Bob Waggoner’s got culinary creds that could intimidate the most trained toques. He spent 12 years as executive chef of Charleston Grill and is one of few Americans to be knighted with the French government’s I’Ordre du Mérite Agricole. But despite all that, he’s got an utterly approachable manner and casual cooking philosophy that’s proving perfect for his latest course: TV star.
The first episode of U Cook with Chef Bob premieres on ETV this spring (for airtimes, check www.scetv.org). Presiding over a Hollywood, South Carolina, set designed to look like an upscale eatery, Waggoner aims to “make gourmet cooking easy” on the series being distributed to PBS affiliates nationwide.
Tune in to learn easier-than-you’d-think cooking techniques (such as cleaning flounder or beef tenderloin) and watch the energetic chef lead audience members in creating their own dishes. “The idea is for viewers to realize, ‘If they can do it, I can too,’” explains Waggoner, who spices things up with guest foodies, culinary field trips, and wine recommendations. “I want to get people in the kitchen, trying new ingredients and understanding that cooking can be a fun family activity,” he says.
For details on joining the audience during season two—set to begin filming in May—visit www.ucookwithchefbob.com, which goes live this month with recipes, a shop of hard-to-find foodstuffs, and more. Enjoying his newfound creative freedom, Waggoner already has a second series in the works with U Cook producer Mike Kirk: Great Chef Destinations, likely debuting this summer.