re: scoopG
                                                  sunshine842 Feb 10, 2013 12:16 AM

                                                  but winning is not.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                    scoopG Feb 10, 2013 12:48 PM

                                                    Like winning a Golden Globe. 60 some categories, 400+ nominees.

                                              3. re: wyogal
                                                jmckee Feb 12, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                I am SO tired of this knock on AB. AB is very much about the food. He just presents it in an entertaining manner.

                                                Kimball is about the buck rather than the food. And his writing and the tone of his magazine and TV shows are increasingly tiresome.

                                                1. re: jmckee
                                                  wyogal Feb 12, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                  It isn't a "knock on AB." It's a perspective, just as yours is of Kimball.

                                                  1. re: jmckee
                                                    paulj Feb 12, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                    Yes, AB entertains us out the good of his heart. I read that the Good Eats production was a money looser for him. He has had to sell books and make long tiresome speaking tours to make up for those loses.

                                                    1. re: jmckee
                                                      ttoommyy Feb 12, 2013 01:17 PM

                                                      Oh yes. AB does it all for free. No paycheck. Gratis.

                                                      Please. Anyone who is on TV does what they are doing first and foremost for the paycheck. AB and CK alike. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that! They both provide entertainment and education. Let them both make all the $$ they can. I would if I could!

                                                      1. re: ttoommyy
                                                        Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 01:56 PM

                                                        I don't know what the deal food network has with their talent, but I know that the PBS shows are loss leaders for other types of marketing. TV cooking shows on PBS are essentially 30 minute advertisements for cookbooks, DVDs, etc. The shows are loss leaders..

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                    2. re: wyogal
                                                      Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 01:53 PM

                                                      >> That's because AB is an entertainer, that happened to be >> on a food show. Whereas, Kimball is about the food.

                                                      This isn't accurate at all.

                                                      Your description would be correct if it described a show where Mr. T teaches you how to cook pancakes (an entertainer who happens to be on a food show). But Alton Brown? Doesn't fit.

                                                      Mr Taster

                                              4. re: paulj
                                                KailuaGirl Feb 12, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                Interesting articles!

                                                1. re: paulj
                                                  greygarious Aug 26, 2013 02:29 PM

                                                  Shirley Corriher first came to the notice of the public via her appearances on Nathalie Dupree's cooking shows. If memory serves, Ms. Dupree gave her a leg up via bankrolling some of her education, or perhaps it was her writing.

                                                2. davis_sq_pro Feb 7, 2013 07:29 AM

                                                  No. Kimball has the personality of a piece of toast with too much maillard reaction.

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                    sunshine842 Feb 7, 2013 07:45 AM


                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                      greygarious Aug 26, 2013 02:27 PM

                                                      That would be caramelization of the carbs in the bread, which is not the same as the Maillard reaction, that involves proteins. I learned that from ATK's food scientist, Guy Crosby.

                                                      1. re: greygarious
                                                        davis_sq_pro Aug 26, 2013 02:39 PM

                                                        "That would be caramelization of the carbs in the bread"

                                                        No it wouldn't. Wheat and other grains have plenty of proteins.

                                                        Notice the photo used in the following Wikipedia article? Bread crust. Same reaction as toasting the bread.


                                                        As for whether Wikipedia or the ATK food scientist is more trustworthy? I'll take Wikipedia, given some of the recent claims by ATK, such as the idea that you should brine corn.

                                                        Edit: I googled around and there are a tremendous number of sources that agree with the Wikipedia article. Just search for "toast + maillard" (no quotes).

                                                        1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                          paulj Aug 26, 2013 04:33 PM

                                                          Though I'm learning in a risotto thread, that there might be something else going on here, dextrinisation. This is the breakdown of starch molecules into shorter dextrines in the presence of dry heat.

                                                          Caramelization is oxidation of simple sugars. Maillard involves sugar and amino acids.

                                                          But none of these are simple reactions, since they involve complicated organic molecules.

                                                          1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                            Soul Vole Aug 26, 2013 10:02 PM

                                                            Yep. The Maillard reactions play a major role in bread crust. Why wouldn't they in toasting too?

