Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Free Cooking Lessons Part II: A Beginner’s Guide to TV Chefs

(Rejected titles for this post: “Free Cooking Lessons Part II: Electric Cookaloo,” “Free Cooking Lessons Part II: The Cookening”)

Months ago, CHG featured two pieces about finding cooking lessons for free on the internet. One was cleverly called Free Cooking Lessons, while the other, a rundown of web-based slicing and carving techniques, was titled Chop ‘til You Drop. Today’s article is a sequel to those posts, focusing on television instead of the web.

See, while many might of us not have access to high speed internet, most of us get some form of basic cable or cable TV. This means that morning, noon, and night, we’re exposed to some of the best chefs and cooks on Earth, from flame-haired, Dionysian Italians to entrancingly mom-esque Hampton doyennes. These folks can teach us TONS, as long as we’re patient, observant, and know how to navigate through the programming. That last part is where CHG comes in.

What follows is a basic guide to 21 instructional cooking shows, including brief descriptions and links. It’s designed to give beginners an idea of where to start, and to direct more advanced cooks to series that might interest them. It focuses mostly on the Food Network, though several PBS shows and a few Martha Stewart ventures are included. Air times should be included in the links.

Before getting started, a word: while I usually try to avoid injecting my opinion into Wednesday articles, it’s not the case here. This post is 99% personal opinion (1% bad jokes), with my favorite shows marked as “suggested viewing.” That said, I urge readers to chime in with brilliant suggestions, supportive comments, terrible insults, and threats to turn me into a tablescape.

Let's get this thing started...


America’s Test Kitchen with Christopher Kimball (PBS)
Good for: anyone
Bad for: N/A

America’s Test Kitchen is PBS in a nutshell: calm, informative, and most excellent. The sister show to Cook’s Illustrated magazine, it’s chock full of equipment tests, product tastings, and painstakingly researched recipes. The cuisine is mostly traditional American, though international dishes do make frequent appearances. Suggested viewing.

Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger (Food Network)
Good for: healthy eaters, dieters
Bad for: sumo wrestlers
Oh, I like Ellie a lot. Her measured, sweet demeanor is a soothing oasis in a land of yappers. As FN’s resident healthy chef, she creates sane, lo-cal dishes with a dollop of nice flavor. I’ve prepared several of her recipes, and their success/failure rate is about 3 to 1. Suggested viewing.

Everyday Food with the Everyday Food Crew (PBS)
Good for: folks on the go, simplicity enthusiasts, fans of Thoreau’s “Walden”
Bad for: N/A

Martha Stewart is the Executive Producer here, and it shows. Simply presented and gorgeously shot, EF’s a solid reference for casual cooks and beginners, both. It covers the basics of preparation quite well, and has some fine-looking recipes to boot. The show’s one downfall? The 14,000 interchangeable hosts, who switch off every segment. They're a tad tough to identify.

Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentiis (Food Network)
Good for: anyone, but especially Italian food lovers
Bad for: N/A

Dubbed "Little Big Head" by the denizens of Television Without Pity, the quality of Giada’s food is in direct proportion to the fabulousness of her cleavage. In other words, the lady can cook. By employing fresh ingredients and simple techniques, she creates some seriously good-looking Italian food that’s easy enough for most kitchen novices. GD takes a lot of flack for being an abnormally attractive, thin chef (well, that and the claw hand), but the haters need to back off.

Good Deal with Dave Lieberman
Good for: college kids, first-time apartment owners, anyone
Bad for: N/A

Cute! Smart! A good cook! The eminently date-able Lieberman centers his show on simple, lower (but not low) cost food – the kind most people can procure at the local supermarket. I haven’t made many of his dishes, but the Braised Hoisin Beer Short Ribs are TO DIE FOR. Worth checking out, especially for younger viewers.

Good Eats with Alton Brown (Food Network)
Good for: anyone
Bad for: N/A

Food Historian, Science Geek, Gastronomic Innovator, Guy You Wish Was Related Somehow: Alton Brown is all of these and then some. It’s really, really hard to find detractors of his show, Good Eats, because I don’t think there are any. Alton pretty much breaks down where meals originate, how they come together on a chemical level, and which ways they’re best prepared. I CAN NOT recommend it (or his cookbooks) highly enough. Suggested viewing.

