Cooking Under Fire

| April 27, 2005 | 5 Comments
  • 5 Comments


Don’t you just love to hate celebrity chefs? Like a bad accident, I can’t stop looking. I feel the need to see what they are up to and read about their exploits and scandals. A guilty pleasure, you could say.

Another guilty pleasure for me is reality TV. But, I am super fussy about the reality TV shows I like. The ones I like are few and far between and have more to do with ability than dumb luck. Seeing people use their actual skills is much more interesting than seeing them eat something disgusting or rely on trickery and manipulation to win a prize or a spouse.

The combination of these two guilty pleasures along with one of the things PBS does best–cooking shows, means that I can’t wait to watch Cooking Under Fire. This is a first for PBS, a documentary style series that will follow twelve contestants on a cooking competition that takes place in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, and New York. The show intends to give an inside view at the mental and physical challenges and intense pressures faced in the restaurant industry, and demonstrate the combination of talent and skills that it takes to succeed. The grand prize is a chef’s job in one of Todd English’s New York restaurants.

The judges? I’m so glad you asked, they are each celebrity chefs! In this case Ming Tsai, Todd English and award-winning cookbook author, Michael Ruhlman. There will also be local guest chef judges including San Francisco’s own, Michael Mina (that episode takes place in Las Vegas).

Cooking Under Fire premieres tonight at 8 pm on PBS, channel 9. After the first “audition” episode stay tuned for the second installment as the competition begins in Los Angeles.

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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink

About the Author ()

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her friends and family were constantly asking her where and what to eat. Three months after it launched, Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the top five best food blogs, praising her writing as “smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and the world. In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes restaurant reviews for SF Station. Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook reviews along with some interviews and current events. Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer. She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine. She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.
  • JCS

    I saw this the other night. I never watch reality shows and I wouldn’t watch this one if it didn’t revolve around FOOD! It was mesmerizing, in a dumbed-down way – funny how people get caught up in “gourmet” cooking yet can’t do the basics of chopping an onion or doing something useful with an egg. I’ll be watching again.

  • Amy Sherman

    I know just what you mean. I think the highlight might have been “fingering the banana!” The contestant reaction to that was priceless. Proving I guess that we can all learn a new skill now and again…

  • Anonymous

    ok… gotta get this off my chest… just saw the episode in which they 86’d the lady from seattle. she had the strongest food in the challenge. she was the only one who didn’t overcook a dish. they 86’d her because Todd English wanted her to say she was the best and all she would do is assert she was different. So, it looks like the motto for Todd English restaurants is: We don’t have the best food; we just say we do.

  • rancherostyl@aol.com

    I agree with anonymous about the female chef from Seattle who got 86’d because she wouldn’t say she was better than the rest. The woman from NY via kentucky or somewhere who gladly said she was better than the rest wore her dilettantish Manhattan obnoxiousness like a like a bitter tourist; if I saw her fuchsia mullett behind the counter af a restaurant I’d run screaming out of the place. The lady from Seattle was so classy and humble, clearly secure with herself and her abilities. She’s better off not working in English’s food-as-competition dump, where her charm and class would get shaved off like warm cheddar through a mandolin.

  • rancherostyl@aol.com

    I agree with anonymous about the female chef from Seattle who got 86’d because she wouldn’t say she was better than the rest. The woman from NY via kentucky or somewhere who gladly said she was better than the rest wore her dilettantish Manhattan obnoxiousness like a bitter tourist; if I saw her fuchsia mullett behind the counter of a restaurant I’d run screaming out of the place. The lady from Seattle was so classy and humble, clearly secure with herself and her abilities. She’s better off not working in English’s food-as-competition dump, where her charm and class would get shaved off like warm cheddar through a hot mandolin.