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gianttrev
06-07-2004, 05:00 PM
My wife and I like to cook quite often, and I have a quick question that's sorta bugging me.

Why do we take the TV/radio chef's advice so readily?

I mean, why is Alton Brown all knowing? What makes Emril such a sage? Ray Ray? Sara? Jaques? Etc?

I mean, I see Ray Ray throwing away everything... has she never heard of recycling, or composting?

Basically, why so we trust them over personal experience/dad's sound advice?

We've been known to change tried/true techniques because they do it different.

Canice
06-07-2004, 05:13 PM
Well, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that no one does everything every one of those people suggests. In fact, you couldn't because there are always conflicting ideas/philosophies. But if someone presents what looks to be a better way of doing something, well, why not do it?
I think professional training and years of experience would be two things that separate, say, Sara Moulton from myself (that and about a foot in height).
I think most people count on their own taste and judgment in picking and choosing which methods, recipes, etc. to adopt.

yorkshirepud
06-07-2004, 05:19 PM
I think in the beginning we tend to take the advice/methods more seriously because it's new to us and we don't know any better.

Over time, I think your confidence grows, your knowledge expands and you learn that you can take shortcuts and develop your own ways.

So, I tend to look on various resources (tv, books) as a 'base' to grow from.

badunnin
06-07-2004, 05:52 PM
I would also like to hope that we take things on TV with a grain of salt, as it were. There are times that I'll watch, say, AB and think "hey, that's pretty cool!" But I try it in my own kitchen and sometimes it really is better than the way I had been doing things, and sometimes it's not. Ray Ray's garbage bowl, for example. Do I think it's cool? Yeah, I can see how it might be helpful. As far as recycling, I see the garbage bowl mainly to keep things contained for a short period of time - you can always fish cans/bottle out later to throw them in the recycling bin. However, in my kitchen, my garbage is just under my work surface and my sink is just to my right - in reality, I don't need a garbage bowl. But if I'm at someone else's house, and we are cooking with several people in the small space, I usually grab a garbage bowl.

sneezles
06-07-2004, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by gianttrev
I mean, why is Alton Brown all knowing? What makes Emril such a sage? Ray Ray? Sara? Jaques? Etc?

I mean, I see Ray Ray throwing away everything... has she never heard of recycling, or composting?

Basically, why so we trust them over personal experience/dad's sound advice?

We've been known to change tried/true techniques because they do it different.

They're on TV and/or the Radio so they must be right! ;) And then there's the news media that add to their celebrity status. And some times it's only their technique that makes the recipe any different from the one you used previously!

I will say Alton did the cooking world a favor by bringing cast iron back to the stove and I'm intriqued by his science of cooking that I've read. As for the rest of them I don't think they hold much water for me but if someone here posts a recipe I might try it but if the technique is too out there or wasteful then I do use my own judgement.

Canice
06-07-2004, 05:58 PM
Originally posted by sneezles
They're on TV and/or the Radio so they must be right! ;)

Dang, and all this time I thought it was "it's on the Internet so it must be right"! Ah well, live and learn. ;)

Valerie226
06-07-2004, 06:22 PM
Hearing how to & seeing the process and end product is so useful.I'm self taught but feel no need to re-invent every wheel. Seeing a technique or nice presentation is a great way to learn.I don't have a staff pre chopping for me, but it's nice to see the prep & then the final dish. I like cookbooks with pictures for the same reason. I'm more likely to try something if it LOOKS good. Fun to see new tools being used too. I like to see the kind of serving dishes used. I agree on the alton brown/cast iron. I bought a santoku knife after seeing rachel ray use one & I love it.

Chiffonade
06-07-2004, 06:57 PM
Originally posted by gianttrev
...Why is Alton Brown all knowing? What makes Emril such a sage? Ray Ray? Sara? Jaques? Etc?

Alton Brown proves his knowledge every time he opens his mouth. Watching Good Eats is the television equivalent of going to cooking school. Alton Brown not only shows you how to execute a technique, he tells you why it should be done.

Emeril is a successful restauranteur. Yes, his television persona can be hard to take but the man has been a professional chef since he was 19 (or so). He has worked at Brennan's, a New Orleans institution. His restaurants speak for themselves.

Rachel Ray? Her whole schtick is that she can assemble a meal in 30 minutes - and she's good at it. Sure she could compost, but who knows? Maybe she does at home?? (Remember, you're seeing her at a TV studio.)

Sara Moulton has taught in famous cooking schools like the one I attended, Peter Kump in New York City. (Nick Malgeri is the Dean of Pastry and Jim Peterson is a former Dean of Students.) She is a professional working chef who has worked under culinary icons like Julia Child.

Jacques Pepin .. have you ever seen him use a knife? It's a wonder he ever needs to touch a Cuisinart. He teaches simply because enough people want to emulate him.


Basically, why so we trust them over personal experience/dad's sound advice?

I can only speak for myself when I say that as far as television chefs go, they have to earn my respect. There are some people on TVFN to whom I pay absolutely no attention - like Sandra Lee and Gordon Elliot.

Experience is the best teacher but sometimes it's nice to have someone show one the ropes. Learning at mom's or grandma's elbow is one of the best culinary educations a fledgling cook can have. I don't think anyone would disregard this type of hands-on, practical experience because of anything said by a TV chef. I've seen TV chefs add (gag) sugar to tomato sauce - people who consider themselves authorities on Italian cooking! I would not do that in a million years, no matter how many Talking Heads on TV do it. I know better.


