PBS’ hit cooking/reality series A Chef’s Life has become one of the most beloved series of its kind of television since it made its debut two years ago. In the time since it made its debut, it has gone on to produce three complete seasons. It is also already known that the series’ fourth season is set to debut early in 2016 on PBS. No date for Season Four’s premiere has been set, however. Regardless it can be said that there are plenty of people waiting for that premiere. While said audiences wait with baited breath (and watering mouths—awful pun fully intended) for that announcement, they have plenty to keep them satisfied thanks to the release of the series’ first two seasons earlier this year. Now PBS has given audiences a wonderful third course…er…season (yes, that awful pun was intended, too) in the form of A Chef’s Life: Season Three. The two-disc DVD set was released just last week. And just as with the series’ first two seasons, there is plenty to appreciate about Season Three beginning with the show’s approach. Yet again the approach taken by the show’s heads maintains its sense of humility for lack of better wording. Yet again it avoids the pretense of those other reality shows. This will be discussed at more length shortly. The foods and dishes that are featured throughout the course of Season Three are just as important to this season’s enjoyment as the show’s continued humble, common sense approach. That will be discussed later. Last but hardly least of note in Season Three is its cinematography. As minute as that might seem to some, it is clear and present in the presentation of each of this season’s episodes. Together with the simple dishes, and simple, humble approach taken with the show’s approach, once again A Chef’s Life has shown why it is the only reality series worth watching on television today and one of the only cooking shows worth watching, too. All in all, it is even more proof of why PBS remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.
PBS’ hit reality/cooking series A Chef’s Life just recently wrapped up its third season and plans are already in the works for the show’s fourth season. It has already been confirmed that A Chef’s Life will return for a fourth season early in 2016. No definite date has been set. But fans of the series can rest easy knowing that it will be back. Luckily for fans, PBS and PBS Distribution have given fans a way to pass the time while they wait for the premiere of Season Four with the home release of Season Three on DVD. The third season of A Chef’s Life continues on exactly the same path that it followed over the course of its first two seasons in regards to its overall approach. That is the central element of Season Three’s success. The highs and lows set before Vivian, her staff, and her family throughout Season Three give every opportunity to create drama much in the same vein of all of the other reality series across the broadcast and cable spectrum. Yet at no point does the show ever go that route. The highs include Vivian’s visit to NBC’s Today show, her invitation to a special event in South Carolina in the two-part episode “Gone Clamming” and finally getting a new chef for The Boiler Room. The lows include problems cooking the shrimp for her dish in “Gone Clamming,” having to balance running Chef and the Farmer while trying to write her new cookbook and her increased responsibilities as a celebrity. Again through all of these ups and downs, there was plenty of chance for A Chef’s Life to take that all too often traveled road and be like all of the other reality series out there. But thankfully Mrs. Howard—who is one of the show’s heads—never allows that to happen, nor does anyone else behind the lens. Instead audiences see the everyday struggles and triumphs and how they are handled. For those that perhaps are not so familiar with this series, this approach proves that instead of being stranger than fiction, truth is actually more entertaining than fiction. It’s just one part of the show’s continued simple, humble approach that makes it so entertaining in its third season, too. The fact that Vivian continues to get ideas and ingredients from people in and around her community instead of some flashy, high-priced distributor or cook maintains the show’s down-to-earth feel and in turn makes it that much more accessible and believable for viewers. Because of this, it ensures that audiences will remain fully engaged from one episode to the next regardless of whether or not they have seen any of Season Three’s episodes yet. Keeping all of this in mind, the fact that A Chef’s Life uses the same approach in its third season as in its first two seasons is a key element in Season Three’s success. It is just one element that makes Season Three a success, too. The foods and recipes presented across Season Three are collectively another element that makes Season Three a success.
