Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vintage Look at Elegant Cooking at Hammersmith Farm

I love discovering new things, especially when they are unexpected. Today, I might say a discovery found me.

It isn't exactly new. In fact, it's something quite... not new. It's a pilot episode of a cooking show, Be My Guest, produced by Carolyn Horan, in association with WSBE... in 1991!

This vintage gem features Chef Michael Dupre, the personal chef to Janet Auchincloss (mother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) at her Newport home, Hammersmith Farm, in the 1980s. In Be My Guest, Chef Michael prepares an elaborate meal fit for a... President. Hammersmith Farm was also known as the "summer White House" during President John F. Kennedy's term.

As we watch Chef Michael whisk, fold, spoon, and slice, the voice of veteran radio host Peter Pratt narrates. The episode nicely showcases Chef Michael's professional cooking techniques.

The episode is also a stark reminder of how much cooking shows have changed and how impatient we have become, especially when consuming electronic media. By today's standards, the episode is slow-paced, even though Chef Michael never stops. I guess it's the result of bombardment by 15-second commercials, 30-second news bites, and skim and skip blog reading. Be My Guest definitely invites a more leisurely pace to savor the experience.

Here is the vintage pilot episode of Be My Guest.