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Rating 10 TV Chefs: Who Would You Want Teaching You How to Cook?

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 27th 2010 7:00PM
gordon_ramsay_masterchef_foxIf you're a bit of a foodie, you probably watch a lot of TV chefs. There are a bunch of them, all over the dial, sharing their knowledge of food and how to prepare dishes -- whether it's a bowl of chili or a beef Wellington. Tonight, for example, Fox's resident chef Gordon Ramsay will be launching a new cooking show called 'MasterChef.' (Not to be confused with 'Top Chef.')

'MasterChef' (9PM ET, Fox) is based on the Australian version of the show -- not the BBC model -- in which a large group of hopefuls from across the country audition with their best dish, and if they pass the judges, they move on to the semi-finals.

But have you ever thought about which of the celebrity cooks and chefs on television you'd want to teach you? We took 10 popular TV chefs and rated their teaching abilities from 1-10 -- 10 being the best possible teacher, 1 being the worst. Let us know if you agree with our ratings ...

sam_zien_sam_the_cooking_guy_fit_tv1. Sam Zien, 'Just Cook This' - Rating: 10
Nobody makes cooking look more simple and easy that Sam, the Cooking Guy. He just brings you into his kitchen -- a real kitchen, not a set -- and shows you in a direct way how to make great-looking food. Sam would be fun, and it's doubtful he would ever raise his voice except to laugh at some minor screw-up in the ktichen. But that's OK, mistakes happen on his Discovery Health/Fit TV show, too. And his dogs are underfoot, so he wouldn't mind if mine got in the way. Take a look at simple Sam:

2. Ina Garten, 'Barefoot Contessa' - Rating: 9

Although Ina's not a professionally trained chef, she is a former professional caterer and she knows all about the secrets to cooking delicious dishes. She's also very calm and collected in the kitchen. You get the impression that she would welcome you to her home or fit right in your kitchen.

3. Bobby Flay, 'Boy Meets Grill' - Rating: 8
Maybe it's his boyish quality or the fact that he makes a lot of stuff on the grill, but Bobby seems like an easy-going instructor. It doesn't seem like he would yell at you if a egg shell wound up in the batter. ("Just use a spoon to take it out.") Even though Bobby has restaurant experience and went to culinary school, he seems like he would really be able to show you the ropes and help you make something special.

alton_brown_good_eats_food_network4. Alton Brown, 'Good Eats' - Rating: 7

There's nobody on this list who knows more about food than Alton Brown, and he can be a little demanding when it comes to how to fix things, but for sheer enthusiasm, you'd want Alton in your kitchen. He doesn't mess around; he knows what he's talking about and is more than generous in sharing his skills. He'd leave you smarter -- and a better cook -- than when he arrived.

5. Tom Colicchio, 'Top Chef' - Rating: 6
This is a bit of a mystery because thus far on 'Top Chef,' we haven't had the chance to really watch Chef Tom cook. But is there any question that the owner of Craft knows his business? He's a stringent judge, so we can assume that he is probably a careful chef. He'll teach you the correct way to do things, and he won't let your scrimp on seasoning or flavor.

6. Curtis Stone, 'Take Home Chef' - Rating: 6
The premise of Stone's show fits right in with our question. He actually goes to the home of someone he meets in a supermarket to help them make a meal. Stone is personable and efficient, but there's something about him that would make us feel self-conscious the moment he opened the refrigerator. (Is the crisper cleaned out?) Here's a sample of Curtis' ambush style, and why he might freak you out:

7. Gordon Ramsay,
'Hell's Kitchen' - Rating: 4
Sorry, Gordo, but when it comes to teaching, you do not rank high in our estimation. For starters, you're loud and nasty and lack patience. There's no question that you have expertise, but even when you present the details of how to make a Ramsay three-star Michelin quality meal, you race through the steps.

rachael_ray_laughing8. Rachael Ray, '30 Minute Meals' - Rating: 4
When it comes to personality, Rachael would be fun to have as a guest in the kitchen, but can she really teach anything valuable? She's great with shortcuts, but the end results -- if you've ever tried her recipes -- are iffy. Maybe it's rushing to do something fine in just a half-hour ... Also, Rachael can't really share culinary school secrets because she learned at her mother's apron.

9. Martha Stewart, 'The Martha Stewart Show' - Rating: 4
Can you imagine the pressure of Martha watching you while she's teaching you how to make one of her recipes? "No, no, curl your fingers under and push the onion forward with your thumb while moving the knife like this. ... No, no, try again." Martha's a pro at everything she does, but too intimidating when it comes to one on one lessons.

10. Anthony Bourdain, 'No Reservations' - Rating: 3
Bourdain is someone that I would like to go out to dinner with, but not have showing me how to cook. He's too tough in the kitchen. But he does love to eat and is a great adventurer, so he'd probably have very high expectations for anything coming out of the pantry. Here's how tough he is on Chicago deep dish pizza!

Which celebrity chef would you like to give you a home cooking lesson?

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Ron Kule

I would want the late Chef Tell Erhardt - the pioneer TV chef who was a fireball of enthusiasm, knowledge and plain fun in the kitchen and on television. His upcoming biography will reveal a fascinating man who lived an enormously challenging life which, at one time, included as many as 40,000,000 fans weekly.

January 03 2012 at 7:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

- What? No mention of Eric Ripert from Avec Eric (PBS) and this season's guest chef/judge onTop Chef?

You know, the Executive Chef of Le Bernardin (three Michelin stars)?

Ripert is also one of the most personable chefs in the industry, despite his acclaim. If I were to learn French/Seafood from anyone, it would be him.

- Also, Bourdain should not be at the bottom of the list. He is not known to be a terror as indicated. I find this to be inaccurate, and I'm guessing that the author hasn't read Kitchen Confidential.

- Bobby Flay is someone who other chefs laugh at (e.g. Bourdain). His food is mediocre.

- I'm verrry surprised that Mario Batali is not on this list. Who determined which chefs were to be on this list? Clearly, someone who overlooked the best Italian (Batali) chef, as well the top French/Seafood chef (Ripert) in the country (who are also on TV).

Of course, this is only my opinion....

July 31 2010 at 5:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John F.C. Taylor

After watching Julia Child and Graham Kerr, there isn't any of the cooks listed I'd want anywhere near my kitchen. I'd add Yan Can Cook to the first two shows I mentioned.

July 28 2010 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Definitely Tom Colicchio

July 28 2010 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Evil Taco

I'd have to go with Batali.

July 28 2010 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If I had to pick one on your list it would be Alton Brown. I would rather have my eyes removed with a melon baller than get anywhere close to Rachel Ray.

The person I would really like to teach me to cook is Paula Deen. Pass the butter.

July 28 2010 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I disagree with your impressions about Bobby Flay, Allison. Have you never watched him on "The Next Food Network Star"??

I'd like Ina Garten as my teacher!

July 28 2010 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

None of these listed. I'd rather have a true chef, someone like Jacques Pepin.

July 28 2010 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Adam Liaw, new winner of Masterchef Australia.

July 28 2010 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Meow Baby

I'll take Michael Chiarello. He's the cutest. Tyler Florence could stop by my kitchen any day, too.

But I'd love to cook with Ina Garten. She seems like such a nice person.

July 28 2010 at 1:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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