I don’t watch a whole lot of tv and when I do, it tends to involve food.
I learn by seeing. I enjoy cookbooks, but rarely make anything from them. A cook book with no photos is never opened. When I was in college and should have been studying, I spent all of my free time watching the food network. These were the toddler days of the Food Network and I could not get enough. I watched Sara Moulton sneeze into her hand and then touch the food, felt slightly uncomfortable when Emeril made sexual references about sausage and day dreamed of Tyler Florence saving my day on Food 911. Now I have a handful of shows that I love and I thought I would share them with you.
A lot of shows have come and gone and I now spread my love to shows on other networks too, but the show that I learned the most from and still YouTube old segments of is Good Eats. Alton Brown is one of the most original, knowledgeable and dynamic people I have ever witnessed. I can’t say I know him, but I feel like I do. He’s a commentator on Iron Chef America and has starred in Feasting on Asphalt and Feasting on Waves, but for me, Good Eats is the iPhone of cooking shows. I am a serious Cliff Clavin about food and Good Eats has made me that much more dangerous. Alton explores EVERY aspect of food… from science and physics to anthropology and history, all in the style of Monty Python in a three ring circus. If you are a foodie and have a sense of humor, then you will love Good Eats. I was thrilled to discover that he is still producing new episodes! Yay. The shows air Monday nights at 8 and 8:30 and weeknights at 11pm and 2am. If you are ever wondering about anything related to food like how to store eggs or the origins of waffles, watch Good Eats!
I was first exposed to Anthony Bourdain via his book, Kitchen Confidential. His detailed descriptions of sex, violence, crime and debauchery that all happened in restaurant kitchens, made me not want to eat out for a while. Luckily, I like to eat too much and recovered, but books are another blog post all together. I love No Reservations because I really dig Anthony’s sardonic and brutally honest take on life and his passion for food and culture. I have learned more about the food, culture and even politics of countries I didn’t even know existed on NR than in any newspaper or classroom. When I plop down on my couch with a glass of wine and watch Bourdain smoke, curse, eat and drink, I feel like I am right there with him and every show leaves me inspired and intrigued to know more. For those of you who don’t know me. I don’t smoke and I don’t have tattoos. You don’t have to be like Tony to love Tony and experience the incredible amount of passion that this man has for living sensually. If you are craving an hour long vacation with an unlikely friend, spend an evening with Bourdain. Mondays at 10 on the Travel Channel.
I have only seen two or three episodes of this show, but I am sold. Each show has a theme, like “BBQ” or “fried food” and will feature chefs and tv food personalities describing their favorite foods in yummy detail. I love describing my favorite foods and relish in hearing what others love to eat. I could do that all day. I eat with my eyes and for each “best thing” they visit the restaurant and show how it is made and usually show the the foods being eaten with wild abandon. I love this. All foodies and non-foodies alike have a favorite dish that makes our eyes roll into the back of our heads. I could name 4 right now, but will save that for another post! Monday nights 9pm 8 Central on the Food Network.
There are several other tv cooks that I love for one reason or another, but you don’t have all day, so I will list each one and tell you in a few lines or less, why I love them. Click on their names to link to their shows.
Ellie makes me feel calm and cooks healthy meals that taste great. I was lucky enough to see her cook in person at an event at Sunset Magazine a few weeks ago and she is just as lovely and friendly in person as she is on tv. She is a wife, a mom and a professional and seems to balance it all beautifully.
Big head, big smile, big cleavage and really knows how to cook. Makes simple dishes and seems like she really enjoys the foods she makes. She doesn’t like cilantro, but I try look passed that.
A little over-Hamptoned, but makes real uncomplicated food that makes me wish I was her neighbor. I want a pantry just like hers. She also seems really happily married to her cute little hubby who makes frequent appearances on her show. Do you see a theme?
I loved this guys show, Easy Entertaining, for years and have been lucky enough to eat at his restaurant Bottega in Napa Valley many times. (one of my top 5 restaurants of all time) His cook book, Casual Cooking, is one of the few cook books I have actually used. He also owns Napa Style, a few real stores and Catalog that sells beautiful and unique things for the home as well as delicious spice mixes. I am usually anti spice mixes and overly contrived salts, but I have tried his at the store and on his dishes at Bottega and they are incredible. He was kind of a meanie on Top Chef Masters, but some people just aren’t cut out for reality tv.
Don’t always understand his food, but love his energy. He seems like a genuinely good egg and I salute him for his campaign to help America get healthy with his show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
Yes, Guy Fieri. I didn’t want to like the Nascar loving porcupine, but he is a big food-loving ball of love. He has done so much to support mom and pop restaurants in the US. His show may be called Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but I don’t think most of the restaurants and eateries fall under this category. What they do have in common is usually an owner/chef with passion, tasty food and a loyal following. Guy is living proof that you may not want to judge a book by its cover. (Guy, sorry if you actually don’t like Nascar, but it made for a funny read)
I am sure I missed a few people that are great, but as I said, I don’t watch a lot of tv. Please let me know you who think I should check out or what you think of the chef’s I highlighted.