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Tag: host

Cooking with Dog (It’s not what you think)

A much beloved Internet celebrity has died.

He was part of a cooking team — the less shy half, the English-speaking half, the more comfortable in front of the camera half, the poodle half.

Francis the dog was the host and narrator of “Cooking with Dog,” which also featured the human he lived with, an unnamed Japanese housewife who had never been on camera before a producer friend proposed they put together a cooking show for the Internet.

She was hesitant, as she was a private sort, and felt alone and insecure in front of the camera.

francisandchefWith Francis at her side, though, she was up to the task and the duo went on, over the next 10 years, to rise to Internet stardom — Chef, as she is called, doing all the cooking and making an occasional comment in Japanese, Francis providing the narration, in English, with a French accent.

Francis passed away Sunday at age 14, Gizmodo reported, based on a Twitter post.

“Cooking with Dog” began in 2007 after the producer, who also likes to keep his name private, returned to Japan from Los Angeles, where he had spent several years working in the entertainment industry.

He said he wanted to keep working in film and television, and promote Japanese culture — in a way English-speaking audiences could follow.

“There are many cooking programs on TV and I just wanted to make our show look different and unique. And also I don’t know any celebrities or famous people and I didn’t have a large budget,” he told The Japan Times last year.

Having Francis narrate the show gave it a quirky edge, and opened it up to English-speaking audiences.

“Cooking With Dog” has over 1.2 million subscribers, making it one of the most popular food channels on YouTube. Nearly a third of the viewers come from the United States.

Over the years, its title has raised some eyebrows and led to a little confusion. Some who have stumbled across it thought it might be about cooking for your dog, or about recipes that used dog meat as an ingredient.

Dogs are, after all, raised for their meat and consumed by a small minority of the population in several Asian countries.

But anyone who watched a video quickly became aware nothing nefarious was afoot — it was a just a pure and simple cooking show in which a soft-spoken chef calmly puts together elaborate and often ornate Japanese dishes as her dog looks on.

It’s a refreshing change from American cooking shows, where there has been a distinct shift toward manic hosts, who are generally overseeing some sort of cut-throat competition.

Gizmodo reports it is uncertain if “Cooking with Dogs” will continue without Francis.

If not, we still have the more than 300 episodes that have been produced. You can watch them at the Cooking with Dog, YouTube channel.

Reconsidering my stance on debarking

Up until now, I’ve been pretty much against debarking — a surgical procedure whose proponents like to call it “bark softening.”

But this video makes me realize that, possibly, in some cases, it may be justified.

And wait until you try his tabby-oca pudding

Italy’s state-run RAI TV has suspended popular cooking show host Beppe Bigazzi for touting cat stew as a Tuscan delicacy.

The suspension is for an unspecified amount of time,” the Associated Press reports.

Bigazzi, 77, who hosts a popular morning program that offers food tips and recipes, said he had enjoyed cat stew many times. When that startled his female co-host,  Elisa Isoardi, Bigazzi defended his culinary tastes, noting Italians eat rabbit, chicken and pigeons. Horse meat also is sold in Italian shops.

“Cat, soaked for three days in the running water of a stream comes out with its meat white, and I assure you I have eaten it many times,” he said on the program. “Now there will be letters from nature lovers. Why don’t they defend rabbits?”

His critics included Health Ministry Undersecretary Francesca Martini, who said Italian law protects pets from mistreatment and that Bignazzi’s comments contradict the growing public sensibility toward animals in Italy.

Westminster host Frei loses his dog, Teigh

teighWestminster host David Frei lost his dog Teigh earlier this month.

Teigh, a therapy dog, passed away Jan. 9 at age 14, USA Today’s Paw Print Post reported yesterday.

Frei is the director of communications for Westminster, co-host and analyst of the dog show and president and CEO of Angels on a Leash, an animal-assisted therapy group.

Teigh was the first dog allowed in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit at New York Hospital; the first dog to visit at the Ronald McDonald House in New York City, helping to create a thriving therapy dog program there; the first therapy dog allowed to visit in-room at Mt. Sinai; and he was part of a historic pilot program that brought the first dogs ever allowed at Sloan Kettering.

Frei and his wife, Cheri, a chaplain at the Ronald McDonald House, lost another one of their dogs, Belle, last year.

USA Network picks new Westminster host

And the new voice of Westminster is … Mario Lopez?

The USA Network — apparently attempting to squirt some youthful juice into the old show — announced yesterday that Lopez will be the new co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Lopez, thank goodness, isn’t replacing David Frei (that would qualify as sacrilege), but he is taking over from NBC anchor Lester Holt who has been a co-host for the past three years .

Chorus_Line_Mario_LopezLopez, who is actually 35 now — still young by Kennel Club standards — is host of the entertainment magazine show “Extra.”  He will join the venerable Frei, who is in his 21st consecutive year of hosting the show. The 134th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place Feb. 15 and 16.

Lopez, a teen star on “Saved by the Bell,” gained further fame on the third season of ABC’s hit “Dancing with the Stars,” which led to his Broadway debut in the musical “A Chorus Line” — all, clearly, qualifying him to host the foremost dog show in the world and the second longest continuously held sporting event in the United States.

USA officials did not say why the change is being made but Holt apparently will be involved with NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in February, the Tampa Tribune reports.

“I am really excited to be a host of the 2010 Westminster Dog Show,” says Lopez. “I’ve been doing my research and checking out some of the world’s top dog shows, so I’m well prepared on show day. I can’t wait to be a part of the Super Bowl for canines.”

Pittsburgh talk show host finds his Gizmo

Pittsburgh morning talk show host Jim Krenn called off work Wednesday to look for his missing dog, Gizmo — showing that even though his dog wasn’t in the right place, his priorities were.

“He was just gone. He just disappeared,” said Krenn, who works for WDVE radio. “I’m just beside myself. As every pet owner knows, this is a worst nightmare.”

The dog disappeared early Tuesday evening; he was found Wednesday not far from Banksville Park, according to an MSNBC report. Read more »

Shelter dogs get makeovers in new show

Take “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” replace the straight guys with dogs, throw in some firm tugs on the old heartstrings, and you have a basic understanding of the Animal Planet’s soon to premier program, “Underdog to Wonderdog.”

Every episode will feature the “Wonder Team” — made up of a groomer, carpenter, trainer and, of course, good lookin’ and energetic host  — transforming an “unkempt, undernourished, unloved” shelter dog into a well coiffed, housed and trained family dog.

Having not seen it yet, we give it a D for originality, a C for the inadvertent slap in the face to shelter workers, and a B for meaning well.

The show promises to send each dog through “a complete metamorphoses, becoming the dog it was always destined to be. Every shelter dog is rescued, groomed, trained and rehabilitated before finally being placed into a loving home – equipped with its very own custom-designed dog house.”

The show starts Saturday, January 3, at 8 p.m.

Read more »