The Mind of a Chef, PBS

By Emmy Lee | Posted on October 19th, 2012

I don’t know how Anthony Bourdain does it. He has innumerable projects on the go including the travel program The Layover, his reality/competition series on ABC with Nigella Lawson called The Taste, his upcoming series on CNN as well as his writing projects and he somehow still manages to produce savvy, well-researched and genuinely enthusiastic programs about food and travel. His latest is The Mind of a Chef, premiering on PBS on November 9th, a series Bourdain executive produces and narrates in his signature straight-shooting and pithy manner. Season one focuses on Momofuku mogul David Chang and just watching the trailer of him eating, cooking, travelling, golfing and eating some more, makes me want to tune in – especially after seeing him bite into some uncooked Sapporo Ichiban noodles – something I used to do as a kid.

Eater has provided a summary of the episodes which I’ve included below:

Squeal Like A Pig: This unique travel/cooking series features Chef and Author David Chang making connections between food and nature, science, music, art, sports, history and just about anything else that he can stir up. In Montreal, David and Comedian Aziz Ansari try Wilensky’s famous fried bologna sandwich. In the kitchen, David makes a “red-eye mayo;” his pastry chef shows how to make a salty sugary late night snack–the corn cookie ham and cheese. Anthony Bourdain narrates.

Noodlin: Author and Chef David Chang visits a noodle factory in Japan; eats the best bowl of ramen in his life; and, cooks two incredible dishes with the instant ramen variety. Food Scientist Harold McGee explains how alkaline salts make ramen noodles unique. Anthony Bourdain narrates.

Spain: In Spain, Author and Chef David Chang explores the streets of San Sebastian with friend and legendary chef Juan Mari Arzak. El Bulli’s Ferran Adria talks about the current state of cuisine. David prepares a salt cod omelet, and in honor of Adria, he cooks a microwave sponge cake. Anthony Bourdain narrates.

Memory Lane: Author and Chef David Chang revisits a ramen shop in Japan, where he ate while apprenticing at a restaurant in Tokyo. He also visits the Callaway Golf factory where, for the first time in the 14 years since he threw his clubs off a cliff, he hits a golf ball. Later, he prepares a cold Korean soup, naeng myung, that his mother prepared for him and his father when they went golfing.

Rotten: David Chang travels to San Sebastian, Spain, to exhibit his experiment in rot: pork butabushi. His pastry chef shows that the best flavor in a banana cream pie comes from rotten bananas. Rene Redzepi cooks a “garbage plate” using potatoes left in the ground months longer than what is considered fresh.

The Sweet Spot: David Chang travels to San Sebastian, Spain, to exhibit his experiment in rot: pork butabushi. His pastry chef shows that the best flavor in a banana cream pie comes from rotten bananas. Rene Redzepi cooks a “garbage plate” using potatoes left in the ground months longer than what is considered fresh.

Simplicity: David Chang visits a sushi master in Tokyo and a yakitori chef who has been grilling chicken for 30 years. In the kitchen, David makes a simple chicken noodle soup.

So You Think You Are A Chef: Wylie Dufresne cooks carrot-coconut sunny-side up egg, Rene Redzepi cooks clam chowder and David Chang cooks a buttermilk apple dashi. This series dares to make connections between food and nature, science, music, art, sports, history, and pretty much anything else a renowned chef can stir up.

Phresh Vs. Phrozen: This program addresses various theories of food preservation. In Japan, David Chang examines a technique of killing fish, called ike jime, that inhibits rigor mortis. In the kitchen, he cooks with space food, while his pastry chef makes a corn cookie using freeze-dried ingredients.

Japan: David Chang travels from Tokyo to Kyoto to meet and eat with friends and to explore the different ingredients and culinary techniques of the eastern world. He visits a street market in Tokyo, a fish auction in Kyoto and finishes the trip at a Michelin three-star restaurant, Kikunoi. In the kitchen, he cooks yakitori–or Japanese grilled chicken.


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