Thoughts For Food

Insights into the Mind of a Culinary School Student

Food Bites: A Culinary Conundrum

First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude towards Food Network, Scripps and Cablevision. I don’t quite know how they solved the problem they had, but I am just thankful to see Food Network back on Cable, which means I can see all the great culinary programming that I was missing out on. Awesome shows like Iron Chef America and Diners, Drive-Ins N’ Dives. Speaking of both of those shows, I’ve got a couple of questions/observations about them. Let’s start with Iron Chef America.

Now, I like ICA. A lot. But, is it just me or does it kind of pale in comparison to its Japanese predecessor? I mean, it’s very fun to watch and who doesn’t love Alton Brown as the commentator? But, after a while it gets kind of boring, doesn’t it? Iron Chef Japan in comparison, while a bit confusing at times,  is pretty damn fun in my opinion. Like, the chefs always seems to be running around like chickens without heads which adds to the overall “rush-rush” feel of the show. And don’t get me started on the secret ingredients. The secret ingredients in Iron Chef Japan blow its American counterpart right out of the water. Octopus and Natto, just to name a couple. The one thing that I like more about the original? No limits outside of time. In Iron Chef Japan, the chefs are only limited to the one-hour time limit. They can make as many dishes as they want in that one hour (in my viewing experience, the least amount of dishes I’ve seen is 3; the most is 6). And in case of a tie? A 30-minute overtime with a brand new ingredient. ICA, however, seems to stress quantity over quality. Now, I know I may very well be wrong, but hear me out. With a base limit of five dishes, it would seem that the chefs are creating just to fill their quota, right? (feel free to disagree). Whereas in ICJ, they have a bit more flexibility in terms of creativity. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s my two cents.

Ahh Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Ol’ Guy has really hit it big with this show (not taking away from Guy’s Big Bite). Simultaneously it has made the secret eateries of the country not so secret anymore, including two of my personal favorites that are very close to where I live: The White Mana Diner in Jersey City and Hackensack, NJ (Hackensack one’s closer to me) and Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, CT. The one question that always runs through my head whenever I watch this show is this: What makes a good diner? After watching the show for quite some time, the answer has three parts: The Food, The Atmosphere and The People: good food, a good feel to the place and good people to run it. Basically, you need to feel like you’re at home and surrounded by friends and family, when you’re actually surrounded by strangers.


Author: NJ_Chef

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and aspiring food-writer. 28-year old chef, blogger, eSports fan, gamer, jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

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