Tip My Toque: Chef on a Shoestring 1997-2012 or dear CBS, Bring This Back!

Chef on a Shoestring was a series on the CBS Early Show:Saturday edition from the late 90s into the 2000s. CBS has changed up its morning hosts and format several times in the last 20 years. I fear this segment isn’t coming back anytime soon. As Americans struggle with obesity, unemployment, pinched family budgets, and food stamp funding cuts, the segment’s content is more relevant than ever.

According to its Wikipedia page, Executive Producer Hal Gressner was solely responsible for Chef on a Shoestring.

Each week, they would ask a high profile chef or TV food personality to make a 3 course dinner, for a family of 4, for under $40. 

In the 90s, they calculated the receipt onscreen, then showed that gorgeous, unbelievable-for-under-$40 prepared dinner. If that wasn’t enough, it was usually very healthy too—a little meat, and a whole lot of fresh veggies and herbs. And dessert wasn’t what I would call a diabetes bomb. To help the Share Our Strength charity, they produced a recipe book in 2001; a re-issue was published in 2004 (the link takes you to the Amazon page).

Some segments from the 2000s are available on Youtube, like Chef John Mooney’s Winter Comfort Food.

Saving money and eating well never go out of style. ‘So Chef on a Shoestring, I tip my toque to you, and hope you, or another series like yours, will return to the tv news “menu” sometime soon.

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