Ruth Reichl is the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, joining the publication after six years as the New York Times food critic. Ruth has authored three best-selling memoirs, hosted three acclaimed Food Network specials, and has been honored with four James Beard Awards.
Anatomy of a Meal with Jose Andres
What goes into the making of a meal? Through the eyes of one of the world's top chefs-Jose Andres-we will deconstruct a meal from start to finish, looking at the philosophies, ingredients, and methods that take a dish from initial conception to savory last bites. We'll also visit Andres' native city of Barcelona to explore the elements of Spanish culture that have shaped his culinary outlook, then head to his popular Washington, D.C. restaurant, Cafe Atlantico, to see how they translate into everyday cuisine.
Italy - Home Cooking
Italy has always been considered one of the world's top food destinations, famous for the incredibly vibrant, inviting cuisine that is enormously significant within the country's culture. This reputation, upheld by generation after generation, is fueling a popular new trend where visitors can experience the hospitality and tastes of Italy first hand by dining with locals in private residences. From the urban, fast-paced sprawl of Rome to the sleepy, picturesque villages of the countryside, see how hungry travelers are treated to the authentic, delicious, and fulfilling tastes of traditional Italian homes.
Water-an essential element of life that has influenced cuisines around the world. From the oyster-rich shores of Seattle's Puget Sound to a specialty shop serving hundreds of imported mineral waters in Rome's railway station, see how this versatile ingredient has evolved into so much more than a thirst quencher. Dive in and discover how chefs think about the use of water, and the ways in which it sustains, enhances, and sometimes even transforms their recipes.
The Hungry Luddite
No doubt, technology has altered the world of food, making ingredients easier to produce and faster to distribute globally. But at what cost? Fortunately, there are artisans who are working to preserve the traditional methods of cooking that have shaped the world's culinary history. From a visit with a Japanese knife maker to a trip to a market run by a passionate Parisian gardener, we'll see how ancient cooking techniques are being revived and sustained.
The Green Kitchen
"Green" is in. This timely episode will explore ways that food and cooking impact our environment and vice-versa. We'll visit Cabbage Hill farms in New York, where we'll learn about a system of sustainable bio-interdependance that may be a model for the coming green age, then head to the nearby Flying Pig restaurant in Westchester whose mission is to showcase the products of regional and local farmers. We'll also travel to Spain, where we'll meet a couple who explain their "eco-gastronomic" philosophy while showing us their organic garden and restaurant. Join us as we meet people across the globe who dare to make a difference with their culinary behaviors.
Brazil - When Foods Collide
Extending well beyond east meets west, there is "Fusion," the art of intermingling two distinct cultural cuisines into one imaginative and singular palette. Join us as we travel to Brazil, an exotic global hotspot where the jungle collides with civilization, to see how foreign chefs settle and blend their own cultural traditions with newfound indigenous recipes. From pizza to sushi, see how just about every type of cuisine can be reinvented and enhanced with Brazilian flavor.
Dessert: The most anticipated course and the perfect ending to any meal. From Barcelona's legendary all dessert restaurant, Espai Sucre, to a visit with edgy New York pastry chef Sam Mason, this delicious episode features tasty stories about unusual desserts and the culinary wizards who create them. Join us as we take a look at some of the world's culinary masters of confection in action, and find out why desserts are more than just after-dinner treats.
Living Off The Land
From organic foods to exotic fruits, we'll uncover stories about chefs and laymen alike who use only the freshest, purest natural ingredients to create delicious and unusual recipes. Crisscrossing the globe, we'll find out how a couple in Maine have been changing the face of American farming with their cutting edge cold weather harvesting techniques, head to Lima, Peru where we'll catch fish in the Amazon, and explore the incredible offerings of a garden in western France. Join us as we learn how local products and traditions influence cuisine around the world.
Australia - Slow Food
Many Australian chefs have been gravitating towards the "slow food" approach to cuisine, taking the time to fully appreciate the skill of cooking. This movement is becoming highly regarded among chefs not only "Down Under," but also across the world, who are passionate about protecting and promoting the use of local ingredients and culinary traditions. Exercising the key principles of time and patience, these Aussie foodies show us how to create a "slow food" feast, while revealing a deeper message: slow down, appreciate our natural resources, and enjoy them whole-heartedly.
