Thirsty Thursday: Celebrity Chefs
Happy 2017 to all of the breakfast buddies out there!
We truly apologize for being away from you for a whole month. The holidays treated us well but were full of travel and food. So here we are! First Panclog post of the year.
This, the fifth issue of your favorite segment on your fourth favorite blog, will be writing about which celebrity chef we would like to have a beer with and which beer we would pair them with. It’s gonna be great!
Read and smile. I triple-dog-dare you
Brent – Whom I would have a beer with – Alton Brown
Nearly all cooking shows follow one of three formats, a chef alone in the kitchen, a travel/food mashup, or some type of cooking competition. Various television networks of course try to combine the different formats but those shows always seem to be short lived. There is one component to all of these shows though that is absolutely critical, each show needs at least one strong personality to be the primary lead. Each show needs a celebrity chef.
I could be wrong about this, but, I believe that Emeril Lagasse is probably the first TV chef that leaped into celebrity chef status (Honorable Mention to Julia Child and The Galloping Gourmet). “Emeril Live” was a lot of fun, had a ton of energy, and served as a hub to connect Emeril’s personality with all of his work, including his books. If you want to point to a different progenitor, like Julia Child, I would suggest that Emeril established the current multiple media format full court press that each celebrity chef needs to achieve today. Emeril established what it means to reach the necessary critical mass to become a celebrity in cooking.
This model that Emeril established has been consistently used to build up other chefs. The most blatant example is Food Network’s show “The Next Food Network Star”. A show that is a competition to find the next personality that will, hopefully, achieve celebrity chef status. I watched the year that Guy Fieri won and enjoyed it quite a bit. But you can clearly see the celebrity chef machine at work.
Since we are talking about cooking shows, I would like to bring up a show that I really enjoyed as a teenager. The show was called Pasquale’s Kitchen and was hosted by Pasquale Carpino. I enjoyed this show because Pasquale always threw liquor into one of the pans, sometimes setting it on fire, and always added it to his coffee. By the end of the week, he seemed to be quite drunk. He also had some lines he consistently delivered like, “Somebody cook, somebody clean,” which are words to live by. The interesting point is that if you played his show today, it wouldn’t look any different from most of the shows on TV today, even though his show was on in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
I bring all this up, because, while I do occasionally enjoy watching a cooking show, there is not one that I will consistently watch. Until I found a lovely little show called “Good Eats”. The show loosely fit into the one chef format noted above, but not quite. What hooked me most about this show was that the host didn’t just show the how of food, but showed the why. The incorporation of food science into a demonstration of how to make a particular recipe just grabbed me. Not only did the host demonstrate culinary art, but filled your mind with science behind.
“Good Eats” was also littered with fun sketches and recurring characters that really hammered the topic of any given show. The moment that the host used puppets to represent bacteria, and listening to them burp, as a demonstration of fermentation I was hooked. “Good Eats”, to put it succinctly, is Sesame Street for adults.
The main creative mind behind this show is of course Alton Brown.
I believe I’ve watched and enjoyed every episode of “Good Eats”. More importantly I have learned quite a bit about the why of food, and to that I am grateful. This show made me laugh, taught me something, and provided me with great recipes. A family favorite is his Chicken with 40 Clove. In regard to the celebrity chef critical mass, I have bought it hook, line, and sinker. If you want proof of this, I own one of his books, saw him do a sales presentation at Nebraska Furniture Mart, and saw one of his food science shows just this year, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Every recipe of his I have tried has been a crowd pleaser, well except for one. There was a barbeque sauce recipe that ended up saltier than what we were hoping for. That sauce notwithstanding, I will follow his recipes to the letter because they have pretty much all been terrific.
He of course has been involved with other cooking shows. I say unfortunately, these other shows fit perfectly within the formats noted above. I say unfortunately because these other shows seem to have reined in his creativity whereas “Good Eats” allowed it to flourish.
