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When watching a food/cooking show what are you looking for in the host?

JB BANNISTER Jan 14, 2014 05:01 PM

These are my opinions{

Bourdain is snarky yet informative about new things.
Guy Fieri is big-bold and tries to be funny.
Julia Child is just straight information

These are 3 that I enjoy.But what do you enjoy in food shows?

  1. u
    uman Jan 23, 2014 08:50 AM

    Jacques Pepin
    Ina Garten
    Laura Calder
    April Bloomfield
    Sara Moulton
    Ming Tsai
    Lynn Crawford

    People who have passion without being fake/obnoxious and loud. Guy Fieri is the opposite of what I'm looking for. I rarely watch foodnetwork anymore. Just PBS or Create.

    1. z
      zackly Jan 21, 2014 07:07 AM

      I like instructional shows with real chefs (versus culinary personalities) like Lidia Bastianich, Jacques Pepin, Ming Tsai used to love Mullto Mario and I really like Americas Test Kitchen although they try to re-invent the wheel too much. Maybe because I'm a retired chef I hate the competition shows and all the contrived restaurant reality repair shows like Gordon Ramsey (if I ever treated one of my cooks like that I'd be stabbed) and that other oversize Brit. I want to learn something from a cooking show. The Food Channel has gotten silly over the years for the most part.Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri and their ilk.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zackly
        t
        Tom34 Jan 21, 2014 02:30 PM

        Funny you mentioned what would happen if you treated a cook like that. Years ago when I worked in restaurants a mouth like that would have been met by a big angry Greek with a massive mustache holding a 2 foot long chefs knife that looked like something out of the move Aladdin. Kept the late night drunks in line too without uttering a word.

      2. Sandwich_Sister Jan 18, 2014 11:56 AM

        I'm a home cook, never been to culinary school, but I am an artist in fine arts and digital media so I'm looking for a host to be relateable and informative.

        Funny and snarky keeps the entertainment factor.

        1. monavano Jan 17, 2014 02:44 PM

          I think if I had to pick just one show and show host prototype, it would be Molto Mario.
          I felt like I learned about geography and authentic Italian cuisine, how to cook from scratch, and cook simply, all while sitting in Mario's kitchen, waiting for him to put a plate on the island, right in front of me.
          His banter is so easy, with no pretense.

          3 Replies
          1. re: monavano
            s
            sandylc Jan 17, 2014 03:01 PM

            I enjoyed and mix this show, too. It was interesting, informative, and inspiring. Mario was naturally enthused without that stupid pumped up "personality" crap that the food/cooking channels insist upon now.

            1. re: sandylc
              monavano Jan 17, 2014 03:06 PM

              Fortunately, I can enjoy his cooking during his segments on The Chew. He just slips right back into food show host mode.

              1. re: monavano
                MamasCooking Jan 17, 2014 03:41 PM

                Mario is personable and so charming.

          2. Gastronomos Jan 16, 2014 08:53 AM

            In no particular order:

            +

            Tony Bourdain, Jacques Pepin, Julia Child, Alton Brown, Andreas Viestad, Guy Fieri, Rachel Ray, Jeff Smith, Justin Wilson, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Laura Calder, José Andrés, Mario Batali, Madhur Jaffrey, Lidia Bastianich, John Besh, Paul Prudhomme, "The Cooking Odyssey", "Americas Test Kitchen" / "Cooks Country", Nick Stellino, Earl Peyroux, Keith Floyd, the Swedish Chef on the Muppets,

            +/-

            Mark Bittman, Nadia G., Paula Deen, Robert Irvine, Tyler Florence, Bobby Flay, Chuck Hughes, Daisy Martinez, Martin Yan, Emeril Lagasse, Pierre Franey, Steven Raichlen, Tommy Tang, Graham Kerr, Burt Wolf, Caprial and John, Maryann Esposito, Cat Cora,

            -

            David Rosengarten, Nathalie Dupree, Giada De Laurentiis, Ina Garten, Sandra Lee, Anne Burrell, Dave Lieberman, Duff Goldman, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant,

            and the list(s) go on and on...

