Review: Not My Mama’s Meals

Follow Productions is the brainchild of host/producer Gordon Elliot and under his leadership has produced some of the most successful food programming in history.  Elliot hosted one of my favorite shoes, Follow That Food as well as Door Knock Dinners.  He also made celebrities out of everyday people like master sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson, BBQ enthusiasts Pat and Gina Neely and of course restauranteur Paula Deen.

Follow Productions is the force behind hit shows like Paula’s Best Dishes, Road Tasted and the Chew.  With a history of producing shows who’s menus tip towards extravagant ingredients and colossal calorie counts the time has come for a show with a more health conscious treatment.  Enter Not My Mama’s Meals.

Not My Mama's MealsMama’s stars my favorite member of the Deen clan, Bobby Deen.  Where his brother Jamie inherited their mother’s bigger-than-life personality the youngest Deen has always seemed like a down to earth guy that you’d like to hang out with.  Although his schtick isn’t as large as the rest of his family, Bobby still has the same on-camera charm.

In this series, Bobby takes his mother’s recipes and transforms her Southern comfort food into lighter, lean, yet still delicious dishes. Each week, the camera follows Bobby as he tries to recreate one of his Mama’s famous meals with healthy substitutes that cut down on calories and fat, but still deliver on taste.

The timing of the show is perfect as recently Paula Deen revealed that she suffers from Diabetes.  If I had to guess I’d say she and Bobby have been working on her diet for a while now and the result of their efforts fuels the recipes for the new show.  But that is just my own speculation.

In the most recent episode I viewed, Bobby was joined in his NYC loft by friend and fellow healthy eating guru Daphne Oz (co-host of the Chew and daughter of Dr. Oz).  The stunning blond helped out as Deen streamlined his mother’s shrimp and grits into shrimp and polenta then cut 600 plus calories from her fried apple pies.  Each episode ends with Mama trying her son’s reboots of her recipes and casting her critique upon them.

I have to say that Not My Mama’s Meals is one of the best shows to come from one of the top production companies of food programming.  Deen’s recipes are packed with flavor despite the reduction in fat and calories of those that inspire them.  This show is a winner.

For two decades now Food Network, Cooking Channel and other networks have heard cries from viewers that they want a show about healthy eating.  The problem is that whenever one hits the airwaves those same people who whined about healthy food shows never watch them.  Ever since the old Graham Kerr show of the early 90’s cable networks have struggled to find another healthy food show that people will actually watch.  Not My Mama’s Meals may just be that show.

Not My Mama’s Meals airs Sundays at 12:30pm ET on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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