Science of Deliciousness
Did your mother ever say don't play with your food? Well, meet some innovative chefs who didn't listen ... in this episode, we look at how some of the world's top culinary experts are using molecular gastronomy-the application of scientific principles to food preparation-to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in the kitchen. We'll meet a London-based chef whose approach to cooking borders on alchemy and a New York chemist-turned-bar man who shakes and stirs us with his gift for mixing chemistry and cocktails. From Peruvian scientists researching a drought-resistant potato, to making bacon and egg ice cream in your own kitchen, join us as we see how the combination of science and food is revolutionizing the culinary world.
Zen and the Art of Cooking
What is the true path to culinary enlightenment? In this episode, we'll look at how some chefs find their Zen by achieving inner harmony from cooking. We'll visit a famed London chef who challenges mainstream beliefs with his conviction that one should honor an animal by eating it in its entirety-from nose to tail. Then, we'll meet one of the world's foremost experts in Washoku-an age-old Japanese culinary philosophy that captures the harmonious balance of colors, flavors, cooking methods, and the five senses. From a California cheese maker who finds serenity in her craft, to a new york chocolatier who practices meditation through the creation of culinary art, join us as we learn how chefs find inner peace through their relationship with food.
Salt & Pepper
Salt and pepper: the most important mineral to man and our diet, and the most widely used spice. In this episode, we'll take an up close look at food's most renowned duo, lauded for being the very best in turning the raw to the palatable. We'll travel to england where a local chef heads to the sea for a pinch of salt, then discover why fiery sichuan, one of the most highly prized of all asian peppers, is only recently making its way into American cuisine. We'll also visit a New York chocolatier who adds a peppery kick to her sweets, and a new mexican farmer who grows and sells chilies on the same farm his ancestors built four generations ago. Join us as we learn why salt is earning a newfound respect by chefs in the know, and why pepper is not the only way to spice up a palette.
What happens when indigenous ingredients meet passionate food lovers? In this episode, we'll meet a Peruvian chef who transforms local fruits and vegetables into haute cuisine, and then learn about how an aboriginal community keeps their outback traditions alive and thriving. We'll also visit a French-born chef as he forages for seaweed on the Irish coast, then hop over to Seattle, Washington, to dig for Geo duck, a large saltwater clam that can live up to 140 years and weigh up to ten pounds. Join us as we learn how the immediate accessibility of these indigenous foods, whether plant or beast, make for rich traditions and delicious cuisine.
Cheese is the most famous example of foods that rely on the chemistry of mold. But did you know that there are many other products that also rely on this process? These traditions, carefully cultivated through the centuries as a way to preserve food, still exist throughout the world in the form of products such as and Mexican huitlacoche-moldy corn, and botrytis-wine made with rotten grapes. We'll meet the specialized rot experts who turn what would be considered "food gone bad" into creative and exceptionally great cuisine.
Cure De Force
Curing: sometimes it is used to preserve food, and at other times it is used to enhance flavor, but for a team of bold and innovative chefs, this method of aging, salting, and smoking food is used to spectacular culinary effect. We'll visit New York salami king Mark Buzzio as he demonstrates the art of producing fine Italian dry-cured meats and cheeses. Then we're off to Cobh, Ireland to experience the nuanced flavors of Irish smoked salmon and seafood, and to Shanghai for the distinct aromas of Chinese Sichuan-style camphorwood-smoked duck. Lastly, we'll take a look at avant-garde uses of smoking in Spain in the form of desserts such as mushroom ice cream infused with beech wood smoke trapped inside a globe of sugar. Join us as the masters of curing from around the world share their closely guarded secrets.
Raising The Bar
What does it take to turn a run of the mill beverage into an exceptional drink? In this episode we'll see how some foodies turn alcoholic drinks into a singular experience in their own right. We'll sample cocktail artist Scott Beattie's daring signature drink menu at Cyprus Restaurant in Healdsburg, California, learn the process of crafting Peruvian Pisco brandy at the Tres Generaciones distillery, and explore the American micro-brewing movement with New York pioneer Garrett Oliver, creator of Brooklyn Lager. We'll observe these quality crafters across the globe as they elevate wine, beer, and spirits into delectable libations as sophisticated as a fine meal.
