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August 31, 2015

Three Cooking Channel Shows You Should Sample

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 9th 2010 2:00PM
cooking_channel_logoWhen the Cooking Channel launched a couple of months ago, we were rather critical of lineup, but since then, a handful of shows have not only proven to be the best on the network, but might be our favorite new food programs, period.

Here's three Cooking Channel shows that you should take the time to check out:

1. 'Unique Eats.'

Kind of like 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate,' 'Unique Eats' is a terrific show about food from a foodie's point of view. In this case, specific places in a particular area are chosen for the unique fare they serve, and then the experts tell viewers why it's so special. The focus on interesting shops, bakeries, restaurants and eateries is excellent, but what makes the show so compelling is that the people going on and on about these locales are recognizable foodies from other networks and channels.

For instance, if you've wondered where Lee Anne Wong went to after season 1 of Bravo's 'Top Chef,' she's one of the main people on 'Unique Eats.' She's personable and fun, and can speak with authority about things like the World's Fare truck in Los Angeles that serves gourmet food on the street. Another familiar foodie is Andrew Zimmern from Travel Channel's 'Bizarre Foods' as well as Food Network's Amanda Freitag from "Chopped." Part of the fun of 'Unique Eats' is seeing who will be commenting.

The best episode so far was the one in which they visited a small restaurant in L.A. called Gorbals. The owner and chef is Ilan Hall, the winner of season 2 of 'Top Chef.' It was interesting to see how much he's changed since the show (though it was strange that they couldn't even reference 'Top Chef' because the show's on another network). Still, just the sight of Ilan making deep-fried, bacon wrapped matzoh balls was an eye-opener. He never tried that on Tom Collichio! 'Unique Eats' airs on Cooking Channel on Monday at 10:30PM.

rick_bayliss_bravo_top_chef_masters2. 'At the Table With...'
At first sight, 'At the Table With...' seems a lot like Food Network's 'Chefography.' Both shows are biographical looks at chefs. However, what make 'Table' so enjoyable is that there a lot more about the food that the personalities. 'At the Table With...' Chris Cosentino, for example, goes more into depth about his philosophy of sustainable eating.

He's a regular on Food Network's 'Chefs vs. City,' and he's also the chef at Incanto Restaurant in San Francisco. When he reveals what it was like for him to kill the food he was going to butcher and serve in his restaurant, he actually got tearful. Most bios don't get that deep.

Another very good episode featured Rick Bayliss, the winner of 'Top Chef Masters.' It's no secret that Bayliss is the master of Mexican cuisine, but this program took you on his journey from his parents' Oklahoma barbecue joint to Rick and his wife living like nomads as he soaked up Mexican culture dish by dish, meal by meal.

In just 30-minutes, 'At the Table With' does a great job of giving you a lot more about these food personalities than you knew from other programs. 'At the Table With...' airs on Cooking Channel on Fridays at 9PM.

3. 'Cook Like An Iron Chef.'

If you're like us, you're intrigued by 'Iron Chef America.' How do they manage to make five amazing dishes from that main ingredient in just an hour? Well, one of the more recent additions to the 'Iron Chef' clique is Mike Symon and he's the star of this show, which gives viewers the inside track on how the pros do it.

michael_symon_iron_chef_america_food_networkIn each episode, Symon -- who owns the restaurants Lola and Lolita in Cleveland -- makes three dishes from one ingredient. Though he's in a pro kitchen and he has two sous chefs, Symon's style is very inviting and he makes everything seem doable. The intimidation factor is pretty low.

'Cook Like An Iron Chef' airs on Cooking Channel on Thursday nights at 10PM.

Are you a fan of The Cooking Channel? What are your favorite shows?

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Ehh, Iron Chef's make 5 meals in under an hour because they have multiple sous chefs helping and every ingredient they could ever want or need just steps away. No real mystery there. Still, 'Cook Like an Iron Chef' might be interesting.

August 10 2010 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm currently enjoying two of the shows you have listed - Unique Eats and Cook Like An Iron Chef. I'm also really into Food(ography) and Two Fat Ladies reruns.

August 10 2010 at 6:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Leave it to the one's at Food Network (who have been running that channel into ground for the last two years)to put Iron Chef Mike Simon's new show on The Cooking Channel AT THE SAME TIME as on of their BIGGEST Food Network shows "Ace of Cakes". talk about doh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 09 2010 at 8:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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