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What Kind of Food/Cooking Show Would You Like to See?

It seems that besides America's Test Kitchen and their companion show Cook's Country and maybe Martha Steward's Cooking School, there are very few shows on TV these days that actually teach you how to cook. I don't mean how to cut up an onion or mince garlic but advanced techniques and processes.

I've learned more in the past few months watching old reruns of Julia Child from the 60's and 70's than I have from watching the Food Channel for the past few years. Sure I've picked up some tips here and there but most of the shows are just preparing standard recipes that you could easily look-up and prepare without knowing much more than simple frying, brazing, sauteing or roasting techniques, all very basic stuff.

Is there a market for an advanced cooking show that really teaches you something new and advanced?

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  1. To put it simply, no.

    I can get all the techniques and tips for the physical preparation of food by going to youtube. The teaching shows of fond memory served a need for that time. Good Eats is the last of the genre.

    Mom and I would watch Julia, Graham, or Jeff with a notepad to copy recipes we wanted to try. I have never done that with Iron Chef, Master Chef, Chopped, etc.I watch these for entertainment. As I do NFL football or LPGA golf.

    1 Reply
    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

      I get general combination and flavor ideas from those type of shows but I have to apply it myself, don't learn much from the actual show ;)

      Second on YouTube. So much information there. Been recently addicted to Bruno albouze. He sounds like a French batman

    2. I pick up a lot of hints from shows like BBQ Pitmasters, and while competitors there may give out temperatures and smoke/cook times, they'll never really give out their rub and sauce recipes. I do think that barbecue (low and slow smoking as opposed to grilling) is growing in popularity in the country and that there is room for a program to teach good technique just as websites like Meathead's Amazingribs.com are gaining in readership.

      1. I miss Sarah Moulton's show, I used to learn a lot watching it as well. Now all we get are "tv chefs" yapping about themselves for 30 minutes, while they repeat the same old cooking "tips" over and over again, and having dinner parties with their snotty friends and family at their multi-million dollar houses...

        I wouldn't mind seeing a show with Mark Bittman. I enjoyed his videos on the NYT site.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Atomic76

          Bittman's Minimalist show is on Cooking Channel (I think?) about once a week. And those videos are available on iTunes in the free podcast section, if you get a hankering.

          I would like "How to Cook Like a Chopped Chef". Explain the thought process behind creating a dish with three or four random ingredients. If I bring home kale, zucchini and chevre from the farmers market, or eggs, beets and garlic, how can I approach these ingredient sets? (Or more likely: if I have three ingredients left over three days later and need to use them up.)

          Even if it became "The Casserole and Stew Show" I'd bet there would be a lot to teach about how to make certain tastes and textures palatable when put together.

          1. re: ennuisans

            Yes to cooking like a chopped chef!

        2. I wish there were more "healthier" cooking shows. Like, I really enjoyed Ellie Krieger's show when it was on. The rich recipes that are on most shows are fun to make every once in awhile, but every day cooking for me at least, needs to be healthier.

          I will say, when I was first starting out cooking, I learned from pretty much all Food Network shows I watched, except for maybe Sandra Lee... even back then I knew she was crap. But just watching folks like Ina Garten and Tyler Florence DOING the cooking, that's how I learned. Nowadays though, I've moved beyond that.

          4 Replies
          1. re: juliejulez

            I'll probably get flack for this, but one TV cook who does pay attention to healthy eating is Rachael Ray.

            1. re: JonParker

              Not really. A lot of her dishes are pretty high in calorie. Even the other day an episode came on and I had it on the background. She was making some kind of chili, but then topped it with sour cream and cheese and bacon. I'm sure it was good, but not really "healthy". And yes, I know "healthy" is subjective, but to me, it's food that isn't 1000+ calories a serving.

              Some of the shows are relatively healthy foods, but I liked Ellie Krieger because that was her main focus. She made good healthy food with REAL food. There was that other Hungry Girl show but she uses so much "fake" packaged food, it wasn't really my thing either.

              1. re: juliejulez

                Yes, healthy is very subjective. I consider the sour cream, cheese and bacon "healthy" because I count carbs more than calories :)
                Rachel uses a lot of starch in her foods so I don't consider her meals healthy either. I liked Ellie Krieger too, she was often very vegetable focused and everyone considers vegetables healthy!
                Almost all the shows on FN are meat focused and vegetables are treated as a side dish...and I am an omnivore speaking.

