April 4, 2013
Chef John Besh has a new show on PBS that debuts this weekend based on his second cookbook, My Family Table. In John Besh's Family Table, Besh shows viewers how to cook many of the recipes from the book, with a focus on creating meals the whole family can be a part of. It's even filmed in Besh's home kitchen in Louisiana. We spoke with our fellow Epi-logger last week about the show and what's he's been up to lately. Epicurious: Tell us a bit about the new program. John Besh: The whole point of the book and the show is to really reintroduce people to the idea of rolling up their sleeves, cooking, and just celebrating at your family table. These days we're living in a world where we're pulled in so many directions and too often we're getting away from that. And there's also been this kind of creation of food as a spectacle. People are more food conscious than ever before ... we used to have chef shows where chefs cooked, and you could really learn something. There was a lot of smart programming at one point, and now we've really gotten away from that, unless it's a game show or you're standing on one leg cooking with your arm tied behind your back--and I have done that on TV before. We're losing our bearing to a degree where it's just only entertainment. Food is great entertainment. I wanted to create a show, and through American Public Broadcasting, it's really the only venue where the chef really has complete control or artistic control over how to cook and what to cook and why to cook. And through the show, everything from start to finish, whether it's the chopping of the onion to the finished dish as it's plated (obviously family style), the idea is to break down some of the barriers and get rid of some of the mystique that cooking is often cloaked in, as if there's some big secret, and really dispel all of that and show people: this is how easy it is, and this is how I do it, especially in terms of home cooking. I've never really been that home cook, I was always the professional cook, and as my family grew up--the four boys, we're now looking at colleges and everything else--I've had to mature, and I've had to really learn how to cook at home. And so this is really all a story about that and what I've learned along the way. So I'll still take my professional kitchen logic and apply it to the home cook and the way that we do it at my house. We don't start thinking about food for dinner 30 minutes before we need to eat, or right as we're hungry. You really have to plan these things out and really kind of structure what you do and when you do it in order to get the most out of your home kitchen. And...
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