Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Brand New Food Show Ideas and a Casting Call

If you have an idea for a food-related reality show (aka "unscripted" television), BNE and I would love to hear it! I'm sure most of you watch a fair amount of Food Network, as well as other food-friendly networks, and have thought to yourself, "I wish they had a show about ______."

At the very least, this post should provide a few chuckles, but who knows -- maybe someone here will come up with the next big thing! By the way, any ideas you submit will be considered a gift, and will become my intellectual property -- to be used for good and/or evil as circumstances dictate.

Also, BNE is looking for a novice cook in the LA area to appear in a "sizzle reel." They need to be comfortable on camera, articulate and outgoing, and if they have a good reason for why they DON’T cook, well, even better. They will get a free cooking lesson from Chef John and best of all, their hard work in the kitchen will be rewarded with a super delicious and unforgettable meal. It will be a very fun afternoon!

If you are interested, please contact BNE at: Serious candidates only. Thanks!

Photo (c) Flickr user bormang2


Anonymous said...

Whenever I watch FoodTV, I always wish they had more shows that focus less on selling an image / personality than the food. I like Alton Brown because he talks food all the time. Most of the chef personalities on Foodtv seem to witter on for ages about stuff I really am not interested in. As you said before, it's about the food, and with that I don't think you can go wrong. :)

Heidi / Savory Tv said...

Hey Chef John,

this may be boring or unoriginal, but I like spotlights on ingredients, such as "3 delicious appetizers featuring goat cheese", and tell us all about goat cheese during the show.

I also would love a show about certain things to keep in your kitchen at all times, and how to whip up appetizers using these ingredients for unexpected guests.

If the show will air in the fall or winter, slow cooker recipes seem to always be a hit. Chefs never seem to make those, but home cooks love them.

Bo-ring I know! But just my 1 cent :)

Giovanna said...

Housewives Cookoff - who really has the best mac and cheese, stroganoff, lasagna, etc. I have always heard people say how much better their mom's cooking is but when I've had the chance to taste their mom's cooking, hmmm .. let's just say I think people can get used to bad cooking, especially if they grew up eating it. I once visited a friend of mine and their mother cooked for us, she NEVER even picked up the salt shaker! Ahhh!
It was a definite housewife horror! : )
Housewives please do not get offended.... just like everyone else out there, there are good, bad and really bad. Plus, I'm a housewife and half Italian and I still struggle to make a rockin' meal sometimes!

nossi said...

One of the best shows on food network is Good Eats, and i think the reason why is because Alton explains everything. I would like to see a show similar to that, but not just focused on one thing (like chef brown does), rather whatever it is they are cooking, they take the time to explain what they are doing, and WHY they are doing what they do. More like a TV show based on "On food and Cooking" by McGee, or maybe "What einstein told his chef" by wolke..two books that i've read that really allowed me to appreciate cooking more

Unknown said...

i want to see a show about food that takes hours and hours to cook, i am tired of fast tasting food, if that makes sense. travel somewhere, show how it's done, replicate in your kitchen.

Chanelle said...

If I could have one thing in a cooking show it would be to have the recipe measurements on the show. So many shows now barely ever give you the measurements (you have to buy the book to get them) and it makes me really dislike the show.
That's why I like Good Eats so much, they show you the actual recipe.

JGadFly said...

"By the way, any ideas you submit will be considered a gift, and will become my intellectual property -- to be used for good and/or evil as circumstances dictate."

Too, bad! I like your videos, I like your blog, but good ideas; come with a cost. You need to give credit, where credit is do. I will keep my ideas, for someone who appreciates the craft. I hosted/produced radio show for twelve years. I left, because they wanted me to sign an agreement, that said they could change the rules, as they saw fit. If you want to block me. feel free, to so.

Asian Malaysian said...

"Im a chef, get me out of here." Enough said.

