Watched the PBS Series: “The Mind of a Chef” (344/366)

“This show is a chance to explore that mind in all its tangled glory.”
~ Anthony Bourdain, on “The Mind of a Chef”

Tonight, Nick loaded up a show on the DVR that he thought looked interesting – I had never heard of it before – but it was rad!

Mind of a Chef” is a new series on PBS that in one season follows a single chef on various adventures in their cooking, research, culinary interests, and quests. This, the inaugural season, focuses on New York Chef David Chang, chef-founder of renowned Momofuku restaurants.  Here’s a preview for the series:

In the episode we watched, which is simply on “Pork,” we get to see a project Chef Chang is working on: creating Katsuobushi, an age-old Japanese ingredient that is traditionally made with dried, fermented, and smoked bonito or tuna, but in his quest to make it more American (sustainably and otherwise), Chef Chang explores the creation of it using pork instead of fish.

This episode was great because it showed him enlisting help from Harvard students to break down the science of this ancient process and find a way to produce the katsuobushi in a smaller timeframe than the traditional way, while being sure the product would still be of the same high quality. Chef Chang’s “pork bushi” he says “will never go bad” since it’s basically petrified and can be used to make a rich broth and base for cooking – he goes on to say you can create “bushi” from basically any type of protein (and certain vegetables or fungus, like shiitake mushrooms), which opens a whole other world of possibilities with this preparation.

We liked this show so much we also went to and watched the first episode, which was on Ramen. Chef Chang delves into the rich, deep history of Ramen in Japan: it’s regional differences, its preparations, and its importance to Japanese culture. He also talks about his experience with ramen, from back when he was a kid making a snack for himself, through today and his presentations of Ramen at his Momofuku restaurants – along with some alternative recipes for the very versatile ramen noodle.

My one issue with the show is that there are some annoying hipster-ish transitions, animations, and voiceovers (when you start hearing lullaby music and the video gets choppy, beware).  It’s a bit annoying that apparently the producers of the show think its intended audience can’t be interested in a show about food without cheesy (read: “ironic”) graphics and other ridiculousness, but at least in the two episodes we watched, ignoring that stuff wasn’t too bad.

Overall, this show is great. I really enjoyed exploring a food from several different angles, but all from the eyes and in the mind of one chef.

Related Links:
The Mind of a Chef on PBS

2 Responses to “Watched the PBS Series: “The Mind of a Chef” (344/366)”
  1. Ying says:

    Sounds like a great series – I’ll have to watch a few episodes!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] the heat waves cause the flakes to move.  As soon as I heard Katsuobushi, I remembered I had seen David Chang make Katsuobushi on The Mind of a Chef but with pork (can you tell that I love that show?!).  I feel like my worlds just collided just at […]

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