Guy’s Big Bite with Guy Fieri (Food Network)
Good for: dudes
Bad for: people concerned about their health

Are you a dude? Are you a large dude? Are you a large dude who’ll eat 87 wings in a single sitting and then take enormous pride in farting on your girlfriend? Big Bite is the show for you. Guy’s a spike-haired skater who specializes in Man Food, and his series is a solid resource for Super Bowl Sunday and/or any impending tailgate parties.

Jacques Pepin’s various shows (PBS)
Good for: almost anyone
Bad for: people who don’t understand thick Bourg-en-Bresse accents

Initially, I thought Jacques’ shows consisted entirely of upscale French chef-ery. Alas, I’m dumb. While he does specialize in la cuisine de Paris, he’s also a technique guy, who carefully and methodically demonstrates the proper ways to make a plethora of dishes. Jacques, vous êtes trés bon.

Paula’s Home Cooking with Paula Deen (Food Network)
Good for: southern cooking enthusiasts, comfort food lovers
Bad for: weight watchers, people allergic to “Y’ALL!!!!!!!”

Years ago, PauDain was a relaxed, sweet middle-aged lady who serenely prepared all sorts of indulgent, down-home goodies. Today she cooks the same food, but the personality volume is constantly jacked up to 11. I still harbor happy feelings about Paula and her wonderfully extravagant “27 sticks of butter!” meals, but others may shy away from the loud.

30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray (Food Network)
Good for: people who love Rachael Ray
Bad for: people who hate Rachael Ray

The objective view: Rachael Ray shows viewers how to prepare a diversity of filling meals in under 30 minutes with easily attainable ingredients. Her recipes are do-able for almost anyone, and she’s inspired more home chefs than possibly even Julia Child. Also, she has dogs.
The subjective view: Anyone who uses the word “yummo” in regular conversation deserves ... well, a food empire, apparently.

Sara’s Secrets with Sara Moulton (Food Network)
Good for: Anyone
Bad for: N/A

Repeat episodes of this show are becoming ever so rare, and that’s a big, fat bummer. If you have the good fortune to catch Sara Moulton on anything, you’ll quickly find she’s a lot like my friend K – quiet, competent, and blonde. It’s really a pleasure to watch her cook, and like Alton or the America’s Test Kitchen crew, she’s a great teacher of the basics. Suggested viewing.

Simply Ming with Ming Tsai (PBS)
Good for: anyone, but especially Chinese food lovers
Bad for: people with ginger allergies

America’s most famous Chinese chef, Ming Tsai makes a wonderful case for eating the cuisine exclusively. Also? He’s super-hot. Suggested viewing. (Especially for all the ladies out there.)

Food 911 or Tyler's Ultimate with Tyler Florence
Good for: anyone
Bad for: N/A
Tyler specializes in meals fundamental to American menus, but branches out from time to time with positive results. Provided Good Eats and America’s Test Kitchen aren’t broadcasting at the same time, those searching for the end-all-be-all macaroni and cheese recipe could do worse than starting here.


Barefoot Contessa (Food Network)
Good for: anyone - especially if you own a beach house
Bad for: N/A

I put Ina in the intermediate section for two reasons: 1) she tends to use some expensive ingredients, which beginner cooks may not want to experiment with yet, and 2) that Kitchen-Aid standup mixer makes an appearance in 50% of her recipes, and it’s kind of an advanced tool. If neither of these apply to you, please tune in to Barefoot Contessa RIGHT NOW. Ina rules, and her recipes simply do not fail. Even if you don’t give a flying crap about braising, icing, or frying, it’s worth a gander for the soothingness of her voice. Suggested viewing.

Boy Meets Grill with Bobby Flay (Food Network)
Good for: dudes, chile pepper lovers, people with grills
Bad for: people who hate mango

The Flayster. Flayorama. The Flayonator. Food Network built part of their empire on this man’s back, and it’s kind of easy to see why. His food is fun, gorgeous, and unifying, in that it marries a lot of fruit and spiciness to great effect. Like Ina, Flay’s tools and ingredients can be a tad expensive (he works with a bunch of seafood), which is why he’s not in the beginner’s category. Nonetheless, Boy Meets Grill is a great resource for recipe ideas, particularly if you’re planning a backyard shindig.

Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello (Food Network)
Good for: easy entertainers
Bad for: difficult entertainers

For those who need to wow a crowd, Michael Chiarello is the man with the plan. Based in Napa Valley, Easy Entertaining concentrates on classy, crowd-friendly dishes, often created with neato wine pairings in mind. The ingredients could run a buck or two, but otherwise, Chiarello’s fun to watch.

Essence of Emeril or Emeril Live with Emeril Lagasse (Food Network)
Good for: anyone, especially Louisiana food lovers
Bad for: Emeril’s nemesis - Evil Emeril

There’s not much to say about Emeril that hasn’t already been covered by every food blog, ever. Yet, in spite of his tiny-bit-hammy onstage persona - dude can cook like the dickens. Watch and learn.

Lidia’s Italy with Lidia Bastianich (PBS)
Good for: anyone, especially Italian food lovers
Bad for: N/A

Lidia is my secret Italian grandma – the one who whipped up massive Istrian feasts every Sunday without breaking a sweat. Her elegant show is a gentle wonder, and her children’s occasional appearances are always good for comic relief. The abundance of handmade pasta may be a bit complex for newbies, but otherwise, Lidia’s Italy is aces. Suggested viewing.


Lessons with Master Chefs with Julia Child (PBS)
Good for: the cult of Julia, anyone
Bad for: people who believe this is actually Julia Child

From what I’ve seen of this older show, it’s lovely and not as slick as today's cooking series. There aren’t many beauty shots (of the food) and the techniques seem to fly by fairly quickly, which makes them a tiny bit harder to follow. That said, it’s Julia fargin’ Child. The woman didn’t become the first lady of American cooking for nothing. Plus? Apparently, Meryl Streep signed on to play Julia in the upcoming Julie & Julia movie, so that’s fun.

The Martha Stewart Show with Martha Stewart (NBC)
Good for: moms, organized people, fans of Real Simple, anyone
Bad for: frat guys

Do you spatchcock? Would you like to know how? Martha knows. In fact, Martha knows everything, except possibly how to project enthusiasm loudly (though she can be dryly hilarious, and isn’t above poking fun at herself.) Her show is faboo for creative meal ideas, from flavor combinations to placemat patterns to cupcakes that look like toadstools. And while Martha’s recipes can occasionally seem very Sunday Dinner in Cape Cod, those who look past her image will discover a treasure trove of kitchen brilliance.

Molto Mario with Mario Batali (Food Network)
Good for: anyone, especially Italian food lovers
Bad for: N/A

Look, this guy is a GREAT chef (I’ve eaten at two of his restaurants), but preparing his food on my own scares the crud out of me. Those not totally intimidated by Mario’s awesomeness should DVR this show at every possible opportunity. He’s not just a wonder to behold, but a veritable fountain of culinary knowledge as well.


Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee (Food Network)
Good for: people who hate food
Bad for: everyone else
Two words: Kwanzaa Cake.

UNKNOWN (Input welcomed)

Calorie Commando with Juan Carlos Cruz (Food Network)
Daisy Cooks! with Daisy Martinez (PBS)
Down Home with the Neelys (Food Network
The Hot Australian Guy That Cooks for People in Their Homes (?)
Jamie at Home with Jamie Oliver (Food Network)
Kathleen Daelemans (Food Network)
Mark Bittman (PBS)
Nigella Feasts with Nigella Lawson (Food Network)
Party Line with the Hearty Boys (Food Network
Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller (Food Network)
Simply Delicioso with Ingrid Hoffman (Food Network)

Comments are open and I’d love to hear your input. Thanks!

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Jaime said...

Amen, as always, to Alton Brown. The *why* is so great - why to beat eggs in a copper bowl, why to stir a lot or not. Yes, I'm a sciencey nerd, but I think this show's great for everyone. It's also hella entertaining.

I can also chime in on a couple of the unknowns -

The Hot Australian Guy That Cooks for People in Their Homes - "Take Home Chef" - decent TV, barely instructional for cooking. I don't think there are even recipes.

Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller (Food Network) - This show annoys me to no end. The recipes and menu planning is actually decent, but I think it's godawful TV, and it's just not worth it. (I know, this isn't about watchability as much as learnability, but I have trouble learning when I'm trying to poke her eyes out with a fork.)

And, really, muting Rachel Ray would help? Her facial contortions bother me more than the Yummos.

-Jaime, oddly hateful today.

paidtwice said...