            15 Replies
            1. re: Gastronomos
              r
              rainey Jan 16, 2014 10:49 AM

              LOL on your endorsement of the Swedish Chef!

              I'm interested in what were the qualifiers that some folks in, some out and some on the bead.

              1. re: rainey
                Gastronomos Jan 16, 2014 11:05 AM

                it was just my answer to the OP, "what are you looking for in the host?"

                I lists my faves, my Ok's and those that I wish never did a show, like David Rosengarten and Nathalie Dupree.
                The rest of the - list are just my opinions of hosts that aren't/weren't that good on TV.

                1. re: Gastronomos
                  r
                  rainey Jan 16, 2014 02:35 PM

                  Right. But what *makes* one a favorite?

                  You don't need to answer. I just couldn't identify a thread running thru the red lights, yellow lights, green lights.

                  That's OK. I don't have to. They're your choices and they're perfectly legitimate. I was just curious.

                  1. re: rainey
                    MrsPatmore Jan 16, 2014 04:29 PM

                    I'm equally curious, gastronomous! I'm not being critical of your choices, but was surprised that you gave +1 to Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri - who I personally can't stand - but also +1 to my favorites, Jacques Pepin, Julia Child

                    You've piqued my interest. Likewise curious about Nathalie Dupree. Not that she's my favorite, but I'm curious what you don't like about her. As rainey said, you have no obligation to explain but I'm genuinely curious about your selection criteria

                    1. re: MrsPatmore
                      t
                      Tom34 Jan 16, 2014 05:14 PM

                      Pepin & Julia are hard to beat. Clearly they were about more than "themselves".

                      1. re: MrsPatmore
                        Gastronomos Jan 17, 2014 09:26 AM

                        They are simply my choices for entertainment and cookery show hosts. Mostly about the Hosts, not necessarily about the cooking or knowledge of cooking, just the host.
                        Although Earl Peyroux 's show sucked, Earl was good, and entertaining in a very mellow and strange way.

                        Nathalie Dupree had a horrible show, was often very frustrated on camera and often at her assistants/interns that she regularly berated on camera. Sometimes because she was trying to follow a recent trend, such as using fresh herbs, despite her recipe calling for dried and her interns placing dried on the counter, and her basically firing them while the camera was rolling. She also had an attitude that her shit don’t stink. Horrible, Horrible show, Horrible Host and all.

                        Entertainment and fun in Rachel and Guy. Not a cooking show. A fun show about food with fun hosts. All their shows. Fun.

                        Jacques Pepin cooks exactly like I like to eat. His knowledge and attitude make me very comfortable with him. He knows what is classic French and he knows American tastes. He makes the classic accessible to American tastes, even bringing his old school French chefs on camera despite that they argue with him that he’s “Not doing it in the classic French way”. He even makes comments that he chooses to eat vegetarian twice a week, even though he is not a vegetarian. A foreign concept to American viewers that this exists at all let alone a worldwide way of living until just recently.

                        David Rosengarten was the most painful for me. I hated him, his shitty show, his ego, his attitude, his way of making what HE likes the center of everything, despite all else pointing in a different direction. The last time I watched his show he made a fillet of fish in a traditional manner of sorts. The dish called for halibut, but any firm fleshed white fish would work. He made it with halibut and with salmon. He professed his love of salmon, and although it doesn't really go with the recipe, although the halibut may be better, he prefers salmon and continued to eat the salmon on camera making yummy noises the whole way through the closing credits. Goodbye, good riddance.
                        I look for fun and entertainment. Many of my family and friends cannot watch a single moment of a cooking show, let alone as much as me. I don’t look for recipes. I do look for techniques. I have taken some of my old school recipes and made them a different way by a technique I saw on a show.

                        If you get the chance, do watch a show on PBS called “The Cooking Odyssey”.

                        1. re: Gastronomos
                          MamasCooking Jan 17, 2014 02:29 PM

                          Jacques Pepin is a humble man too in spite of his fame and fortune. On one of his shows with his daughter Claudia he professed his love of *peasant* food and said his favorite comfort food is a bowl of gruel. How cool is he?

