Food TV

Why do the British always have such brilliant TV show ideas?  I’ve never watched it (honest!), but they had American Idol first.  They had The Office first.  They had Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.  And now, they have Last Restaurant Standing.

I love this show.  The title is exactly the premise — 10 couples (2 people, not necessarily married/dating) — have the chance to open a restaurant with Raymond Blanc, world renown and two-Michelin star chef.

In the 2 hour second season opener, these 10 couples had to create dishes that would show their vision of their restaurant and prove to Blanc and the other two judges, that they should move on to the next round and open a restaurant. 

Then 9 couples get keys to restaurants in various locations, but all relatively the same size, and they have 1 week to open.  You follow their trials and tribulations (one restaurant had a gas leak so they couldn’t even open!).  Then the other two judges (inspectors and industry experts Sarah Willingham and David Moore) go and see how opening night is working for each restaurant.  They report back and then one of the couples, gets their keys taken away.

The last restaurant standing wins money and support from Blanc.  Absolutely a brilliant show concept and it’s fascinating.  I think it gives folks a wonderful peak at what it’s really like to be “in” the restaurant business.  Love this show!

I watched it last week (or was it two weeks ago?) and have meant to blog about it, but I haven’t had a chance…until now.

I was catching up on HBO’s Big Love to remind myself about what happened last season, when I caught the trailer for a new documentary called Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven

Well, you know I was excited to watch it — and it didn’t disappoint (althought it is a little too long).  Without going over too much about the show, you watch Le Cirque founder Sirio Maccioni and his family re-open Le Cirque. 

First, the documentary gives you an overview of Maccioni and how he became a very well-known NY maitre d’.  You see the celebrities, political figures, and other famous people eating in his restaurant. 

Then you learn that the restaurant has to move due to a leasing issue.  There was an option between two locations and Maccionidecides to go with the Bloomberg Building on 58th between Lexington and 3rd. 

The documentary takes you through the building and development of the restaurant, menu, atmosphere, attire, etc. 

And then, Frank Bruni, the New York Times restaurant critic enters the picture. 

I won’t spoil the ending (in case you don’t know it already).  But suffice to say, it was entertaining.  I found myself at times irritated with all the characters (except Egidiana, his wife) and other times rooting for the Maccioni family.  I also found I was drooling at the pictures of the food.  And when the review by Bruni came out, well…

Overall, I definitely recommend catching this documentary if you love food and are interested in the restaurant business.  For those who have never been in the restaurant business, it is eye-opening.  For those who have been, you already know the story.  And if you are thinking of opening up a restaurant, this may change your mind. 

 Have you seen it?  What did you think of the show?

I caught a commercial on Travel Channel for At the Table with Anthony Bourdain.  I love the idea and am looking forward to watching it on Monday, October 20th at 10 PM EST. 

I suppose imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery since it’s exactly like After Hours with Daniel Boulud.  And yes, Bourdain was a guest on After Hours so he can’t pretend like he didn’t know!

But I (heart) Bourdain for his sarcasm, no-holds bar attitude, and wicked sense of humor so I guarantee I’ll Tivo this!  No word on if this will be a reoccurring series, but I hope it is!

I don’t remember how or why I started watching BBC’s You Are What You Eat, but I find it to be a very entertaining show.

Here’s the deal — someone nominates a person who is overweight.  Then this holistic nutritionist, Gillian McKeith comes in and detoxes that person. 

But since some of the people don’t think they really are overweight, she uses “shock” treatment to snap them into reality.  This means showing the person a table of everything they’ve eaten — and let me tell you, wow.  It’s quite shocking (and I didn’t eat it!).

Then she gets a poo sample to see where the person is deficient in vitamins and minerals.  Eww.

Then the person starts on the detox diet.  She gives them 8 weeks of recipes and exercise plans.  Oh, and they refer to the person as X stones, which means 14 lbs. 

