Sometimes popular TV food programs are more about travel and adventure thrills than anything you're likely to actually cook in your own kitchen. Just try sourcing Anthony Bourdain's famous still-beating cobra heart around here.
Chef John Besh is taking a different tack. His new TV series Chef John Besh's Family Table is a cooking show that features modern production values but is cut from the same cloth that made shows from Julia Child, Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse successful and influential. Quite simply, it's aimed at showing people how to prepare accessible recipes and inspiring them to do it.
"This is all about encouraging people to cook," Besh said during a recent preview of the series. "We're all so aware of food now, people talk about it all the time, but we actually cook less. So this is something to give people the tools to cook ... at home again."
Chef John Besh's Family Table is a 26-part series produced by local public television station WYES. The show is based on the chef's 2011 cookbook My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking and features recipes intended for family meals. In fact, the entire series was filmed in Besh's kitchen at his home along Bayou Liberty in Slidell.
"It was great," says Besh. "We'd cook right there in my kitchen, the way I love to cook, and then we're done and I could go upstairs to bed. I could wear shorts and clogs and no one would ever know."
From his kitchen, however, the show should have quite a reach. WYES president Allan Pizzato says it will be carried by about 220 public television stations around the country. It also will have a nationwide airing later on the network Create TV.
The show airs locally on WYES on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. and repeats on Sundays at 2 p.m.