                          1. re: MamasCooking
                            Gastronomos Jan 17, 2014 02:48 PM

                            the coolest :-)

                          2. re: Gastronomos
                            MrsPatmore Jan 17, 2014 05:14 PM

                            Thank you, gastronomus, that was an excellent explanation! I love this, and totally agree:
                            <[Jacques Pepin] even makes comments that he chooses to eat vegetarian twice a week, even though he is not a vegetarian. A foreign concept to American viewers that this exists at all let alone a worldwide way of living until just recently.>

                            PS I'll look at Nathalie Dupree's shows more closely due to your comments. She hasn't been on the air here in awhile - perhaps because others agree with your assessment

                            1. re: MrsPatmore
                              Gastronomos Jan 17, 2014 05:33 PM

                              FWIW, my current favorite host is Andreas Viestad. I love his show "New Scandinavian Cooking". I think they had a female host for a short while. I'm glad Andreas Viestad made this show. It's one of the best on TV right now.

                              1. re: Gastronomos
                                s
                                sandylc Jan 17, 2014 05:38 PM

                                We think it's funny how much of his food is only in varying shades of tan and white. So Scandihoovian.

                                1. re: Gastronomos
                                  MrsPatmore Jan 18, 2014 12:08 AM

                                  Gastronomus, I'm not sure that show is on the air here. I'll look to see if it's available online (like I need another TV show to watch, LOL!)

                                  Does anyone else remember the shows by Andrea Immer Robinson - Simply Wine and Pairings with Andrea? These were not straight up cooking shows, but I really liked Andrea as a host

                          3. re: rainey
                            Gastronomos Jan 22, 2014 05:36 PM

                            let me add that I just heard Christopher Kimball admit he was and still is a Deadhead and he spent time at Wavy Gravy's commune.
                            I always liked his TV shows and now I like him even more :-)

                            1. re: Gastronomos
                              MrsPatmore Jan 22, 2014 07:15 PM

                              Fellow deadhead here . . . missed a couple of semesters of college due to East Coast tour back in the early eighties. I sold tofu sandwiches out of the back of my Honda CRX to pay my way! April Fool's Show 1985, Portland ME: I'm in the parking lot, looking for a miracle. A large white limo pulls up, the rear window rolls down and there's Jerry!!! No kidding. He mumbles something about "day tripper" which was totally lost on us until the encore. The Greatest Band in the Land played the Beatles' "Day Tripper" as an encore. https://archive.org/details/gd85-03-3...

                              BTW I don't remember ever seeing Christopher Kimball, but I definitely saw Bill Walton at several shows. I specifically remember seeing him at the (now gone) Boston Garden in the eighties.

                              1. re: MrsPatmore
                                Gastronomos Jan 23, 2014 08:24 AM

                                What a long strange trip it's been ...

                    2. MamasCooking Jan 15, 2014 07:07 PM

                      My all time favorite will always be Jacques Pepin. So handsome elegant and his knowledge of everything from how to forage...how to shop for ingredients is astounding. Him and Wolfgang Puck are so at ease in their kitchens and their creativity and skills are off the hook!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: MamasCooking
                        JB BANNISTER Jan 16, 2014 06:34 AM

                        I agree about Pepin he is the best. I doubt I can be handsome and elegant.

                        1. re: JB BANNISTER
                          MrsPatmore Jan 16, 2014 08:32 AM

                          If you haven't read his autobiography, please do. I highly recommend! http://www.amazon.com/Apprentice-My-L...

                        2. re: MamasCooking
                          monavano Jan 17, 2014 02:41 PM

                          Pepin and a paring knife really floats my boat.

                        3. p
                          pedalfaster Jan 15, 2014 04:03 PM

                          "two Pounds of butttttter"

                          and lovely British accents.
                          Of course.

                          1. iL Divo Jan 15, 2014 03:40 PM

                            really used to enjoy Keith Lloyd and the destinations & odd kitchen sets he made his meals on.
                            also enjoy watching Jamie Oliver when he creates meals either in his yard with the outdoor oven or that barn/out building where perfect utensils, bent spoons or knives, chipped bowls and/or saucers or tea cups seem to be of no concern.