I laughed SO HARD at your "who should watch Sandra Lee" that my three year old ran over and said "Mommy's laughing!" and started laughing too.

Amen. That woman drinks too many cocktails between shows.

The only ones I have seen on your unknown list is Take Home Chef (I agree with Jaime's assessment, kind of amusing to watch, if just for how gussied up the women get inbetween the grocery and the cooking) but useless as an actual cooking show, and I have seen Down Home with the Neelys once.


If you think Rachael Ray is annoying, Neely woman is way worse. Food to get yourself a man! This is food to get your man! and the husband just simpers.

The food might have been good but I spent most of the show wanting to punch her so I didn't notice.

Loved the post!

Angie said...

Amen to all of your commentary. I didn't know that I had a food tv watching doppelganger out there. :)

I would have to disagree with Jaime's assessment of Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller. I guess it is just a personality difference, but I enjoy her show. All her meals and techniques are pretty basic but she does a nice job of focusing on meal planning and preparation for a week that makes her show standout. Plus she has a personality more like Ellie Krieger that I find soothing to watch.

AuNtcy1 said...

I agree with all your comments, especially Sara Moulton. But she has a new show on, I think the Discovery Channel, you can find the info on her website.
As far as your unknowns,
First, Down Home with the Neeleys is Down Home ANNOYANCE at its height. I completely agree with paid twice. Fingers nails on a black board are opera compared to them.

Daisy Cooks and Simply Delicioso also pretty annoying.

Jamie at Home is very good.

I havent' seen Kathleen Daelemans in a long while. She was ok but...

Mark Bittman I like. Nigella I don't.

Just my opinions!

Liz said...

Mark Bittman's PBS show is more of a travelogue; fun and somewhat educational to watch but not much instruction going on. I love his How to Cook Everything book, though.

For just plain entertainment, Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Love that guy.

Sandra Lee is fun to watch if you've had some cocktails and/or are in a snarky mood.

I so miss Gale Gand's Sweet Dreams show. And Jacques Torres' dessert/chocolate shows.

Liz said...

p.s. I happen to like Nigella. She's very down-to-earth and makes some good stuff that I would actually make, if I cooked regularly.

amber said...

Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee (Food Network)
Good for: people who hate food
Bad for: everyone else
Two words: Kwanzaa Cake.

Corn nuts on a cake!!!! What?!

AuNtcy1 said...

PS - Sara Moulton's new show is on PBS and starts airing in April per her website. Yeah!!!!

Julia said...

I'd say all of your comments are dead on. And I agree with AuNtcy1; I miss Sara Moulton. I actually wrote her an email once and she personally responded.

I've seen PartyLine with the Hearty boys, and while they make some good food, they tend to bicker which I find annoying. If that doesn't bother you, you might like it. Thanks for the post. This was the perfect way to start my Thursday: laughing!

Cindee said...

K- this was brilliant and hilarious and dead-on.

I find Simply Delicioso simply hateful. She is more annoying than Rachael Ray and her cooking is very semi-homemade.
Bittman is terrific.
Nigella's foodgasm style is just over the top now. Her old show was much better.

I like Robin Miller too. She's soothing. Her theme song, however is like a bad sitcom opener.

Arkay said...

nigella lawson of nigella feasts and other various shows: when given an opportunity to watch an attractive, self deprecating british woman with a lovely round bottom cook while wearing a silk robe, I TAKE IT. Her food is easy, and my go to food for those nights we are trying to make a quick or simple, but delicious, meal for friends. try the lemon fettuccine, or the roast leg of lamb with feta and pomegranate. she also makes a fast and easy chicken masala, and easy chocolate desserts.

the take home chef is named curtis stone, and his recipes are available on the website. the food is usually good, but i dont find the recipes or techniques to be very original. the best i can say about the actual show is the production almost always buys a neat kitchen gadget for the attractive mid 20's woman the host always picks. (whatever)

Chocoholic said...

Hehe, great list. As far as Paul Deen and the whole loud thing, I remember hearing that she gets really nervous before filming her shows and she takes some kind of medication and it makes her a little...loopy. Watch the live show sometime, you can tell what times she's had the medication.

Also, on the shows you haven't seen, Jamie at Home is great! I love it. I've made two things from the show so far. It's good if you enjoy looking for fresh ingredients but sometimes you may need to look up what he says on a British slang glossery.

