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Cookin' in Brooklyn


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#1 SethG

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 04:07 AM

I've stumbled onto Cookin' in Brooklyn on the Discovery Home channel a couple times, including tonight. It's on Tuesdays at 8:00 and 11:00 and Saturdays at 10:00.

The show features chef/owner Alan Harding, whose restaurant empire in Brooklyn will soon approach Jean-George proportions. Harding owns Patois (an early Smith Street pioneer), Schnack, a Mexican joint on Pacific Street called Pacifico, and I see from the Discovery Home website that he also owns a place called the Zombie Hut, which I've never heard of before. He often adds local Brooklyn color to the program, venturing into the Cobble Hill streets to have passers by or local firemen/garage workers taste his food and comment on it.

On the show, he makes down-home food, with the emphasis often on added fat and trashy processed secret ingredients. Tonight's repeat show, for example, featured a meatloaf into which was mixed dried packaged onion soup and ground up tortilla chips, the latter added especially for the dusty dried seasonings on the chips. Then after Harding formed the meat mixture into a log shape, he topped it with ketchup and mustard and then poured on a thick layer of molasses, which he then sprinkled with mustard seeds and bacon. He cooked the log briefly at high temperature until a crust formed. Then it was finished in a low (325 degree) oven. Gotta say, it looked pretty good.

I've never seen reference to the show on food forums, perhaps with good reason. Anybody here have any opinion?
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#2 Behemoth

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 04:32 AM

I catch it every once in a while when channel surfing. They seem to repeat the same three episodes over and over and over:

1) meatloaf
2) chinese mechanics
3) anniversary

He seems like a nice guy, but IMO none of those shows is worth watching more than once. Entertaining the first time, though -- he reminds me a little of my old friends in Philly. And his wife is HOT. :o

Actually Discovery plays better cooking shows than food TV, but seems to fly well under the radar for some reason. Great Chefs of the World and the one with the english lady come to mind. (Priscilla Queen of the Kitchen? That's not quite right...)
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#3 Steve R.

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 01:55 PM

I think that there are more than the 3 that I've caught. Watching them is fun for me, since he visits Bklyn. places that I didnt know exist ie; there's an community produce growing co-op in Red Hook that he went to on one show that I was interested in. The cooking aspect, well... not so much.

At any rate, he owns even more than you list (full or in partnership) and is a major character in the restaurant "scene" in my area of Bklyn (Union St/Smith St/Atlantic Ave/Henry St). He's opened (and closed) many places since he moved to Bklyn. For the historians amongst us, the 1st was NOT Patois, but was Petit Crevette on Atlantic, in partnership with Neil Ganic of La Bouillabaisse. They almost killed each other and the partnership was short-lived, with Alan opening Patois. BTW, Zombie Hut is just a little bar on Smith St that he opened next door to one of his places (Uncle Pho's) that's now gone.

Posters on C'hounds have villified him mercilessly, but I actually think that he's kinda cute and non-dangerous. His places are what they are -- easy to deal with, comfy and with (usually) nice outdoor areas. The food is not sensational, but more than okay at Patois, where we go pretty regularly.

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#4 guajolote

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 02:03 PM

Actually Discovery plays better cooking shows than food TV, but seems to fly well under the radar for some reason. Great Chefs of the World and the one with the english lady come to mind. (Priscilla Queen of the Kitchen? That's not quite right...)

old 'great chefs' episodes are also shown ondemand. i saw one awhile ago with daniel boulud that was filmed just before his restaurant daniel was about to open.

#5 Maison Rustique

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 02:21 PM

I get a kick out of him. And there are definitely more than 3 episodes.
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#6 SethG

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 05:27 PM

He definitely has a very appealing, unpretentious personality. And I've always found Patois to be a servicable bistro with an attractive garden.

There are two seasons of shows; there's a page within the site I linked to above.
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#7 bloviatrix

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 08:36 PM

I've seen the Bastille Day celebration episode and the one where he teaches a class at ICE. He's got a nice manner and struck me as a bit goofy, which is always a plus in my book.
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