Chef John said...

yes, good ideas come with a cost... that's why I'll take just average ones for free! Feel free to keep your (what I'm sure are pretty awesome) ideas to yourself.

btw, most culinary instruction comes with a cost, but not here! ;-)

Anonymous said...

After Chef John, my favorite Food Network show is Good Eats--Alton Brown. He TEACHES and educates about cooking from every aspect knowing that his audience may not know how to chiffonade herbs, which herbs to use, or how to select a knife or pan or even boil pasta. AB recognizes this and shows you the best methods and why. Not just history but techniques and WHY things are or happen the way they do. You want a winner of a show--plan to TEACH the methods and why's beyond the recipe--and challenge or give homework to get your audience involved. Watch Good eats for what his magic 'recipe' of success is IMO.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, a class and a meal with chef John. That sounds fun :D

milkshake said...

Chef, I just wrote you an e-mail - Best luck with everything.

kelly said...

I love Alton Brown - and I kind of like to know the why and how of cooking.

I also like shows where the chef goes to a person's home and helps them create a meal for a special occasion.

But what I'd really like is to see a chef come to my home, open my refrigerator on any day of the week - and make something special out of what I have on hand. You can't run to the store, you have to use the spices and equipment I have. Maybe that would help me look at the stuff I have with new eyes. I have a fridge full - but somehow the inspiration is kind of thin sometimes.

Unknown said...

Another idea would be to have limited time for preparation by the chef.

Some viewers in the audience could choose, the last time, what food will be prepared. Or choose some of the ingredients.

Maybe some people passing by the road could choose.

Or there could be 2-3 possible recipes and viewers could vote with sms which will be prepared.

Anonymous said...

Other thoughts:

I'd also like to hear Chefs talk through how they decide on what goes on the plate to create a full meal.

Do you choose the protein first? How do you tie the sides together with the seasoning/garnishes to complement the main course?

Think out loud so we can hear your process about how to make a cohesive meal, 'cuz I can sometimes put together several individual items that aren't bad, but I'm not sure they 'go together'.

PLEASE do not use commercial appliances. Use what we use at home. We're at enough of a disadvantage without having your skill and education. That difference is just compounded when you use equipment we don't have.

There was a show on a long time ago - I think it was EARLY food network - where real people brought in several surprise ingredients and then assisted the chef in making a meal. I liked that show.

Maybe a show about how chefs cook at home? (Maybe there would have to be some creative liberties taken here, if dinner is a bowl of froot loops at 2am that really isn't really the concept I'm thinking of:)

General said...

Hey JGadFly, are you kidding??? He's just asking for some ideas. You want him to sign a profit sharing agreement before you tell him your ideas?? What a joke. How many free ideas have you found on his site? What nerve. You should sent him a check.

maitino said...

One of the many reasons I like chef John is he does not use gadgets. So I am sure we are safe as far as gadgets are concerned.

For someone to ask for $ for giving C.J and idea!! Ha! For everything that is available here for free!! Please!

Anywho that idea from Kelly on chef going to someone's home and cook something from what is available there, is a killer! Like that corn relish meal you made. I like that!

As for me I think you should show people how to use and take care of utensils from time to time. And food storage also.

And do bring Val to do chicken kiev. LOL.

Unknown said...

Hello Chef John!

I know you hear this alot but, I really love your videos! I think I check your site about five times a week. :]

But anyway, I wanted to contribute an idea too. So, there could be a show with several chefs, each with a time limit, taking turns creating a dish, so like, the first guy has 10 minutes to work with what they have but after time's up, the next chef takes over.

Sounds boring huh? IE the first chef could just announce that they will make a soup and the other chefs finish his soup...BUT the twist is that each time the chefs rotate, a new ingrediant is introduced!

Try finishing a chicken soup with FIGS! >:]

milkshake said...

cooking with whatever is available reminds me:

"And your dinner for the orchestra officials?"
"Haven't you ever had people
coming over and no time to shop? You have to make do with what's in the fridge, Clarice"

Susanna said...

