Galloping Gourmet

Review: Fresh Food Fast with Emeril Lagasse

Emeril Legasse

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 Fresh Food Fast with Emeril Lagasse.

There are four kingpins that are responsible for the success of food-based television – James Beard, Julia Child, Graham Kerr (check out my interview with Kerr HERE) and Emeril Legasse.  Legasse was one of the chefs who formed the core of the Food Network’s early days and it was his show Emeril Live that made Food Network.  Without Legasse’s energy, humor and every-guy appeal the network probably looks different today if it survived at all.

Unfortunately, the catch phrases and schtick on Emeril Live eventually became its downfall.  The show had become a charecature of itself.  A few years back FN took it’s marquee show off the air.  For a while it moved over to the Fine Living Network in hopes that Legasse could kick up FLN’s ratings a notch.  It wasn’t enough.  Last year FLN became the Cooking Channel.  The change has proven a wise one.

There’s room on Cooking Channel for Legasse and it is not having to re-create the Emeril of old.  Fresh Food Fast is Emeril in a kitchen (a real kitchen not a set) putting together amazing recipes. Gone are the cries of BAM! and Pork Fat Rules! This Emeril is more under control, his recipes are healthier, most likely a byproduct of his Planet Green series dedicated to healthy, organic and sustainable food, Emeril Green.

While Emeril Green seemed like Legasse was being stuffed into a world that didn’t quite suit him, it did help him to find a happy medium between the calorically challenged recipes of Emeril Live and the über-wholesomeness of the recipes of Emeril GreenFresh Food Fast is that happy medium.  Sure the food is healthier than his old FN days but not as uninspired as the Planet Green show.

Best of all it is Emeril being Emeril.  He is congenial and entertaining without being over the top.  He’s doing a show for foodies again – people who don’t have to have a danceable beat and repetitive lyrics so they can blurt the chorus after just two listenings.  It’s a serious cooking show by one of the master’s of the genre.

Graham Kerr the Galloping Gardener?

Some 20 years ago, having learned that his high fat, high calorie cooking style was killing his wife Graham Kerr changed his approach.  Known to the world as the Galloping Gourmet, Kerr was famous for making classic French cuisine layered in butter, cream and fatty cuts of red meat.  Weight Watchers actually declared him public enemy #1, an amazing display of hypocrisy when you consider the toxicity of their diet food.

A Year in the Life of My First Kitchen GardenIn 1993, he published Graham Kerr’s Minimax Cookbook and in the blink of an eye invented something brand new – healthy food that also tasted good.  Prior to that people were faced with either enjoying their food or enduring it.  Kerr refused to believe that low fat, low calorie food had to be low flavor as well.  “Minimax” quite simply means minimize the fat and calories and maximize the flavor.

Two decades and two dozen books later, Chef Kerr has created a craze.  He is almost single-handedly responsible for the popularity of extra virgin olive oil in this country.  And a legion of talented chefs have followed in his footsteps like Nathan Lyon, Jamie Oliver and Susan Irby to further explore the world of healthy, tasty food.

However, Chef Kerr has not ceased his own explorations.  With the ever deteriorating food system in this country thanks to factory farming and genetically modified foods the next logical step would being growing his own food.  These days the fictional world of Mad Max doesn’t seem as far fetched as it once did.  It only makes sense to safeguard oneself against the tribulations of hyper-inflation or the fall of western civilization.

More and more people are starting their own gardens.  Count Graham Kerr among the lot.  “Why?” you may ask.  In Kerr’s own words:

In my long career as a gourmet/nutrition teacher I have cooked just about everything that grows, but I’ve never grown a thing I’ve cooked.  So I got to thinking about the earth-to-table process.  I decided to go back to the starting line and run the whole race from the beginning.

Kerr’s newest work Growing at the Speed of Life: A Year in the Life of My First Kitchen Garden is an instruction manual to taking what you eat back from a corrupt government and the agribusiness giants that control it.  Though it contains a hundred recipes it is not a cookbook.

