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Friday, July 11

Anne Burrell Gets Salty


I think the majority of you are liking Anne Burrell's new show on Food Network, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.

She's got a fun personality, is an expert chef, and really takes her time going through the steps necessary to make a great restaurant-quality meal at home.

But some things bothered a few of you: 1) The Grover-like voice she occasionally takes on, usually when referring to how "brown food tastes good"; 2) Her "hula dance" movements; 3) Her "flailing" arms.

I don't really have a problem with any of those things. I think that's just how she is, and it's nice she's not trying to tone things down or act like she "should" act while hosting a cooking show.

The other thing that horrified a few of you was her salt content. Anne Burrell uses a lot of salt (and no pepper, if you've noticed) for her "aggressively seasoned" food.

Anne told Reuters about her love of NaCl:
"I think people will be surprised with the level of seasonings I use. I'm committed to seasoning my food well and that's what happens in a restaurant. Also there are things like browning food and using high heat. At a restaurant, it's the secret of using flavors. These are the secrets that I'm trying to let people know."

And what's a big mistake we home cooks are making?
"Not tasting your food. It's such a simple thing, but people follow a recipe and they don't taste food as they go. If it doesn't taste good, you can adjust along the way. But you need to taste every step of the way. In the restaurant, we taste all day long, every day."


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Good advice, Anne! Yay... it's Friday!

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35 Comments:

At 7/11/2008 9:02 AM , Anonymous Laura said...

I tried watching her first show, but found it to be painful. Like you said, the voices and hand/body movements. I thought maybe she was just trying way to hard, but apparently that is just her (from what I have read). I'll give it another shot, just to be fair. I was really looking forward to her show, given her back ground.
Hope the cruise is going well.

 
At 7/11/2008 9:03 AM , Anonymous Laura said...

I tried watching her first show, but found it to be painful. Like you said, the voices and hand/body movements. I thought maybe she was just trying way to hard, but apparently that is just her (from what I have read). I'll give it another shot, just to be fair. I was really looking forward to her show, given her back ground.
Hope the cruise is going well.

 
At 7/11/2008 9:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great show, Best new show in along time finally a real chef, who is cooking real food from a resturaunt, and is teaching me the secretes they use to get the flavor, wish she could show a little more plating skills, but it has only been two shows. Love it and her.

 
At 7/11/2008 9:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Grover"? Try "Bellowing Heifer".
I challenge ANYONE to use the amount of salt she did in the first show (3-4 HANDFULS) and be able to eat it. C'mon. Do it. And make a video to prove it.
I'll give the show another chance, but jeez, when are we gonna get a chef with the personality dial
turned to 5 or 6 instead of 10-11!

 
At 7/11/2008 9:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this show and I love this lady !

 
At 7/11/2008 11:40 AM , Blogger Karen said...

I hope people will come back and watch her again. I watched her second show, and a lot of what annoyed people about her first episode had been fixed. No flailing arms, the "grover voice" only came out once or twice, and much less salt! (She seasoned the lamb generously, but it didn't seem that excessive to me.) I still thought she needed to instruct the home cook a little more (she never mentioned how to tell the lamb was done), but overall, 200% improvement over the first episode.

I think she'll be a great addition to the FN, and I hope people don't give up on her yet. I think this shows she can learn and improve.

 
At 7/11/2008 2:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The amount of salt she uses, gives me a stomach ache just from watching it! Yuck!
I'm not a fan of her show, the previous poster is right, it's "painful"!

 
At 7/11/2008 3:03 PM , Anonymous Turtle said...

Love FN, but I am so, so glad their excessive salting is undergoing scrutiny, however briefly. This "salt every layer" technique (Rachael Ray and Mario Batali, I'm looking at you) has run amok.

 
At 7/11/2008 4:34 PM , Blogger Judith Kreindel said...

Lots of FN personalities use far too much salt. I don't care to salt my pasta water (of course, I also don't like it cooked al dente, am I the only one?) and I certainly don't salt every layer. In fact, the big Morton's salt can ran out about 3 months ago and I haven't bothered to replace it. Occassionally I use a teeny pinch of seasoned salt but that teeny pinch is for over a pound of meat. I'd rather use other spices for flavor.

 
At 7/11/2008 6:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope her restaurant is more sanitary than the food on her show. She put raw lamb on a cutting board and then used the same board to cut fennel for garnish. The garnish was never cooked - but it sat in all the raw meat germs. Gross!

 
At 7/11/2008 9:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cook professionally and the amount of salt she uses is absolutely indicative of the amount used to season your average restaurant dish, so consider yourself warned next time you eat out.

I agree about the personality meter - cut the shmaltz, cute phrases, and too high energy. Show us what we need to know and be competent at it. She's obviously a skilled chef, just dial it down!!!

My one ugh moment from the lamb recipe - don't talk about your meat and the word "lube" in the same sentence (i.e., rubbing it with olive oil). It's unappetizing.

