Chris Kimball On Preparing Food On The Radio

Thursday, January 6, 2011
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Chris Kimball is best known as the host of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook Country, both watched on WGBH television. Produced locally, America’s Test Kitchen, and its companion magazine Cooks Illustrated, have become one of the most recognized and beloved food brands in public media. On Saturday, Jan 8, Kimball makes his radio debut when America’s Test Kitchen’s weekly radio program premieres 89.7 WGBH, 2-3pm.
In an interview with Callie Crossley on The Callie Crossley Show, Kimball talked about bringing the television show to radio.
“It’s the same concept as the TV show, which is exploring why certain things work and certain things don’t. But we are applying it to a much broader palette.”
What can listeners expect to hear?
“We’ve figured out a way to do food tasting and equipment tests, and that’s about all we took from the TV show. On radio, we’re taking calls. As we’ve been doing this for awhile, we can answer most of the questions people have.”
“We’ve also gone out on the road. We found one guy who describes the olive oil business as being just like the drug business. The profits are about the same, and it’s about as honest.
“We also ask question like, how do you make money in the restaurant business? So we left Boston and traveled to New York, LA, Chicago, San Francisco with an accountant who works in the restaurant business.”
Interview highlights:
On making radio versus television:
“I look better on radio. Everyone has told me that for the past 10 years.”
“On television, it’s really about the food. Ninety percent of the time you are watching somebody make something. You can’t really cook on the radio, so you have to do something else.”
“I didn’t realize how much time 55 minutes was. You have to say something the entire time, otherwise you have dead air.”
On the advantages of talking about food on the radio
“The benefit of radio is that you can get to how cooking works. It’s a real blessing. Radio is the smartest medium because you have time to share all this information on the science of cooking. It’s a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun.”
“I have a co-host Bridget Lancaster, and you get to hear all the funny report with her on the radio, where as on TV it gets cut out. You can now listen to all our arguments.  Cooking is all about having a lot of different opinions.”
On the America’s obsession with cooking
“We go through cycles when people stop cooking. In the 1970s and 80s, people stopped cooking because so many women left home to work. That trend ended around the year 2000, when a lot guys started spending more time in the kitchen.”
“All of a sudden, there is a whole generation of kids out there who love cooking. People typically do the opposite from the last generation.”
On what Chris Kimball cooks at home
“I just made a New England boiled dinner for Christmas. You just take a piece of brisket, you put some salt and spices on it, put it the fridge for five days, simmer it in water for four hours, throw some veggies in for half an hour, and you’re done. “
On food trends
“Cupcakes are in. They’re expensive, but they’re in… thumbs down on pies.”
“I think the next big think will be people getting into gourmet cooking… what we were doing in the 70s when Julia Child came. The whole notion of spending time a lot of time to make something… making stocks and those other things.”
“I’d like people to understand that if you know the principles of cooking, you can go into the kitchen without a recipe and within an hour produce good food at a very low cost. You can quickly cook healthy, cheap food if you understand cooking… but you have to spend to the time to learn it.”

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