The America’s Test Kitchen folks bring their popular live show to The


America’s Test Kitchen

folks bring their popular live show to The Moore on Tuesday, April 7. The face of the show, Christopher Kimball, spoke with Seattle Weekly about everything from his other favorite TV cooking shows and his thoughts on Modernist techniques to his go-to cookbooks and the best audience participant he’s ever had. Plus, he says Seattle’s one of his favorite cities because “people still read out here.” Indeed.


So what are you particularly excited about for this show? You’re going to have a

chocolate tasting, some science experiments . . . 

Kimball: The fun part of the show is getting people up onstage and having interaction. There will be two sets of tastings, and one of our test cooks does some science experiments. But it’s the live Q&A that’s great . . . questions about how people actually cook at home.

What are some of the best questions you’ve gotten during the shows?

There’s all sorts of silly ones, like how come you’re not fat and do you tie your own bow ties? But people offer some really interesting questions, like how come when you cook certain meats to medium it’s more tender than when you cook it to medium rare, or can I use salted vs. unsalted butter? Is it OK to substitute sugar for hoisin sauce, or what happens if you don’t use Dutch cocoa?

What about the Julia Child tribute?

It’s based on a radio show I did a while back. I interviewed people who knew her better than I did, what she was like. We’ll play that audio, along with a photo montage. In a dark theater, the audio is more compelling than just watching something.

You guys produce soooo much material. I feel like I get a new cookbook from you every week. If you had to recommend just one, which would it be?

I think our best work is on the new gluten-free cookbook [The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook: Revolutionary Techniques. Groundbreaking Recipes.]. It was the hardest, and we came up with the most interesting techniques. Most gluten-free recipes are terrible. There’s so much technique and science in it, so it really put our test-kitchen model to work. The chocolate-chip cookies, the muffins—they really are as good as regular gluten ones. But gluten-free pizza is not on my list; you can get it chewy but not crispy. The vegetarian cookbook [The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook] is good too. There’s a lot of science behind how you develop meaty flavors and umami.

Who’s your favorite TV chef (besides yourself)?

Well, I don’t really watch TV besides House of Cards. But Rachael Ray . . . I admire her and think she’s a genuine person. I actually like her quite a lot. She does what she does well. Alton Brown does a good job. Martha Stewart up in front of the cameras really knows what she’s talking about. She’s a pro. I like the people who are really who they say they are.

Do you use any cookbooks besides your own?

I’m a huge fan of [Yotam] Ottolenghi’s Plenty and Plenty More. My wife and I cook from those books almost exclusively. I also think Martha Stewart’s new book, Clean Slate, has some interesting stuff . . . she’s on to something. I think Fuchsia Dunlop is brilliant. Her Chinese home-cooking book [Every Grain of Rice] is fabulous.

How do you feel about sous vide and other modernist techniques that have become so popular?

I had a 12-course lunch at the Modernist kitchen, and it was fabulous. But I don’t know if it has much to do with home cooking. I actually like to chew my food. And you don’t need a sous vide machine to poach something.

Tell us about one of your favorite moments doing the live show.

At our last show in Providence, we had a 12-year-old who came for her birthday. We called her up for a tasting, and she nailed everything. It’s heartening to see a 12-year-old who wants to go to the show for their birthday.

AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN The Moore, 1932 Second Ave., 877-784-4849, $32.50–$96.50. 8 p.m. Tues., April 7.