I'd like to see a show where it begins with the chef going to the market to buy the main ingredients (maybe teach the audience a bit about the ingredients), talks to the sellers/mongers, then goes home to cook the dish, explains some key points like you always do and takes a bite of the finished product.

Amelie said...

I'm not in America and I can't watch the food network so I might be out of line but how about a show where you would visit other food bloggers and film with them one of their recording/inventing/cooking session. You could show their "behind the scene", their personnality and speciality and of course at least one or 2 recipes.
Good way to introduce people that diserve to be known, like you, to the world and show a recipe at the same time that would be pretty different every time.

Pyrofish said...

I sent you an email from pyrofish, feel free to use it.

The gist, was to have a show where someone would volunteer their friend/significant other to go to the Chef John one on one cooking class. The twist is, the person who is volunteered doesn't know they were just sent to be schooled. Basically being told they can't cook.

It's up to Chef John to smooth things over, ask what they're experience level is, and start teaching them some things from there. It could be anything from selecting produce, and knife skills, to using the grill and/or the broiler. If the person is already proficient (according to the person who volunteered them), then you could teach them some more advanced techniques.

I don't think this could be done in someone's home though. If they don't know you're coming, they might be mad about the shape of their kitchen.

This would allow you to reach people who maybe don't watch cooking shows, but their friends or S/O's do. Possibly opening new audiences along the way. Plus you get the tension of the initial reveal, and by the end of the show, they're happy and making good food.

Anonymous said...

How about a theme for one show where you show and explain how to get everything ready at the correct time. I find myself having problems with that sometimes. Especially when serving three course menu, the main course burns when I'm eating the entré or then there is 30 min break between those :)

Chase Saunders said...

JGadfly thinks ideas are worth something. I would be willing to wager he has never sold an idea nor patented anything. In my experience money guys will laugh, and then leave, if you ask them to pay for an idea or even sign a confidentiality agreement before telling to them. It's the ability to generate and execute ideas that people will pay for, not ideas themselves. As Howard Aiken said, “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”

All that being said, here is mine. Food costs are going up and up and all signs point to that trend continuing. I imagine most people are going to have to make rather significant changes in their diet. While "frugal cooking" books about, it's harder to find an approach that balances frugality with other values.

Scott - Boston said...

Nice quote, Chase!

Chef, I have no doubt that you'll find the show that works for you, and I can't wait. Good Luck.

Maybe, a "What If..." show?
I'd like to see What If Julia Child got into professional wrestling instead. What a visual! The Iron Sheik looking across the ring at a 6'10 Julia Child, with her apron swinging back and forth... She'd destroy him! Her trademark line would've been, "Bon Appetite, &@#$%$#!"
Man, I'm excited just thinking about it!... I gotta sit down...

Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

Aside from the fancy visual filters that enrich the video on the food network and make the food pop for the camera in color and texture.... (especially in HD)...

There are a lot of shows that are more of "This Food's Greatest Hits"... this or "(Add Food network Personality) Version of Classic "This"" ...

I would like to see more exotic cooking or more specifically cooking that's "current" new recipes, new flavor combinations, new ways of garnishing/presentations, and new food concepts that are out there waiting to be discovered.....

I think the cutting edge food that's coming out in modern up-scale restaurants and down home cooking that's being reinvented is very entertaining simply because it capitalizes on the adventurous aspect that food has that not only inspires people to cook more but allows them to take risks with confidence in their own cooking...

I think the food network junkies are tired of reviewing the basics over and over and can find it a bit redundant...... They need newer and more exciting cooking...content that makes it entertaining for Professional Chef's and advanced Home Chef's....(not too mention blowing the mind of beginners :P)

Because the content on Food Network now (in my opinion granted) is geared towards getting new audience members so it's at a beginner and intermediate viewer level......So an Advanced and Professional Level needs to come along to Keep existing food junkies who've been long time viewers who need something more.....

meh...we'll see....

