As we get ready to launch the Biltong for Breakfast cooking show I thought I would say a bit about why we are doing it in the first place. On one level it is because David and I get together to cook awesome food a few times a month anyway, so it is just something we should do because it is kind of easy to do so. We also tend to drink at least one more martini than we should from time to time, then we come up with something awesome and can’t remember what we did, with video we will be able to go back and replicate our own efforts. The big reason though? We want a cooking show that doesn’t suck.
Now look I am not saying all cooking shows (online or on TV) suck, some are pretty good. But they don’t seem to be making any new ones any more that don’t suck. Everything is now a competition and I am sorry but a lot of it is fake. Take for instance I watched a competitive show yesterday, the competitors had 20 minutes to cook ribs, which alone is stupid, you just don’t do that to ribs. The solution though was to boil them, which is about one of the fastest ways to do ribs if you have to.
Problem? Well, I watch this guy fill a pot with water to do this boil with enough water that you could scarcely get it to a full boil in 20 minutes let alone have the time to cook them. And all these shows have countless examples of things like that. Sure a pressure cooker cooks faster but how long does it take to build up pressure and start for instance? We are also supposed to believe they had no idea what they are cooking and have free reign but everything they need is right there and the competitors almost always do almost the same thing time and time again. So what’s going on?
The entire thing is scripted! Now the competition is real and you do learn some things but the only way to boil ribs in 20 minutes is to know in advance your gonna do it and have that water preheated. They do complete the task in 20 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 etc, but a lot was pre-planned and done in advance. Hence if you try to replicate what they show you, you can’t. Not because they are super bad asses, simply because what is presented is not what it going on from a time and methods stand point. It is just yet another version of what I call, “non reality TV”.
Here is why they do this. These shows all have “Chefs” with restaurants cooking on TV and these people have an image to uphold. But you are not going to cook like a restaurant chef at home and neither is any chef at home or by themselves. These restaurants have large kitchen staffs, with a sous chef and many supporting cooks. One cook for instance may show up hours before the doors open and do nothing but pre chop items and make stock. Another may spend hours making sauces, etc. A well run kitchen in a restaurant is like a food factory, it why they can give you such an amazing plate of food 25 minutes after you order it. All while serving the other three people at your table completely different amazing meals and all are served perfectly prepared at the same time.
This is why old cooking shows were better and most new ones suck. Due to a desire to promote an image, they have lost authenticity and therefore usefulness. When I watch a show I want to come away with one new recipe or technique or ingredient I can use at a minimum. If I get ONE of those it was worth my time, if I get two or three I am very happy. I also want to be entertained! One guy I really like is Guy Fieri and I love his show where he cooks in his outdoor kitchen with friends. They make fun of each other, talk about things they have done and seen, etc. He also explains what they are doing and why and when he uses specialty equipment (like his 10,000 dollar commercial wood fired oven) he tells you how to use your oven or gill as a substitute because he knows you likely don’t have what he does in your backyard.
Well over the last year as we have put ourselves into meat coma after meat coma while mocking each other David and I realized that it was authentic and real and we were always coming up with something new and different. By doing the show online vs. pitching it to a network we can keep it that way. If eventually 100,000 people subscribe, great if only 1,000 do, so what, it will be fun and a real show, by real people, about real food, you can make at home exactly like we make it on the show.
And we commit to authenticity, if I burn something we will be like, oh fuck that sucked, here is why that happened. I’m not gonna hide it, pretend it didn’t happen or edit it out. If we take a risk and the food we make tastes like ass, we are not going to pretend it was good, we will say this sucks, don’t make this. Sure will we edit down 2 hours of cooking into a 30 minute or less show but we are not going to attempt to bullshit you into thinking we made a meal that takes 2 hours in 30 minutes time. How the hell does that help you?
In the end I will sum it up this way, we are not Chefs and we don’t wish to be. Chefs work in restaurants, wear fancy jackets and have teams of people to help them. The truth is executive chefs seldom even cook in their own restaurants, how could they when they often have 8 locations? No what we are is Gourmet Cooks. We use many of the same techniques but we know our 1,200 dollar stove or 600 dollar grill can’t possibly produce the heat of a 20,000 dollar piece of equipment in a restaurant. So we adjust to reality, in other words you will be able to replicate what we do in your own home.
So it will likely still be 2-3 weeks before we release episode one, but you can subscribe now and follow us on this fun and crazy journey.