Tonawanda News


November 30, 2009

TELEVISION: Hungry for food shows

By Phil Dzikiy

It seems like so long ago, perhaps because it was. Food didn’t always have such a presence in television programming.

Perhaps, it was Julia Child who introduced you to French cooking in your living room. Maybe a local chef had a show in your area. Eventually, some daytime television chefs started popping up. But there wasn’t that much else.

Now, of course, we’re living in the age of Food Network. If you ever want to watch anything food-related on TV, you’re in luck. And it’s not just the Food Network. Its sister channel, Fine Living, has plenty of food shows, as do competing channels like Bravo and the Travel Channel.

If it seems like these shows are slowly taking over cable, there’s a reason for it. Bravo’s “Top Chef” and the Travel Channel’s “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” are two of the most popular programs on their respective channels.

The major networks have also gotten in on the act, to varying degrees of success. NBC has tried to get involved in both the business side of cooking with “The Restaurant” and a cooking competition, “The Chopping Block.” Neither show was a hit — “The Chopping Block” only lasted three episodes.

Fox, however, has had a better go of it, thanks to Gordon Ramsay. The chef’s “Hell’s Kitchen” completed its sixth season on the network last month and the show has already been renewed through the eighth season. The American version of Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” lasted for two seasons on the network and Fox has already signed a deal with Ramsay for another future show.

Shayna Raichilson-Zadok calls Ramsay “phenomenal.” A Buffalo native and caterer, Raichilson-Zadok was a contestant on the fourth season of “Hell’s Kitchen.” She currently writes a bi-monthly cooking column for the lifestyle section of the Niagara Gazette, Lockport Union-Sun & Journal and Tonawanda News, and she’ll be teaching Tops cooking classes at a few of the supermarket’s locations next year.

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