Thanks C.J. : D


P.S.- You could always title your show.... "Good Lookin' Simple Cookin'" : P

averagebetty said...

What about a late night munchies kind of show? You meet people at clubs on their way out the door. You offer to whip them up some appetizers with whatever you find in their home pantry? Champagne and white bean crostini could come of it... Can't imagine where I got that idea - it just came to me ;)

I want to be on your show, Chef John! You are the best <3

Chef John said...

thanks to everyone for all the great ideas!! (except gadfly)

betty, that's a great idea, but this has to play in LA... that sounds like something that would be better for a smaller town, like say, Aspen? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Everyone enjoys a great meal out, but it can be too expensive for many of us, especially prohibitive at the top chef's restaurants, and so maybe every so often you could give a demonstration on how to replicate signature dishes from renowned chefs. And gee, if the producers want to make it authentic they can fly you to some of these establishments so you can get firsthand impressions.

Once was a teenager, still can't cook very well... said...

I'd like to see your show work with high school age kids, to help them learn some cooking techniques. Many high schoolers are latchkey kids and have to fend for themselves at meal time, and more than you can imagine, many teens would like to learn cooking technique. Schools no longer teach classes that assist with life skills or possible careers like wood shop, automotive shops, sewing and cooking in home ec, so be the Alice Waters of reality tv and give our poor sagging public education a boost in the right direction.

powerplantop said...

"to be used for good and/or evil as circumstances dictate."

I have an idea that could be used for evil and it will work in LA. Show us how to make street food at home. How do those guys in the taco trucks make them so good? How do you make good Pho? A great chili dog? Fish taco?

maitino said...

Pretend you have nasal congestion and do that 'hey, how're you doing?' sexy voice you did on ciabatta bread!!! Hilarious!

Chez US said...

I have a very novice cook that would be great on TV but he does not live in LAX .... he needs to learn to cook, Chef John!

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John,

I am living in Austria and have no idea whatsoever what American food shows are like so please don't be mad if you already got my suggestion over there.

My idea:

You know the show where a woman has to choose a man for a date by asking him stupid questions? Take the exact same idea but instead of mindless glibberish the girl (must?) degust what the 3 guys cooked for her in the last 30 minutes. As far as I know you Americans like if there is plenty of action, so the camera would follow the three (amateur?) cooks at the same time, 24 style, and they would briefly explain what they are doing but the real deal would be the audience guessing which meal scores... (of course the detailed recipies could be downloaded on the net, for all the singles out there, afterwards)

Well, it's just a warmed up idea of already existing ingredients, but isn't that how the creative industry works nowadays? I totally gift this idea to you, hope it will be the next Oprah and net you millions, so you can continue to enjoy us with your wonderful blog for years to come.

Best wishes

Scott - Boston said...

Just thought of something:
I understand it's near-impossible with "corporate" in the way, but a foodie Consumer Reports of sorts would be great. Consider that the "Best of" San Fran, Boston, etc. are always the most popular issues of the year for any publication.
Blind tastings, product ratings... people really love that stuff.

Scott - Boston

JennyG. said...

I agree with alot of the other comments, Good Eats is the best show on Food Network, in my opinion. Also I would LOVE to not have to go online or buy a book (that will just get destroyed in my kitchen with all the sloppy cooking I do)to get their recipes. So I liked the prev. Idea on posting the ingred/ amounts on the show. I loved the FN for a long time for almost 8+ years now. However I find it too glossy and glam. I was kinda pissed about that stupid "next food network star" show. Really? The next star? Lame.
I miss the show who's name escapes me but was just about desserts. The chef had her own bakery and was making her goods on her segment.
~I started watching food network because it was supposed to be about food, and how to cook it. I also started watching because I missed my pbs shows from childhood such as- Yan Can Cook, Frugal Gourmet, and the French chef Jacques who made his French pastries and desserts.I want that kind of show back on tv.
~I think that the reason why youtube and foody blogs have become so pop. is because ppl are tired of FN making food glitzy and commercial. SO this isn't an idea obv. but my suggestion is just do what you do best. Its worked thus far hasn't it? You don't need a gimmick or some fancy idea, just cook, make all your yummy recipes you have on here. I know I'll be watching :)

