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So…have you seen it?

Well? Have you? I am talking about the brand new Cooking Channel of course. I must admit, I was highly skeptical about this channel, after all I loved FLN for it’s interior design shows and there is already a FOOD channel so why do we need a cooking channel?

I made a mental note last week to set my DVR to the only shows I thought I would enjoy: Chinese/Indian Food made easy, French food at Home, Jamie at Home and Rachel Allen Bake!

Little did I realise that once I sat in front of the tv I would be GLUED, simply GLUED to near every show on the channel. Despite the lovely warm weather and the presence of visitors, I managed to view an awful lot of the cooking channel this past weekend because I simply couldn’t pull myself away. Overall the shows looked very well styled, nicely shot (was it me or did every show look like HD???), had great enigmatic hosts and the content was genuinely interesting. I was largely impressed at the sheer internationality of the channel. Hosts hailing from the UK, Italy, The Caribbean, Canada and some. I am making it my aim to watch every show on the Cooking Channel at least once! A brief comment about some of the shows I saw this past weekend:

Chuck's day off
Host: Chuck Hughes
Location: Montreal, Canada
Premise: A very handsome, enthusiastic Montrealian chef who is inked with images of lobsters, meringues and a honking big ‘I heart Oysters’ piece. Yes, seriously. The first word Chuck uses to describe himself is ‘passionate’ and that quality is undeniable   because it is his enthusiasm that exudes through the screen which kept me riveted.

Chuck dresses like a trucker in the kitchen of his restaurant Garde Manger and his kitchen staff look like trainee mechanics, in beanies and an all black uniform. Some could be excused for writing off the look as ‘hipster’ but after a short time you realise that this dress code and swagger is not forced but just how they are.

The informality is reinforced by the direction of the show, this is Chuck’s day off and he is ‘cooking for fun’. In the episode I saw, he cooked a fish based meal for his two fish suppliers. But he didn’t just make a main course, he made a starter and complimentary beverage to boot – all the while encouraging you the viewer that it was in your ability to remake the dishes with ease.
Verdict: I am adding this show to my DVR record list. It is a must see in my book. Chuck is entertaining, informative and very fanciable.

David Rocco's Dolce Vita

Host: David Rocco
Location: Italy
Premise: Chef David Rocco, takes us on a trip around the tastes and gastro traditions of one of the most well known countries for culinary fare. The show is casual, with David cooking in his (?) home kitchen somewhere in Italy – like Chuck’s day off it is this informality that makes the show relatable.

I feel like I am with a friend watching them cook and that thus, all that they make is well within my ability to replicate. The dishes David makes all come with a story, usually one linked to the gastro-nostalgia of growing up within an Italian family or of memories of eating with friends.

Like Chuck, David is easy on the eyes and the ears – with his North American/Italian accent and casual setting. His skills around the kitchen seem to be without dispute too.
Verdict: I will definitely be watching this show on the regular but for now, will hold off from adding it to the DVR queue!

Everyday Exotic with Roger Mooking
Host: Roger Mooking
Location: Toronto, Canada
Premise: Chef, Restaurant owner and recording artist, (yes you read correctly). Roger Mooking hosts Everyday Exotic – a show that teaches you how to inject spice and exotic twists into everyday meals using just ONE new ingredient. I must say I enjoyed this show, the meal looked fantastic ( the exotic new ingredient to add was : Papaya), and watching Roger make everything from start to finish was a good lesson in how to use your kitchen tools, space and time effectively.

However, the one drawback, was the constant hum and warble of Roger singing and harmonizing over the stove. Yes, I get that he is a recording artist, but the relevance was lost in the kitchen and after a short while I found his impromptu outbursts more than a tad annoying.

That being said, the next day I did employ some of the tricks I saw on this show, but be rest assured, I wasn’t singing to my limes as I did so!
Verdict: Will definitely watch it if I catch it on TV, but its not one for the DVR queue. It is quite possible that from here on in I will watch it on mute with closed captioning ON so as not to miss a step.

Host: Mo Rocca
Location: New York
Premise: Mo is a writer, actor and humorist. What’s that? He isn’t a chef??? That’s right – not a chef, and this is the thing that makes The Cooking Channel great. Not everyone on the channel is a food ‘expert’. What *IS* a food expert after all?? I mean, we all EAT food regularly (some way more regularly than others). We all cook to a certain degree and we all shop for food – either fresh, packaged, or harvested. Therefore, don’t we all have an opinion, angle and thought on food? Yes, and you will notice during the commercial break, ‘food nerds’, food bloggers and just plain food lovers (craven maven’s??!), waxing lyrical about their passion. Food.

Mo takes us in a direction I didn’t expect – the history of certain popular foods. The show I saw discussed Ice Cream – it’s evolution, it’s many forms and forums and it’s future. I can honestly say, I learned more than one would ever expect to learn about something they shove in their gullet on a regular basis. Food(ography) is like Discovery channel meets Food network, resulting in one heck of a food baby!
Verdict: I will add this to my DVR list because it’s just plain informative and lighthearted!

Each week I will post more about other shows I’ve watched on the Cooking Channel!

all images from cookingchanneltv.com


4 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Patrick June, craven maven. craven maven said: Have you seen the new <a href="http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/">Cooking Channel</a>? Read my opinions on the shows i… http://wp.me/ppxZe-v7 […]

  2. Cool channel! I don’t get it on Cablevision though..sigh, I miss direct TV! Look forward to your future blogs on cooking.

  3. […] week I gave my opinion about four of the shows I’d watched and enjoyed, it was a mere coincedence that the presenters were all blokes. This […]

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