The continued simple, humble approach taken by A Chef’ Life in its third season is an important part of the season’s overall success. That is because it shows that those behind the lens continued to stand against the obviously scripted, overly dramatized garbage on other networks claiming to call itself reality TV. It is just one of the elements that make this season a success. Just as the approach taken in season three is simple and relatable so are the foods and recipes presented throughout each episode. That is exemplified right from the season premiere episode “Stop, Squash, and Roll.” Mrs. Howard makes what is labeled “Scarlett’s Squash and Onions with Crumbled Bacon” in this episode. It is of course centered on bacon and diced onions mixed with squash. It is exactly as it is titled. It is a simple (there’s that word again) three-ingredient dish that can be made easily in anyone’s own kitchen. It goes right into Mrs. Howard’s statement that she wants her cookbook to consist of ingredients that anyone can make. The homemade cubed steak with rice and gravy in “What’s Your Beef” is another example of the simple foods and recipes presented in Season Three. Audiences get to see beginning to end how the steaks are made and cooked. And it is as simple as simple can be. While not necessarily as simple as some of the other featured dishes, Frank Lee’s Clam Hash is easy enough in its own right. This dish, taken from the two-part “Going Clamming” episode incorporates parsley, saltine crackers, a single onion, sliced bacon, and about a dozen clams. Shelling and cooking the clams is the most time intensive part of this dish. But for those that enjoy shellfish, the time taken to cook and then shell them will be worth it in the end. Other than that part of the dish, everything else is relatively simple to accomplish. Yet again it is one more example of why the foods and dishes presented throughout Season Three are just as important to its overall viewing experience as the overall approach taken to the show this time out. Together with that continued simple and humble approach to story-telling, both elements give audiences plenty of reason to add the third season of A Chef’s Life to their own home DVD libraries. And even as enjoyable as they make Season Three’s viewing experience, they are still not all that completes said experience. The cinematography incorporated into each episode adds its own element of enjoyment to the show’s overall presentation.
Both the overall approach taken in the presentation of A Chef’s Life in its third season and the foods presented throughout play their own important part in the show’s continued success here. While both elements are important in their own right, they make up just a portion of what makes A Chef’s Life: Season Three work as well as it does. The series’ cinematography is just as important this time out as it is in the series’ first two seasons. It is really one of the aspects of the show that deserves more attention than it gets. There are great shots of Eastern North Carolina’s sunlit farms and back roads in every episode. And the footage capturing the crew of Chef and the Farmer at work is just as impressive. The camera crew does a wonderful job of staying out of the way of the kitchen staff yet still being part of the action so to speak. They, along with the show’s editors, wonderfully capture the hustle and bustle of the work behind the scenes that makes Chef and the Farmer such a favorite. These are just a few ways in which the cinematography shows to be integral in the overall presentation of A Chef’s Life in its third season. There are plenty of other examples that audiences will see for themselves when they watch Season Three themselves. Those many examples combine with the delicious dishes presented across each episode and simple, humble approach taken to the show in whole to make the third season of A Chef’s Life just as enjoyable as the series’ first two seasons. They show collectively why A Chef’s Life is the only reality series on television worth watching and one of the only cooking shows worth watching.
A Chef’s Life: Season Three shows in so many ways to be the only reality series on television today worth watching and one of the only cooking shows worth watching, too. In all it is yet more proof of why PBS remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television. It shows this first and foremost through its continued simplistic, down to earth approach. Rather than allow itself to be one of those obviously scripted shows overly laden with drama at every turn, it keeps itself a rather believable presentation. That is because it doesn’t capitalize on those opportunities for drama. The delectable yet simple dishes and their simple ingredients add to that down to earth approach. They are dishes that for the most part could be made in any American kitchen, not just those of some snooty, overpriced bistro type place. The show’s cinematography is just as impressive throughout Season Three’s run as those of the series’ first two seasons, too. The camera crew captures some beautiful footage of Eastern North Carolina’s countryside and its farms. Its ability to capture the hard work put into keeping Chef and the Farmer running day after day is just as impressive especially considering the camera crew’s ability to almost become part of the kitchen crew rather than be just another observer getting in the way of daily operations. Each noted element plays its own key part in the overall presentation of A Chef’s Life’s third season. Altogether, they show again why this series remains such a hit even among those audiences that might not otherwise watch PBS, reality TV or even cooking shows. It is an original and an impressive original at that and it is available now online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=a%20chefs%20life%20season%203&origkw=A+Chef%27s+Life+Season+3&sr=1. More information on A Chef’s Life, including recipes and episodes of the series, is available online now at:
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