Review: Kelsey’s Essentials
I finally got a little more quality time with the Cooking Channel so I am attempting to review several of the shows I have not seen. This time around Kelsey’s Essentials.
Never before has a person been so deserving of their own cooking show.
On Next Food Network Star 4 Nixon was the stand out contestant week in and week out. Though small in stature she was head and shoulders better than every contestant on the show. She won more challenges than all the other contestants combined. Yet, mysteriously she was sent home three episodes from the end. It wasn’t a case of having one bad day since she did at least as well as the other Wannabe TV Chefs in that week’s challenge.
The reason offered by the judges? She was simply too young to be taken seriously as a TV chef. She was 23 years old. Four years older than Bobby Flay was when he became executive chef at a hip Manhattan restaurant and roughly the same age he was when he started with Food Network. The age thing just didn’t wash.
That season was won by Aaron McCargo Jr. who, even on his A game, was the sixth best contestant on the show. But rumor is the Food Network brass had fallen in love with the lovable big guy and decided he was the winner before shooting began. I don’t know if that’s true but it makes better since than anything else out there. Nixon had to go because she was simply too good, never mind the fact that she was running away with the fan poll on the Food Network’s own web site.
Kelsey marks the fourth entrant to NFNS 4 to get their own show. The first was 26-year-old Mary Nolan who the judges were so impressed with that they gave her a series without having to compete. Get that now, 23 is too young but 26 you get to skip the line and go right in. I don’t recall that three year span being that important to my development as a person. Nolan’s show was gone after one season. McCargo still has his show plugging along for his small but devoted following and runner-up Adam Gertler has had two shows with the network, both prime-time series with great ratings.
So after taking Kelsey’s Essentials for a test drive I can say that what we saw on NFNS 4 was the real thing. She is still the best. Her knowledge and energy are spot on. Watching the show I was amazed at how solid her technique was. The knife was an extension of her hand, whisk in hand she effortlessly put together a lemon curd and all the while maintaining a warm relationship with the camera. Just like on the Star she was flawless.
In short, Kelsey’s Essentials is a fulfillment of the promise that was ignored by the judges on NFNS 4. It is easily one of the best stand-and-stir’s on TV and Nixon is a confident and inviting host. If Cooking Channel isn’t careful they may have a star on their hands.