Oh and petty comment - it's nice to see someone who is a size that is more representative of our society instead of a tiny little thing with big boobs (I'm talking to you Giada and your stick figure) but put the woman in some flattering clothes. It is possible.

I'll watch a couple more - but it's borrowed time. C'mon Anne - you can do it girl.

 
At 7/11/2008 9:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching Anne Burrell reminds me of watching a young Julia Child more than any other chef before. SO MUCH FUN!!! So entertaining! She borders on the comedic, just like Julia did. Not quite as good as Martin Yang, but up there. The show needs better production values -- better wardrobe, better set -- then I am a viewer for life.

 
At 7/13/2008 1:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like the way she over-acts, the arms the dancing, come on.
She is a female Guy Fieri. I like the premise of the show, but to accomplish what the show intends does not need an over the top person. I was looking forward to this show. I think the FN needs a few more shows for the intermediate to advanced cook. But, I know everyone can't be Ina. Anyone else still miss Sara Moulton?? Calm down Anne.

 
At 7/13/2008 3:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think she's just fine. She's much 'calmer' than the first show. What's wrong with showing some excitement for the food? I love Sara and Ina, also. I get my Sara 'fix' by watching PBS. hint, hint. But I don't want too many shows that are that sedate. Anne is a good in-between personality. As someone previously commented, I also see a bit of Julia Child in this program. Cooking shows should be educational and fun.

I loved her roast chicken show today. If you go to the FN website, to her show and read the recipes, she gives tons of directions which I think is such a plus.

 
At 7/13/2008 4:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Anne knows what she's doing and her recipes look good but she just does not relate well to the camera. She seems awkward and often contradicts her self (Roast chicke episode - "I'm a cream and butter girl," next sentance "I'm not normally a cream and butter girl but..". Regarding the salt content, I was a little shocked at first but if you think about it, most restaurants probably use that much salt. We just don't see it.
Also, what's up with "lubing the butt" of the chicken? I'm suprised that comment made it on air.

 
At 7/13/2008 4:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction "lubing the breast" not butt. Still though...

 
At 7/13/2008 8:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to have a successful Food Network show that satisfies the masses, consider the following:

1) The host must keep his or her arms firmly at his/her sides. Any upward movement beyond what's necessary to prepare the food is considered excessive and *annoying* to the Average Viewer. Be as still as possible so that Average Viewers will find it easier to scrutinize the host/food prep/show.

2) The Average Viewer is very particular about seasoning. Please don't use too much of anything as the Average Viewer's palette is very sensitive to any kind of flavor beyond bland. A dash of oregano or cayenne will send average viewers racing for the antacids, so please keep flavor to a minimum.

3) Food Network hosts must have formal culinary training, although don't expect that to get the Average Viewer to like you because it still really just comes down to personality even though average viewers would *never* admit that. Average Viewers like to appear savvy when criticizing Food Network hosts for their lack of formal culinary training because it makes them sound more skilled and smarter about food preparation. (In fact, next time you have cocktails with friends and ask them what they think of any show on Food Network. Someone will most certainly complain about lack of "real" culinary background.) But even if a skilled chef shows an educational method for preparing a dish, any errant personality traits that deviate from 'normal' will surely cancel out the highly revered culinary background.

4) Hosts, only ever use your 'normal' speaking voice when providing cooking instruction. If it's possible to pin a host's vocalizations on any of the characters from Sesame Street, Average Viewers will first become very annoyed and then completely tune out. Big personalities are a big no-no for Average Viewers as they like their hosts as bland as they like their food.

In summary, the Average Viewer is a fickle beast. It's nearly impossible to please this animal as it only ever wants to appear smarter and more skilled than what it sees on TV. Good luck Food Network hosts!

 
At 7/14/2008 10:40 AM , Blogger Doodle Whore said...

Her voice is no more grating than Rachel Ray's and look how far she's made it. Ok. I'm going to go lube my breast now.

 
At 7/15/2008 8:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is she pregant??????

 
At 7/16/2008 3:02 PM , Anonymous Andrew said...

Anne is awesome.

If you're using fresh ingredients, you can use giant handfuls of salt when you cook and come out *way* ahead, health-wise, than eating processed or "semi-homemade" crap. Take a look at the label next time and you'll see literally hundreds and hundreds of milligrams of salt in all of your processed foods, sauces, etc. Anne's "handful" is probably 50 mg, tops.

 
At 7/16/2008 8:32 PM , Anonymous Pat said...

I haven't seen Anne's show, but re: the salt issue:

1) It could be that she's a smoker. Smokers have a reduced sense of taste and compensate by increasing the seasoning of a dish.

2) I agree with Andrew that the amount of salt used by FN hosts is still far less that what we consume in pre-packaged foods. It's easier to complain about FN hosts because we see them salting their food. But with restaurants and pre-packaged foods, we don't normally complain because we don't see it.

3) Michael Chiarello (oh, where are you Chi Chi?) would repeatedly preach the value of salt: if you want your cooking to taste as good as restaurant food, do what the restaurant does and season your food liberally.

