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First Impressions of The Cooking Channel

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 1st 2010 3:00PM
roger_mooking_cooking_channelYesterday was the first day of a brand new cable network, Cooking Channel, the spin-off from Food Network. This is the network that Scripps has created to take over for Fine Living, and while a noble attempt to focus on the how to of food preparation, my first impressions of the channel were that it has a long way to go to keep me coming back for more.

The motto the new channel is "Stay Hungry." After day one, I am hungry, but not necessary for the recipe Cooking Channel is serving up.

Even though Cooking Channel picked a good day to launch, a holiday Monday with little competition (there weren't even any major sports up against it other than Major League Baseball games), it failed to ever really reach the level of compelling viewing. After watching some hours in the morning, afternoon and evening, here's my assessment of Cooking Channel ...

Where are the stars? One of the draws for any new network should be star power. Names. Celebrities. There are many celebrities chefs around the dial, but you wouldn't know if most of the day on Cooking Channel. Do you know who Roger Mooking is? He's the guy featured in the photo above and he hosts 'Everyday Exotic,' which is all about the obedient ingredient.

What about Rachel Allen? She's a baking expert. It seemed like you had to wait until primetime before a couple of familiar faces turned up, chefs who have become stars on Food Network. Cooking Channel could use more crossovers.

There were too many imports. I expected there would be some foreign cooking programs on Cooking Channel -- perhaps Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson. However, after a morning filled with British and Canadian products, it felt like I wasn't in America anymore. Sure, there are similarities among all English-speaking TV, but some shows needed an American touch.

For instance, on 'Indian Food Made Easy,' cooking kebabs at an English country fair was somewhat distancing. The same Indian food at a New York City street fair, on the other hand, would have worked better ... but the show is a British product and not an original Cooking Channel show.

Lack of energy. By scheduling 'Indian Food Made Easy,' 'Chinese Food Made Easy' and 'French Food At Home' one after the other, there was a sameness about the programming that resulted in a real lack of energy. With the same type of show airing back to back to back -- all done in similar ways with new faces guiding the way -- there was a blandness to the line up.

They should vary the schedule with more varied shows, whether from Food Network or the foreign imports. Too much sameness results in channel surfing. A look at the schedule on the web site indicates that there will more variety in the days ahead. Good.

What's the difference?
This was supposed to be different from Food Network, but I didn't see much difference at all ... except that it wasn't as good. Even the original programs which aired in primetime, like 'At the Table With...' was essentially a 30-minute version of Food Network's 'Chefography.' It wasn't a bad program; I liked both the Chris Cosentino and Cat Cora biographies, but it's the same type of show. Same thing with Mo Rocca's 'Food(ography)' which reminded me of 'Follow that Food' with Gordon Elliott.

Maybe Cooking Channel could use some of The Next Food Network Star cast-offs to create some fresh new shows that are more creative?

Did you catch any of the Cooking Channel's line-up? What did you think about it?

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the cooking channel is just another channel for the same old boring cooks on the food network . Is no one else in this country is worth a look? It's Food network re run city, there are only a few new shows worth the time.

November 06 2011 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sloane betz

I think it is great! Considering how the food network has almost completely stopped focusing on the connection between a person and their kitchen and "glamed" up to become yet another tv celebrity spouting machine, It's refreshing to see a channel so focused on the basics of food. No, I do not know most of the chefs featured on the cooking channel, and that does not bother me. I just want to see real food, and the cooking channel has it.

August 26 2010 at 3:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I enjoy French Food at Home the most. I had been longing for a French cooking show. Laura Calder does a fantastic job presenting practical French recipes that a home cook can make easily. I love the kitchen she works in. There are two things I'm not so sure I like about the show. Some of the camera shots are very jerky and distracting, in my opinion, and the choice of music is very unusual to my American ear. I will have to decide about the music later, I might get used to it. I like Laura's personality; very calm, relaxed and has great knowledge of her subject. I love the show and am a great fan! One thing about the Cooking Channel I like is that there are no frantic iron chefs running around hurredly panicking over things like on the other channel. That is just not entertaining to me and has no relevance to my life. The Food Network overdoes those competition shows to the extreme. The weekends are practically nothing but those frantic shows. I wish Cooking Channel would show different episodes of Laura Calder during the week rather than the same one several times. I watch on the weekend and then see the same episode again later in the week. I can't wait to see all her shows.

August 17 2010 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
E. Martinez

I looked forward to watching the Cooking Channel because I was bored to death with contests, timed challenges, and contestant rudeness on the other network. I'd like to see more of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, but David Rocco's head shaking makes me dizzy! One of my fav shows is Two Fat Ladies. They make me laugh!

July 31 2010 at 10:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to disagree with you completely. I'm VERY excited to watch different faces preparing cultural food. Especially, when the host is representing their own culture, then you know that you're getting the authentic preparation. As a foodie, I love trying new spices and ingredients, instead of the same tastes and flavors. This new channel gives me a new adventure in my cooking practice.

July 13 2010 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm more than happy with the new line-up on Cooking Channel, I'm tired of celebrity chefs, I want to see everyday people cooking food I can eat, I'm so sick of Giada and Rachel Ray, unfortunately Giada is still on the new channel, I go to Food Network she's there, flip over to Cooking Channel she's there, turning off the TV is the only way to get away from that bobble head and i hope we don't have to see Paula Deen on this channel, she's not a good cook or a foodie, she just like to eat(and lick her fingers) obviously. Everyday Italian has almost nothing to do with Italian food, I'm Italian and would never think of preparing her dishes for my family and call it Italian. Imports....would rather see more American cuisine are some of the comments I just read, define American cuisine. We're quite a melting pot here in the United States, Cooking Channel would be quite boring without the mix of cultures, life would be boring.David Rocco's Italy, Chucks day off, Nigella, French food at home, Everyday exotic all are about the Food, something I think only true foodies can appreciate. The only show I don't care for is the Padma's Passport, everything she's made looks the same carrot chunks, red bell peppers and onions, Keep it coming Cooking Channel, I love it!!!

July 08 2010 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved it! It is so refreshing to see someone other than Rachel Ray, Paula Dean, or wondering wheather Giada is going to fall out of her blouse! And it's the same tired old shows! I love the idea of seeing how they are doing things in England, Australia, India, etc. Keep it up, I'll defineately be wathing you!

June 06 2010 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I came home tired from teaching and decided to take a nap, turned on the tv and watched 'Everday Exotic' (the young chef you have featured above). I found the show to be very refreshing and exciting. I was ready to get up and prepare his chili con carne with fried okra. I am one of those people who watch just about every cooking show I can (from Iron Chef to Everyday Cooking). I was a little tired of FLN because they were showing re-runs of HGTV!

June 05 2010 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Thomas Stern

I thought it was just more of the same Food Network stuff. A lot of their old shows. I want to learn new cooking techniques and new cuisine. I don't care about the personalities. Just show me good, useful, cooking!

June 05 2010 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I spend most of my time in channel/net surfing. There are many sites like thats provides video on demand and i love to watch them. They provide similar services as other can facilitates us but some of them stands out from the crowd. One of them is www.channel surfing.net.

June 05 2010 at 2:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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