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My favorite food shows aren't on The Food Network

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 14th 2009 12:01PM
ChoppedSo last night was the premiere of Chopped, The Food Network's latest entry in the cook-for-money food competition genre. Is it bad? No, but there's nothing special about it either (rather dull actually, and over-edited). You have your three judges, you have your host (Ted Allen), you have your contestants making meals quickly. It's a lot like Challenge meets Iron Chef America, only a player is eliminated after each round, with the winner winning $10,000 for making the best meals out of secret ingredients that are revealed. A lot of the ingredients are pretty basic, and it's fairly obvious what the contestants can make out of them. I'd like to see a show where the host unveils ingredients like smoked salmon, chocolate, 4 limes, and a tin box of Sucrets. There, make something out of that.

While watching the show I asked myself, what shows on the Food Network are my favorite food and cooking shows? And I decided: none of them, really. While I enjoy several shows on FN, my favorite cooking shows are on PBS.

America's Test KitchenI get more out of a half hour of America's Test Kitchen or Cook's Country than I do in an all-day marathon of Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals. Not only do you learn how to cook the best way to make a meal (they try a dozen different recipes before giving us the best recipe they've found), they also taste test various supermarket products to find out which is the best (this past weekend they did chocolate), and they have great segments on which kitchen equipment is the best and/or the best buy for the money. There's also a great tone to both shows. These aren't reality shows. They're instructional shows about real cooking. Imagine that.

Not sure when America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated air in your area. They're on weekends where I live, so I'd check the show's web sites to find out when you can watch them. The sites are jam-packed with info too, and their magazine Cook's Illustrated is one of the best you'll find.

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Kristal L. Rosebrook

I agree with DRC.

Kristal L. Rosebrook

April 08 2009 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug Nelson

I'll agree with ATK and CC being the best (I count them as basically one show). Good Eats is my next favorite, though I find his humor and good-natured fascism a bit hard to take at times. Third would be Simply Ming (the current season changed the format from the previous seasons, and is much better).

The only problem I have with ATK and CC is their wonderful magazines and websites are very expensive (you only save $4 each if you pay for both the mag and the website. So it would be $80/yr for all 4). And I like the tips on ATK better and the recipes on CC better, so I can't really choose one over the other. And you can't even sign up for the free trial of their website without giving your credit info.

January 14 2009 at 7:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drc

Diner's Drive-in & Dives: A Template---Guys pulls up to a greasy spoon diner somewhere in "Real America", enters and meets the long haired chef(?) who learned to cook either in the Army, in prison or he bought the joint off the previous owner and now adds his own touch to the menu. Chef cooks some off the wall gruel; Guy tastes it and is blown away by it and wants more. Then Guy rolls through the dining room and the customers "LOVE" everything on the menu!!! Repeat three times, throw in a couple of plugs for Guy's restaurant and a half hour of your life is now gone forever....

January 14 2009 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to drc's comment
Mike Davis

Guy Fieri is a tool.

January 15 2009 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mdk

They don't even really show any "food shows" anymore! Like every other network, it's all about "reality" shows. There's no history on the History Channel, no learning on TLC, no high-cultured entertainment on Bravo, no classic TV on TV Land, no food shows on the Food Network. "Reality" shows have destroyed television!

January 14 2009 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to mdk's comment
David

Let's try that article link one more time: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2008/12/post_2.html

January 14 2009 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

I've got to throw in a mention for Big Kitchen With Food. I mean come on - a five year old with his own cooking show? He's far cuter than Rachael Ray, and that's saying a lot!

Here's a newspaper article on the kid: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/inde ... ost_2.html

And here's a sample episode (more are available on that same site): http://blip.tv/file/1355622/

Enjoy! :-)

January 14 2009 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian

I don't know what you were watching, but Chopped wasn't good at all. Ultimate Recipe Showdown is WAY more fun, and with Guy's personality, he makes Ted Allen look like Ben Stein.

Also, the idea that No Reservations is a food show is kind of a farce. Yeah he eats at restaurants, but the point of the article was about shows where you see cooking techniques, and that show doesn't really do that. It really is more of travel show.

January 14 2009 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to Brian's comment
Michael

If the question is about food-themed television (and not cooking shows), I would easily pick Top Chef as my favorite. But as far as cooking shows go, Food TV has my vote, hands down. Giada de Laurentiis (yes, I spelled it correctly on the first try!) and Tyler Florence create simple and wonderful dishes that I make in my own home. I've also learned a lot about grilling from Bobby Flay's various programs.

@Chip, I haven't been able to get into Aida's format yet, but I forgot about Anne Burrell's show! I started making from-scratch scones after seeing how easy they were to make from her.

January 14 2009 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
neo knows

Oh, all you foodies would love this site I just stumbled on, http://foodnetworkhumor.com --- whether you love or hate the food network hosts and their shows, this site will make you laugh.
(I'm not affiliated with them, I just think it is funny!)

January 14 2009 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Heather

I must say the best food show is on the travel channel, Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations is my all time favorite show on TV. Best show ever!

January 14 2009 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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