While channel surfing after work tonight I found a pretty cool broadcast by the Sicilian-born Ornella Fado. She reviews great Italian restaurants. This one was Casa Dante in Jersey City (casadante.com). She was in the kitchen sampling all of the chef’s dishes. It is such a breath of fresh air to see foodies visiting REAL kitchens in real restaurants rather than the usual string of competition reality shows on the Food Network. Once again PBS is the best form of REAL cooking programs, travel, leisure and entertainment. Once upon a time, when there was no Food Network, people like myself who loved travel and food only had PBS to turn to, now, ironically, this is the place I return for great food programming. For a good decade or more (1995-2005) the Food Network produced programs on real food, real chefs and great cooking. Then reality television became a trend and now 9 out of 10 times I turn on FoodTV there is a reality show on. Mario Batali, gone to PBS; Anthony Bourdain, gone to Travel Network; Emeril is now only in reruns and teamed up with Martha Stewart; Bobby Flay seems to have given in to the reality format and countless other great shows they once featured are now extinct. It seems like the only real cooking show that is fun to watch on FoodTV these days is Iron Chef (yes, another reality competition, but at least its still about the food, ingredients and not psychodrama of individuals). I don’t mean to beat up on FoodTV, after all, it was my favorite network OF ALL networks for the better part of a decade, but they just went down a wrong path. Where is the rival food channel? We can certainly use one right now.
So, its great that we still have the old-school favorites like Lidia, Jacques Pepin, Nick Stellino, and Mary Ann Esposito on PBS, and, to see shows like Brindiamo TV and Colameco’s Food show, not just reviewing but hanging out in the kitchens of great restaurants and cooking with the chefs, is really a great does of true “reality”.
Check it out… www.brindiamotv.com — Ornella Fado is attractive, fun, knowledgeable and better yet, ITS ALL ABOUT BEING ITALIAN. Hey, I love other foods too, but this is a SicilianCulture.com required viewing — they have podcasts too!