I love cooking competition shows. There is something irresistible about giving a group of talented chefs a stocked pantry, 20 minutes (or so) on the clock and (of course) some kind of fun twist. I love to watch their adrenalin kick their creativity into overdrive as they rush around the kitchen chopping veggies, cleaning fish and making sauces. Continue reading
While watching my fiftieth or so episode of Good Eats, I realized that I had never once prepared a recipe shown on the show. Same for Chef at Home, Top Chef, Iron Chef America… It was delicious entertainment. But I felt guilty. Should I be cooking along? Or is it okay to sit back and enjoy the view?
For me, the pleasure I get from watching cooking shows is watching a professional create something beautiful from something simple. The chef takes ingredients and procedures that I understand, and from those known elements the chef produces a dish I don’t quite understand. Yeah, I “understand” how to brown butter for a sauce, but I don’t get why it’s so goddamn delicious.
It’s magic as far as I know. I have proof that it’s magic, as I have watched on multiple occasion my brother, a chef, create the same delicious sorcery in plain view. I see what’s happening but don’t quite “get it.” This experience is replicated daily in the relationship between television chef and home cook.