Marcia said...

Okay -

I like the Take Home Chef (Curtis Stone). He's cute, fun to watch, but I've never been tempted to make his recipes.

Robin Miller - decent idea, poorly executed. I just don't like watching her.

Anthony Bourdain...very entertaining. Alton him. Rachael Ray...yes annoying, but she does have some decent recipes (my husband ate like a king when I was on maternity leave).

Jamie at Home...I made one of his recipes from The Naked Chef show that was so bad it scared me off Jamie forever.

Juan Carlos Cruz...haven't seen him in awhile. He tended to use "fake food" a lot which I don't care for (splenda in baking, etc.)

Karen Datko said...

Wonderful post. Thanks, Kris. And not to worry. If I can re-create a Mario meal, you can too. They are so delicious. His teachings also freed me to create my own recipes, and I've been cooking for myself for decades. Now, that's a great teacher.
If you haven't already, read "Heat" by Bill Buford. If you enjoy Italian cooking and Mario, you'll love it.

Kris said...

Thanks for all the reviews, guys! I'll definitely be posting some on Saturday, 3/29.

Karen, I LOVED that book. The chapter about tortellini made me want to quit my job and become a pasta maker.

Anonymous said...

'Mexico One Plate at a Time' with Rick Bayless is worth a mention here! Another PBS show and I've been hooked from day one (and I don't even like Mexican foods normally). He's the Alton Brown of PBS.

Anonymous said...

Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller (Food Network)
I enjoy Robin. Good common sense meals with a flair. All others are worth watching too, even Sandra Lee. I've gleaned some great ideas from her. My fav's are Ina and Alton. Thank goodness America is finally embracing home cooking.

Anonymous said...

The 2 newest Food Network shows, Danny Boom and the Neelys...ugh! There's a possibility that I would have tuned in at least once, but their over-saturation in Food Network ads has driven me to the point of plotting a rib sauce terrorist incident. Can't stand either of them. Ditto Sandra Lee, Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri, and Molto Mario. Ugh.

I love Jaime Oliver, but his Jaime at home show is a bit dull. I miss the Naked Chef shows, endlessly entertaining whether drunk or sober and really, how can you resist that lisp?

PBS has a show called New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad that I love. He's is like a younger, clumsier, but no less enthusiastic Alton Brown.

As for Paula Dean, I love her show. The loopier she is, the better she is. I always assumed she had a bottomless Mint Julep just off camera.

MrsVJW said...

Party Line with the Hearty Boys really suffered from the fact that the heads at FN really didn't have faith in the people that voted for their favorite to win the first Food Network Star. They always had fantastic ideas and recipes for food that was wonderful for entertaining.

Grumpy Misanthrope said...

There are only 3 television cooking shows that are on with any regularity that are actually worth watching:
Good Eats: Basic technique combinined with ingenuity and a dash of creativity. Anything that Alton teaches you to cook will taste good and will generally be handled by the typical American palate. And he only uses real ingredients on his show. And you can buy the whole series on DVD. Well worth the price, IMO, as it's a cooking school on DVD.

America's Test Kitchen - This show specializes in remaking dishes in a way that tastes good but can be easily made by the average home cook. And Julia Collin-Davidson is a fox.;)

Barefoot Contessa - I don't really like Ina. I think she's arrogant and haughty. But she makes great seafood dishes and she more regularly approaches upscale cuisine than anyone else on TV.

I liked Molto Mario, but it's never on when I'm home anymore.

I despise Giada because she is irritating. I despise Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, Paula Dean, Robin Miller, Jamie Oliver, Michael Chiarello, and Bobby Flay for the same reason. These are people who are as obnoxious as they come and as condescending as it gets in television. Furthermore, their shows offer nothing useful to the average cook.

Rachel Ray, in particular, is destroying food in America. She is in every way as bad as the megacorporations that introduced the idea that food had to be fast back in the 50s.

Ubiquitous said...

Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller (Food Network)
Good for: People who hate food
Bad for: Everyone else

Robin Miller obviously has a severe eating disorder and it shows in her "cooking". She takes the tiniest of nibbles of her reheated and re-purposed left-overs and gushes about how great it is and chews it for an interminable amount of time. In addition, her cooking practices do not save time (cooks pasta, puts it in the fridge for reheating later) and lead to food poisoning (partially cooks pork chops, stuffs them, and leaves them in the fridge for a couple days).

