BWW Review: AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN Season 15 DVD Set Cooks Up Good Stuff

Firing up fifteen seasons of deconstructed recipes and kitchen gadget trial and error, AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN is one of public television's most popular cooking shows. Hosted by the bow-tie sporting and affable Christopher Kimball, the show takes the mystique out of cooking, tests useful kitchen equipment and helps to work the kinks out of cooking gadgets in a straight forward manner that is easy to follow.

Season 15 of AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN is now available in a well-packaged DVD set which includes all of the current series episodes. Starting with "Comfort Food Revisited" on Disc 1, and concluding with Disc 4's "Baguettes at Home," the four-disc set is a feast for food lovers and at-home-chefs who want some pointers on how to achieve culinary school results in their own kitchen. The DVD's allow the viewer to pick and choose how they want to view Kimball and company at work. Pop a DVD into your player or computer and you can choose from any one of the full episodes and watch it like it runs on PBS. If you want to make a more refined selection, the user-friendly menu is at your service.

Say you want to get their recommendation for French press coffee carafes, select Disc 2 and click on the Tasting Lab and Equipment Corner. The segment is on display and host Kimball is shown how various French press pots work by Equipment Corner expert Adam Ried. After using a selection of carafes, Ried declares the double-walled and insulated Bodum Columbia French Press Coffee Maker as the best value and highly recommended at $79.95. In a separate segment, "gadget guru" Lisa McManus shows a kid-friendly chef's knife ATC recommends for ages 10 and up, the Opinel Le Petit Chef with built-in finger guard, for junior cook's to do their part in the kitchen. Judging from my own experience, it is also a good idea to visit the AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN website (click HERE) for up to date equipment and gadget testing results.

If it is recipes and actual cooking tips you are looking for, you have come of the right place. Kimball is joined by his expert kitchen staff to deconstruct and demonstrate everything from comfort food to gourmet dishes with an international flair. One such segment featured Kimball and test-cook Dan Souza working on the "Best Chicken Stew" recipe (Disc 1). Souza explains how to get the most flavor from the chicken using boneless thighs and wings, anchovy paste, and a mixture of aromatic vegetables and fixings I felt like I could smell cooking as I watched. Throughout the series the test-chefs tackle gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, shrimp fra diavolo, a modern twist on a cheese soufflé and how to make baguettes in your own home - to name just a few.

If the episodes roll by too quickly, fear not. Using each DVD, but going through your computer's system, you can access printable versions of each of the 51 recipes demonstrated in Season 15. For me, this feature sets the set apart from other cooking video sets and I have already printed off the Perfect Poached Chicken Breast recipe for one of this week's meals. I might even put on a bow-tie when I head into my own test kitchen.

The bottom-line: The DVD set of AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN Season 15 can help at home chefs to cook up a storm and offers many features which set the series apart from run-of-the-mill how-to videos.

Follow Jeffrey Walker on Twitter @jeffwalker66

AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN Season 15 is now available on 4 DVDs. The set offers 13 hours of programming and many extras, including printable versions of the 51 recipes features on the season. The ATK Season 15 DVD set retails at the SRP $39.99 and is available at a discount on such outlets as Amazon for $27.99.


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From This Author Jeffrey Walker