We've been known to change tried/true techniques because they do it different.

Why would anyone change a technique that worked, simply because someone on TV told them to do it differently? Incorporate new information, sure - but if experience has taught me that something works, I'd see no reason to change it on the word of a TV personality.

Gail
06-07-2004, 07:55 PM
Y'know, I've had Food Channel for just over a year now and have yet to watch it. I know the names you're mentioning, and that's it.

When I DO watch professional chefs, I can't say I hang on their every word, nor do I always agree with their methods. I'll watch for interesting tips and techniques, something I haven't tried, something to improve my efficiency. Do I consider them all-knowing? No. Would I do something simply because a TV chef says that's the way to be done? Not hardly. Do I trust them over personal experience? I don't think I trust anything over personal experience. On the other hand, I don't cook for a living, I don't claim to be professional, and I'm never too old to learn something new here and there.

lorilei
06-07-2004, 08:33 PM
I think that there are a multitude of ways to look at this. Here's my thoughts at this particular moment:

I'm not sure we necessarily HAVE to look at any of these people as sages or "gods"... not even as UR-chefs :) In some ways, I think the chefs on television are there as much for entertainment value as anything.

It's the reason why we're either attracted or repelled by the "BAM" of Emeril. Why people fawn over Nigella... and get upset when she puts on a few pounds. TV Chefs are there to make us smile, to do things that make us want to watch, to (maybe) show us something we've never seen before.

I think what I really glean (if we're talking about edification here) from a TV cooking show is a new way of looking at some of the "same old things" we do in the kitchen. If I see Ming Tsai putting mangoes together with avocados, and I've never thought to do that before, I might try it. I might love it -- or hate it. I think it expands my horizons either way.

Seems to me that it's much the same as the reason people get together on these boards. No offense, but I don't take anyone's ABSOLUTE word on any recipe. What I DO like is that it gives me food for thought. Maybe after hearing a review of a recipe I'll think about it a little bit differently. I might try something new. Maybe I'll add a new technique to my repertoire to see if it works.

I like to cook. I'm entertained by watching and listening to others talking about cooking. For me, that's what it is. Maybe nothing more, nothing less.

Paula H
06-07-2004, 10:08 PM
Originally posted by Gail
When I DO watch professional chefs, I can't say I hang on their every word, nor do I always agree with their methods. I'll watch for interesting tips and techniques, something I haven't tried, something to improve my efficiency.

I agree with what Gail and others have said. I don't watch many TV chefs, but when I do, yes, I'm on the look out for any interesting/new techniques, and I might even give them a go (got a great pasta tip or two from Jamie). If I'm not sure on how to do something, yes, I look out to see how they do it, and if their way works for me, then I'll use it.

But if Nigella says peel your potatoes this way, and I like to peel potatoes my way (because I do have my own, horrifically inefficient, nasty looking technique for peeling potatoes - a side effect of right-handed parents trying to teach a left-handed child to peel), I'm not going to change "just because" they say.

BarbaraL
06-08-2004, 08:38 AM
I don't watch the cooking shows, so I can't speak with authority on them, but it occurs to me that most (or at least a lot of people) aren't as interested in food and cooking as the people on this board. I'm amazed at how many people I talk to rarely cook at all (what on earth do they eat?). Maybe these shows are helpful for someone trying to learn to cook. I think we forget sometimes how knowledgeable the people on this board are about food and food preparation. Just a thought, anyway.

Jazzmatazz49
06-08-2004, 08:51 AM
For one thing, there's nothing else to watch on TV, and at least the cooking shows are interesting. If cooking is a hobby or a passion instead of just a way to get fuel into your body, then watching other people do new things in the kitchen is fascinating. How can you not be fascinated by goofy Alton Brown or the naked chef guy? How can you not want to see what kind of dessert the Iron Chefs can make from anchovies or whatever they're cooking that night? It's just fun. And I have to say that I've learned a few techniques by watching these folks. I've also seen them make dishes that I know I can do better, and that lets me do my little superior dance.:rolleyes:

colleency
06-08-2004, 11:24 AM
Hmm...I don't have food tv. I sometimes listen to Splendid Table on NPR. I think I probably pay attention to everyone's advice from the board more than anything. I also read cookbooks, which I follow the advice of the same way I follow the advice in my home repair book or my sewing books. They have more education than I do. I'll try it their way and see if I like it. If I don't like it, or if it's too difficult for me, I go back to my own way or do something else.

lindrusso
06-08-2004, 01:49 PM
I think it's pretty simple really - they get paid/earn money for experimenting in the kitchen all day - something I don't have time to do and I don't know many people who do. So, we look to others to do the experimenting for us and go from there - otherwise we'd never get out of the kitchen.

Sure we could turn to our parents for advice, but if I stuck with only the advice of my parents who had only stuck to the advice of their parents, we'd all still be eating jello salad, green beans cooked to mush with pork fat, and sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. We look to professionals to come up with something new and exciting to help us expand our horizons.

Believe me, I'd love to be the one with the time and creativity to do it all on my own, but I don't know that I have that kind of devotion to cooking. I'd rather take a basic recipe from a professional and tinker from there.

Alysha :)

Gail
06-08-2004, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by lindrusso
...Sure we could turn to our parents for advice, but if I stuck with only the advice of my parents who had only stuck to the advice of their parents, we'd all still be eating jello salad, green beans cooked to mush with pork fat, and sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top...

Ooooh.

I think I had way different parents. :p ;)

No need to explain, by the way. I understand what you're saying. Just being a stinker.