Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dotch - the only cooking show we watch regularly

One of the advantages of living in Southern California is the cultural diversity, which includes having multiple local Asian TV stations. Through these local stations we've found Dotch (site in Japanese), a very enjoyable Japanese cooking/game show. Dotch is currently the only TV show we look forward to watching each week, so it seems like a fitting end-of-cooking-week post.

The show includes a panel of seven guests, who during the course of the show have to choose between one of two dishes being prepared for them. Each dish is made in front of the guests by a separate chef, and the two dishes are always in the same class of food (e.g., dorayaki vs. cream puffs, BBQ ribs vs. grilled tuna collar, takoyaki vs. yakisoba; see their archive page here).

Each of the two dishes always includes some super-special ingredient, which the chefs travel across Japan to find. No matter how mundane this ingredient might otherwise seem to be (e.g., vegetable oil, milk), the show manages to make it sound as though their super-special version of this ingredient is mouth-wateringly good. We love the special ingredient segments, partially because they always include lots of detail on how the ingredient is prepared (e.g., rearing pigs, fishing for tuna, and growing and grinding pepper or oil-producing seeds). The show also has a segment featuring "delicious supporters" of each dish, in which they visit two or three restaurants and see how the restaurant chefs make their own version of the dish (always including the price).

The show never fails to make us desperately hungry for the dishes they prepare. It's also very educational, showing both how traditional Japanese food is made and how certain ingredients are manufactured or obtained.

To help those watching the show for the first time, here's an outline of a typical one-hour episode:
  • The two dishes are introduced to the guests.
  • The guests make an initial selection between the two dishes, and are moved to one or the other side of the studio based on their selections (one side is red, the other yellow).
  • The chefs start to make each dish.
  • Each dish's "special ingredient" is highlighted.
  • The guests get to sample a tiny portion of the special ingredient (or something cooked with the special ingredient).
  • The guests get a chance to change their minds about which dish they think they'll want to eat.
  • The "delicious supporters" of each dish are shown.
  • The show's chefs finish cooking each dish, typically including some showy presentation.
  • The guests ooh and ahh over the food (as they've been doing throughout).
  • The guests are forced to make a final choice between the dishes, with much hemming and hawing.
  • The show cuts to commercial.
  • The guests' final choices are revealed. Whichever dish gets a majority of the votes is served to those who voted for it. Anyone who voted for the losing dish gets nothing to eat.
  • The winning guests eat their food happily, while the losing guests look on mournfully.
  • The chef who cooked the losing dish eats it in a small room off-set, usually exclaiming about how delicious it is.

1 comment:

Radagast said...

Importing comments:

It's sooo neat to see others love it as much as I do, I discovered it my self around a year or two ago, and sadly I noticed they didn't show it anymore. Luckily now, that they made the whole digital switch thing we get the NHK and they show it everymonday at 9 ^^
June 16, 2009, 6:56:04 PM PDT – Like – Reply

"Mr. J"
I started a groups site dedicated to this great show that will get picked up by the food network sooner or later since they cannot come up w/ thier own concept of a show.

I try to record as many episodes as I can because once it gets on that cable shannel here come the 12 minute commercials!

then after showing this great Japanese show, they will make an American Bastardized version of the show and then it has jumped the shark.

I try to bring awareness of this show by telling as many people as i can. Im happy you are too.

It has really opened my eyes to the joys of Japanese cuisine and how much better it is than the juck we eat or "cook"
September 29, 2006, 2:32:07 PM PDT – Like – Reply

Garry R.
Must agree with above comments. Discovered show a year ago and has become must see tv for me. Even though I have been to Japan many times, never realized the enormous variations in the food there! Also watch it here on local international station in L.A.
July 31, 2006, 7:14:49 PM PDT – Like – Reply

Hi, I'm from Bangkok Thailand and i also loveeeeeeeeee this show. it's totally mouth-watering and entertaining. If you have interests in cooking I also suggest another japanese show called "Cocorico"..i have the web address but lost i will send it to u later.

June 13, 2006, 9:31:55 AM PDT – Like – Reply

Michael in L.A.
I discovered this show about 6 months ago on KSCI-TV (18) here in L.A. and I can safely tell you that I LOVE THIS SHOW!!! Iron Chef is totally LIMP compared to the Dotch people!! And as far as American cooking shows go...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...

If an American network adopted the approach this show has, they just might solve the obesity problem in this country...because after watching this, I can't honestly see why anyone would ever want to venture into McDonalds, BK, KFC, etc. DO NOT PASS UP THIS SHOW, PEOPLE!!
January 21, 2006, 9:16:44 PM PST