Sunday, April 25, 2010

old school, new school

The old new school: Julia Child chefing on the set of "The French Chef"

The new new school: Canadienne Laura Calder posing with some vegetables.

The Food Network has done a lot for the home chef, there's no denying that. From tent-clad Ina Garten to "chi-potol-ay" slinging Bobby Flay -- there are many loyal followers of their personalities. Like all good things, the Food Network is growing up, and it's growing out of its old, easy ways -- enter the Cooking Channel, the newer, more honest, more hand-wrought spin-off of the Food Network.

What am I talking about? Gone will be the days of packet-opening, corner-cutting chefing. The focus now will be on the basic question that has permeated food discussions for the last ten years: where does our food come from? Peppered in, too, are new, more authentic instructional cooking shows -- no more Italian Americans cooking Italian food -- Cooking Channel is giving us a REAL Indian cooking real Indian food, a real Canadian cooking French food! ...Wait, what?

Nobody has dared touch French Cooking since our darling Julia Child entered the American kitchen with her show, "The French Chef." Sure, Ina Garten will walk us through a sole mariniere, or an apple tart tatin (and surely her methods are no less authentic!), but we've been missing the French Chef in our TV diets. No more, thanks to the Food Channel's daring choice of Laura Calder - a trained journalist whose focus shifted to food. She'll be gracing our living rooms with "French Food at Home" -- a nice homage to our friend Julia, who wanted nothing more than the average American to enjoy the pleasures of French cooking in the comfort of their homes.

The cooking Channel will debut on May 31, but Ms. Calder's show has aired for years in Canada, making for plenty available YouTube clips! On the Cooking Channel - will she endear us all by flipping an omelet directly onto her hot plate? Or will she disappoint with uninspired standbys? Can't wait to find out.

More reading:
Newcomer to Food Television Tries for a Little Grit (NYT)

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