Friday, February 29
Food Network will test out this concept once again with a new face to American television, when the daytime series Rescue Chef with Danny Boome premieres on Saturday, March 1 at 12pm e/p.
... not that daytime on the Food Network really needs any "rescuing." With reports of slightly sluggish ratings over the past year, a new hit wouldn't hurt, though.
I've already gone over the concept of the show (Danny shows up to "rescue" someone before they make another kitchen nightmare), so I'll get right to specifics.
The "dynamic young chef" Danny Boome definitely fits in with the Food Network's lineup of charismatic, attractive hosts. It's hard to not make the Jamie Oliver comparison. Both are cute Brits who seem to know a lot about cooking, and have even cuter pronunciations for common ingredients. Shallots are "shuh-lots." He's sure to delight legions of viewers.
Since the show airs during the daytime "in the kitchen" lineup, Danny gets right to cooking. In the premiere episode, he teaches Carla, a schoolteacher, how to make the short ribs that were served at her wedding. He also whips up a side dish and dessert.
And in a refreshing turn for the FN, he's not afraid to use big words. In the first episode, I counted three french cooking terms. Not bad for a Brit! My onion, carrots and celery are mirepoix from now on.
The show itself is bright, colorful and cheery to watch. Danny is energetic without being pretentious.
One of the only real problems I had with the show was that I sometimes felt like a third wheel. Danny spends a great deal of time talking directly to his "student" and will often avoid direct communication with the camera. When he does speak to camera, he seems to throw out a pointless, space-filler phrase like "always pre-heat your oven."
Rescue Chef goes against the concept of the "traditional" cooking show in which the host gives his or her full time and attention to the viewer. On this show, Danny's intention is, after all, to teach his guest how to cook. In turn, the viewer is sometimes left unsure of his role. Am I here to be entertained? To learn how to cook? To ogle a new British chef?
That's not to say a balance can't be achieved. Danny apparently has the chops and resume to back up a great show. Let's just hope such experience (pulled directly from his bio) as a "freelance chef working for the Estate of the Sultan of Oman in Paris along with many other high-profile executives in both England and Europe" aren't just Irvine-esque fibs. He'd need more than a knowledge of cooking terms to be rescued from that.
Watch tomorrow and let me know how you feel about the show.