                            1. scubadoo97 Jan 15, 2014 12:40 PM

                              Unless they can cook great food and have wonderful recipes they better be really hot looking.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: scubadoo97
                                s
                                sandylc Jan 15, 2014 03:56 PM

                                Which begs the question, When will there be a hot shirtless guy hosting a cooking show?

                                Wouldn't put it past them...

                              2. LiveRock Jan 15, 2014 06:36 AM

                                I watch food/cooking shows to learn. I crave knowledge about technique, insights into food (ethnicities) I haven't tried, and intros to cutting edge ingredients, spice, flavor combinations IE: pickling, local, & nose to tail ideas.

                                That being said the host that exudes confidence, intelligence, enthusiasm, and a passion for food draws me in. Think David Rosengarten, Alton Brown, & Julia Child.

                                I'm not sure it was part of the question but I also enjoy shows that include real chefs at work, in the restaurant or at home. I love watching the pros do what they do!

                                I grew up watching Julia, Graham, and Justin WIlson, moved on to Sara, David, and Alton, and now feel somewhat let down by what is supposed to be the Food Network. The last thing I care about watching is a doggone cupcake competition!

                                By the way, have you seen Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course? Even though I haven't been a fan of most of his shows I recently found this on youtube and have watched every episode. More like this please!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: LiveRock
                                  HillJ Jan 15, 2014 12:46 PM

                                  LiveRock, I have caught a few of Gordon's videos and he is enjoyable left to his own devices. Fun series.

                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc2mWU...

                                2. JB BANNISTER Jan 15, 2014 06:19 AM

                                  Thanks for the ideas. I forgot some of the old ones that were really enjoyable. I hate the competitions also.

                                  Please keep ideas coming.

                                  1. s
                                    sandylc Jan 14, 2014 08:40 PM

                                    I'm looking for someone real; real personality, real food knowledge.

                                    I'm so tired of sparkling, grinning idiots reading lines and over-the-top "personalities" - !

                                    Bug-eyes and jack-o-lantern smiles, begone!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: sandylc
                                      HillJ Jan 15, 2014 07:11 AM

                                      That's why I stay away from 90% of the contestant shows. They play like a soap opera, all anyone talks about is the drama and the food is so secondary they could be working in wax.

                                      Reality tv ruined television for me.

                                      1. re: sandylc
                                        r
                                        rainey Jan 15, 2014 10:11 AM

                                        Absolutely!

                                        Give me down home or haut. It's all interesting. But keep it real! Tell us why it's good and worth experiencing.

                                        Stop inflating everything and everyone. Do good work and let it stand on its merits. Keep up the 30 minute commercials and the hypercharged personalities and you have no credibility and risk having no audience. I know I haven't watched the Food Network in 5 years or more.

                                      2. r
                                        rainey Jan 14, 2014 08:35 PM

                                        Essentials: Intelligence. Skills. Clarity so you can follow what's happening and, hopefully, pick up some new skills. Explanations of why things are done a certain way. A wide scope of cuisines.

                                        A plus: being entertaining.

                                        Unnecessary: Cleavage. Competition.

                                        Examples of people who I've enjoyed and learned from are Chris Kimball et al, Sara Moulton (loved her cook alongs), Alton Brown, David Rosengarten, Jeff Smith (prior to knowledge of his predatory behavior offscreen) and Ina Garten.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: rainey
                                          MrsPatmore Jan 15, 2014 02:52 AM

                                          Hi rainey, I also miss the Sara Moulton cook along show. And I don't see that anyone has mentioned Jacques Pepin, who is my favorite chef ever. I've watched his shows for over 20 years now. This may sound weird but even now that he's older, I still think he's hot!

                                          1. re: MrsPatmore
                                            MamasCooking Jan 15, 2014 07:09 PM

                                            I just posted about him. Yes he is absolutely one of the most handsome elegant gorgeous men on earth!