 
At 7/18/2008 10:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

to judith kreindel....yea hon that's why you arent a chef...cause no one would eat your tasteless food!!! get a life and some skills...

 
At 7/20/2008 10:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have thoroughly enjoyed anne burrell in her new show and look forward to watching it every sunday morning. i have already learned many tips from her and appreciate her honesty about how restaurant food IS seasoned. yes, the salt use seems a little excessive, but that is what makes the food taste good. i love her quirky personality. anne burrell is an artist and is sharing her passion for good food with us. her flamboyant ways are her expressing herself and i think it is wonderful that she is who she is, no cover ups. i hope her show does well and continues to air on food network. i think we can learn a lot from her. btw, can't wait to try her bolanese when things cool down around here.

 
At 7/20/2008 11:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is she pregant???

 
At 7/23/2008 2:21 PM , Blogger Alex said...

I love this show and love Anne. She is a real person. I'm not an Ina Garten fan, ok, even though I do appreciate her love for us gay folk. If you compare Anne's and Ina's sincerity rating, Anne would come out way in front.
Alex

 
At 12/28/2008 8:09 PM , Blogger K said...

The food and recipes look good but the salt is overkill, unhealthy no matter what anyone thinks. I have to turn the volume down a lot when she talks, otherwise it sounds like a Grizzly Bear rampaging through a kitchen...ever time she starts talking in her stupid voice I think to myself "she must be single, no guy can stand THAT!"

 
At 5/02/2009 3:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne, I love you and I hate to be a nag, but good lord, you use more salt in one 1/2 hour show than I use in a whole year. Okay, slight exaggeration, but what in the world are you going to use to "season" your food when the doctor tells you that you suddenly have high blood pressure? You are going to have to become a pepper lover like most of us older women who have succomed to the problems of aging. Regardless of the salt addiction, I do love your show. I really like the fact that I can follow someone from one show to another (ICA).

 
At 12/31/2009 10:00 AM , Blogger tlm121660 said...

what a contamination demonstration as she wipes her hand on the front of herself,licks her fingers and double dips the tasting utencils,put a gotee on her you would have Guy Fieri sorry Guy !

 
At 2/27/2010 10:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find her really annoying.. She does have cooking skills but her presentation and body language seem forced.

 
At 5/27/2010 3:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not really married to any one cooking show, but like watching a bit of everything. Alton is a good educator, Bobby is creative and Anne is a good restaurant chef. Though I am appalled at the amount of salt that Ann uses, I'm sure that's the way restaurants roll. It just means I'll cut down on eating out. At least she is not insisting on the fad of using koshering salt. I like to salt my food to the point of perception: enough to bring out the flavor, but never to the extent you'd say the food actually tastes salty. Finally, I don't care much for entertainment value of cooking shows - I cut through the crap, ignore the "presentation" for the most part and concentrate on what they are offering to teach me.

 
At 11/29/2010 1:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Anne Burrell, and all her little quirks and am also glad to see she's a "regular sized" gal. Yeah, her wardrobe is hideous and too tight, but that's a small point. I was, at first, horrified at the amount of salt she was using, but I bought some kosher sea salt and tried cooking the A.B. way. My family could taste the salt, but thought it was good. In fact, I had to start cooking with more salt because my daughter's blood pressure is too low (and the husbands is too high), so I give her's an extra dash at the end.

 
At 2/16/2011 3:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think she cooks great real food ....food taste great with lots of salt so all you haters go watch Giada using low salt chicken stock or Ina ...both of whom seem to live in a fairy tail land where they have hours and hours to cook all day ...a big plus is Anne Burrell has awesome boobs and needs to wear more low cut tops ala Giada,,,just sayin'

 
At 10/25/2011 3:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love Anne. at first i found her annoying / cutesy but after more episodes I started to really like her because she seems real. That's her personality. Also she's kind of sexy. Yes, I do cringe a bit at the Grover voice but so what. She should be herself. Anne is an amazing chef, her food all looks great and on Iron Chef and Chopped she's obviously a pro. Yes, food needs salt; I'm not scared of her seasoning.
But back to her being hot. At first i thought she was loud & had silly hair,overweight, too many catch-phrases... now I find her voluptuous and engaging: hot.
Yes I'm a lesbo & I kinda think she is too, although I don't think she's officially gay.
Anyway whatever- the important thing is that she's a fearless fun food genius and we can learn a lot from her!
The only thing I want to know now is - when *does* she use black pepper? Ever?

 
At 2/03/2012 3:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Anne Burrell. But, there is one thing that I've noticed on Secrets Of A Restaurant Chef that bothers me. Anne double dips while tasting her food. I remember on Worst Cooks, Anne and Beau refused to taste a dish made by a contestant because they tasted and replaced the spoon in the food. I don't blame them for not tasting judging that persons dish but I don't believe they should do they same on a teaching show either. Otherwise...keep up the great work Anne and continue being you!

 
At 3/22/2012 2:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boohoo, she used salt. Anne is awesome and a hotty. That's 2 cents from this guy.

 

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