Bobby Flay on the next generation of cooking heroes


When I was in grammar school, my afterschool TV watching consisted of two superheroes: Julia Child, and the “Galloping Gourmet,” Graham Kerr.

Julia would bring classic French dishes like Coq au vin and Cassoulet to life, while Mr. Kerr was the ultimate in fancy 1970s bachelor cuisine, and would end every show plucking a lovely lady from his live audience to sit and have dinner with. Two different approaches, but they both helped shape the dinner tables of America for decades.
 
Julia and Graham had a pretty uninterrupted run as the King and Queen of cuisine as we knew it. Yes, there were other entrants here and there, but no one really made a dent, until the early ’90s, when someone had an idea to launch an entire network based on cooking. When the Food Network launched, it did so with a bunch of not-so-media-savvy cooks and chefs (me included), and it created some very awkward TV moments. Luckily the executives in charge gave us all time to find our way to hone our skills.

I’ll be honest, I cannot watch an old clip of our early days. But as a gift to the loyal “Sunday Morning” viewers, here you go:

bobby-flay-tries-to-work-a-food-processor.jpg
Bobby Flay trying to operate a food processor. 

Food Network


Ultimately, the network found its groove, and very quickly became the go-to place for everything cooking. Personally, I credit Food Network for changing the landscape of how we look at food in this country across the board. Emeril led the charge of the network, and became a household name. Finally, after decades of airtime, Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet had some company influencing cooks at home.

Every successful venture breeds competition, and creative minds stir up alternatives to the norm. My 25-year-old daughter Sophie and I have a podcast called “Always Hungry,” where we talk about our lives as it pertains to food and lifestyle. Now just to be clear, Sophie did not follow her dad into the professional kitchen. She’s a successful broadcast journalist in Los Angeles, and her cooking skills … well, let’s just say they’re definitely not her strongest suit.
 
During a recent episode Sophie was talking about how she and a lot of her generation are getting their ideas to cook at home. I will say I was a little dumbfounded that she wasn’t just tapping into her Dad’s cookbooks or googling a video or two of mine. Nope, she had another resource.
 
Enter TikTok.

I will admit, like a lot of people I do go down the TikTok rabbit hole sometimes, but never really thought about it for cooking ideas. I’m still trying to figure out how @j4ckson7 does what he does:

I started to take notice when the now-famous pasta dish with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese broke the internet with the force of a Kardashian. So, when Sophie wanted a Penne alle Vodka recipe, she went right to her source: Jeremy Scheck, better known by his two million followers as @scheckeats. Not only does his food look good, this current student at Cornell University knows what he’s talking about, and It all happens in less than 90 seconds.

The game is changing and it’s making every generation better at our stoves. Today, TikTok is the trend, and who knows what’s next? 

Thankfully, technology allows us to recall the things that make us feel best. So, from my kitchen to yours, there’s only one thing left to say: Take it away, Julia …

“Bon Appetit!”

      
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Story produced by John D’Amelio. Editor: Mike Levine.



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