IFC's Food Party and Dinner With the Band Put New Spin on Cooking Shows

Categories: The Critic
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Plenty of people are excited about the debut of Cooking Channel and that fact that it might change the standard cooking-show formula. But IFC -- that's the Independent Film Channel -- already has two slightly zany cooking shows that definitely break out of the usual formula.

Food Party, airing on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., is about as off-kilter a "cooking" show as I've ever seen. It stars Thu Tran, a cute-but-wacky girl who lives in a cardboard cut-out house full of puppets. Thu doesn't so much cook as create nonsensical dishes as a backdrop for each episode's (loose) plot. Actually, what the show reminds me of is the cooking scenes from Michel Gondry's Science of Sleep. The cooking demos are kind of like riding an acid trip through Thu's head. Luckily, each episode is just ten minutes long, so it's not a huge time investment to watch and see if it's something you'd dig (here's a hint: Recreational substances make that more likely).

Dinner With the Band, airing Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m., stars WD-50 pastry chef Sam Mason. Sam basically hosts a series of musical guests in his Brooklyn flat, where he cooks them a themed dinner. Watching Sam banter back and forth with rock 'n' rollers as he cooks is actually pretty fun. Plus, the musical guests -- Rufus Wainwright, Andrew W.K., and more -- always  perform a song or two, which is cool.

New episodes of each show are airing now on IFC. Check 'em out.

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