Growing at the Speed of Life shows you with great detail and illustration exactly what Kerr did to construct a garden that is brilliant in its design.  The garden is a model of sustainable, organic efficiency.  Kerr describes what he did and eloquently explains why he did it.

Additionally Kerr has compiled an extensive catalog of virtually every edible botanical on the planet.  He not only describes its flavor and nutritional value but he also suggests pairings and preparation techniques.  This is also where the recipes come in; they demonstrate the variety of flavors available to someone with a proper garden.  I’ve never scene such a comprehensive guide to fruits and vegetables.

I have been highly impressed by the attention to detail in this book.  Each process is described so that you can understand not only how to do something a certain way but why that way works.  It has inspired me to try and start my own garden this spring.  If I can grown my own produce between that, the fish in the creek and the squirrels in the trees I should be okay should the Mayan prophecies prove true.

If you haven’t already be sure to check put my exclusive interview with Chef Kerr from last fall HERE.

New Cooking Show Round-up

Cooking Channel Announces Programming Slate While Food Network Welcomes New Series and Returning Favorites

NEW YORK – April 20, 2010 – All burners are firing at Scripps Networks Interactive in the food category, with Cooking Channel and Food Network unveiling new shows for 2010, it was announced today by Brooke Johnson, president, food category for Scripps Networks Interactive.

COOKING CHANNEL

Cooking Channel, the newest network from Scripps Networks Interactive, will launch May 31st. The network by food people, for food people will feature a diverse lineup with new, original shows including Unique Eats, Foodography, Drink Up, Cook Like an Iron Chef hosted by Michael Symon, and Foodcrafters with Aida Mollenkamp. The network will also feature the U.S. premiere of shows like Food Jammers, Indian Food Made Easy, and Caribbean Food Made Easy.

PRIMETIME:

Unique Eats
Premieres: May 31
Unique Eats spotlights America’s most exciting and revolutionary restaurants, providing the first look and the last word in everything extreme in food today. The locations range from high-end dining rooms to casual neighborhood treasures and even roving eateries with no permanent addresses.

DRINK UP!
Premieres: May 31
Happy hour comes to Cooking Channel with Drink Up! hosted by Darryl Robinson, a.k.a. “Dr. Mixologist,” of the Hudson Hotel in New York City. From the first pot still, producing fiery drops of proto-vodka to today’s creative and complex cocktails served by mad-scientist mixologists in sexy lounges, Drink Up! shows viewers how those drinks got into their hands.

Foodcrafters
Premieres: May 31
Aida Mollenkamp uncovers the hidden handmade food secrets found across the country. Travelling from coast to coast, she unlocks these culinary treasures and show viewers how to bring them all home.

Foodography
Premieres: May 31
Food has shaped the way our culture and world have evolved around us. Hosted by CBS Sunday Morning’s Mo Rocca, Foodography showcases these cultural food themes by taking a look into the past, present, and future of iconic, classic, and trendy foods.

Food Jammers
Premieres: May 31
Each episode of Food Jammers features a high-impact, low-fi culinary contraption conceived, designed and constructed in the Jammer’s warehouse studio. This tasty, madcap food odyssey satisfies viewers’ cravings for unusual viewing adventures.

DAYTIME:

Spice Goddess
Premieres: May 31
Bal Arneson reveals the power of using fresh, wholesome ingredients to make delicious, simple, everyday Indian meals. In each episode, Bal delves into the world of herbs and spices and show how just a pinch of this and little bit of that can put pizzazz into any dish.

Indian Food Made Easy
Premieres: May 31
Chef and food writer Anjum Anand brings a lighter, fresher approach to classic Indian dishes, making simple, mouth-watering meals. Anjum helps friends and viewers overcome their fears of planning, preparing and making Indian food by guiding them through shopping and dispelling the myths around Indian cuisine.

