Edward Lee_01

Did you miss local talent on TV cooking shows? Set your DVR and catch the re-runs

It’s always a hoot to see people you know on TV. (Why that is is one of the mysteries of the Modern World, in my estimation.) Anyway, Edward Lee begins his co-host duties this week, along with much-ballyhoed Magnus Nilsson, for the third season of PBS’s “The Mind of a Chef.”  Produced by Anthony Bourdain, the not-your-usual cooking show blends cooking, travel, history, art and science, with each episode delving below the surface to understand the inspirations behind food traditions and trends.

The new season has started, and can be seen locally on these PBS stations at these times: KET2 Mondays 1:30 pm; KETKY Tuesdays 5 am; KET Fridays  at midnight and KETKY Saturdays  at 10:30 am.  The next time to catch the first episode, which has Lee back in NYC talking about his early food influences, is Friday, Sept. 12 on KET.

Several episodes will have a local Louisville and Kentucky focus. The episode on which Lee will examine how the move to Louisville has inspired and shaped his cooking will first air Monday, Sept. 29 at 1:30 p.m. on KET2 and Thursday, Oct. 2 at midnight on KET.

For those who like a little more goofy sexiness with their food ogling on the tube, the Cooking Channel’s “Bite This with Nadia G” will air the Louisville episodes, wherein she visited Milkwood, Harvest and Eiderdown and had some fun learning about the Louisville restaurant scene. Her Louisville visit can be seen Friday, September 12, at 9 a.m., and will be repeated Oct. 24, at 6 p.m.

We were able to chat with Nadia ourselves recently over the phone. In that conversation it turned out that the sassy Canadian, now relocated to L.A., had never been in Louisville before, but was happy to have the chance to visit.  “I’m a big fan of bourbon, I figured that if the drink was that good, the food must be too,” she wisely said.

And at the three Louisville places she visited, she found good food and some fun ways to show what the chefs were doing. “We try to showcase what’s local,” she said. “I always try to pick restaurants that do farm to table. The restaurants I chose in Louisville were prime examples of restaurant where the chefs really care about where their food comes from. We try to pick dishes that showcase what the restaurants are trying to show.

“With Eiderdown, it’s a fusion of European cuisine and Southern cuisine.  I thought the special he did [spaetzle] with local ingredients was great example of that.  Ditto for Milkwood some great Southern/Asian fusion going on.The Asian-inspired black bbq sauce was very interesting. With Harvest did traditional burgoo with not so traditional ingredients. That was incredible.”

The thing that struck Nadia most was that the “farm-to-table” concept is, in her experience, mostly a concept, but in Louisville she saw that it was an actuality. “What struck me was how close the relationship was between the chefs and the farmers. In Kentucky it [the farm-to-table idea] is a way of life. And that is what struck me the most.

Some of best food I had on the show.  To this day the burgoo that I had at Harvest was the best version of a stew I have ever had, period.”

One of the first comment she made in our conversation was that she is a Bourbon fan, but she had to admit that the early call times for filming the show did now allow her to try more local Bourbons.  She did reveal that that “One of my favorite Bourbons and one that I always buy, is Four Roses. I am a big fan of Four Roses, I think it is spectacular for the price point.  One thing I did learn If you don’t put any water in the Bourbon, it has drier flavor.  If you add one drop of water, the sweetness of the Bourbon will reveal itself.  If you had three drops of water it will become sweeter still–the water content in the bourbon makes for whether it tastes sweeter or dried, which I never knew.”

So, lingering memories of burgoo and a Bourbon factoid to enthrall at West Coast parties is something Nadia will take with her from her visit here, which you can see this week, Friday, September 12, at 9 a.m., and also on Oct. 24, at 6 p.m., on the Cooking Channel.

–Ron Mikulak