My favorite type of food to cook is...?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Food Dude's Big 5

This weeks "Big 5" deals with something very near and dear to my heart...The Food Network. That channel has gotten me through some tough times. When my son was eleven months old I took a month off work to be with him and many sleepless hours at night were spent watching cooks and chefs that could cheer me up and keep me awake with creative and fun foods. My son would sleep on my chest and I would watch my favorite shows on TFN. It was a beautiful thing!

Aside from being an entertaining way to waste time TFN can really teach and inspire you to greater culinary heights. I for one learn far better from watching someone do something right in front of me. I am not great at deciphering different techniques from reading cookbook instructions which is why I benefit so much from seeing it done on TV.

I am not big on the food/cooking based reality shows. Although they can be entertaining and you can occasionally glean a recipe or two from them there is too much focus on the "entertainment" aspect of the show. That is not to say I don't like some of them, but I sure would rather learn a little something rather than hear Ramsay call someone a f*%#ing donkey one more time.

So here it is folks the Food Dude's Big 5 Food Network Shows you SHOULD be watching!

#1--Good Eats
Alton Brown is one of the most entertaining hosts on the network. This show is part science and food background that provides solid foundation for cooking techniques on recipes simple and complex. I record all these and go to them frequently for tips. If you only watch one show from my Big 5 it should be this one.
#2--Jaimie At Home
Probably one of the most passionate chefs in the world. His efforts to make the UK skinny are almost ridiculously ambitious and yet he may just pull it off. This show combines a bit of garden growing and cooking with very fresh ingredients. Its hard not to be pulled in by Jaimie's childlike enthusiasm for his trade.
#3--The Barefoot Contessa
I used to laugh when I watched this show because it seemed like every recipe began with a pound of butter, some whipping cream and mayonnaise. But you know what? WHO CARES! Ina Garten is probably one of the best at whipping up great comfort food that anyone can pull off. Sure its not going to make the Heart and Stroke Foundation happy but I'll tell you this....if I was around 40 years ago I would have married this woman for her cooking alone. (sorry Colleen)
#4--License To Grill
A brilliant show on BBQing that usually only runs during the summer here in Canada. Host Robert Rainford is a solid entertainer and shows many recipes exclusively done on the grill. I have greatly expanded my BBQ repertoire by watching this one.
#5--Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
While definitely fluffier than the other shows listed I just can't resist watching this show. Host Guy Fieri cruises the towns of the USA and tours the little out of the way type places that serve up some amazing food. While you may not learn a lot from watching this one (although I have used some of the shows to tweak a few of my recipes) you will see some incredibly interesting places to eat that may come in handy if you do any kind of travelling. This is one show you DO NOT want to watch if you are hungry.

So that's it. Those are the shows that have me constantly tuning into The Food Network. Check these shows out and tell me what you think. Or better yet, post a comment with your own Food Network Big 5.


Park Food Dude


  1. I also love the food network! My top 5:

    1 - Barefoot Contessa
    2 - Chef at Home
    3 - Chopped
    4 - Anything with Paula Deen
    5 - Iron Chef America (it broke my heart to see the Chef at Home get slaughtered on it not very long ago however).

  2. I like Chef at Home too although I feel like he is talking to 5 year olds at times with his tone and mannerisms. I also watched him on Iron Chef and man oh man did he get creamed!