I am hooked on reality cooking shows! It started with Top Chef. That show starts with 12 people from all walks of life, competing with each other on various cooking challenges every week. The winner gets $100,000 to start his or her own restaurant. Contestents work individually (usually) to cook with chocolate, seafood, or bar-b-q-ing. Four judges taste the results and one contestant is eliminated every week. The judges are generally “nice” but at least one contestant every season is annoying or irritating to the others.
Hell’s Kitchen came into my life next. (We call it Heck’s Kitchen so as not to say that “other” word). In this show, the contestents are divided into teams; each team cooks for the HK restaurant during each show. The owner of the restaurant is the judge, and he can be mean and nasty! He shuts down the kitchen before everyone has even been served, if the contestants are not doing a good job. The show is filled with plenty of bleeps. Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for the contestants, but then I remember that they knew what they were in for when they applied to be on the show!
I discovered The Next Food Network Star just a few weeks ago, when the season was almost over. Luckily the cable stations seem to show the most recent episode several times during a week and often run marathons of the episodes so far in the season. In this show contestants were competing for their own show on The Food Network. All of the contestants were nice, and so were the judges! It was fun to see them learn how much more difficult it was to cook for a TV show than in their own kitchens.
Most recently I discovered Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. The host on this show is the same as the judge/host on Heck’s Kitchen, but this show is on BBC. I’ve only watched a few episodes, but it seems that he goes into restaurants throughout the world, that are not doing well, and helps them improve. There are a lot of bleeps, and in the first episode I saw he was strongly suggesting that they sweep the doggy doo out of the seating area and cleaning up an absolutely filthy kitchen. I’m not sure if I want to watch the show too much and find out all the behind-the-scenes details of how restaurants are run!
The good part about watching all these cooking shows is that I’m positively inspired to cook. The bad part is that I rarely have the shrimp, balsamic vinegar, fresh gouda cheese, or other fancy ingredients the contestants have on hand. But I’ve gotten some fun and good ideas, and if I’m inspired to cook, that’s always a good thing.
Have you ever wondered what to say when you are in a group of people and the gossip starts? Should you tell someone she’s being gossiped about? Find out in my new book, What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds for Life’s Sticky, Tricky, Uncomfortable Situations. To read the excerpt about gossip, go to http://www.shellyburke.net/say/excerpts.php