“Peace and good eating.”

Former fellow Ohioan and Emmy-nominated chef Ming Tsai has been a television icon since his first appearance on The Food Network back in 1998. He now owns a restaurant in Massachusetts and is also an accomplished author. Simply Ming: Cooking with Family and Friends is a six-episode compilation from his PBS show and it has, as the title suggests, a simple concept: Ming invites a famous chef or one of his family members on and they cook “on the fly.” What this means is the producer gives Ming and his guest two secret ingredients and they must create a dish on the spot using only his pre-stocked pantry and fresh ingredients from his refrigerator.

The six episodes are as follows:

* “Jacques Pepin & Paner A l’Anglaise”
* “Andrew Zimmern & Cooking Veggies for Kids”
* “Morimoto & Sushi”
* “Joanne Chang & Pastry”
* “Jonathan Waxman & Oven-Roasting Vegetables”
* “The Tsais & Pressure Cookers”

I really enjoyed Simply Ming. I’m a fan of cooking shows in general, but this is (to risk overuse of the word) simple. The show typically begins with Ming explaining a concept related to the episode’s theme. Then each person takes their turn cooking, with Ming explaining steps or asking questions as needed. It’s incredibly well-paced and requires no soundtrack, merely the background of cooking. Ming is a very engaging host and it’s easy to see the camaraderie he has with his guests.

Presented in standard definition 1:33:1 full frame the transfer perfectly captures the action, with minimal camera movements and a clear palette that showcases the food. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix is simple, but it’s all we need for a show of this caliber. Bonus features are more than I expected from a cooking show. Not only are there PDF files of all of the recipes, but there’s also a list of what’s in Ming’s pantry, should you decide to emulate him the next time you’re at the grocery store.

Being able to have the recipes on hand is terrific and it’s something I would recommend to any other Ming fan. However, there’s a set of the first three volumes of the show available, so if you’re looking for something comprehensive, that’s the way to go. At the very least, try to catch Simply Ming on PBS, or go to the show’s official site where you can get more information and vodcasts.

THE VERDICT

Not Guilty.

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