There’s a new channel on your TV and it’s smart, stylish, and sort of like Bravo for boys; it’s called Esquire Network. The best way I can think of to describe this new enterprise is take some of the most successful elements of Food Network, Bravo, and Travel Channel, add to that Esquire’s knowledge of all things gentlemanly and finally give it the taste of outsiderishness possessed by some of the best men’s blogs and you’ve got it.
If you are a regular reader of blogs like Uncrate, The Art of Manliness, A Continuous Lean, or The William Brown Project you will find the programming has a familiar feel; in fact, photo journalist and blogger Matthew Hranek (thewilliambrownproject.com) has a new show premiering November 20 on the network.
I’ve set my DVR and spent some time watching and so far I really like what I see. This is reality TV with a decidedly stylish and masculine bent; if Bravo and Food Network are a tad too metrosexual for you and Spike is a bit too low brow then my guess is that you, like me, will find Esquire Nework just right.
Programming is currently ramping up, with a few new shows having already premiered and some others premiering in November and December. Two of my current favorites, and programs well worth checking out, are Knife Fight and Brew Dogs.
Knife Fight is hosted by Ilan Hall (Top Chef season two winner) and is produced by Drew Barrymore. The premise is sort of a culinary cage match that takes place during the late night hours after Hall’s Los Angeles restaurant, The Gorbals, has closed for the day. Supposedly this type of gastronomic showdown has been taking place for a number of years but has never before been open to public viewing. Chefs face off, creating dishes with the provided ingredients that are tasted by a panel of judges, it’s a little bit like Chopped but with more beer, cheering and dare I say better cooking; it can be intense, and also inspiring for the budding chef or even a person who just enjoys cooking at home, if they can do that under pressure, I can surely cook something halfway decent at home, right? Knife Fight airs Tuesdays at 9:00 PM.
Brew Dogs is hosted by UK brewers James Watt and Martin Dickie, and is one of the most fun and clever programs I have seen in a long time. Watt and Dickie travel across the USA to well-known beer towns enjoying craft beer, providing some info and reviews of breweries and drinking establishments, and finally finding a way to brew their own beer with a bit of the local flavor they have imbibed. Those of us who live within a short drive of San Francisco will most certainly enjoy episode two; they visit the city and brew beer using fog captured by truly fascinating and scientific means, like I said, fun and clever! Brew Dogs airs Tuesdays at 10:00 PM.
And don’t forget to check our Matthew Hranek’s Alternate Route coming later this month, I’ve been well informed and entertained by his blog for some time and have the same expectation for this new series.
– John Morton