December 2011 •
GOOD TIMES –
Those Were The Days
TV Dinner Time
Many television trends have come andgone over the years, but cooking showscontinue to gain popularity. They haveevolved to satisfy our yearning for quali-ty, affordability and healthy cooking. Andwhile many of us may not have the timeto execute many of these recipes, theseshows prevail because everyone eats andcan relate to the cook.This month we will take a closer lookat two chefs who broke the mold and be-gan the successful road to today’s popularTV cooking shows.
Julia Child...The French Chef
The French Chef is an inuential televi
-sion cooking show created by Julia Child,and produced and broadcast by WGBHPublic television in Boston, Massachu-setts, from February 11, 1963 to 1973.
It was one of the rst cooking shows on
television. A 1962 appearance on a bookreview show speaking about her book“Mastering The Art of French Cooking”
on WGBH, led to the inception of her rst
television cooking show after viewers en- joyed her demonstration of how to cookan omelette.Child popularized French cookingon a large scale; her charming personal-ity, in conjunction with the popularity of French food, created a revolution. TheFrench Chef introduced French cookingto the United States at a time when it wasconsidered expensive restaurant fare, notsuitable for home cooking. Child empha-sized fresh and, at the time, unusual in-gredients.The show was done live to videotape
from start to nish, leaving little room
for mistakes. The resulting occasional ac-cidents became a popular trademark of Child’s on air presence, used as “teach-able moments” to encourage viewers torelax about the task’s demands.She had, in the words of one fan, an
‘unassuming, unrufed manner.’ She wasnot prissy — she would stick her ngers
in the sauce to taste, lick spoons, drop in-gredients, and then toss them into the stewpot. Those imperfections, however, werea crucial element to Child’s persona.
The Galloping Gourmet
Graham Kerr and his producer andwife, Treena, capitalized on the enter-tainment potential of a cooking show.The program featured Kerr’s irreverent
and racy humor and was the rst cooking
show to involve an in-studio audience.Kerr moved to New Zealand in 1958,becoming chief chef catering adviser forthe Royal New Zealand Air Force. It wasthere that his media career began in theearly 1960s: his recipes were deliveredon radio and in magazines, and a relatedbook, “Entertaining with Kerr”, sold out
its rst edition in eight days. He moved
into television with the emergence of thenew medium in New Zealand.Later The Galloping Gourmet (1969-71), a show named for Kerr’s onscreenpersona, was taped in Ottawa at CJOH-TV and produced by his wife. The ori-gin of his ‘Galloping Gourmet’ personastemmed from a 1967 book he co-au-thored with wine expert Len Evans, TheGalloping Gourmets. The nickname wasthe result of a 35-day worldwide trek to
the nest restaurants around the globe.
The title was echoed in the opening of each episode of his original North Ameri-
can series, lmed in front of a live audi
-ence, where Kerr entered the stage area byrunning in and leaping over a chair in thedining room set.The series was known for its light-hearted humour, tomfoolery and the co-
pious use of claried butter, cream and
fat. Indeed, Kerr’s most famous line onthe show might have been his responseto someone’s criticism of his cooking:“Madame, you could go outside and getrun over by a bus and just think what youwould have missed!”He also liberally featured wine, serv-ing it with most meals, drinking it whilecooking, using it in his dishes, and wax-ing poetic about its virtues. In an ongoingfeature of the show, Kerr would make hisway into the audience as the closing cred-its began and select an audience member(usually female) whom he would inviteonstage with him to enjoy whatever dishhe had just prepared. During The Gal-loping Gourmet’s successful run, he be-came a worldwide sensation, wrote anabundance of cookbooks, and earned twoEmmy Award nominations.
L o s t
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