If you want to get a sense of Alton’s individual creativity, I believe you need to see one of his “one man shows”. I, through the kindness of friends, was able to attend the “Alton Brown Live, Eat Your Science” show here in Kansas City. The show was terrific, where you saw a man with a tremendous amount of talent and knowledge deliver something truly unique. Especially considering the giant, rocket, popcorn popper.
While I have truly enjoyed the bulk of Alton’s creative work, I would certainly enjoy just taking an afternoon to simply visit about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I thoroughly enjoy talking about science just for the sake of it, and he seems to be a dude who is happy doing the same.
To that end, the beer I would like to share with Mr. Brown is the Accumulation White IPA, made by New Belgium brewery. I am slowly becoming a fan of New Belgium and more specifically their Accumulation brew. To me, the beer comes across as very dry and hoppy, making it seem bitter. Given Alton’s new music album name, “Bitter Like Me”, the selected beverage seems appropriate. Once past those initial flavors you will definitely find a citrus undercurrent. My spouse thinks it is most like a grapefruit. Since her palate is much more refined than mine, at least that is what she tells me, I will go with it. The drink finishes clean and crisp and is a delight to consume.
Judging from the label we are to enjoy Accumulation in the winter time. I had mine next to the drafty back door to our house which sent a nice chill throughout the experience. Like I said, the IPA is a little bitter but the overall flavor is smooth and pleasant. On the off chance Alton stops by for one, you should join us.
Jared – Whom I Would Have A Beer With – Rachael Ray
Changing the World!
These are all things that Rachael Ray is great at. Just read that list again. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Yeah so Rachael isn’t just a celebrity chef. She is a life-champion. Rachael Ray takes cooking to a level that is understandable for a simple minded guy like me. I now know what EVOO is. It is extra virgin olive oil. Rachael Ray is a person that created a food empire that, I believe, has some actual integrity. I have purchased some of her branded knives and they were given thumbs up by my favorite chef.
Who is my favorite chef, you ask? That would be my lovely bride, Megan. Megan graduated from culinary school. That makes her a chef. Also that’s the difference between a cook and a chef. Right, Bethenny Frankel? Megan has always been my favorite chef. She makes me food that is better than anything I’ve ever had before. But sadly, Brent said that she wasn’t a “Celebrity.” So sorry babe, I won’t be picking a beer to pair you with.
Back to Rachael. She was first signed to the Food Network in 2001. How surprising is that? I simply thought that Rachael was always around. If I were to choose one of her recipes to share with you that I can make. It would have to be the Florentine Penne with Chicken. Click that link and make some tasty cuisine. Did you know that Rachael also makes food for dogs? Yeah how cool is that? A celebrity chef making food for my dog? I feel like a rich dude who only has a dog to love. I heard a rumor that she initially came up with the idea when cooking for her pit bull. So cute!
The beer that I have chosen to share with Rachael Ray was a fairly simple choice to make. I can only think of one brewery that has chosen to make beers that would be crazy good as food. That would be Big Rip Brewing Company. In fact, one of the owners and brewmaster told me that if you can bake it, you can brew it. This is evident in their beer list. From an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie ale to a Cherry Cheesecake ale. This is just a small array of the incredible beer that they brew. Big Rip is a brewery in North Kansas City, MO. They opened in May of 2013 and instantly became my favorite brewery in Kansas City. They are owned by incredible people and make beers that are even more incredible.
I have chosen the Magic Hour Chai Milk Stout from Big Rip to share with Rachael Ray. I think she will fall in love with the smooth and spicy nature of this amazing beer. The milk stout base is a slightly sweet and very drinkable beer in of it self. But when they added the Chai to that lovely beer, it took it to a different and exciting level. At 6% ABV, Rachael and I could drink a couple and talk about her empire in the food world. Would I cook for her? Probably not. But I would gladly share a brew.
Who would you like to have a beer with? What beer would you drink with them?