A dozen years ago, I published a controversial heady exposé about new cat food flavors. The food journalism world is still recovering. My most recent chef interview/recipe piece (grilled cheese pizza) dropped way back when COVID-19 was still called coronavirus. We’re long past due for another food category article.
So when colleague/pal Caroline Barry recently landed a gig at America’s Test Kitchen, I immediately thought of me. And how she could help me on my quest to become a cooking show magnate. Accordingly, I’ve been pitching her ideas for new cooking shows. Here are the top seven cooking show concepts. Enjoy.
Noodlin’ Around is an instant-ramen-focused cooking show featuring a hip jazz musician as the too-cool fish-out-of-water guest host.
What can up-and-coming chefs concoct with instant ramen and a near-random assortment of foodstuffs from the show’s odd larder? Tune in to find out!
The show’s dope-ass hard bop/fusion theme (to be cowritten by me, Kamasi Washington, and Esperanza Spalding) serves as a music bed over which the guest will ‘noodle around‘ at the end of each episode.
I envision Gigi Hadid and Joe Pera as co-hosts, but I’m willing to negotiate.
Cereal Thriller – the ‘killer app’ of food TV, is a show demonstrating tasty things burgeoning chefs can create with cereal.
From corn flake souffle to Grape Nut gnocchi, cereal’s all grown up and ready for /fancy/ dinner! Spicy sriracha Froot Loops tacos with Booberry salsa, anyone? Anybody? Hello? Bueller?
Cereal: Breakfast is so 2 weeks ago.
Breaking the bowl: Cereal stays up late.
To host this one, I’m pitching a little-known rapper from the mid-90s known as K-Mart, best remembered (by me) for his song, “Cereal.” (Sadly, I can’t find a link to the song.)
“Is it food?”
Asking (and answering) the important question, “Is it food?” is a pragmatic cooking show featuring an overly serious chef extolling the caloric and culinary virtues of items usually perceived to be non-food.
Episode 1: Leather from the Aether – Band together to celebrate this all-weather, durable snack’food’
Carte du jour:
Boot Leather Cracklin’ Rinds
Aged Camembert Kicks Lasagna (it’s not the cheese that’s aged, it’s the vintage Vuittons and Choos acting as both ‘noodle’ and ‘sausage’ that bring this dish to life)
a unique dessert salad aka VroomVroom Pudding made from shaved car seats and a puree of seasonal berries.
F-Art – It’s food-art!
Each episode of this unfortunate-sounding portmanteaued show (F-Art!) pairs an up-and-coming chef with a new-to-the-scene hipster artist. Blindfolded, they choose a theme from the Amazon Fresh® Food Bucket and the Panera Bread® Art Pouch. (corporate sponsorships pending)
Their plated F-Artpieces are judged by a panel of drunk leprechauns on criteria including:
- Aesthetic gestalt vis-a-vis the artist’s previous body of work juxtaposed with the cultural liability engendered by the featured ingredient’s history, and
In lieu of cash, the grand prize is “exposure” and the chance of paid work in the future. I reserve the rights to NFT versions of all F-Artpieces. Nonnegotiable.
It’s not like lasering food is bleeding edge; dudes with lasers and food have dared to mix the lime with the coconut-laser since at least 2007. But with laser engravers finally reaching affordable consumer appliance status, it’s time to bring the humble laser into its kitchen limelight.
Half showcase, half contest, a top laser-engraving influencer guests on each episode, and like, cooks a hot dog, or something. Then, amateur laser-chef contestants compete to win a ridiculously high-powered laser suitable for the counter in the kitchen or the bench in the workshop. Dual-duty, bro.
The usual foodstuff criteria here, with obvs emphasis on laser etching panache.
Could Engraved Edibles have an ‘edibles’ angle, too? Lasers and weed.? CBD FTW?
Regardless, a huge branding opportunity. Company logo’d rack of lamb? Fortune printed ON the cookie?!? …I’m blowing my mind here. We’re gonna be rich.
The show that shows you how to save time by cleaning what you cook /with/ what you cook.
Got some extra rose petal and nasturtium garnish on that rouladen? Render it all together into an enviro-friendly homebrew kitchen cleanser, and voila, you’re cleaning up those gravy splashes with ease and self-righteous glee.
Lavender-honey faux-chicken leftovers? Add a little sodium laurel sulfate, and poof, it’s shampoo!
Controversial cilantro tastes like soap to some unfortunate people, so it could be an edgy guest ingredient on the show. Sure. Why not?
Pitching this one is rough; flowery food mostly disgusts me. It’s too close to home. “Chefs” regularly infuse floral fodder into otherwise perfectly fine food. When served a lavender-whatever, I politely decline. Well, that’s half true; I at least decline. Sometimes it’s hard to hide the disgust. But clearly, there’s a market for food that tastes like perfume or cleaning products.
Clean Cooking could have a side hustle of perfumes that smell like food. Call it a crossover? Moving on…
Extruded Food – 3D Printed Meals
Yuuuup. Some poor schmuck chefs who think this is the path to stardom – or at least to the next rent check – print ‘food,’ and then some smug pricks judge them.
Can you tell my creative energy is ebbing? Take a peek at my roundup of TMNT knockoffs for another example of my waning shits-to-give while writing an even longer goofball piece. …Eventually, I start phoning it in.
Let’s step up the energy a little here by instead leaning on a comedian to host Extruded Food. Has John Mulaney been canceled? If not, I vote for John. Bill Burr would do in a pinch. But if I had my druthers, we’d dig up Norm Macdonald’s corpse to torment the geeks with the food printers.
That’s good food TV.
Which is your favorite new cooking show?
Tough pick, I know. They’re all so good.
Once the suits cut my check for any of these cooking shows, I’ll deliver the 10-episode outline for season 1.
I assume they’ll order more episodes for season 2, so I’ve got 15 in the can there, too. That’s right, 25 shows for each pitch.
Call my agent.
Dan Dreifort likes food. He’s 100% guilty of name-dropping celebs he’d never heard of before googling for things like “hip contemporary jazz artists.” Check out the only hipster chef he knows: My Sweet Greek. …I’ll ask if she wants to guest on any of my new shows.