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Cooking up extremes When my first child was a toddler, his favorite show was a cooking show. It featured reruns of a genteel Graham Kerr charmingly slicing, dicing and “nice-ing” his way around his kitchen. My son loved to cuddle up next to me while we watched “the cooking man” together, presumably because my boy was so captivated by a person who did more in a kitchen than sprinkle Cheerios on a highchair tray. Since then, the world of cooking shows has exploded, and I mean that literally. We have an entire network devoted to food and its preparation, and it’s been turned into a prime time battle. Other networks have taken notice and are getting in on the food fight; now our TV shows are like a middleschool cafeteria gone wild. Robin Conte is a writer We might watch Ina Garten calmly create a ganache durand mother of four who ing the sunny daytime hours, but when the sun sets, we’re lives in Dunwoody. She ready for some action. So network producers are finding can be contacted at ways to make even the tamest of subjects… extreme. Simply robinjm@earthlink.net. put, we’ll watch a cupcake if it’s made to look like a tank. Chefs are chopped! Kitchens are cutthroat! Brussels sprouts battle broccoli spears. Bobby Flay is in a boxing ring and cooking contestants are dressed as gladiators. It’s not enough to help someone remake his restaurant—it has to be impossible! Bash a sledgehammer to it, set it on fire, or link it to the mob, and we’ll take notice. And yes, the innocent cupcake — a food that is synonymous with “harmless” — has been turned into a war. I caught an episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” one night. At first, I had no idea what I was watching; I never knew there could be such intensity in a kitchen that didn’t involve three kids who were late to a soccer game. The program features Gordon Ramsay — a blonde, blue-eyed chef with a foreign accent and a foul mouth. He out-cooks and out-cusses everyone. The background music sounds like the score of a 50-year-old WWII movie, and chefs dash around as if they’re performing triage while Ramsay shouts riveting dialogue such as, “Season it! Season it! Quick! Get-the-kale! The bleeping chicken is RAW!” It was strangely compelling, like watching a wrecking ball demolish a building Then a commercial came on so I clicked the remote and found “Mystery Diner,” a program whose purpose is to uncover kitchen criminals. An “investigative team” had placed hidden cameras all over a restaurant, and the restaurant owner and the head investigator were sitting in a private room, watching as employees accepted bribes and pilfered bags of flour. That one I watched for a while, but only because I really wanted to know who was stealing the beer kegs. I clicked over to the Food Network again. “Cutthroat Kitchen” had just started, featuring Alton Brown trying to look sinister. OK, I watched that for a while…but only because I wanted to see if the Italian guy could cook macaroni and cheese in a metal pipe. A commercial came on and I hit the remote again. I clicked past 30 different crime shows that were half over and an airing of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” So I clicked back to the Food Network. It was pretty tame in comparison. And the Italian guy won.

Robin’s Nest Robin Jean Conte

Thank you Atlanta from the original Chin Chin Brookhaven team Celebrating 21 years in Brookhaven!

Chin Chin Chinese Restaurant

WATCH OUR OPEN KITCHEN & EXPERIENCE THE ART OF CHINESE COOKING!! DELIVERY (LIMITED AREA, MIN. $10) / CARRY OUT / CATERING / FULL BAR SERVICE

3887 Peachtree Road, Buckhead/Brookhaven And Other Locations

404-816-2229 | www.ChinChinGA.com

2009 Best Chinese-The Sunday Paper 2001-2002 Best Chinese by Atlanta Jewish Times readers 1998-2012 Best Chinese by Creative Loafing “Mouth-watering Chin Chin spices things up.” –The Atlanta Journal Constitution “Most Memorable Meal” –Where Atlanta Magazine - 21/2 stars–Knife & Fork BH

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Traditional Vietnamese classics with our own modern twist...

Now in Buckhead!

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01-22-2016 Buckhead Reporter