Post # 12 Favorite Cooks

June 27, 2012 at 7:30 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

People ask me fairly often who my favorite chef is.  Well, really, my favorite chef is me cuz I cook exactly the way I like.  My next favorite chef is my partner/spouse who cooks very nearly the same way, but with a bit more spice.  My third favorite chef is just about anyone who’s cooking so I don’t have to.  Well, that being said, who is my favorite chef that I’ll sit and watch all day?  There are actually several, and depending on my mood, it could be nearly anyone.

I’d have to start with Julia!  She brok the ground and created the path that all celebrity chefs follow today.  She had style, humor, and self deprecation by the barrel.  She also had a sense of humility that allowed other chefs to shine and teach her.  That’s the thing that I like best about her.  All the way to the end, no matter who was working with her, she always knew that she could learn something.  For her, it was a journey, not a destination.

I also like Jaques Pepin.  I first saw him when he was working with Julia Child and his sense of fun, his playful antics, and his grin that sparkled in his eys drew me right in.  He’s a natural born teacher and easily makes accessible those things that we think are complex.  The love he has for food and for his family are so apparant that you can’t help but love to learn when you watch him.

I watch MaryAnn Esposito whenever I can.  She reminds me a lot my mom, except my mom wasn’t Italian.  MaryAnn hosts the show Cioa Italia.  She has a very motherly way of teaching and her recipes typically don’t take more than a few minutes.  And all the ones I’ve tried have tasted amazing!

I watch Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen, to the point that I have all the episodes from the last three years memorized.  I’ve got their cookbooks, DVDs, and magazines.  I take their suggestions for my kitchen gadgets and for my ingredient choices.  I use their recipes all the time.  While the recipes can be kind of involved, with many steps, if you follow them exactly, you will always have great tasting food!  Always!  I’ve never had one of their recipes fail on me.  Ever.

I have the Food Network on all the time in my house.  I “discovered” the network about six years ago and liked all the programs I saw.  Several chefs stood out as favorites.  Bobby Flay was a rebellious sort of guy who went from high school to cooking school before he could vote.  He was running multi-star kitchens by the time he was 22.  His style runs to spicy, Mexican flavors of the type that I grew up with and enjoy!  Paul Deen is pure fun, but boy! that accent will drive ya nuts!  However, hers is a rags-to-riches tale that will make you fall in love with her.  There are many others that I like and watch because their style or their personality match mine and I get a lot of good ideas.  My current new favorite is Pioneer Woman just cuz she’s so unashamedly a pantry chef.  Whatever is in the pantry is what she’s cooking.  She doesn’t mind short cuts and it all tastes good.

My complete favorite chef on Food Network is Anne Burrel.  I watch all her shows.  I like her no-nonsense attitude, and I like the tips she gives.  She’s the first television chef who actually showed me how to hold a knife.  Turns out I’d been doing it wrong my whole life.  Her food is delicious and looks five star quality.  She looks, acts, and cooks like a rock star.  A lot of fun to watch, and a lot of fun to learn from.  I’ve included one of her recipes on the right, Anne Burrel’s Asparagus Salad.  Try it.  It’s a winner.



  1. I enjoyed watching Ann B. ; also loved that asparagus salad. Not familiar with Pioneer Woman. Enjoy those other cooking shows, too.

    • Sue, you’d really like Pioneer Woman. She and her family live on a HUGE ranch in OK, and her cooking is good, filling, and easy. She’s got a very down to earth attitude, too. One show she had to go shopping after church for the weekly supplies and she said that she had to leave church quickly because the Baptists got out of church shortly after hers and if she waited they’d be crowding all the stores.

  2. when i was a kid i watched re-runs of my beloved julia child. not unlike the recent movie “julia and me” i got the 2-vol. art of french cooking and not unlike the recent movie, i learned how to cook by working my way thru the most amazing cookbook(s) i’ve ever encountered. it was julia who made me LOVE to read cookbooks. jacques pepin was a favorite but my other cooking guru was James Beard. i actually met the master when i was 7 y/o and we were eating at the Four Seasons one night. He was dining w/ a companion and they had finished their meal or we wouldn’t have interrupted. he couldn’t have been more charming. he invited us to join him for coffee and the 20 minutes we spent chatting (him talking, me in stunned silence) is still one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

    my favorite TV chef? tyler florence but that’s just because he’s a real cutie. lol.

    • I like Tyler, too, but sometimes he’s got a bit of an attitude problem. He was off the air for a long while, but has come back recently with new episodes of his show, plus the Food Truck Race. I’ve made several things out of Julia’s various books, including MTAOFC, but can’t make them as reliably as with others. Intimidation, maybe?

      • i’ve never had a disasater w/ one of her recipes except the desserts and baking. but i’ve never developed an interest in those. sure, some dishes were preferred over others but i always found her recipes to be fullproof. whatever.

  3. Well you know I love Julia!! I am counting the days until they open the exhibit at the Smithsonian, they have her WHOLE kitchen and I am dying to to go and see it and touch it!!! The food network is on in my house all the time and the cooking channel too. As far as chefs go Bobby is a wiz when it come to barbequing in my book, I am also a huge fan of Anne, I am dying to try her goat cheese cake recipe -coming soon- and I made Bree’s (Pioneer woman’s) knock’em dead brownies and they were a hit on mother’s day I love her and got her book. Also one of my favorite is Alton Brown I love all the facts he dishes out and Calsey, she is a new Chef from the Food network star fame. Anyways love the blog!!!!

    • I like Alton, too, for the same reasons, and really like him on Iron Chef and FoodNetwork Star. I’d like Alton to take over Iron Chef and get rid of “The Chairman.” We made the brownies, and they were so rich we had to freeze them to have later cuz you can only eat one per week. Another favorite but I don’t get to see him often is Chuck Hughes. One show I’ve tried to watch but can’t get past the nonsense is Bitchin’ Kitchen. oh well.

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