Food Network's "All-Star Thanksgiving Special"

You know you're a big fan of the Food Network if you recall the days when cooking shows were based off of traditional presentation: chef stands behind the counter and teach viewers their recipe and how to make them before a live camera. Nowadays, food is also the source of competition and travel (to an extent, gambling). Sure, viewers and fans get tired of the same ol' thing and networks have to keep up with the times, but there are times when we look back and thought of how these ideas came into play, and discuss about whether it worked well or not, and why it worked or not. Not many fans discuss program specials, even outside of the Food Network, but this special brings me nothing but comfort and coziness every time I watch it. And I honestly mean every word of that.

Originally aired in 2004, but personally recorded it in 2006, Food Network brought extreme comfort to viewers like me when this special program aired during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I loved this program so much, I constantly would play this during the holidays and feel like our preparation for the Thanksgiving weekend is going to be festive and delicious. In other words, HUGE props to the production crew for organizing this and making programs like this happen. However, it's 2016, from whence this is/was posted, and Food Network's TV lineup has drastically changed, with new faces, new stars, new entertainment ideas and new ways to remind viewers that food is the mainstay of the network. (To all executives and upper managements of Food Network and the Cooking Channel: I have an idea for a show, but I will not disclose it unless you and I can schedule for a personal meeting to make it happen. It's also web-worthy too, and if you're up for it contact me.)

Anyway, for those who don't remember the "old" format featuring former Food Network stars, let's run through the ones featured on this classic special:

Rachael RayTyler FlorenceGiada De LaurentiisPaula DeenEmeril LagasseSara MoultonAlton Brown

Looking at who's featured on this special program already tells you why Food Network would never revert back into re-airing this. Some understandable, some questionable, but let's leave that out of this talk.

Being that this is "potluck" among TV chefs, Emeril places specific dish suggestions in a chef's hat and, one by one, a chef raffles a suggestion off the hat. Whoever has that dish has to make that dish. Alton Brown raffled and got the turkey; Sara Moulton got the dessert; Paula Deen got the dressing; Emeril will make cocktails, with additional side dishes. Check this: Tyler and Rachael were in a mix-up, as Tyler got Squash and Rachael got a side dish. Out of kindness, Tyler traded his suggestion he originally raffled with Rachael's, so now Tyler will do a side dish, and Rachael will do a squash soup.

With everyone assigned to their cooking dish, they all make Bruschetta—topped with parmesan cheese; one topped with parmesan cheese, black olives and red bell pepper; the other was stuffed with tenderlion, arugula, red onion and a drop of Balsalmic Vinegar. After eating, each chef makes their dish straight from their respective kitchens.

What's cool is that the chef's production team all shot their cooking presenting the very same shots, lights, editing styles and format, which you'd find watching from their actual show. In other words, Ray makes the squash soup as if it was a snippet from her hit show 30 Minute Meals; Florence from his former show Food 911; De Laurentiis from Everyday Italian; Deen formerly from her hit show Paula's Home Cooking; Lagasse from Essence of Emeril; Moulton from Sara's Secrets; Brown from his ever-popular show Good Eats. The fact that the presentation allowed the chefs to create a dish from their respective kitchens made everything feel less of a competition between them, in terms of their cooking shows (for some reason, I feel that that's debatable). Not only that, if you're a fan of one of their shows, the chef's input in creating a sort of compilation to create the "ultimate Thanksgiving feast," you're instantly going to feel right at home with watching how they made their dishes for the Thanksgiving feast.

(Note: yes, I truly love this show so much, I have no problem using this space to post the entire program on this website. However, besides not having enough web space, it'll trigger a copyright flag against us. I know they don't, and probably never will, air this program again, but let's play things safe for now. If you know someone in, or you do work for, the network's programming legal department, you can ask to be informed about this defunct program. Posting the whole show on video-sharing websites is asking for trouble.)

Now that everyone is done cooking, the chef's get together and show off what they made:



In addition, Emeril made something I want to make: "Red Rooster," which is made with cranberry juice, vodka, and orange juice concentrate. Place in a casserole dish and freeze overnight. Serve in glasses, kind of like a slushie....except for adults.




"Alton said, when I'm around, don't use the word 'old.'" - Paula Deen

And thus, the dining commences!

VIDEO: Alton then demonstrates the proper way to make turkey slices:




Remember that technique next time Thanksgiving comes around [again]!



What a wonderful program, this was. I'm a huge fan, and while I'm sharing this talk with you foodies, don't be surprised why I'll go back to this during the Thanksgiving holidays. Yes. Oh, one more thing:

At the beginning of the program, Moulton said her pie recipe will be topped off with melted vanilla ice cream. According to her cooking presentation, she never added it. Oh well.