Here in Pennsylvania, we’re having one of those relaxing summer days. Rain on and off. A few thunderstorms. And humidity that makes one take shelter in the refuge of an air conditioned living room.
I spent the morning rolling out some savory pie dough for a veggie sheet pie (aka pizza!) and making a spinach quiche. But now that my back is showing its inevitable creaky aches, I figured it was a good time to share some of my favorite new foodie television shows. I’ll update this post as I find more goodies, so be sure to check back periodically to see what’s new!
Ian Knauer, founder of The Farm Cooking School and author of the book, The Farm, has a wonderful TV show that brings us back to the fundamentals of food and cooking. Set on his family farm in Pennsylvania, Ian takes us back to a time when families had an intimate connection with their food through their own gardens and pastures. A time when families gathered and ate hearty meals together, undistracted, reveling in one another’s companionship.
Knauer’s approachable style makes everything so tangible that it draws the viewers in, making them crave to share in the experience. And that they can, for the underlying thread is that this is a show about respecting food by preparing it in ways that everyone can enjoy.
Having taken numerous cooking classes with Ian at the Farm Cooking School, I can tell you personally that Ian’s TV persona is 100% real Ian. He’s a great teacher and simply a nice guy who wants to share his passion with the world so that we can all fully enjoy and appreciate our food.
There’s a genre of documentaries and reality TV based on the lives of some of the top chefs in the world. Chef’s Table on Netflix, IMHO, represents the pinnacle of this genre. Created by the director of one of my favorite Foodie movies, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Chef’s pays tribute to some of the world’s groundbreaking chefs by showing them as real people. Exceptionally talented yes, but real people, warts and all.
What makes Chef’s Table truly great is a combination of outstanding production quality and the choice of chefs who have compelling stories that draw you in and instill in the viewer a sense of awe. For both person and the culinary experience that they create.
Unlike most shows of this genre which seem to go for the “chef as rock star” theme, Chef’s Table tells the story of each chef and the elements of their life that made them so passionate about food. While the celebrity chef trend tends to be filled with marketing hype, portraying chefs as bad-asses, Chef’s Table (mostly) bucks this fad by showing that the featured chef might not have made it if not for a turn of fate. Like us, these are flawed individuals, but with a gift (some may call it a curse), that turned them to a life dedicated to the culinary arts.
I could go on, but I’ll spare you any more of my indulgent praise for this series. Just watch the trailer above, then go watch Chef’s Table on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it, you’ll definitely want to watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which is deserving of an entire post.