Best of Food & Wine
The Best of Food & Wine (Multicom Publishing) bills itself as an “interactive cooking experience” with video tips from “six of the world’s greatest chefs.” Sounds promising. The recipes seem to be better than average, and the “Tips” section actually contains a wide selection of useful advice, including nine paragraph-length entries on “nuts” and ten on “knives.” But once you move away from these text-oriented sections into the “interactive” sections, this disc falls apart. The videos appear to be snippets taken from some much longer production. Many make reference to things you are supposed to have seen already (but didn’t) or offer out-of-context advice that makes no sense. Other clips begin to cover a topic – for instance, “Beautiful Presentations,” – then literally stop mid-lesson. The volume and video quality vary widely, keeping you jumping for the volume knob, your glasses, or both. The soundtrack of one video even included a baby crying apparently right next to the camera’s microphone, judging from the volume. Add in the fact that even the better quality text sections contain a variety of basic typos, and you’ll wish you’d stayed with with re-runs of The Galloping Gourmet.
– June 1996, How-To Guides