                1. re: juliejulez

                  I see Rachel's talk show cooking segment at least twice a week (it's always on in a waiting room where I have a standing appointment), and while healthy is indeed subjective, to my mind she uses a lot of fresh vegetables, very little to no processed food, and she takes calories into consideration.

                  I did not watch FN back when she was doing cooking shows on there, so I don't know if she's changed or not. But on her talk show she puts together healthy, fast, cost-effective meals that can feed a busy family in the same or less time that it would take to heat up frozen crap or order take out. It's not really my style of cooking, but I think she's serving her audience very well.

            2. I've brought this up once before but I'm really looking forward to the debut of Knife Fight on Esquire TV in September.

              http://tv.esquire.com/shows/knife-fight

              1. I cook a lot of various Asian foods weekly around here. I would love to see a show highlighting dishes from Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Korea, and maybe India. Healthy, quick, and lots of different vegetable centric meals.

                9 Replies
                1. re: sedimental

                  From multiple trips in India and watching hub's family, their friends, and professional chefs, I'd say that "healthy" cooking in India is still relatively new. I was shocked to hear multiple people say they use over 2 L of cooking oil a month, plus ghee. That much oil could last me a year.

                  While restaurant and home-cooked Indian food isn't as meat-centric as the U.S., the types and amounts of oil often used is amazing.

                  That said, I'd definitely watch a Healthy Indian show.

                  1. re: pine time

                    Me too ( about watching a healthy indian cooking show). I rarely use meat in my home cooked Indian dishes and I use a moderate amount of legumes (because I am low carb). I thought that the FN show ...Artie's Party...or something like that was very carb heavy and very "Americanized" for my tastes. It was a disappointment.

                    1. re: sedimental

                      The Cooking Channel has a show called Spice Goddess that claims to be about using healthy ingredients. I haven't watched it much, so I don't really have an opinion.

                      Like the other real cooking shows on TCC, this is shown early on weekday mornings, so you may want to look for it on the schedule and record it to see what you think.

                      Aarti was a Food Network Star winner and that was supposed to be her POV, American food with Indian touches. She has since moved on to hosting a travel show.

                      1. re: pamf

                        I don't have the cooking channel, so maybe I am missing out on some decent shows. There is little that I want to watch on FN right now.

                        1. re: sedimental

                          You should have a look around their website to get an idea of what they offer and decide if it would be worth it. I had to
                          upgrade from the basic cable plan to get it.

                          Don't forget to check your local PBS channels to see what's available.

                        2. re: pamf

                          Spice Goddess is pretty good, I've seen it. Since it's indian food it is pretty healthy, and I like the host (Bal Arneson). She's very calm and friendly seeming. I just don't seem to catch it on very often, since it's on so early. I should probably try to record it.

                    2. re: sedimental

                      Cooking Channel has a couple of shows that would be up you're alley. Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong is all about Southeast Asian cooking, and I love Spice Goddess. I generally record both, since they are on so early like jj mentioned. Maybe you can find episodes online?
                      Aarti Party was a huge disappointment, I would love to see a cook who focuses of healthy Asian dishes come on Food Network Star and blow everyone else and their murky "points of view" out of the water next season.

                    3. I'm enjoying watching Master Chef Professionals from England (BBC America). Between the competitions (much quieter and respectful than the US versions), there are episodes with Michel Roux (2 Michelin stars) showing him cooking classic French dishes. While ingredient amounts aren't specified, there is good coverage of the techniques.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pine time

                        I totally agree. I've been loving this show. This is so much better than the U.S. version of Masterchef. It is nice to watch a calm person demonstrate and explain the technique and provide constructive feedback to the chefs without screaming about how horrible their food is. I also enjoy watching the skills challenges where they do things like prepare a duck for roasting.

                        1. re: stockholm28

                          I've already adopted one skills challenge technique I saw: removing the wishbone before cooking a whole (or "supreme" in their terms, whole minus the legs) chicken. Really did make carving easier. My carving skills used to be abysmal (I called it "hacking," but things are getting better since I got a good/ long knife and just follow the breastbone down).

                      2. A low-carb, primal, or paleo one. The techniques and some ingredients are new to me so seeing someone present them in live action would be very helpful.

