Cooking shows on Food Network aren't the only attraction, but they're a big part of the network's success. Fans tune in to Food Network programs to get a behind-the-scenes look at how great meals are made by some of the top chefs in the world. If you've got a passion for cooking or simply a love of good food, here are some shows you won't want to miss.
Alton Brown is one of those chefs who is flamboyant and a little over-the-top. As the host of Good Eats, Brown scrambles around the microphone and the kitchen as if he were a natural. His main goal is to get people interested in more than just eating good food. A mainstay of the network, Brown recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of his show in 2009 on Food Network On Demand.
Alton tells you everything you need to know about the food you're about to eat. If he's serving crab, before the show is over you'll have learned about every type of crab on the planet and how each is caught, processed and cooked. He won't leave anything out, yet, it won't be mundane. Alton's methods of providing food education to his audience are silly, often bordering on ridiculous, so children love his program. Have your child watch the show with you and see if she doesn't discover a love for cooking.
Iron Chef is also hosted by Brown. He's the commentator and spends the entire hour relaying to the audience what procedures the chefs are using as they compete. Iron Chef America began in as a domestic version of Fuji Television's popular Iron Chef. In each challenge, 2 chefs are pitted against one another. Each contestant wears a jacket that is similar to the garb worn in his or her own country or the style used in the kitchens of their respective restaurants.
A mere 15 minutes before the battle begins, each chef is informed of the secret ingredient that must be used in the challenge. The secret ingredient might be artichokes, bacon or catfish. The contestants then have a limited time to create several sensational dishes, including an appetizer and a dessert, that uses the secret ingredient. A panel of celebrity judges then decides which chef is the winner. Some very unusual foods get whipped up in the Iron Chef kitchen, particularly on the dessert front, so it's worth tuning in just to see what the chefs will create.
Sandra's Money Saving Meals
Sandra Lee, host of Sandra's Money Saving Meals, is one of the Food Network shows where more than cooking is incorporated. Lee grew up in a large, poor family and learned early on how to scrimp to make complete meals. According to Lee, if you use something that is 70% ready-made but add the other 30% from scratch, you can take the credit as having created the item from scratch. This semi-homemade theme carries throughout her show. Money Saving Meals is based on what Lee calls the triple factor: accessible, aspirational and affordable.
This show is especially good for viewers who need to stretch a dollar from time to time, yet want to serve nutritious and delicious meals. People who fall into this category include newlyweds who are just learning to stretch a dollar, young families who are juggling children at their dinner tables, families with single incomes and anyone living on a budget.
Unwrapped is a perfect example of a Food Network program that isn't necessarily about cooking. Hosted by Marc Summers, this show talks about a variety of foods, mainly sweets, then explains how they end up on our plates. Summers may talk about lunches and what types of items are usually found in lunchboxes. From there, the program expands to explain how these foods are created, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the factory. Sometimes the show delves deeper into wrapped territory and explains how certain containers are created.
Summers has an easy way of speaking and guiding the viewer from one aspect of the show to the next without leaving out any details. If you've ever wondered how food gets to your kitchen table, you'll find the answers on this program.
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
When you're ready for a break from the kitchen, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives takes you to everyday restaurants around America. While the ingredients aren't given in their entirely, the audience still gets an indication of what goes into each dish and where these dishes can be found. The show is great for those who travel, as well as for those who simply can't resist a good meal.
Chef Guy Fieri earned his own food show on the Food Network when he won the Food Network Challenge. As the host of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Guy hops from one side of North America to the other in his search for the most unique restaurants that serve the most delicious food. Fieri is on the loud side, but very down to Earth. It's hard to keep from jotting down notes in a notebook as each chef explains what ingredients go into their most famous dishes.
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