Sunday, February 2, 2014

What I'm watching right now...

Living in the US is the first time I've had cable TV for any extended period and lets face it my TV is almost perpetually tuned to the Food Network, the Cooking Channel or the Travel Channel. Recently we also discovered that we have seemingly endless 'on demand' options meaning I can search for new shows on my tablet and send them directly to my TV rather than having to chance on advertisements for new shows.

Easy Chinese

Ching-He Huang is a UK raised Chinese chef who makes for a chipper and charismatic host. Each episode of Easy Chinese picks a theme of Chinese cuisine - sweets, celebration food, dumplings and explores eateries famous for each dish. The majority of the show focuses on recipes inspired by her outings rather than the restaurants so this is a show for the chef not the consumer. I love her take on authentic Asian food and for the Asian newbie her recipes are simple and delicious. I was thoroughly amused to see her as confused by American style Chinese food as I was on first contact. If you enjoy Ching-He's style then check out her other how Restaurant Redemption which is a Restaurant Impossible style makeover show for Asian Takeaway joints.

Top Chef

 Well you knew this though right? Top Chef just seems to get better and better with every season. High quality chefs are put to challenging tasks creating new dishes, new restaurants and highlighting their own style. The guests and judges are the creme de la creme of the food world - Tom Colicchio, Wolfgang Puck, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, David Chang, Daniel Boulud to name but a few. This is the pinnacle of television for those who take their food seriously. Season 11 has been fantastic with some excellent new challenges focused on Creole cuisine in New Orleans.

Man vs Food Nation

Man vs Food is not for the feint hearted; host Adam Richman visits restaurants around the Americas the offer food challenges. In the first three seasons "Man vs Food" Adam himself performed each and every one of the challenges; sometimes he won, sometimes food won. If you despise food wastage or American fast food I suggest you avoid, however it's like watching a delicious car crash. The only problem is that Adam is a wonderful host, and as time went on you could see the impact that the constant gluttony had on his health. Presumably his doctors intervened because now we have Man vs Food Nation; the format is the same, Adam visits local eateries and then a food challenge ensues. The only difference is that now fans of the show perform the challenges and you don't have to watch the same person suffer week after week. Other than the unbelievable challenges Adam visits some wonderful "mom & pop" restaurants all over America that are worth checking out.

Restaurant Express

Restaurant Express is a reality competition show recently added to the Food Network lineup. Each week contestant spin up a pop up restaurant and compete for business; as if each episode was it's own Top Chef Restaurant Wars. The host is Robert Irvine whose grumpy but caring style I love from Restaurant Impossible. The first season was a monumental success and I hope to see more of this show in future.

Giada At Home

Giada de Laurentiis is an Italian born chef with a casual easy presentation style. Giada at Home focuses on authentic family style Italian and Sicilian recipes. Many are simple enough for the new cook and the food is very family friendly if you're looking to feed a clan. I love that Giada uses 'real' ingredients - plenty of good quality oils, flours, meats and full fat cheese. Now if only I could work out how she stays so slim on this diet I'd be happy.

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