Cook Like an Iron Chef
Premieres: July
Iron Chef Michael Symon teaches viewers the skills and techniques needed to cook like an Iron Chef! Along the way, Michael is joined by chef challengers and other Iron Chefs who reveal their mysterious methods in tackling secret ingredients.

Caribbean Food Made Easy
Premieres: August
Levi Roots travels around the United Kingdom and the Caribbean revealing how delicious Caribbean food can be created at home with easy-to-prepare, mouth-watering recipes using fresh, healthy and readily-available ingredients.

Classic Cooking Block
Premieres: June 1
This block features: Julia Child and Galloping Gourmet. Bon Appetit!

FOOD NETWORK

Food Network features the debut of new primetime series 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Food Trucks (WT) and Kid in a Candy Store, plus the return of fan-favorites, The Next Iron Chef: Season Three, Works Cooks in America: Season 2 and The Next Food Network Star: Season 7.

PREMIERE PRIMETIME SERIES:

CUPCAKE WARS
Premieres: June 18th at 10pm ET/PT
It’s cupcake vs. cupcake in Food Network’s tastiest competition yet! In each episode, four of the country’s top cupcake bakers face off in a series of challenges testing their creativity, flavors and presentation, vying for the right to present their cupcakes at a major event. They will be judged on taste and presentation, and only one baker will win the gig.

24 HOUR RESTAURANT BATTLE
Premieres: July
Hosted by renowned chef Scott Conant, each episode of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle features dueling teams of aspiring restaurateurs who have 24 hours to conceive, plan and open their own restaurants for one night. Once the doors open, diners will be served along with Scott and a rotating panel of judges representing three areas of expertise: restaurant marketer, restaurant reviewer, and restaurant investor. The winning team receives $10,000 in seed money toward realizing their dream!

KID IN A CANDY STORE
Premieres: July
Adam Gertler’s mission is to find the best, most outrageous, most innovative, and also most loved sweet treats in the world. Adam travels the United States to visit bakeries, restaurants, food carts, and factories where America’s favorite candies are produced. From wild and wacky twists on traditional favorites like deep fried cupcakes or sweet beet ice cream to the most scrumptious and creative candy, cakes and frozen snacks in the country, this sweet joyride makes viewers feel like a kid again.

FOOD TRUCKS (WT)
Premieres: August 15th at 10pm ET/PT
Tyler Florence hosts as seven teams of the country’s best food truck cooks hit the road to sauté their way across America. Each week, the teams that sell the most food in the challenge city race to the next episode, and the losing team drives home. One food truck team comes out on top and wins a $50,000 grand prize!

RETURNING FAVORITES:

THE NEXT IRON CHEF: SEASON 3
Premieres: Fall 2010
Kitchen Stadium once again opens its doors to find a new culinary warrior in the sizzling primetime series The Next Iron Chef, hosted by Alton Brown.The reality competition challenges top chefs from around the country in a series of demanding situations, testing their culinary skills and mental toughness for the ultimate prize: to become an Iron Chef.

WORST COOKS IN AMERICA: SEASON 2
Premieres: 1st Quarter 2011
The most hopeless cooks in the country return to compete in the high-stakes elimination series, Worst Cooks in America. Robert Irvine (Dinner: Impossible) joins Anne Burrell as host and competitor to put the recruits through a culinary boot camp they won’t soon forget! At stake for the last two standing is the chance to cook for a panel of esteemed culinary critics and to win the grand prize of $25,000.

THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR: SEASON 7
Premieres: 2nd Quarter 2011
Food Network’s number one series, The Next Food Network Star, returns for a seventh season. This season follows new hopefuls competing for the ultimate dream job: his or her own Food Network show. With this coveted prize on the line, the finalists strut their star power and culinary chops for host Bobby Flay and the selection committee to see if they stack up against the competition.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

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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