Tyler said...

i've always thought a show with so-so amature teenagers competing would be sort of interesting ...

i've also always thought i could pwn one of those shows lol!

meh, i suppose it could be interesting TV, and who knows, maybe a diamond in the ruff could be found :O

Reckless said...

I am with a lot of the other commentors here in my feeling that the Food Network has really strayed away from food education and focused more on cute personalities and "quick" or "cheap" meals. With the exception of Alton Brown, there are very few shows from which, even as an amature/hobbiest chef, I am able to learn anything new. A lot of my friends and I have begun to turn away from Food Network because the new shows just don't teach very much.

I think it would be great to have a show that taught theory, technique, etc. in a way similar to the methods used in cullinary school. I would love shows that were dedicated to knife skills, whisking techniques, strategies for serving multi-course meals using one oven/stovetop.

Btw, love your site!!!

Unknown said...

A good cooking show would b with a younger crowd. The idea of kids who love to cook and is still learning. They should be given hints on how to cook things or study ways to make something. The winner should get something like a scholarship or a trips different foreign countries to learn different cuisines. We should give reward them bigger in what they want to do and not always just money but to explore the world. You can even have a show with amateur cooks make them better and the winner gets to cook and learn by cooking under a better and well skilled chef. And on these shows the judges are exaggerating when they critique the cooks.

Fran said...

There are a lot of shows on Food Network where people who are already chefs compete, and now there is a show called "Worst Cooks" in which people who are terrible cooks are taught by two celebrity chefs how to cook. What about those of us in the middle? People who watch Food Network and actually CAN cook, and may aspire to be chefs. I'd love to see (read: be a competitor on) a show for people who can cook, or think they can cook, and want to become chefs. Instead of a cash prize, the grand prize should be a scholarship to attend a culinary school.

Anonymous said...

This is an old post and may not be relevant anymore.

This is not “my idea.” Instead I’m blending ideas already suggested in this post because these are so good!

Heidi/Savory TV has a good idea about exploring an ingredient with several recipes (but not like Robin does in cooking for the whole week – icky stuff half the time). And Heidi’s idea about kitchen essential ingredients is excellent be the rest of us don’t have things like white truffles or quail eggs handy.

Anonymous asks not to use commercial appliances, and I agree there too. In fact, that’s one reason why Chef John recipes are so simple (and sophisticated) because mostly you use a bowl and spatula. Where’s that Vitamix machine and the Kicthenaid with the dough hooks? ;)

Amelie suggested cooking with food bloggers…so brilliant. Just imagine the variety – vegan, Paleo, cupcakes….and the countries represented – Spain, Mexico, France, etc. (right here in the U.S.!)

So there you go – food bloggers exploring what to do with an ingredient/recipe/meal (Tamales at Christmas? Yorkshire pudding? You don’t say!) using relatively ordinary equipment and ingredients. How about Chef John presenting a simple and simply delicious recipe using an ingredient, and then visiting a blogger to see a different treatment of the ingredient?

These ideas blended together appeal to me because that’s what we do on the internet…we drift around from blog to blog looking for the recipe and technique to candy orange peels that we are willing and brave enough to try. Bring THAT to TV.

Unknown said...

How about a show called Field to Table (NOT Farm to Table). I'm a female hunter who loves to cook wild game. Even women who don't hunt have husbands that bring home venison, duck, pheasant, etc. that sits in the freezer and goes to waste because no one knows how to cook it. The show would start in the field during the hunt (or in the stream) and then finish in the kitchen. Great idea, right?