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Chef's Story: First Review is Up
Monday, February 12, 2007 | posted by Mike

A long while back, we had a preview of a new food show coming to PBS in the spring. Chef's Story, which will debut in April, is "a 26-part television program modeled after Inside the Actor's Studio" and will include probing questions of today's top chefs in an attempt find out what makes them tick and how they got to be the successes that they are today.

It's been more than six months since that report and word is now starting to trickle in about the show. This is not surprising, considering it will be debuting in about two months.

We thought: We like food and we like Inside the Actor's Studio, so this should be pretty good, right?

Well, J.M. Hirsch has an syndicated review of the show up and it's pretty much like you would expect, Inside plus food minus James Lipton. And he kind of likes it.

Copies of two episodes were circulated to the press (but not, ahem, TVFF...producers can reach me at mike@tvfoodfan.com), one of which features Food Network celebrity Bobby Flay.

Despite my skepticism, I found myself drawn to the program. It was genuinely interesting to hear Flay tell his nothing-to-something tale and discuss his philosophy of food - "If you like bland food, you can't eat at my restaurants."

And because Flay was one of the Food Network's early stars, he offered some humorous stories about the network's somewhat creaky start, including the time he had to shoot 42 half-hour episodes in about a week.

Hirsch does point out one of the issues with host Dorothy Hamilton, which seems to echo similar complaints about thesp-o-phile James Lipton.

Hamilton obviously is well-versed in her subject matter (she also has food writer Peter Kaminsky fielding so-called pre-interviews), and her clout in the food world no doubt helps pull in some of the bigger guests.

But at times she verges on starry-eyed; and there is the occasional urge to shake her and beg her to ask something a bit deeper than which dish Flay regards most fondly.

Again, Chef's Story will premiere in April on PBS, which means that you're on your own trying to figure out when it will be airing in your neck of the woods.



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