                                                            1. re: Soul Vole
                                                              paulj Aug 27, 2013 12:29 AM

                                                              quote near the end:

                                                              The browning* of bread crust and of toast* involves the first three mechanisms acting simultaneously. Sugars released into the dough by the action of yeast, or painted onto the loaf, undergo caramelization*. On the dry outside of the loaf starch breaks down into pyrodextrins. In the moister conditions just below the surface, sugar-amine browning* also takes place. The same three, and especially the last two, occur when breadcrums are sprinkled on top of a dish nd heated to produce a brown curst over it.

                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                Soul Vole Aug 27, 2013 12:42 AM

                                                                I don't see your point.

                                                                Sugar-amine browning is as far as I know a synonym for the Maillard reactions. It's one of the "especially the last two".

                                                                As I said, they play a major role in the formation and flavor of bread crust, and in toasting. It is not, as the article you quote states, just caramelization.

                                                      2. i
                                                        ItalianNana Feb 7, 2013 07:59 AM


                                                        Cooks Illustrated, over the last two decades, has taken me from a wretched cook who dreaded dinner prep to a foodie. The magazine (no ads allowed) and its editor, Chris Kimball, as well as the many cookbook published by ATK are successful for a reason. They will take a recipe, deconstruct it, make 20 versions, subject it to taste tastes and then tell you why they recommend the final one. Still think searing meat "seals in juices?" Chris and company will tell you why this is not so. Wonder why your meringue weeps, your soufflé flops or your brisket is tough? They know. And the nerds among us need to know.

                                                        Kimball's well written, sometimes humorous, often poignant editorials are a Norman Rockwellesque slice of rural New England life...where hard working folks with traditional values make great neighbors.

                                                        Cooking IS both art and science. Long live Chris!

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: ItalianNana
                                                          kattyeyes Feb 7, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                          Long live YOU, ItalianNana! I ♥ this post! ! I've learned a great deal from Chris and company, too. Now, do you know how to make scacciata and can you teach me? ;)

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes
                                                            ItalianNana Feb 7, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                            Ahhhh Katty you made my day. Thank you.

                                                            Now, regarding scacciata...I wish I could oblige you. The Sicilians are great cooks, no? My mother-in-law taught me to make terrific Calzones which are sort of a version, or maybe the other way around.

                                                            I think the dough would be similar but the filling for scacciata would have more veggies and probably potato. Where have you eaten it? Here on the west coast, especially in my Italian/Portuguese/Basque peopled valley, it's not a common dish.

                                                            Best of luck and PLEASE share if you are experimenting. :-D

                                                            1. re: ItalianNana
                                                              kattyeyes Feb 7, 2013 11:18 AM

                                                              Straight back at you, Nana! I'm from Middletown, CT, sister city of Melilli, so we are surrounded by much culinary greatness. I never realized it was a "my town" kinda thing till no one knew what I was talking about outside my area. :) I think I can figure out the insides (my favorite is broccoli and sausage). Just need to find a good dough. My Poppy was 100% Italian, but I never had an Italian nonna (I had Nanny--Irish/English), so I am always on the lookout for a nonna I can "borrow." :)

                                                              Meanwhile, I will check recipes from some of my favorite Sicilians (Nick Stellino, for one). And who knows, maybe one day Chris and the Cook's Country/ATK crew will attack scacciata. Stranger things have happened. Heck, they recently featured steamed cheeseburgers, another local specialty. You take care.

                                                        2. ttoommyy Feb 7, 2013 09:35 AM

                                                          ATK predates Good Eats and has always had a scientific element to it.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: ttoommyy
                                                            mpjmph Feb 7, 2013 04:50 PM

                                                            Good Eats was on the air for 18 months before ATK. Cook's Illustrated was around for years before, Good Eats still predates the ATK show.

                                                            1. re: mpjmph
                                                              ttoommyy Feb 8, 2013 07:04 AM

                                                              Yes. I agree. I misspoke. I meant Cook's Illustrated, which has been around in one form or another since 1980. I find ATK and CI synonymous these days. I still stand by the fact that Kimball was exploring the science of cooking in CI before Good Eats was on the air.

                                                          2. t
                                                            Tom34 Feb 7, 2013 05:19 PM

                                                            I don't care who copies who, I will support anybody who actually has an educational cooking show where I can walk away knowing something I didn't know before the show.

