Yesterday, I caught the first episode of ABC’s new daytime cooking/talk show, “The Chew,” so I could give you a rundown of this new semi-controversial show.
I say semi-controversial because “The Chew” is replacing the much-beloved soap opera “All My Children,” which ended last Friday with a cliffhanger. (It’s supposed to be reincarnated later this year in an online format by online distribution company Prospect Park.) Fans of the soap opera are in an uproar and many plan to boycott ABC for replacing an institution with another talk show.
Here are the basics of “The Chew.” It’s a one-hour talk show that is centered around cooking and co-hosted by “Top Chef’s” Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly from “What Not to Wear,” Iron Chef Michael Symon, “Dorm Room Diet” author Daphne Oz, and Chef Mario Batali. Most of the segments were about cooking.
What’s good about 'The Chew'
1. It’s produced by Gordon Elliot. I’ve been a fan of his for a while. I used to love to watch “Door Knock Dinners” and then go look in my fridge and try to figure out if I actually had food that would be worth him making a meal out of.
2. They’re very realistic about how much money and time people have to cook. The first meal made on the show by Michael Symon was one that cost $4 per person. He’s going to have a segment later on in the week making a dish that has 5 ingredients, costs $5 per person and takes 5 minutes to put together.
3. I would eat almost everything they made on today’s show with the exception of Clinton Kelly’s BLT appetizer (bacon, a bunch of mayo, and a cherry tomato on top of a floppy Romaine wedge). It looked like it was just made to fall all over someone’s blouse at a cocktail party. All of the foods were made with fresh ingredients, not from already prepared or packaged foods.
4. At one point, Symon said, “Just to get around the table with your family is the most important thing of all.” A reference to the importance of family dinner on the first show is big plus.
5. I found all of the co-hosts likeable. I've always liked Kelly and Batali, and while I'm not familiar with the other three, I found them entertaining.
What needs to be improved on 'The Chew'
1. The pace needs to slow down. I know it was the first day and perhaps the first few segments ran longer than expected, but the fast pace of the middle of the show was unreal. One segment about the micro plane being such a great kitchen tool was presented so quickly that it was pointless.
2. Another point about the pace: People who are not comfortable with cooking are not going to be inspired by how quickly the food is thrown together on this show. It might actually frighten them.
3. The hosts need to tone down their lively conversations. There was too much talking over top of each other and it got a bit loud at times.
4. Daphne Oz needs to get out of her father’s shadow — and fast. She was doing her first segment and her father, talk show host Dr. Oz, came out and rolled right over her. She was adding unconventional ingredients like the insides of an Ester-C tablet to a smoothie, but her father wouldn’t shut up and let her explain what she was doing. I don’t know if the point of Dr. Oz being there was to make sure everyone knew she was his daughter, but it made him look like a spotlight hog and Daphne look less like she had a right to be hosting a show based on her own merits. The fact that it looks as if she’ll be doing a regular segment called “Things my Dad Taught Me” isn’t going to help.
5. Batali showed up at the end of the show from a remote location — a golf course where he had a pizza oven just waiting for him to show off his pizza-making skills. After such a fast-paced show, the time delay between the other hosts asking Mario questions and his answering was awkward. It didn’t work well.
I’m willing to give “The Chew” time to work out its pacing kinks. I don’t regularly watch television at that time, so it’s not as if I’d be watching every day. But, if I’ve got laundry to fold, it looks as if it can turn into something promising to pass the time. Check out the video snippet below.