We caught the first episode here at the Inside Pulse studios and we’re very happy to see that Claire Robinson has been granted both a full new season and a whole new set. It looks like Food Network is throwing some money behind 5-Ingredient Fix. As we’ve said before, the 5 Ingredient concept is a home run with home cooks as it actually is easy instead of just claiming ease while making use of complicated knife work and questionable spices. It’s also marketing genius that I’m sure Bob and Susie love.
The new set is nice, looking something like a mix between Guy Big Bite‘s man room and Secrets of a Restaurant Chef‘s kitchen with a different background. Guy’s man room set for Big Bite has been a hot topic of discussion between the Just Eyeball It staff as we find something new to look at in Guy’s man room every episode. Claire’s set is equally as amusing, as her fancy Manhattan studio apartment is something like 3/4ths kitchen, but it does include a cozy corner chair and lamp where she can curl up with a good book and admire abstract art. The new season also adds fancy animations for the five ingredients. Instead of being featured when they naturally occur in the recipe, though, they are all featured at the beginning. I don’t think I like this, but I haven’t fully decided. The “5-Ingredient” concept has loosened a bit as in the second episode she considered olive oil that she used in the first recipe as a “free” ingredient in the second recipe.
I was happy to see this second season went with a more standard 12:00 camera angle and did away with both the 2:00 camera angle they used in her first season and “hip” camera angles they used for Ask Aida‘s second season. I find the constantly moving camera shooting the people from different angles to be distracting more than anything else. They did enjoy being right up to her face in the premiere episode here, but I’m hoping they tone that down a bit as the season progresses. It was also nice to see they didn’t dress her in the same club wear they’ve been putting on Aida.
We in the JYI studios also hotly debated whether or not the window behind her is active. The window shows a river with a highway across it. I argued it was, because traffic was visible on the road. The point that defeated me, however, was that the road in question looked like the FDR, which would indicate they were taping in Brooklyn instead of Chelsea which, so far as I know, they don’t do. This was until the second episode until I got a better look out the window and it certainly looks like the giant iron support beam outside her window could be from the High Line and beyond that the Hudson River and New Jersey. Maybe it really is just a creative window in Chelsea. This will distract me all season. Much like when I watch Big Bite and try to determine what, exactly, all Guy’s trophies are for.
I was also unimpressed at the food selection in the debut episode. A turkey cutlet pasta, a tuna salad, and some bizarre trail mix? Tuna salad is one of the least complicated things in the world… and I find the idea of taking two beautiful pieces of tuna and baking the bejesus out of them horrifying. Especially when a can would probably serve just as well once it’s blended with mayo or yogurt or whatever gets dumped in it. And pasta with asparagus and olive oil? Color me underwhelmed. The second episode, however, came back in a big way with a bacon and poached egg salad, beef stew in baked potato bowls, and espresso snow (cones) creams. I’m being honest here and — without a hint of hyperbole — beef stew in baked potato bowls might be the finest invention of my lifetime.
Welcome back, Claire. And boo to Food Network for removing the post-episode outtakes.
Tags: Food Network