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They're no Julia


Vervain
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i don't doubt that sara moulton has talent, but her habit of interrupting or finishing her guests' sentences is more than annoying.

I always overlooked this trait. I was used to seeing her on the "Cooking Live" show and having to finish everything in one hour so I knew she was pressed for time. As rude as it is, I figured she was just trying to finish their sentences to be able to move on to the next dish or process.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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The tanned Italian is no doubt Nick Stellino (not Stellini, sorry) he's a nice man to watch but simple Italian is his shtick. In terms of food knowledge, the only youngun in the league of Jacques P. (the master) is Mario Batali, IMO.

Worst? Bobby Flay, or that vegie Christina lady. ick! ick! to everything she cooks.

I also love Tony :wub: Bourdain, but more for his knowledge than teaching skills. Also mighty sexay!

Edited by Chrisser (log)
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  • 2 years later...
Mario has probably taught me more about cooking than any other TV chef.  Martha can't teach cooking - hell, she can't even cook, same goes for Emeril. Sarah Moulton is an excellent teacher.  I saw recently that Alton Brown got some sort of award for teaching.  Whoever gave him that should be taken out and shot.  The man is a mine of misinformation. I'm a practicing chemist and about half of what he says is wrong, provably wrong, have you read your high school text wrong.  It's sad that FN is eliminating its good shows in favor of populist crap.  How many times do we have to see Rachel's block party in prime time?

Specifics, please. I've checked up a lot of what he says and it's all true. He gets a lot of his information from Shirley Corriher, who's a genius. If you have some examples of things he teaches/says that are wrong, I'd like to know.

I've never eaten a Hot Pocket and thought "I'm glad I ate that."

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I have never yelled so much at my television than I have when Tyler (How's my hair look?) Florence is on.

I love Tyler Florence! And I love his hair!

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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Oh, Bobby Flay and Julia Child. I recently watched a repeat of the foodnetwork tribute to Julia, and he was on for a minute saying,

"The greatest compliment I've ever received?........ Was that she knew who I was." (emphasis his)

God, what a (unprintable). Gee, this is a bit off-topic. That just made me laugh and vomit a little at the same time I had to share it.

I LOVE(d) Cooking Live with Sara Moulton. I think Gale Gand is also great at teaching (though of course there's the focus on desserts). Not so Wayne Harley Brachman. Jacques Torres was also kind of good (a bit of a bias there, heh). I'm thinking Wolfgang Puck to some extent.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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Specifics, please. I've checked up a lot of what he says and it's all true. He gets a lot of his information from Shirley Corriher, who's a genius. If you have some examples of things he teaches/says that are wrong, I'd like to know.

Don't overlook Harold McGee as one of Alton Brown's more significant sources...

I think too much has been made of "Good Eats" inaccuracies within this thread. I find that his culinary technique is nearly always reasonable, although we can quibble about this-and-that ("he didn't toast those spices before adding them!", "he didn't truss that chicken!"). As for his scientific explanations, I consider them to be reasonable as well. I'm a practicing chemist and I find his science to be almost always correct.

And that's fine with me... In graduate school you learn that everything you learned in high school chemistry was wrong, or at least not nearly as right as you thought. The thing with science is that eventually you have to start laying down equations, often ugly ones, or you're not going to communicate the concept with complete accuracy. Alton can't start talking about reaction mechanisms on Good Eats because he'd alienate >99% of his viewership. So go ahead and nit-pick if you want, but I think that often times you'll fine that he presents an idea in a certain way to make it understandable to the masses even if it's just the "cartoon" explanation to a scientist.

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Actually, I find that Paula Deen can teach her simple dushes quite well.

She has that down-homey approach that does not intimidate nor assume the student is an idiot.

Sometimes her schtick gets a little thick, but hey, who wouldn't want an "Aunt Paula" in their family?

I also applaud her for overcoming the many personal issues she has had to contend with.

At the other end of the spectrum, whenever I hear Sandra Lee's opening monologue "My name is Sandra Lee, and I have been cooking and entertaining for years!"

I get the same feeling as when someone grates their fingernails across a chalkboard and I can't move fast enough to change the channel.

Edited by Old Timer (log)
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  • 4 weeks later...
I have to put my 2 cents in about Sandra Lee.  How can someone teach something that they don't know how to do?  That show is an abomination and does more of a disservice to people who are actually trying to learn to cook.

Sandra Lee's show is for 'people who are trying to feed their family'...

Her audience is out there...

Millions and millions of folks out there are not the cooking fanatics that you and I might be...

The other day in the supermarket I saw what I see frequently--- someone all excited, holding a package in her hand that she thought was like the best thing ever!

A frozen package containing everything you need for a roast!

The vibe was; "could it be? ---this'll get me pot roast?!"

I felt like hugging her, and cooking a few things for the poor woman that might get her/them thru the week!

A lot of working moms 'have got to have dinner ready'--- and a few shortcuts for an impressive result are like gifts...

Not necessarily for me personally--- I'm a cooking psycho--- it's my greatest passion...

---but I'll tell ya--- in a few minutes, in a pinch, I can have a very nice chicken parm on the table using KFC Crispy Strips, some sauce, some cheese, and some herbs!

---and my wife will enjoy it, and she'll be happy...

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But, not so easy to follow? Nigella ... not many recipes are actually all that specific and the camerawork is all over the place, mostly focused on her, rather than the food.

That's why more men apparently watch her show... :wink:

That's also why she started out on another cable network, not the Foodnetwork. She's selling sex appeal under the guise of cooking.

So wait...she cooks? :biggrin:

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I have made most of the recipes in Nigella Bites, a goodly number from Forever Summer and Feast - and all have been terrific. The show is more of an inspiration than a tutorial. While I love Bites (the tv show), the new Feasts has been too FoodNetwork'd up for my liking. Her producers are clearly listening to moron consultants who believe if "this much" of a particular shot syle works, more must be better.

