Monday, July 12, 2010

What did we do before Food TV?

My name is Karen and I am a food TV addict.

I'll watch pretty much anything: Hell's Kitchen, Top Chef, Chopped, Dinner: Impossible, Man vs. Food, Kitchen Nightmares, No Reservations, Iron Chef America, Food Network Challenge, the Next Food Network Star, Chefs vs. City. Although I haven't yet watched Cupcake Wars. I do have to draw a line somewhere.

I admit to being particularly partial to Top Chef, but Chopped is a close second. Chopped really shows whether a chef can cut it or not: the contestants are given a basket with different items and have to create a dish out of it. Sound easy? Well, not so much if you get the trout, the maple syrup and the popcorn basket. And then they only have 20 minutes for the appetizer and half an hour for entree. Why some think they can make a risotto or a stew in that time, well, don't they ever watch the show?

Gordon Ramsay is one crazy guy and what's with all the shouting? He shouts and cusses on Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, and he's got a new Master Chef show starting at the end of the month, so I'm wondering if he'll shout and cuss during that one, too. Although the commercials show perhaps a kinder and gentler Gordon.

Top Chef is our antidote to Hell's Kitchen, which my husband always says makes him want to take a shower afterward. Top Chef is civilized, with actual, real chefs who have some real talent. Although we can't figure out how Padma got involved.

Tony Bourdain has been a favorite since I read Kitchen Confidential. I loved his show Cook's Tour on Food Network and watch No Reservations on the Travel Channel religiously. I saw Bourdain speak at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison when the companion book for Cook's Tour came out. He was hilarious in person and talked about how in every country they'd find a little kid and make him tell the camera "I hate Emeril," and then they'd send the tape back to Food Network, which never mentioned it.

The Travel Channel also features Man vs. Food. Adam Richman can't keep this up, though. I mean, those food challenges will kill him. A ten pound omelet? With hot sauce? Sushi that's so hot he's sweating with the first bite? We watch, riveted by his stamina and iron stomach. I always wonder what's going on after the camera stops rolling.

I know I'm not the only one watching these shows. They're hugely popular, and now cable has even introduced the Cooking Channel. I haven't watched much on that, yet, except for a show about drinks. But it didn't have the same appeal.

Do you watch food TV? What's your favorite show?


Marjorie said...

Karen, I posted my foody thoughts on your Facebook page, but before the Food Network, there was PBS with Julia Child and Jacques Pepin and Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet. I loved watching Smith, who was also a minister, until it turned out that he was accused of sexually abusing young men and then he quickly disappeared from public view. That was a tragedy.


-- Linda said...

Watching cooking shows not only helps satisfy my palate it fills my heart with such fond memories. I'm with Marjorie. . my mother used to watch cooking shows on PBS all of the time. I grew up with Graham Kerr, and Julia Child. As a young adult, I grew to love the time we spent watching Marianne Esposito and Jacques Pepin. These days, I do not have many opportunities to watch Food TV as much as I'd like. I would consider myself an old school foodtv fan. For me, it all started with Emeril and Bobby Flay. I spent many a Saturday morning with Giada DeLaurentiis, Paula Dean, Alton Brown and Ina. If I have to pick a favorite. . . these days, it's definitely Top Chef. . . pack your knives and go. . . : )

Karen Olson said...

Loved those PBS shows: Jacques Pepin (he lives in the town I grew up in), Julia, Ming, Marianne Esposito. Who knew they'd pave the way for such an explosion of food shows and networks?