                                                            1. m
                                                              madeliner Feb 8, 2013 10:52 PM

                                                              almost all ATK, cooks country recipes work wonderfully for me and I have tried quite a few-they make great recipes that you can always tweak

                                                              Alton's never have-I tried his hamburger fresh ground from steak bits, thinking he was the 'thing' a long time ago and it was awful, never tried anything of his again-I also find his show insufferable

                                                              atk isn't a barrel of laughs either but they do make things that work

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: madeliner
                                                                davis_sq_pro Feb 9, 2013 07:12 AM

                                                                I've had good luck with both -- definitely with modifications in both cases. Agreed about the AB hamburger ground in the food processor. Tried it twice and it was pretty nasty.

                                                                However, the vast majority of the other recipes from that show that I tried over the years worked very well. I can definitely credit that show with improving my cooking skills in various areas.

                                                                The ATK/Cook's recipes are probably slightly better tested but I generally find them to be woefully underseasoned. 1/4 tsp of salt for an entire recipe to serve 8 people, etc.

                                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                                  The Professor Feb 9, 2013 07:32 AM

                                                                  wow...what exactly was so 'nasty' about hamburger made from meat chopped in a processor?
                                                                  I've done it that way for years (long before either TK or GE hit the airwaves) and the results have always been great...a coarser, more satisfying texture and much juicier compared to meat smooshed in a grinder. And it literally takes less than 10 seconds to chop enough for 4 burgers!

                                                                  1. re: The Professor
                                                                    davis_sq_pro Feb 9, 2013 07:58 AM

                                                                    Your "coarse" is my "grainy." And going further results in gummy.

                                                                    I didn't find it to be satisfying in the least. Glad to hear that it works for you.

                                                                    1. re: The Professor
                                                                      Tom34 Feb 9, 2013 06:18 PM

                                                                      Have had both & like both if properly cooked. I have found though that most folks I know prefer ground which is likely because its what their used to. .

                                                                    2. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                                      madeliner Feb 10, 2013 01:41 AM

                                                                      I prefer kimball to brown-he has standards in a way

                                                                      his shows turn out good food most of the time

                                                                      btw I like the new initial icons!

                                                                      1. re: madeliner
                                                                        sunshine842 Feb 10, 2013 02:17 AM

                                                                        and that is why having variations on a theme is a good thing.

                                                                  2. dave_c Feb 9, 2013 07:25 AM

                                                                    I've gone to Chris Kimball's presentation - The Science of Good Cooking. The impression I had was that he really doesn't know that much, but does he really need to when he has a staff of experts. The presentation was just a book selling gimmick.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: dave_c
                                                                      paulj Feb 9, 2013 09:00 AM

                                                                      I happen to have a 1986 issue of Cooks, Kimball's earlier magazine (with advertising). It has a regular section titled 'The Science of Cooking'. In that issue it is about knife sharpening.

                                                                    2. s
                                                                      sr44 Feb 9, 2013 03:53 PM

                                                                      I was really thunderstruck by his Fannie's Last Supper. First, he went to extraordinary lengths to replicate the original conditions. Second, he knew a lot about how food transactions occurred in the late 19th century. So he's no dummy, but I get tired of his attempts to sell the same recipe many times.

                                                                      1. e
                                                                        ellaf Feb 10, 2013 01:02 PM

                                                                        I'm not a bif fan of either, but I respect Christopher Kimball and his TV show because he is on PBS. I much prefer PBS over the commercial cooking channel. Also, Christopher Kimball, whether you like him or not, is not shilling for anybody, his magazine has no ads. Alton Brown is maybe out to be a good cook and definitely out to rake in as much dough as he can. If I had to pick a copy cat it would be Alton.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ellaf
                                                                          Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 02:05 PM

                                                                          >> Also, Christopher Kimball, whether you like him or not, is not shilling for anybody, his magazine has no ads.

                                                                          Uh, CK is shilling for himself.

                                                                          These are all separate purchases, at about $30/year each:

                                                                          Cooks Illustrated magazine
                                                                          Cooks Country magazine
                                                                          ATK website
                                                                          CI website (- cookbook recipes for additional cost)
                                                                          CC website

                                                                          Not to mention all the DVDs and cookbooks they sell for both shows.

