March 15, 2011
Top Ten Cooking Shows of All Time
To quote myself, television is littered with lousy food shows. When I was writing a column about Anthony Bourdain and No Reservations, I decided to make a list of my favorite cooking and food shows of all time. Here it is:
1. The French Chef with Julia Child
2. The Complete Pépin
3. Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
4. Rick Stein’s Taste of the Sea
5. Baking with Julia
It’s not easy to teach the more exacting craft of baking and still make lively TV. Guess who did?
6. No Reservations
Julia took food seriously and herself not so much. She appreciated the role food plays in sustaining and ennobling culture. She ate heartily, swore happily, and drank mightily. Tony Bourdain, who doesn’t bother to teach you how to even scramble an egg, much less make Filet au Poivre or Paris Brest, is her rightful heir. Plus, he’s almost as tall as she was.
7. Mario Eats Italy
Of all the Mario Batali iterations, this one finds him at his most excitable and knowledgable. He shares his joy of the food and landscape and people of Italy and he cooks some uncommon, authentic dishes.
8. Iron Chef
It opened the floodgates to competition food shows, but it was a shocking wonderful spoof-able mess when it premiered, unstoppably watchable.
9. Top Chef
Less about cooking and food than it is about stilted reality show drama, but it does offer up insights into what it takes to be chef.
10. Kill It Cook It Eat It
I recently discovered this show on Current TV and I’ll be blogging more about it. Maybe it’s more a great idea for a show than a great show, but it does break ground.