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13 January 2010

Cooking on TV

Watching cooking shows bring to mind my Nanay. There was this afternoon TV show that she would watch and, armed with pen and paper, she would dutifully note down the ingredients and procedure while watching how the dish is done. Wok with Yan also became a household favorite. I mean, who wouldn't love Stephen Yan's greeting (Herrooooooo!) and the crafty things he does with veggies as part of the presentation? And if you'd like to have a copy of the day's recipe, you need to send a SASE to their Canada address! No internet! There was even a Chinese Cooking Show on RPN9's Chinese Theatre every Sunday morning that we watched even though we didn't understand a single word! Ah, those were the days.

These days, we are sure to catch any of the following (in no particular order):
1. Master Chef Australia - this show goes a bit technical. It's a contest for the people who take their culinary skills quite seriously. Accomplished food critics and chefs taste and review each dish. There are different variations of Master Chef: there's one for celebrities, another for aspiring chefs. But whatever version it is, the focus is on the skills of the chefs in terms of presentation, flavour and texture.




2. Top Chef - Chefs vie for the top position as a contestant 'packs their knives and goes' at the end of each episode. Unlike Master Chef where two or three contestants battle it out per episode for a slot in the finals, in Top Chef all the contestants start together and by process of elimination, a winner comes out on top at the end of the series. It's interesting to note how each chef has distinct technique and presentation.


3. Hell's Kitchen - I think of Hell's Kitchen as a food soap opera. Loads of twists, drama, and violence. Frankly, it takes the joy out of the kitchen. So I don't know why we keep watching it! hahaha


4. Jamie at Home - no nonsense cooking, with gardening to boot! It's cool how Jamie Oliver talks about veggies and free range and proceeds with cooking dishes based on a particular ingredient. Really nice theme song too. I borrowed the DVD and the book just to catch up with episodes I may have missed (sadly it's no longer on air).


I think these shows are precursors to Iron Chef, that Japanese cooking show that featured much fanfare and elaborate stage as contestants fight outcooked each other in a bid to challenge the Iron Chef. And there were also quite a number of anime dedicated to cooking. Who would have thought that cooking would be a very intriguing and entertaining anime theme? But it did, as can be attested by Yakitate!! Japan and Cooking Master Boy. I had the opportunity to catch a few episodes of Iron Chef and these anime titles, and they were very entertaining indeed.

Do you have a favorite cooking show as well?

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