                                                                          I love CI, but don't be disillusioned by the PBS thing. Chris Kimball is the head of a commercial endeavor. It's like my wife's $45,000/year "non-profit" health sciences university that the president and administrators make millions from.

                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                            sandylc Aug 26, 2013 02:32 PM

                                                                            Ha. These days, "non-profit" means only that you'd better spend enough on yourself to not get caught with any extra cash at the end of the year...

                                                                            Anyone thinking about Health Insurance Companies right now?

                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                              linus Aug 26, 2013 03:07 PM

                                                                              perhaps i'm putting words in their mouth, but surely the poster meant kimball isn't shilling for anyone but his business.

                                                                              yes, he's earning a living by what he's doing. that doesn't necessarily make him any more or less dishonest than the rest of us.

                                                                              1. re: linus
                                                                                sandylc Aug 26, 2013 04:31 PM

                                                                                "Earning a living..."

                                                                                Indeed. A Maserati and hand-sewn Italian shoes living!

                                                                          2. n
                                                                            nasirshakouri Feb 12, 2013 01:24 PM

                                                                            New Alton Brown? Isn't ATK old school? I always thought ATK had the scientific thing going on. Comparing Kimball to Kors is just plain harsh. Nasir Shakouri, out.

                                                                            1. d
                                                                              drewkal Mar 20, 2013 10:17 PM

                                                                              AB and CK? Good Eats gets the vote by a landslide, as an entertaining presentation of food prep and science. CK and his crew is great at presenting recipies and techniques, their magazines are very educational, and work very well--I have all the Cook's Illustrated, ATK, books, and Cook's Country on my bookcase, also with all the DVD's. BUT, I have Alton's books more handy, (ie: one is bathroom reading!) and an equal or larger amount of his programs, recorded and DVD'd.
                                                                              Alton is just a better package for me, although I could see my sister liking CK's presentation better. Funny, I use Alton's Turkey recipe for Thanksgiving, and CK's for a lot of the sides. Ive learned a lot from both.

                                                                              I think if you put them head to head alone on Chopped, or Iron Chef, Alton would beat the shorts off Christopher. It would be a great episode, but like Fringe, they exist in different, but really similar universes.
                                                                              I'm sure Alton could call in a remarkable staff of sous chef's vs Christopher to help him, maybe it could be set up as a pool of helpers that they could get randomly. That way Alton wouldn't get Mario, Morimoto, Flay and whoever to help him, and CK wouldn't be stuck with his Vermont staff. But, it would be interesting if it were randomized, like they had to pick a chef like you picked a baseball player on your team as a kid. Andrew Zimmern last! (Sorry Andrew, my opinion of you as a chef is less than Guy Fierie's, give me that much cash and I will put anything in my mouth!) your'e not a chef!!

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: drewkal
                                                                                JonParker Mar 20, 2013 11:54 PM

                                                                                Christopher Kimball is the new Charlie Brown.

                                                                                1. re: JonParker
                                                                                  Gloriaa Mar 21, 2013 04:33 AM

                                                                                  CK plays dumb on tv, like he has no idea how to cook so would be very interesting to see if he can. He seems very demanding so my guess would be that his staff are very good at what they do. I'm sure it is a very covetable job....

                                                                                2. re: drewkal
                                                                                  Jay F Mar 21, 2013 05:11 AM

                                                                                  <CK wouldn't be stuck with his Vermont staff.>

                                                                                  Don't they shoot the shows in Brookline, MA?

                                                                                  1. re: Jay F
                                                                                    greygarious Aug 26, 2013 02:24 PM

                                                                                    ATK is shot in Brookline, but Cook's Country is not.

                                                                                3. EarlyBird Aug 26, 2013 02:00 PM

                                                                                  Kimball was Alton before Alton was cool. Seriously, he's always looked at the science of food, and ATK has been on considerably longer than "Good Eats" has been in re-runs.

                                                                                  I love Alton. My friend calls him "Saint Alton the Brown," and that's what I call him now, too.

                                                                                  1. paulj Oct 27, 2013 07:37 PM

                                                                                    Or is Alton the new Christopher - sartorially? Or the new Bill Nye?


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