Not too many cooks

Katie Lee

When it comes to cooking shows on TV, the rule appears to be to limit the number of their chef-hosts to just two or three.

This may have been subliminally encouraged by the old kitchen dictum, “Too many cooks spoil the soup.”

On “The Kitchen,” however, the hosting configuration is more expansive and representative: Five chefs and cooks of various persuasions do the cooking—and the “soup” tastes just fine.

How do they pull it off and avoid getting into each other’s toques, or chefs’ hats?

The show’s sequential format does the trick and keeps the peace in the cooking configuration: Each chef is given his or her separate portion to feature a particular dish, cooking style or technique, or tips to easy-breezily come up with yummy dishes, at a virtual moment’s notice.

At the end of each separate section, the show’s other resident chefs sample the demonstrating cook’s “finished product,” and the verdict is generally very complimentary.

Chefs have a notorious tendency to be fiercely competitive, being the culinary “artistes” they are.

So, the relative absence of the urge to “one-up” the competition is a great relief for viewers, who get ticked off with some other cooking program’s “diva-licious” displays of “temperament.”

Viewers also appreciate the variety of cooking styles and cuisines that the program’s chefs separately espouse and demonstrate.

In just one telecast, home-viewing foodies can learn how to whip up a wide range of regional dishes, different ways of grilling, new ideas on exotic salads, and unusual desserts, to “up” a date’s romantic ante—and prospects.

As we watch each chef in eager and antic action, we note with approval that even cooks specializing in heretofore bland dishes have become more “daring” than before, and now love to add spice to traditional recipes.

We like getting a garlic and pepper kick in the culinary conga line as often as possible—so, bring it on!

Also entertainingly viewable and “delish” is the program hosts’ bonhomie and camaraderie, which result in lively and witty banter that makes their culinary lectures and demos fun to watch.

But, they make sure that they don’t get carried away with their jokes and jibes, so viewers still get solid cooking instructions—while having a great time.

Best of all, the varied and flexible format of “The Kitchen” keeps its features fresh and varied from one season to another, unlike other “fixed-focus” cooking programs that eventually end up being predictable or “memorizable.”

Take a group bow, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, Sunny Anderson, Marcela Valladolid and Geoffrey Zakarian!


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