Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll – 6/22

We have been watching a lot of Food Network recently (and it’s new sister Cooking Channel since the Food Network went the way of MTV, VH1, TLC, and the History Channel and now rarely shows cooking shows). Anyway, it has led to a lot of discussion about various celebrity chefs. We have a whole lot of celebrity chefs that we love to hate (Guy Fieri, I’m looking in your direction) but few standout favorites.

I have to admit that I think my favorite might be Rachael Ray. I know she can be a little grating, but I like watching 30-minute meals, and several of her recipes are in my regular rotation. I also have a soft spot for Ted Allen, although he’s not a chef, and Mr. Furious is a big fan of Gordon Ramsay. What about you all? Any favorites? Any celeb chefs you hatewatch?

By Luci Furious

There are no bad times, only good stories.

14 replies on “Lunchtime Poll – 6/22”

I hatewatch Sandra Lee (this morning, she made scones from boxed cake mix). I also hatewatch The Neelys. Their food often looks delicious, but their baby talk to each other is gag-inducing.

I cannot watch Anne Burrell; her mannerisms grate on me. I also strongly dislike Giada and I never believe that her food tastes good. I don’t like Guy Fieri’s cooking, but I like his Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives show.

I like Bobby Flay, both his grilling show and his throwdown challenges. Most of all, I like watching Chopped and Iron Chef to see the creativity, and I like Paula Deen and Rachel Ray (she can irritate; but she makes simple things I’d actually whip up on a weeknight).

Clearly, it’s all Food Network, all the time in my apartment.

When I was a kid, my favorite show was Yan Can Cook on pbs. The man has mad chopping skills.

I love/hate/adore/despise/want to be Laura Calder from French Food at Home on the Cooking Channel.

She’s awful and pretentious and has the sliiiightest hint of a French accent thing going going on, and yet….I love her food and her cooking style. I love that she’s not trying to do anything other than cook simple (but not easy or uncomplicated!) delicious food in the classic French tradition.

I appreciate that I’ve actually learned new techniques from her. New and different cooking methods. The difference between American mashed potatoes and French pureed potatoes.

I appreciate a cooking show that isn’t afraid to make difficult dishes. I feel like the Food Network has been 30-Minute-Meal-ized. They so very very much want to appeal to the way that people DO cook (or would like to cook given a busy schedule and a crazy life), but in doing so have neglected that segment of the audience that doesn’t need to cook a weeks worth of meals in a day. Or have dinner for 4 for under $10 in under 20 minutes.

I want to watch an impressive, talented chef making impressive, awe-inspiring dishes. (Please note! This does not have to be in real time. The Iron Chefs are great, but I don’t need a reality show. There is nothing wrong with a cooking show that has been lovingly produced, polished, buffed and perfected. Mama’s not going to turn her nose up at fancy production values.) I want to learn new techniques that I can slowly, bit by bit, incorporate into my everyday cooking. I do not need someone else telling me how to liven up my boneless, skinless chicken breasts by introducing a little bit of Thai flavor, or whatever.

So in summation, Laura Calder, though I rather dislike her as a personality, but respect what she does with food on the teevee for me.

Food Network used to have a lot of great cooking shows. I used to really like Mario Batali’s show and the original Japanese Iron Chef. And Jacques Torres used to have a show about chocolate that was amazing.

Now I like Anne Burrell because she actually worked in a restaurant and makes things that look delicious. Sometimes I watch Giada because her food looks good, but I find her kind of annoying.

I cannot deal with Rachael Ray or Guy Fieri.

Jacques Torres is a perfect example of the type of chef I miss on the Food Network. Impressive and immaculate work that I couldn’t, in a million years, attempt to do at home.

But while I would never copy entire pieces he made, he did teach me things about chocolate I retain AND use to this day.

I hatewatch RR, because I cannot stand her cooking, her expressions, her dog, her husband, her utensils, etc. She is fun to mock. I like Nigella and The Barefoot Contessa, even though she apparently hates small dying children ;> – the Deen is also a sentimental favorite, not in the least for her unabashed embrace of all things buttery. I love her old man, he wanders about the show in a hardened artery stupor, just waiting for his next deep-fried delicacy.

The best cooking shows for me are the PBS ones on Saturday in my area (L.A.), like the aforementioned Ming Tsai (also SUCH a babe), America’s Test Kitchen, Jaques Pepin, Norwegian Dude Who Cooks Outdoors (can’t remember his or the show’s real name), Everday Cooking, etc. Real solid shows with recipes I want to make, unlike Hot Dog Salad (you know who I’m looking at).

I second the PBS cooking shows like WHOA! America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks are my mother and I’s favorite to use, period. I never remember what the Norwegian guy’s name is, but he sure is nice to look at. Also, Lidia’s Italy! It’s like a cooking show and a travel show all in one.

You know which not-quite-a-chef I have the hots for? That Good Eats guy, Alton Brown. Now, there’s a CILF.

I love Giada because her food just looks like yum. All the time. Mario Batali, too. I have such a weakness for Italian food because it’s what I grew up on.

I didn’t used to like Bobby Flay, but he’s really grown on me. I’ll only watch his “Grilling” show or whatever, though, not Throwdown. He’s kind of a jerk on Throwdown and always wants to do weird variations on stuff. Like, dude, the reason people love that guy’s mac and cheese is because it’s plain old comfort food and not fancy. Don’t try to take down the old ladies and their pie! What’s the matter with you?

The Neelys are really frustrating because their food seems delicious, but they are so disgustingly cutesy with each other I can hardly stand it. Food is the reason I watch cooking shows (as I used to call them when I was little and my dad and I would watch “cooking shows” and “working shows” on PBS on Sunday mornings), not your coupley nonsense. Get a room. Sometimes I like to imagine that they really have crazy knock-down, drag-out shouting matches during commercial breaks to amuse myself.

This is all purely academic, as I don’t have cable anymore and can’t watch it. Food Network was definitely a staple to watch when I was in grad school and couldn’t actually experiment with fun foods. No one will ever be Julia, though!

No one for hate watch, but my favourite TV chefs aren’t on anymore (that I am aware of).
Biba Caggiano had a show on PBS that I loved.
Ming Tsai — partly because his show East Meets West was great and partly because he’s so purty.
Stephen Yan (Wok with Yan) firmly holds the nostalgic spot. Looking back on it … the stereotyping is not so cool.
James Barber (The Urban Peasant) brought fantastic, laid back crazy to his cooking. He’s, sadly, passed away … pout. I think he might be my very favourite. See the greatness!

When Wolfgang Puck was still doing his chocolatier show, I was all over that, but I guess my now favorite is Alton Brown. He makes me smile. I’m a little disappointed that Good Eats has been canceled, but it’s understandable. He has been doing that show for a very long time.

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