America's Test Kitchen

America's Test Kitchen

Infobox Television
show_name = America's Test Kitchen

caption =
show_name_2 =
genre = Cooking
creator =
director =
creative_director =
presenter = Christopher Kimball
starring =
country = USA
language = English
num_seasons = 8
num_episodes =
list_episodes =
executive_producer =
producer =
supervising_producer =
asst_producer =
co-producer =
editor =
location = Brookline, Massachusetts
cinematography =
camera =
runtime = 27 minutes
network = PBS
picture_format =
audio_format =
first_aired = January 2000
last_aired = Present
related =
website =
imdb_id = 0437700
tv_com_id =

"America's Test Kitchen" is a half-hour cooking show on PBS (reruns airing on Create, formerly PBS YOU) in the United States, also airing in Canada. It is presented without commercial interruptions, but is preceded and followed by mentions of sponsoring companies. The show's host is "Cook's Illustrated" editor-in-chief Christopher Kimball; the show and the magazine are affiliated, and the magazine's test kitchen facility in Brookline, Massachusetts is used as a set for the show.

how format

A typical episode contains two or three recipes joined by a common theme (e.g. "Quick Tuesday Night Pasta Dinners", "Comfort Food Favorites", "Supermarket Steak Recipes", "Making Chinese Take-Out Dishes"). Each recipe segment is opened with Kimball showing off the problems inherent in cooking the recipe (e.g., waterlogged pasta dishes with jarred sauces; tough, leathery supermarket steaks that don't hold up well in skillet recipes) or in ordering out for the dish (e.g., overcooked meat in tasteless soy-laden brown sauce with a few vegetables thrown in for a so-called "steak and peppers" Chinese takeout meal), leading up to Kimball urging everyone to "join (featured chef) in the test kitchen as we make (bad recipe) the right way." During the cooking of the recipe, usually at a fairly mundane step of the recipe (e.g. browning onions; baking item for ___ minutes, letting finished dish cool), other segments are shown, usually consisting of two or more of the following:

* A Tasting Lab segment, where an ingredient or prepared food product is run through a tasting panel and then taste-tested by Kimball;
* An Equipment Corner segment, which gives reviews and rankings of kitchen gadgets;
* A periodic "Science Desk" segment, discussing the science behind a pertinent technique used in the recipe;
* A "Quick Tips" segment, inserted as a 15-30 second mock-bumper, to demonstrate tips and tricks both from "Cooks Illustrated" magazine and viewers' mail.

Up through season 6, the show was taped in standard definition, 4:3 video; season 7 saw the show switch to widescreen 16:9 video. The high definition version of the show is shown as part of PBS HD's master digital schedule, and by some PBS affiliates as part of their normal schedules.


"America's Test Kitchen" features several recurring cast members, although each every cast member does not appear in each episode.cite web | title=Meet the Cast | publisher=Boston Common Press | url= | accessdate=Dec 31 | accessyear=2007]

*Christopher Kimball, the show's host, introduces the recipes presented in each episode, as well as the equipment tested in the Equipment Corner and foods tested in the Tasting Lab. He also converses and works on-screen with the other cast members during the show's various segments and is the primary presenter in the "Quick Tips" segment.
*Bridget Lancaster, Julia Collin-Davison (identified on-screen prior to season 7 as "Julia Collin"), Key Rentschler (season 1 and one episode of season 2 only—by season 2 she had moved to the positions of Culinary Producer and Executive Chef),cite video |people= |date2=2006-10-10 |month2= |year2= |title=America's Test Kitchen: The Full Season 1 |url= |format= |medium=DVD |publisher=Cook's Illustrated |location=Boston, Massachusetts |time= |quote= ] Rebecca "Becky" Hays, and Erika Bruce are the chefs who explain and prepare the recipes in each episode as Kimball watches and comments. Usually only one or two of the chefs will appear in a particular episode. Prior to season 5, Hays and Bruce did not appear on camera at all, though they are prominent recipe testers in "Cooks Illustrated". Beginning in season 5, "Cooks Illustrated" staff chefs Hays, Bruce, Jeremy Sauer, and Matthew Card all appeared in segments answering common viewer mail questions. Hays, Bruce, and Sauer joined the on-camera cast for season 6; Hays moved into credited cast member status beginning in season 7.
*Jack Bishop, appears in most episodes in the Tasting Lab segment. In the Tasting Lab, he describes a tasting panel's opinions on different brands of the food or ingredient in question, as Kimball tastes several of the items blind. After Kimball provides his thoughts on the different varieties, Bishop reveals the brands that Kimball tasted and compares his thoughts to those of the tasting panel. Bishop and Kimball frequently refer to a running joke that Kimball's tastes are often vastly different than the tasting panel's; as an example, in a segment tasting bottled waters, Kimball picked Boston tap water over all the brands of bottled water. Bishop also hosts the Cook's Illustrated podcast [cite web | title=Cook's Illustrated podcast | url= | accessdate=Jan 31 | accessyear=2008]
*Adam Ried also appears in most episodes as the host of the Equipment Corner segment. In this segment, he shows several brands of a piece of kitchen equipment and often asks Kimball to try using several of the items or eat food prepared with different brands. In the end, he identifies the test kitchen's preferred brand and demonstrates its key features; for particularly expensive items, he often identifies a "best buy", an item which was ranked highly but is significantly less expensive than the top brand. Throughout the show's run, items previously tested in other seasons have been retested as technology changes warrant; in season 8, garlic presses were retested due to the failure of the non-stick coating on the previous winning brand after heavy usage, and a new favorite brand was chosen. Occasionally the Equipment Corner segment does not focus on a single piece of equipment; instead, a "buy it/don't buy it" format is used to pick out the best items among newer, trendier kitchen gadgets. One of Ried's favorite "buy it" gadget was a kitchen timer that came with its own lanyard so the cooks could wear it around their necks and not have to be in visual range of the oven timer; Ried revealed, however, that the timer was not normally used for food but rather to stay one step ahead of the local traffic law enforcers by getting signals that it was time to go back out and feed the meter or move the car.
*John "Doc" Willoughby hosted the Science Desk segment in the show's first two seasons, but was gradually phased out during season 3; after his departure to become executive editor of Gourmet Magazine, there was no Science Desk segment for two seasons.
*Jeremy Sauer appears periodically in the Science Desk segment, in which he explains the science behind a particular process key to an episode's featured recipe.
*Odd Todd (Todd Rosenberg) designs animations for the Science Desk segment, illustrating such concepts as flambé, brining, marinating vs. dry spice rubs, and whether plastic or wooden cutting boards are better for overall kitchen hygiene. His segments made their debut in season 5, but were replaced by non-animated segments with Jeremy Sauer in season 6. The animations returned for season 7, interspersed with non-animated science segments done by Kimball and Sauer.


* Geerlings & Wade, a wine distributor (part of season 2)
* Sub-Zero Refrigerator (seasons 1, 2)
* Sur La Table (seasons 1, 2)


External links

* [ America's Test Kitchen official site]

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