Different countries have different standards to determine the safety of foods. Most government health organizations quickly ban foods that pose potential health risks. But there is an entirely separate category of cuisine that falls into the "gray zone," not necessarily dangerous, but banned for a variety of other reasons. Often, with this controversial fare, what ends up being legal in one country is considered contraband in another. From the reemergence of mind-altering Absinthe in France to gourmet uses of the coca leaf, from Ireland's potent Poitin liquor to a luxurious Foie Gras update to the Chicago-style hot dog, come see how some enticing foods are a lightning rod to both the connoisseurs who savor them and those who feel compelled to protest.
Anatomy of a Meal 2 with Lydia Shire
Lydia Shire is a legend in her own time, a true culinary pioneer who featured offal on the menu at the Boston's legendary Locke Ober Restaurant at a time when nobody ate entrails or the internal organs of animals. Now that the rest of the world has caught up, this truly intrepid chef is on a new mission: to counter the no-fat, no-fun fad that encourages eliminating butter, meat, and salt from our diets. Shire believes in the enjoyment of rich, full flavors, and advocates using only the finest quality ingredients from only the best sources. In this episode we will experience Diane St. Clair's rich, creamy Vermont butter; sweet Maine lobsters direct from the Atlantic Ocean; and the freshest cuts of meats from Lobel's Butcher Shop in New York City. Discover the world of this truly passionate chef as we take the rare opportunity to visit Shire at home as she uses these fine products to prepare an intimate Sunday family dinner.
Avant-Garde A La Carte
There's a revolution going on in today's restaurants-Whose side are you on? A new generation of chefs are exploring the bold frontier of molecular gastronomy, an emerging culinary discipline that focuses on the science of cooking. They think about the restaurant experience as a whole, the emotions surrounding the food, and the way it is served. First, we'll learn how Raymond Capaldi's uses liquid nitrogen as an unusual palate cleanser in Australia. Then, we'll visit two Chicago innovators: Homaru Cantu, a culinary wizard who boggles the mind with innovative items such as edible menus and dehydrated pastries; and chef Grant Achatz, whose high-tech creations at four-star restaurant Alinea are served on specially designed sculptural holders with no flatware. Join us as we see how these avant-garde chefs are creating new and exciting foods that are cutting edge, delicious, and above all, entertaining.
Southern India: The Spice of Life
What is the secret of South Indian cooking? Join us as we travel to a region considered "off the beaten path" and uncover South India's spice rack of cultures and cuisines. We'll visit the home of an award-winning author where she savors the enduring recipes and aromatic spices that connect her to family and an ancient past. Next, we'll visit a tiny farming community where local farmers cultivate indigenous ragi grain without the use of pesticides. We'll also travel along the western Malabar coast where a distinguished chef makes a local favorite using the region's abundant seafood and coconuts. Join us as we take a journey across India and experience the spices that define our cuisine. Back in the Gourmet kitchen, we're spicing up dinner with a simple recipe for tandoori chicken.
New Zealand: The Rugged Land
With about 10,000 miles of rugged, unspoiled coastline and relative isolation from the rest of the world, New Zealand is the perfect place for growing fresh, organic fare. We'll travel across New Zealand and meet the faces behind the "purest honey," hand-crafted goat cheese, single vineyard excellence, and farm-raised venison. Join us as we learn how local products and the natural bounty of land influence cuisines around the world. And in the Gourmet kitchen, we're ready for dessert! The taste of fresh honey adds the perfect touch of sweetness to a toffee wafer.
Bread: The Foundation of a Meal
Bread: A simple staple at the center of almost any meal, on every table, across the globe. We'll travel through the bustling streets of Paris to learn the secrets behind the beautifully baked French loaf, and then head to Italy where an Italian baker shares the legend of Tuscan bread. We'll also travel to the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York where we experience a baker who sees bread as a philosophy. From France to Upstate New York, we'll show you the diverse realm of the world's best artisanal bakers. Back in the Gourmet kitchen, we'll get a taste of a legendary recipe for savory Brioche from Richard Bertinet.
