I've got a bit of thing for cooking shows and fishing shows. Call me weird if you like. I don't like all cooking shows, a lot depends on the TV chef. The following is a list of what I think makes a great TV chef.
- They give details about ingredients
- They emphasise simplicity and utilise the natural flavour of ingredients.
- They give you useful cooking tips and explain why they do things. Some chefs tell you do things and give you a cooking formula. To me, knowing why you are doing something is important so that you can make up your own recipes.
- They have their own style. Chefs on your average cooking show don't have any particular cooking style or add their own mark to a dish. Great chefs add some piece of themselves to a dish that marks it as their own, whether that is a particular cooking style, form of presentation or combination of ingredients.
- They add subtle variations to traditional recipes. This is related to the above points. In some ways this could be classed as one step before fusion cooking (the mixing of different regional ingredients). Great chefs can modify what we are used to to add some new life and different flavours. This often means lighter, fresher variants of what we like.
- They show passion.
- They make use of what they have and what is in season.
- They aren't trying to sell you something.
This is a list of cooking shows I like.
Show Name: Cooking with Kurma
Chef Name: Kurma Das
Description: Kurma is a Hari Krishna and he cooks vegetarian meals. He goes into detail about ingredients and their use in regional cooking (mainly throughout Asia). This last part makes it interesting to find out more about regional vegetarian dishes and why particular ingredients are used.
Show Name: A Gondola on the Murray
Chef Name: Stefano de Pieri
Description: Stefano has a great mix of Italian cooking with Australian ingredients and he emphasises simplicity and flavour. He also has features local produce and talks to people around Mildura and Sunraysia district. His passion for cooking is great to watch.
Show Name: The Naked Chef
Chef Name: Jamie Oliver
Description: Jamie comes across as a restaurant chef where speed, efficiency and flavour and required. His recipes are simple but the combination of ingredients really make the dishes. In each episode he cooks in his apartment for a group people. From week to week the group changes and he changes the formality and style of cooking. He emphasises the bare bones of cooking and that you don't need to have everything cut or measured to precisions. Another nice touch is that the producer standing behind the camera sometimes ask questions about why and what he is doing.
Show Name: The River Cafe
Chef Name: Rose Gray, Ruth Rogers
Description: This show has sections about a particular ingredient cut in between the recipes. They will go out and show you the range of balsamic vinegars that are produced or show you the production of olive oils. Jamie Oliver worked at the River Cafe and you can see similar styles across the shows. The chefs also go into detail as to why you need particular food combinations and why they are cooking with various techniques.
Show Name: Consuming Passions
Chef Name: Ian Parmenter
Description: This is only a five minute segment before the news but it packs alot in. Ian makes simple meals but with style and great enthusiasm. This is everything the Urban Peasant should or could be. It showcases one recipe and does it very well. This show has won the Lucien Barriere Grand Prix at the Festival de la Télé Gourmande in France in 1996. Ian has won Prix de la Profession at the same show.
Show Name: Taste of the Sea
Chef Name: Rick Stein
Description: As the title suggests Rick cooks seafood and loves to get passionate about cooking it and encouraging others to do the same. He demystifies seafood and it's interesting to see english seafood and how it differs to Australian. He travels the coasts to different locations where he cooks a meal. He once meet an old woman who showed him how to cook a form of haggis which made him throw-up.
This is a list of cooking shows that suck.
Show Name: Cooking with Delia
Chef Name: Delia Smith
Description: Delia epitomises anality in cooking. As an example she recommends that each and every lettuce leaf should be washed and brushed by hand. I don't mind some of here recipes but she is a formula cook obsessed with traditional and snobby methods.
Show Name: The Urban Peasant
Chef Name: James Barber
Description: I'd like to like this show and I know many people won't agree with me here. I like his basic idea of cooking with what you have but his ability to do even the most basic of things simply sucks. In every show he usually burns, drops, missplaces, spills, miscuts or fumbles with ingredients. I guess that isn't a bad thing in itself. Maybe he's found a niche. Maybe he's perpetually plastered.