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Apr 24, 2014 01:40 AM

What are the most educational cooking shows?

Can Chowhounders recommend me good educational cooking shows which you have learned the most from, aside from Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Alton Brown (I've read through the old threads)? I'm not looking for culinary journeys/documentaries or dramas among celebrity chefs. I want to improve (or probably rework) my basic cooking skills and improve my repertoire. Any cuisine is welcome.

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  1. You can find old Great Chefs, Great Cities stuff on youtube ( ) and that stuff is just great. It's excellent chefs doing their thing but if you're already watching the stuff you've mentioned, you'll know enough of the terms and enough of the techniques to understand what's up and you can glean a lot.

    If you poke around, there are a lot of "Great Chefs....." series.

    1 Reply
    1. What channels do you have available?

      PBS and the PBS offshoot Create offer lots of good instructional shows. I particularly like Sara Moulton and Lidia Bastianich,but you should look at your local line-up and see what's available that you enjoy.

      If you get Food Network, Anne Burrell's show "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" is great for her explanations of what she is doing. Some people are a little put off by her personality, but her techniques and dishes are solid.

      If you get Cooking Channel, there are good options there too. Laura Calder's "French Food at Home", also shows and explains good techniques. Anne and Laura are not for beginning cooks, but more like you describe yourself (and how I think of myself too), improving skills from the basics.

      Cooking Channel has a lot of interesting other shows too, unfortunately most of the educational cooking shows are shown early in the morning, so a DVR of some kind is necessary for me, but then I have shows saved so I can watch them whenever it's convenient.

      12 Replies
      1. re: pamf

        I don't live in the States and My pay TV only have Masterchef (USA and UK) and crappy shows like DC Cupcake so I have to rely on Youtube and some pirate sites to watch cooking shows. Thanks anyway.

        1. re: pearlyriver

          If you can view TouTube you should be able to stream other videos on your computer. There are many PBS shows available that way. I noticed some of the Martha Stewart shows when Googking for the correct name of the series I mentioned above. You can also get lots if good cooking shows through Netflix
          on line.

          1. re: Midlife

            Love her or hate she Martha did some really excellent home cooking instructional shows. Basic stuff watched through a camera lens with the faintest coating of Vaseline on it to give Martha's 'hazy' signature look. You tube has all kinds of MS's episodes.
            The one where she is shown, by an italian chef, who at the time was known to make the best spaghetti in NY city blew me away.
            I still make pasta that way.

            1. re: Puffin3

              I've grown to appreciate Martha.....Hearing her on NPR's "Wait Wait" proved that she does indeed have a sense of humor about herself. And her wedding cake shows are among the best episodes of "Baking with Julia."

              1. re: jmckee

                Ditto her segment on NPR's "Car Talk", and her many appearances on Letterman.

                1. re: jmckee

                  Ooh, I'll have to check out that segment on Wait Wait!

                2. re: Puffin3

                  I thought of Martha when I saw the OP.

                  Also, her show on PBS.

                  Love Martha.

                  1. re: Puffin3

                    would that be the chef at Scarpetta?

                  2. re: Midlife

                    Netflix is only available to America and parts of Europe. The videos on Food Network are not avaiable for people outside America.

                    1. re: pearlyriver

                      Curious about that last part. I've never even looked for an FN video on line, in America or anywhere else, but assumed. Any idea why they are blocked?

                      1. re: pearlyriver

                        For region specific videos, you can go to and put the URL in the search box and you should be able to view the video because they can no longer tell that you are outside of America.

                3. I always learn something from Alton Brown and W on Good Eats.

                  1. America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country on PBS are quite instructional in nature. They never skip steps and their recipes always work as intended. Whether you like or dislike Christopher Kimball is a different topic.

                    1 Reply
                    1. I always found Sara Moulton's live show on the early Food Network to be informative. One of the things I liked was that people called in and asked questions. Sara always seemed to give good practical advice and tips.

                      It's too bad those shows aren't available somewhere.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Leepa

                        She answers questions on her website now.

                        1. re: EM23

                          Yes, I've seen that. But I still miss her show. :)

                        2. re: Leepa

                          Yes Sara's live show taught me a lot about cooking I loved it. I wish it was still around. She still has a show on PBS. I think she is fantastic.
                          Ann Burrell is wonderful to watch and really learn from.
                          Also Martha is very good.
                          Those are my 3 top picks to really teach a person about food and cooking.

                          1. re: Leepa

                            I really also LOVED Sara's old show on the old Food was a very good network when it first started...Essence of Emeril was also great until he became so silly; I became embarrassed for him with Emeril Live. I bought my first cast iron pan and made my first roux due to his Essence show. Anyone know where I can find some old Essence shows? They are not on youtube. Thanks!