Wow!! What an awesome article about Graci In The Kitchen, written by Toby Burns at Koldcast TV Network. Click here to read the entire article on their website, or here is the raw text below:
“The last decade or so has seen a glut of culinary entertainment. Food shows have become mainstays on cable, dominated network primetime, and have even given birth to their own channels.
Accordingly, cooking show hosts have proliferated across the television landscape, attuning themselves to different demographics and assuming more and more generic forms.
There’s the benevolent matron, for example, on the model of Paula Deen and Ina Garten, whose kind smiles and unthreatening waistlines are meant to help us relax and indulge. There’s the sophisticated gourmet, like Anthony Bourdain and Julia Child, who elevate our tastes with a bit of patrician reserve. There’s the angry zealot, like Gordon Ramsay and Tom Colicchio, who do as much fuming and insulting as they do cooking. There are ethnic specialists, greasy good old boys, sensual coquettes, blonde arch-homemakers, and beaker-toting scientists — all manner of surrogate mouth by which to taste your televisual foodstuffs.
This is why Graci Kim of KoldCast TV’s Graci In the Kitchen is such a fun new player in the world of epicurean television. She doesn’t fit any of these molds. Young, fashionable, artistic, emotional, unabashedly frugal, and refreshingly unpolished, Graci blazes a new trail in a genre confined by familiar branding formulas. For one who’s keen to cut cookies, she’s far from a cookie-cutter.
As an attractive young lady, Graci’s most relevant paradigm may be that of the sensualist, a la Giada De Laurentiis or Nigella Lawson. She’s got that big smile, those white teeth, the cute accent (she’s from New Zealand), the interesting turns of phrase, and the all-important ability to lick excess frosting off her index finger. But her sense of whimsy and eclectic style are largely without precedent in the TV kitchen. And her practical advice is genuiely insightful (her spoon trick for opening stuck jars in Bite #5 is truly a revelation).
But the thing that really sets Graci In The Kitchen apart from other shows of its kind is its premise as a “mood-based” cooking show. In the way that sommeliers pair food with wine, Graci pairs foods with emotions, and the combinations are wonderfully unexpected. Love, for example, takes the form of scallops and tilapia with creamy red onions; vulnerability tastes like kimchi pancakes; and, as Episode 5 teaches us, the cure for anxiety is mustard cream mushroom steak and a chocolate balsamic salad.
“I’m willing to be intimate and vulnerable.
Who you see on screen is really just me being me.”
Graci’s creative process is something of a hodgepodge. “Usually I come across an ingredient that I think is amazing and then design a meal around it. Other times I’m in a certain mood and then proceed to experiment in the kitchen based on how I’m feeling.”
These subtle and satisfying pairings turn Graci into more than just a host. She’s a memoirist, weaving her own life story into food that’s an extension of herself. Little personal asides run throughout the show like sinews in a rib eye: quotes she finds inspiring, a song, a childhood memory associated with a certain spice, special people who comes to mind whenever she prepares their favorite meal. “I’m willing to be intimate and vulnerable,” says Graci of her presentation style. “Who you see on screen is really just me being me.”
These little thematic digressions are often the bane of cooking shows. Producers fill them with scripted subplots, B roll, self-conscious stand-up, hand washing, dish doing— whatever can add a little variation. It’s often this peripheral treatment that makes them feel so pesky, like the show doesn’t want to admit to needing a change of tone. But this is one of Graci In The Kitchen’s biggest insights. Rather than downplaying these moments, Graci gives them extra attention and weight, as if to proclaim that this is more than a cooking show, that it’s really about a young woman, a life, and an experience with food.
The production design offers the same emotional richness. Shot in a real kitchen in a real apartment with real cookware, the show feels nothing if not authentic. Under other circumstances this might make the presentation of the food less appetizing. As Instagram teaches us over and over again, there’s a fine line between a delicious-looking piece of food and a disgusting one.
Remarkably, though, the do-it-yourself design of Graci In The Kitchen augments the appeal of her products. She knows she’s not selling a lifestyle in the manner of Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray, and she knows she doesn’t need perfectly styled hair to make you believe it. She simply wants to share a part of what makes her who she is.
As one of the first shows to work specifically within an ITV series format, Graci In The Kitchen succeeds for its interactive capabilities as well as for its dishes. If there were ever a genre of television that can benefit from the pause button, it’s the cooking program, and the pacing and editing of Graci makes it just as pleasurable to shuffle around as to watch start-to-finish. While Graci may be as much of a personal guru as a chef, she also just wants to help you cook good food.
It’s fun to watch television adjust to the Internet, and to watch the Internet accommodate the norms of television. This sea change has compelled a lot of well-established TV genres to refurbish themselves in all sorts of ways: to make their content interactive, to compress story lines, to link to social media, to rewrite characters for younger audiences.
But the cooking show, which is at once a piece of entertainment and an instruction manual, was made for a clickable medium; and, as such, its essence isn’t changing so much as flourishing in the Internet Age. Hopefully, there’s more of this to come. If Graci In The Kitchen is any indicator, we’ll be seeing not just more gourmet food online, but more gourmet entertainment.
Toby Burns is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in LA Life, Pillow Talk, and others.