My daughter is a foodie. She’s only 14 but she loves to watch cooking shows. Two of her favorites are:
Chopped where “four chefs compete before a panel of expert judges and turn baskets of mystery ingredients into an extraordinary three-course meal. Course by course, the chefs will be ‘chopped’ from the competition until only one winner remains. They have seconds to plan, and 30 minutes to cook an amazing course with the basket of mystery ingredients given to them moments before the clock starts ticking.”
Cutthroat Kitchen, which “hands four chefs each $25,000 and the opportunity to spend that money on helping themselves or sabotaging their competitors. Ingredients will be thieved, utensils destroyed and valuable time on the clock lost when the chefs compete to cook delicious dishes while also having to out-plot the competition. Nothing is out of bounds when money changes hands and we see just how far chefs will go to ensure they have the winning dish.”
My favorite is Jersey’s own Cake Boss about a big, loving, Italian family that, along with a dedicated staff, creates amazing edible works of art. Fourth generation owner, Buddy Valastro, has carried on the family’s tradition of excellence and expanded Carlo’s Bakery from its flagship store in Hoboken to a state-of-the-art production facility and satellite stores throughout the Garden State. Watching the show, it’s clear that Buddy cares deeply about the people he employs, the products he sells and his customers. He strives for excellence, trains and treats all his staff like family and makes the necessary investments to ensure they have the best ingredients and equipment with which to work their culinary magic.
When I attended Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka’s education policy press conference on Presidents Day, visions of these three shows danced in my head. You see, the good, the bad and the ugly of teaching and education ‘reform’ are found in all three.