Monday, January 07, 2008

One Cool 'Chef' to Go

By LillyKat / PTR Staff Writer

I have a new favorite channel: TLC.

I have a new favorite show: Take Home Chef.

And it is completely my mom’s fault.

She decided to whip up some sort of fabulous chocolate soufflé over the holidays (something she never does), so I wondered what prompted her to do so. She told me she downloaded the recipe from “Curtis.”

Moonlighting online are we mom?

Knowing that was not the case, curiosity got the better of me.

“Curtis” is Curtis Stone. The show is TLC’s Take Home Chef.

Whilst the show is “new” to me, it has been on the air since 2006. Thus, it's technically not new. And even though I just got done saying I don’t watch reality television, I’m not sure I can count this as a “reality” show given it’s more of a “cooking” show (shocking I'm even watching something in that category). But since the writer’s strike has put an abrupt end to much of our primetime television season, and I can’t just fill up the Tivo with re-runs of Cold Case given that when I watch the older episodes, I get increasingly bummed out that Detective Lilly Rush is no longer as sassy and hip and funny as she was … well, Curtis as the Take Home Chef is proving to be very entertaining (I’m wondering if he could perhaps pick up Lil’ in the supermarket?).

The premise: Curtis goes to a regular supermarket; finds a shopper who is just doing their regular market routine but is scheduled to cook for someone later on that day; surprises said shopper with an offer to help he/she cook a special meal for said someone; comes up with a pretty darn appetizing menu right there on the spot; buys the groceries; rides back to the house (or condo, or apartment) with the shopper; cooks the meal; serves it, and voilá … Bon Appétit (he even stops off on the way to buy the shopper a gift – usually a cooking gizmo that will be used in the meal preparation and of which the lucky shopper gets to keep).

Now, we have Rachael Ray (who actually is not a chef but fun anyways), Emeril Lagasse (kick it up a notch and BAM!), and Martha Stewart (where exactly does all her gadget and gizmo free time come from?).

But Curtis is pretty darn cool in his own right.

He’s my kind of chef given that he has a knack for making all of us non-cook-really-don’t-have-a-clue-about-food people feel as if they don’t need a degree from the Culinary Institute of Super Chefdom to understand what is going on.

I don’t cook.

I’m a Lean Cuisine gal.

Or packaged salad gal.

If Curtis picked me out in the grocery store, he’d probably be terribly disappointed.

And yet, the show totally entertains me.

Most people don’t ever get to have a famous chef come into their home kitchen and make a beautifully prepared meal on the spot, with regular groceries from the store, with no special kitchen hoopla and absolutely no snooty chef attitude (since I have a chef in the family, alas, I can say it is a bit of drag to have a meal critiqued for all its flaws whilst you’re trying to eat it).

Alas, even though I could probably never replicate any one of Curtis’ recipes, I do feel as if I’m learning something about that which I know very little about, yet not being made to feel like a moron in the process.

Needless to say, I'm now a little more alert when I’m at the supermarket.

Watch Take Home Chef on TLC. Newer-ish repeat episodes air Fridays at 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Semi-olderish repeat episodes air weekly Monday – Thursday at 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more info on the show, check out TLC’s Take Home Chef official Web site. You can also check out Curtis Stone's official site.


suekola44 said...

I really need to find out where Curtis shops. I would love to bring him home and cook me a dinner! That would be fabulous!

TVFan said...

I'm soooo not a chef too! Like you, cooking usually involves something frozen and a microwave. Luckily, Mr. TVFan enjoys cooking, but nights when it's just me, Lean Cuisine it is! This show sounds really intriguing. I'll have to try to catch it now that the primetime schedule is getting thinner and thinner by the week. :-(

LillyKat said...

You are not alone, suekola! :) Right now, the show is primarily filmed in and around the Los Angeles are, but a lot of fans of the show would like to see Curtis head to other cities. Ya' never know!

@tvfan: I'm glad I'm not the only Lean Cuisiner! Mr. TVFan might find Curtis' recipies pretty darn good. He cooks up what looks to be some good stuff ... er, so I'm learning. :)