Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Recipe Rehab

Recipe Rehab

Spring 2013 Television
Ages: 13 - 16 yrs.
Rating: TV G

Recipe Rehab hit on the secret ingredients to make tired old cooking shows fresh again. It blends health and how-to information with the suspense of reality TV cooking competitions, and adds everyday families into the mix to provide the recipes and judge the winner. This half-hour program airs Saturday mornings on ABC affiliates and although program information says the show's appropriate for teens aged 13 to 16, it's got a family-viewing vibe.

Each episode features a beloved recipe submitted by a family, whom we meet in their home. They describe the dish and graphics detail its health stats. From apple pie to lasagna, the family favorites are usually laden with calories, fat, sodium and carbs.

Enter the reality competition component of Recipe Rehab. Two professional chefs then face off on a studio kitchen set. They have 60 minutes to "rehab" the recipe and turn out a healthier version. In one episode, the chefs makes over a family's favorite mac and cheese dish, which weighs in at over 800 calories per serving. One chef uses butternut squash, unsweetened almond milk, and thyme in place of cheese sauce, cutting calories by 80%. Her competitor uses cauliflower, wheat flour, and Greek yogurt in his version, cutting calories by 50%. The family who provided the original recipe then gets to decide a winner— but only after preparing each recipe and then taste-testing it. They determine a winner based on flavor, healthiness, and ease of preparation. (Spoiler alert: Apparently butternut squash makes for a tasty and acceptable sauce in this mac-and-cheese make-over.)

Recipe Rehab was inspired by a popular YouTube show, and this broadcast version is a dynamic, informative and engaging upgrade. The family providing the recipe gives a nice personal dimension to the show; and the cooking competition is a great hook to keep viewers interested in the outcome of the cooking process. The competition is also interspersed with nutrition quizzes and fast-fact graphics, all focused on wholesome food and healthy habits, and both recipes are available on the program's website. Regardless of which rehabbed recipe "wins," both chefs demonstrate a range of healthy cooking alternatives, so the viewer is the real winner.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

Look for this product at:
Litton Entertainment

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