                        1. You might like Heston Blumenthal's "In Search of Perfection." The recipes it featured were familiar, but the techniques were reasonably advanced, and the show was interesting. It was on the BBC, but you can find episodes on youtube.

                          Also on youtube, you might like this:
                          http://www.youtube.com/course?list=EC...

                          It is a recording of an advanced food science class offered at Harvard. Lecturers included people like Harold McGee, Ferran Adria, David Chang, Nathan Myrvhold, Jose Andres, Wylie Dufresne, etc. Pretty glorious.

                          And of course there are a few thousand excellent instructional videos for all varieties of ethic cuisines scattered about the web.

                          For American TV like the Food Network, advanced cooking and technique is probably too esoteric to fly anymore. At least there is the internet.

                          1. I'd like to see a show where naked people try to duplicate popular fast food items like KFC fried chicken, Big Mac, etc.

                            Why naked? If I'm making the decisions, then I'm going all in.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              See now I'm picturing Guy Fieri doing this show.

                              1. re: ennuisans

                                Tell me you wouldn't watch.

                                If for nothing else but the rubbernecking effect.

                                Ratings would be through the freaking roof.

                                1. re: ennuisans

                                  Just thinking about that makes my eyeballs burn a little :(

                              2. There was an Australian cooking show on hulu that had a French host. I loved it because he would cook with families of different ethnic backgrounds in Australia and get dishes for recipes I had never heard of, but wanted to try. I can't find it online now, but we only watched it a few months ago.
                                I liked that these were different dishes that I wouldn't have just googled myself. Plus it was very enjoyable to watch. People really seemed to do well maintaining their culture.
                                Some examples were
                                - a simple Japanese meal
                                - Ashkenazi cooking with dishes I had never heard of (we tend to get the same standards everywhere I feel like)
                                -Indian home cooking

                                He asked the main cook a lot of questions in each family, about the dish, about the culture, etc. And you really saw the dish prepared from buying the ingredients to the final product. Really great show.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: fara

                                  That sounds terrific. I agree that I can google things I've already had or known about; I always love to learn about new ingredients and techniques. Of course then I would spend hours and $$ trying to find the crazy ingredients in my suburban town!

                                2. I'd like to see some type of a combination show of Cooking Live with Sara Moulton and Chowhound's own COTM club.

                                  When FN was fairly young I loved Cooking Live. Learned so much and became interested in so much more!

                                  I think the live-type cooking show in combo with voting for a cookbook to cook from every month would be awesome! Although, I'm sure very difficult to produce.

                                  1. That said, I really enjoyed the reruns of French Cooking at Home by Laura Calder

                                    1. I personally would love to see more cooking competition shows for amateurs or professionals. This is mainly because I want to be in a cooking show. And I don't think I'm up to MasterChef yet.
                                      Maybe if they had a bush league version for people in each city in the USA to compete. I'm pretty sure I'm one of the better amateur cooks in Schenectady!

                                      I actually learned things about cooking hygiene from 'kitchen nightmares', recipes and techniques Masterchef and Top Chef.
                                      I've made three winning recipes from Top Chef.

                                      Although I'd love to know how to cook a an egg and make an omelet!

                                      1. A Chinese cooking show, not Asian, just straight up Chinese, there is so much that can be covered just doing Chinese by itself

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: madeliner

                                          As huge as China is, I'd guess there are tons of regional specialties, right?

                                          1. re: pine time

                                            of course China is as vast and diverse as the US if not more so, I would love an authentic Chinese cooking show, I think Kylie Kwong would be perfect for it btw :)

                                        2. My daughter & I enjoy watching the classics of Childs & Pepin (thanks to PBS) & the originals of the Food Network. Emeril, Moulton, Tsai to name a few. But I've described a favorite of mine that I used to watch w/ my Mom in the 80's/90's & I can't seem to remember the name of the chef or his show. I recall that the opening segment was the chef, an older italian gentleman riding a bicycle. The chef always made a full course meal & ended it w/ a sugary confection. My favorite part was how he would throw in a cup or more of sugar in a skillet & melt it up! Does anyone remember his name & show?

                                          1. (After coming back in from a walk)

                                            Potent Eats: instead of focusing on high fat/high sugar tastebombs, have a show about foods packed with nutrition. Let Amanda Freitag wax orgasmic over a buckwheat/walnut crepe with blueberries and a raw honey/acai syrup.