While I find the show entertaining, I’m not a fan of her veggie drink she makes people drink.  Gross.  At the same time, I realize she trying to change the behaviors of people who haven’t eaten a vegetable or fruit in years.  But, I don’t think healthy food has to taste bad either! 

I like the show and find it motivating to keep healthy!  And they also offer a “how healthy are you” quiz

McKeith is a tough cookie and she can definitely be a bit harsh to folks.  But is it just me or does “You are fat” sound better with a British accent than no accent? 

The show airs on BBC America weekdays at 4 PM EST.  I hope they plan on bringing this show to the US soon!

I was “surfing” the Food Network TV show list and happened to find some of the new shows they’re offering.  Here are a few that I’m planning on recording!

One of the new Food Network TV shows is called, “The Chef Jeff Project.” It’ll be airing running from October 5th 12th to November 9th, 2008 at 10 PM EST.

In a groundbreaking, docu-reality series from Food Network, six troubled, at-risk teens are desperately seeking a second chance at life. Chef Jeff Henderson is giving them one—just like the one he got…

Jeff is the executive chef of the famed Café Bellagio in Las Vegas. But before that, he spent 20 years in prison for selling drugs. While incarcerated, Jeff discovered the transformative power of cooking. Now he’s paying it forward by hiring these troubled youths to help launch his new Los Angeles catering business. 

Another show is called “How’d That Get on My Plate?”  The show will start 7/7 at 9:30 PM EST:

Food Network prides itself on providing viewers with VIP access to what goes on behind the kitchen doors.  How’d That Get On My Plate? takes a step back to tell the story from farm to table. Each week, viewers follow a fascinating journey of food—from field and seas to supermarket shelves and restaurant tables.  In the tradition of Unwrapped, this premiere series will give gastronomic-curious viewers the answers to How’d That Get On My Plate ?

Another show is “Adventures in Eating.”

Viewers will need their passports when we join famed chef Alex Guarnaschelli of New York hotspot, Butter, as she traverses the continent and the globe in the Food Network series, Adventures in Eating.

Through food-colored glasses, Guaranschelli seeks out everything from quintessential American fare to exceptional and eclectic foreign cuisine. The world is her oyster and she is ready to chow down! 

The last one one I wanted to highlight is this one called “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef” with Anne Burrell and airs on Sundays (starting 7/6) at 9:30 PM EST.

Acclaimed NYC chef Anne Burrell is bringing her insider cooking secrets from professional restaurant kitchens to the kitchen table.

In each episode of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Anne shares tips and techniques to maximize flavor, and reduce the time it takes to prepare a delicious, restaurant-caliber meal at home.

Interested in learning more about the other shows they’re offering?  Check it out here!

I was excited when I realized Food Network was re-airing some of Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour.  But when I caught the Brazil episode, I realized I had seen this before.  It had been aired on No Reservations! 

I recognized the opening scene when he’s in the Confeitaria Colombo (coffee shop with the pastries and there’s no one there) and then when he meets his carioca who is going to teach him how to live the carioca lifestyle. 

Alright, so it’s no like I solved the JFK murder mystery, but it was an interesting observation.

Emeril Lagasse is looking for people in DC to cook with for his new show on Discovery Channel’s Planet Green Channel.  But they’re also looking for people around the country. 

From an email I received:

Planet Green is currently casting enthusiastic and fun people with creative and interesting cooking challenges for EMERIL GREEN, which will air on Planet Green beginning in June. This could be your friend or family member’s chance to receive cooking tips and recipes tailored specifically to their needs by America’s most beloved chef!

If you know someone in the Washington, D.C. area interested in participating, please have them email their basic information (name, address, age and occupation), their culinary challenge and a recent picture to Planet Green is actively searching for real people with real cooking dilemmas, so have them submit their information today!

Participants must provide their own transportation and be available for 2-3 days of filming in the D.C.-metro area.

For more information, visit here:

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