Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Food TV Favourites: Michael Smith

Food Channel, why do I love thee? Let me count the chefs...

Episode 1: Michael Smith from
Chef at Home
Of all the chefs on Food TV, I like Michael Smith the best. He's a trained chef, and I can tell he knows his stuff just by the way he explains things. He breaks down everything he does and why into very simple building blocks, and his reasoning makes so much sense that you won't have trouble committing it to memory. For example, take the way he explains braising, which means cooking in a little bit of liquid. He starts always his braises with chopped onions, carrots and celery as base flavourings for the meat, and then builds on that with liquids, aromatics and garnishes that go together naturally - like apple juice, cinnamon and raisins. Or orange juice and rosemary. He also takes time to segue into trips to the grocery store, where he gives tips on how to choose the best ingredients. He really surprised me when he said the most flavourful cuts of meat are the cheaper, less tender cuts. And he gives practical tips about equipment, too. I like the fact that even though he is knife happy and has a whole drawerful of blades, he admits you really only need three: a chef's knife, a paring knife and a bread knife. Very good advice for a frugal gourmet like me!


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