                                          2. re: rainey
                                            j
                                            juliasqueezer Jan 15, 2014 08:56 AM

                                            You captured my thinking. I want to learn, and I like it to be pleasant. Don't shout at me, don't try too hard to be a hipster (Duuuude... I'm lookin' at you, Guy Ferry!) or force me to look at your cleavage. It's such a tired format now. Always ending with the "mmmm... so good!" taste mugging to the camera as the final shot.

                                            I see where it gets stuck when I watch the "Next Food Network Star" competition. The network executives doing the judging are just so positive that the audience wants to know the cook's "story", that we want to become emotionally involved in some sort of soap opera. No, we want to know if this person can cook and has skills and technique that they can show me. As an example, right now, I'm enjoying the Jacques Pepin shows on Create TV. All the shouting and running on Food Network, the manic energy, just annoys me.

                                            1. re: juliasqueezer
                                              r
                                              rainey Jan 15, 2014 10:06 AM

                                              Couldn't agree more!

                                          3. juliejulez Jan 14, 2014 08:18 PM

                                            When it comes to the host itself, I like more straightforward and calm... think Ina Garten, or Bobby Flay in his straight cooking shows (I really like his Brunch with Bobby show). I also enjoy Ching He Huang's Easy Chinese... not so much her Restaurant Redemption show. I also like Kelsey Nixon but she can get a bit annoying... her recipes are good though.

                                            I'm not into folks who seem to shout at the camera and/or have lots of catchphrases and/or seem fake.

                                            1. a
                                              ahuva Jan 14, 2014 07:55 PM

                                              knowledgeable. appropriately enthused about the product being prepared and the methods being utilized. respectful of the work involved and free to express themselves fully regarding the finished product. somebody who's been there and done that - knows what it's like to be in a kitchen, to prepare foods, to work with the ingredients. not just someone who likes to eat - somebody that really gets it.

                                              1. hal2010 Jan 14, 2014 07:30 PM

                                                A good mix of cooking and travel with a knowledgeable host, preferably somewhere off the beaten path, not too flashy or gushing. Luke Nguyen is good, Bourdain in A Cook's Tour, Kylie Kwong in small doses.

                                                1. HillJ Jan 14, 2014 05:37 PM

                                                  And, I'm still a Bobby Flay fan when he's doing the cooking and talking about new ventures (I don't watch the contestant shows).
                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/din...

                                                  1. HillJ Jan 14, 2014 05:09 PM

                                                    Destination cooking, off site out of the studio cooking shows. For me it's more about the setting and the menu than the host. But as hosts go, Luke has my undivided attention when I catch an episode.

                                                    I enjoy watching this:
                                                    http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/luke-nguyens-vietnam.html

                                                    Second, Chuck Hughes. Fun loving, free spirit chef. I enjoy his adventures.

                                                    http://www.chuckhughes.ca/#dayoff

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: HillJ
                                                      MrsPatmore Jan 14, 2014 07:45 PM

                                                      HillJ, I'm also a huge fan of Luke Nguyen! I've always wanted to go to Vietnam to eat (it's my favorite food), but his shows have sent me right over the edge. I'm planning a trip now . . .if I can get my schedule to cooperate

                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                        juliejulez Jan 14, 2014 08:19 PM

                                                        Ohh yes I enjoy Luke Nguyen. The food isn't really what I would probably attempt at home too often, but it's really enjoyable to watch, and I like watching him interact with everyone he meets.

                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                          HillJ Jan 15, 2014 07:04 AM

                                                          Watching both shows helped me become a better Asian ingredient shopper and customer. Because now the ingredients and individual dishes I wasn't familiar with have been broken down into understandable steps. Without the proper visual demonstration for dishes prepared with a bit of this and a dash of that, I'd miss something and the dish would be lost/different. I also find ordering these dishes off a menu makes far more sense to me now.

                                                          The settings that Luke and Chuck tape in really make the food experience so enjoyable. The episode where Luke is grilling inside a small canoe while heading down the river stayed with me for days. Chuck makes me smile no matter what he does.

                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                            Bob Martinez Jan 15, 2014 09:55 AM

                                                            Luke Nguyen is absolutely terrific. I also like Laura Calder, of French Food at Home.

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