By the way - cooking at home, for someone you love, can be extremely sexy.

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As much as the way Tyler Florence talks ("Fantastic" everything) drives me crazy, and the horrible jittery camera work, I've cooked some of his recipes from the "Ultimate" show, and they really were fantastic. The one that pops immediately to mind was the macaroni and cheese. Delicious! I couldn't stand the 911 show. It seemed more like he was trying to get dates than teach the people how to cook.

Also, I really get tired of people hating on Emeril so much. He may not do everything technically perfect, but please don't say the man can't cook. Are you kidding me? Please remember that he was already an accomplished chef long before the Food Network got ahold of him. I do agree with many who can't stand the live show, but I have learned a lot from "The Essence of Emeril" as well as the one cookbook of his that I have (the real and rustic one). Didn't Michael Ruhman say something along the lines of, like it or not he's done more for cooking than just about anyone in history (if someone knows the actual quote please post it as I've just got off work and am too lazy to go hunt down the book.) Oh yeah, and wasnt' he featured on one of Julia's "Cooking with Master Chefs" shows? Her choice you think?

Anyway, there's my two pennies...

Edited by BrodeurR (log)
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It depends on what I'm trying to learn. Both The Frugal Gourmet and Mario really help me get a grip on the origins of a dish, why a certain technique or ingredient was used, maybe a bit about the history of the region or people who are associated with the dish, etc. That kind of stuff really interests me.

There is very little technique taught on cooking shows unless you are a real newbie. I haven't seen Charlie Trotter's show so maybe he gets more into it, I don't know.

Sandra Lee is a terrific teacher. I mean, after watching her I think I could buy an angel food cake, put the Cool Whip on, and top it with some rediculous plastic bears in circus poses without referring to my notes once. I retain every detail she provides :raz:

The goal of a show like Emeril Live, and I'll talk about him because he gets so much heat, is to spark the interest of people who don't cook to try something new, at least that's how I see it.

And sometimes I just watch cooking shows just to watch. I enjoy watching people cook, even if I'm not really learning anything.

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No one's mentioned this, so I'll throw it out there: the folks on America's Test Kitchen. I don't always agree with them on what constitutes "best" and I think their take on ethnic dishes is too Americana, but I've learned a heck of a lot over the years watching Chris Kimball and his team -- from how to build a two-level charcoal fire and brine a turkey, to how to pan-saute a lobster and make a frozen souffle.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

My eGullet blog

The Renegade Writer Blog

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  • 3 weeks later...
I love Tyler Florence!  And I love his hair!

I haven't had cable for quite sometime, but Tyler still gave the creep with his close-talking & eye-f*cking his female guests on his show.

Edited by eknoo (log)
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If I am just focusing on accomplished chefs that make the transition to TV, the worst was/is (I am not sure if he is still on) Todd English. I really tried to like his show on PBS because I love his food at Olive's and Fig's (both in Charleston, MA) but I could not stay awake during his show. I am not sure if he was teaching anything or not because he was so bad on TV.

As for Emeril, I am from New Orleans and have been Emeriled out, but the man can cook. He can also teach, one of his past protoges, Tommy Wolfe, has gone on to own several fantastic eateries around town. While I personally may want to vomit every time I hear "BAM", he has done more for cooking than anyone since Julia.

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No one's mentioned this, so I'll throw it out there: the folks on America's Test Kitchen. I don't always agree with them on what constitutes "best" and I think their take on ethnic dishes is too Americana, but I've learned a heck of a lot over the years watching Chris Kimball and his team -- from how to build a two-level charcoal fire and brine a turkey, to how to pan-saute a lobster and make a frozen souffle.

absolutely I agree with everything you said here

they helped me finally figure out how to make a damn pie (that and this board!!!) :raz:

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tyler Florence is cool in my book...but my favorite chefs on T.V. are Ming Tsai and Mario Batali. They are both kick-ass...and I can understand them.

I came across this essay last night.  It seems very appropriate to this thread.

Searching for Julia Child

Note: this is written from the perspective of someone who doesn't cook.

Tyler Florence, host of Food 911 and How to Boil Water, is the beginner's best friend. If anyone on the Food Network's roster might follow in Child's footsteps, it is the likable and efficient Florence. His series aren't limited to fundamentals, but teach viewers to make impressive meals. More than any of the cooks I watched, Florence most resembled Child, guiding his audience with patience and good humor.

TYLER FLORENCE following in Julia Child's footsteps??? tyler florence most resembles child?

the horror. i cannot even bring myself to contemplate the number of verbal tics and filler words florence uses constantly....on more than one occasion, i've had to turn the kitchen tv off because he's repeated the same inanity ("ya know") to the point that it crept into my subconscious and i couldn't even bear it as background noise.

doesn't he have about three shows now? i briefly saw him on "how to boil water". apparently he replaced the guy with the accent and the difficult name (von koppernal?). i'd prefer the accent, and the self-deprecation, but that's just me.

"Pen and Sword in Accord"

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My favorite TV teacher, who was a real teacher and inspired many real chefs, was Madeleine Kamman. She taught technique, technique, technique!!! I learned so much from her shows. I wish they would rerun her shows (as well as Julia's and Jacque's ) on late night FoodTV, like they did when the network started.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hubert Keller has a show I've caught on PBS recently, and I have mixed feelings about it. He looks so uncomfortable in the camera, yet at the same time so kindly and precise in his teachings. He's quite clearly a good teacher. I find his approaches and ideas both very educational and watchable, except when his unease makes me uneasy. Perhaps he'll grow into a Mario role.

"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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