I Miss Cooking Shows…

I don’t like reality shows. I really don’t like competition reality shows. I really really don’t like cooking-/food-based competition reality shows.

I realize that the three above statements cancel out a lot of television for me, but I still have hope from time to time. Honest, I do. The reason I peek an eye in on the cooking reality shows because I want shows to get back to not only teaching people how to cook, but also encouraging a love of food. Reality shows, for the most part–it seems, are not that interested in anything but drama. Still, I give things a chance.

Kitchen Casino article from April 7, 2104 Express On the way into work last Monday, the local free paper had an article about “Kitchen Casino”, a gambling-themed cooking competition… yeah, no. Not only is the prize just $30,000–for the final champion, weekly contestants aren’t guaranteed that–but here are two items from the host’s Q&A that really turned me off:

What do cooking and gambling have in common?

They’re like America’s two loves! Americans love to gamble, and they love to eat. On the show, that translates into rounds like a kind of roulette, where chefs might not wind up finishing the dish they start out making.

Do cooking competition shows create better chefs?

I think they do, because the pressure is on. Chefs have like 30 or 40 minutes to create a dish. It teaches them to think on their feet and quickly produce things.

As a non-gluttonous, non-gambling American, I guess I’ll give it a pass. I’ve never thought speed made for an amazing dish as it kinda takes away the fun of creation–unless you’re an Iron Chef, maybe. Still, I did watch the first episode of the show and it was pretty hard to get through. The casino/gambling-based puns and dialogue, the host and judges’ constant commentary (which isn’t motivating to the contestants) all along with the usual cutaway interviews that they show in such a way that implies they’re happening at the same time the chefs are cooking. But I’m not a TV reviewer, so check “Kitchen Casino Is A Flop From Concept to Execution” at Manhattan Digest.

I already lament that cooking shows had to become lifestyle shows where it isn’t enough that a host is standing in their kitchen walking you through a recipe, but now we have to watch them shopping or out with friends or making awkward phone calls. It’s annoying how many of them, in interviews, say they idolize Julia Child yet how few of them just cook. My weekend morning routine used to include watching live or DVR’d cooking shows with my coffee and then heading out to the store or farmers market to try something new. Now, having cut the ties of cable TV, I spend it listening to music and reading through cookbooks or online recipes. Perhaps that’s better, or worse, I don’t know.

I’d just like food shows to get back to food. They used to be an excellent source for Americans to learn about food and especially making their own food–which can change your life.

I’ll just step down off of this soapbox now… :mrgreen:

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