America’s Best Cook

I just yesterday discovered this new Food Channel show.  Right this second I am watching the season finale, and today they played the whole season before broadcasting the finale, so I got to see all of the season.  I have to say that I totally love this show!  It’s wonderfully creative, paced beautifully, and has the best people involved.  Of course, Ted Allen is the best food competition host of all, and he is fantastic in this show.  The mentors are fabulous, and the judges are amazing.  The whole structure of the competition is effective, entertaining, and interesting, and I am enormously impressed with what the program is accomplishing.

The only problem I had was with a couple of interactions from a couple of the pros.  First, Anne Burrell was a judge, and she was about 75% okay, but if she doesn’t stop sounding so carpy, snotty, and insulting when critiquing the participants, I may need to say something more descriptive.  All of the other judges managed to say direct, specific, and clear critiques without sounding snotty.  The other comment I have is toward Alex Guarnaschelli – she was a brilliant mentor, except for the prep for the next-to-last dish competition, when she got demanding and almost heartless sounding – I don’t think she meant it, but I hope so much that she doesn’t do that again – after a while you don’t care if they mean it, they should know better.

Basically, this show is absolutely wonderful.  It’s right up there with Chopped and Iron Chef, head and shoulders above most of what else is being produced in the food competition programming arena.  I am thrilled – this program is fabulous both in absolute terms, and in comparison to many food competition programs we’ve chosen not to endure, and I have to admit I’ve been getting pretty cynical on the network’s ability to create a new show of this quality.  This program is enormously satisfying on so many levels.  By the way, it was great to see Cat Cora involved with a program again, especially one as satisfying as this one is!

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