Hidden Hong Kong
We'll take you on a tour of Hong Kong's private kitchens, buried storefronts, and other hidden secrets known only by the most devoted foodies of Hong Kong. We'll meet chefs of these hidden hideouts and discover the experimental approaches and fusion of ingredients that make what they do so extraordinary. We'll also visit a family-run factory where soy sauce is made using an ancient method. Join us as we uncover where ancient traditions and new culinary methods live in Hong Kong Hideouts. Back in the Gourmet kitchen, we're spicing up your life with oyster sauce, a cornerstone of Asian flavor.
North Carolina: Bbq and Beyond
We'll show you what southern cooking is all about, and it's not just grits and gravy. We'll travel to North Carolina where we see the old-style tradition of BBQ come alive with legendary pit master, Ed Mitchell. Next, we'll visit an eco-friendly trout farm in the Appalachian Mountains and experience the unique combination of Asian and BBQ cuisine The Lantern, a famous restaurant in Chapel Hill. Join us as we travel across the Tar Heel State and discover the many old and new traditions of BBQ cooking. Back in the gourmet kitchen, we're sharing a recipe that no one can resist: okra fritters.
Bloggers: Confessions of the Food-Obsessed
Experience the world of the food-obsessed as four stars of the blogging world share their opinions on all things edible. From Vietnam to San Francisco, we'll uncover the unseen and untried as these bloggers show us how to go incognito on the outskirts of Hong Kong and gather the sweet goods on the streets of Paris. Join us as we visit bloggers who know that creating a culinary tale is not just about the food, it's about the adventure along the way. Back in the gourmet kitchen, Ruth Reichl shares a blog-worthy recipe for apricot pie.
Baja: The New Provence
We'll travel to Baja, the peninsula south of California in Mexico that is fast becoming an epicenter in the culinary world. We'll meet a chef who uses fresh herbs, vegetables, and seafood for his restaurant Laja that is considered a "destination," not a restaurant. We'll also travel to a wine school in the fertile valley of Guadalupe then visit a French chef who runs a five-diamond resort restaurant in Los Cabos, Mexico. Join us as we show you why this Mexican hotspot is compared to the gastronomic powers in France. And in the gourmet kitchen, we're sharing a savory recipe for mongolian stewed garlic.
Everything you need to know about cows and more! We'll take you to the rugged landscape of the Italian wild west in Southwest Tuscany where semi-wild Maremmane inspire a local specialty, Bollito. Next, we'll travel to Morocco to experience freshly made Beldi butter, and we'll also experience chocolate milk from the American heartland. From Italy to Upstate New York, we'll show you how cows influence cuisines around the world. Back in the gourmet kitchen, we're spicing up a basic cut of meat with a flavorful dry rub and homemade BBQ sauce.
Trompe L'oeil: The Art of Culinary Deception
Can a great meal be based on deception? Trompe L'Oeil means "fooling the eye," and some chefs and experts are doing just that. Come along and meet a chef who's been figuring out ways to fool diners for 45 years, feeding them "scrambled eggs" made out of scallops and other, even more fantastic creations. Travel to New York City to visit a cake "studio" where edible foods replace tubes of paints. Back in the gourmet kitchen, we'll show you how to create a "slice of watermelon" that looks exactly like the real thing - with seeds made out of chocolate.
The Open Flame
Come with us as we travel across the globe visiting chefs who are redefining the art of grilling. At a grilling school in Panzano, Italy one of the world's greatest butchers shows us how a perfectly prepared steak begins and ends with the dry heat of an open flame. Next we'll travel to Morocco to experience an ancient method of cooking using the intense heat of the fire in a communal bathhouse. At a 4th of July BBQ in Massachusetts a great chef stays up all night to show off an entire range of grilling traditions and techniques. And in the gourmet kitchen, we're sharing the easiest thing you can grill in your own backyard.
France: The New Guarde
A new generation of culinary talent is ignoring tradition and experimenting with techniques as they reinvent French cuisine. Come along and meet these iconoclastic young masters. One is reinventing the tradition of the French bistro at his restaurant, Le Chateaubriand. We'll take you to the south of France to visit an organic farm where a chef with an extraordinary garden is taking the organic movement into new directions. From farm-to-table dining to a restaurant in a premier art museum, we'll show you why France could be on the verge of another revolution. Back in the gourmet kitchen, we'll see another innovation from French chefs, the Silpat.