Anonymous said...

Curtis Stone, The Take Home Chef sure is hot, but as for instructional - not in the slightest.

I learned to cook from one of the early TV chefs - Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet - who passed away a few years ago and disappeared from the air severals years before that because of a bit of a scandal. He was incredibly informative and took pains to be sure to show all techniques and methods. I'm sure you must be able to get all his different series on DVD, and, as I have them, can recommend the companion books wholeheartedly.

Kim said...

Ok I love the food network but a lot of the new shows leave a lot to be desired!

I miss Ming Tsai, in east meets west, and man is he good eye candy!!

The simply deliscios or whatever, and the Neelys makes me nuts!! There was even a new one that started this last month that is terrible as well!

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to add that Ina can't go a half hour without saying "That's fabulous", Paula has to use butter and or mayo in every dish, and Sandra not only has to have a new tablescape with new glasses, dishes, chargers, napkins, tablecloth, name cards, etc. for every show, but she changes out her whole kitchen as well to match!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jessica said...

I have to say I tivo Ina every single day. I have only made 2 or 3 of her recipes, but Beatty's chocolate cake is to die for, only don't make your own buttercream. My husband thinks she's snooty, but I lover her anyway. Nigella does have some good recipes, but it seems like everything has raw this or that in it or curry. I've been a Paula fan from the beginning, but seriously, how many things can you fry before you run out of recipes?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree about the Neely comment. I cannot stand her voice. One second she talks somewhat normal, the next she sounds like a pig squealing. UGH! Most the the reviews about the shows were right on. My favorite hosts are Tyler, Giada, Paula, Alton, and Rachael. But the super annoying Gina Neely, the alcoholic talentless Sandra Lee, and the one lady that sounds like a sex phone operator Nigella I can live without (even though I do like some of the things Nigella makes).

Rebecca said...

I Luv, Luv, Luv! Alton Brown - He's amusing, educational and since he has explained WHY some of my dishes keep failing I've actually become a better cook. His two "Feasting on Asphalt" specials were great and I'm definitely catching his "Feasting on Waves"... Can I move in next door to him?

imzadi said...

I can't stand the Neelys (although I applaud them for being a happily married, family centered couple), and I wonder why they have two shows on the Food Network. I do not like Big Daddy (Aaron McCargo) and wonder how he managed to win The Next Food Network Star when everybody LOVED adorable Kelsey (who was voted the favorite contestant with 37% of the vote). I enjoy Giada, Ina, Nigella, and especially Alton Brown. Bobby Flay I can take or leave. I rather like the Hearty Boys. Guy, Paula, Rachael are just too much for me. Sandra--where do you get all the money to change your kitchen & do new tablescapes all the time?

This is off the subject, but I think that Ina, Giada, & Bobby Flay win the most attractive &/or nicest spouse contest. John Cusimano, shave & get a haircut!!!

kathy lapan said...

I adore Alton Brown. I have even watched the American Iron Chef just cuz he hosts (and he explains stuff just as well as he does on Good Eats - anyone see the honey episode, where he uses his tattoo of a bee and a sharpie to illustrate honey production?)

In contrast, Rachel Ray makes me want to throw up. I'm "lucky" enough to live near where she's from, and she is the corporate sponsor of everything from our local supermarket to an annual food fair here. You think the Dunkin Donuts commercials are bad? ha!

I'm not a big fan of Giada, only because she's just so VERY Italian and everything is just so VERY easy for her...know what? I'm Italian too, but I wasn't born knowing how to wrap fish in procuitto. Bit more explanations would be great.

Molto Mario is AWESOME.

My favorite television chef right now is Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods. Few recipes but you can't beat him for explanations and descriptions of the things he eats. Anthony Bourdain is quite nice, but ...a show with Andrew and Alton would be a dream come true.

King Aardvark said...

I really like Jamie at Home. I'd classify it as advanced; though a lot of the dishes are really simple and a few you can do at home without much difficulty, he also used some ingredients and equipment that just don't exist in most homes. Also, as one of the previous commenters said, some of his dishes are just plain bad or weird. That said, I've tried a couple of his things that have turned out great.

Anonymous said...

Cannot agree more on

"Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee (Food Network)"

I want her out of food network ASAP!!!!!!!!!