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Cookin' In the Buff

Think skin. Think Britain. Think naked.

No, not Margaret Thatcher on a cold day. The Naked Chef is the Food Network's latest pop-culture import.

Brit wit Jamie Oliver is already a huge success back home. Author of two wildly popular cookbooks, Oliver has inspired a cult following in his homeland, and he's headed to a television near you.

Be not afraid-the Naked Chef doesn't really cook in the buff. The naked name comes from the 24-year-old's novel approach to quality cooking. Oliver stresses "stripping back to the bare essentials," preparing fine cuisine with simple, everyday ingredients.

Some of the chef's debut entrees include "broth of steaming scallops, prawns and clams with noodles, black beans, coriander and lime" and "tray-baked salmon with olives, green beans, anchovies and tomatoes." If you're thinking, "Damn, I had both of those already this week," stay tuned. Naked Chef promises an onslaught of original recipes for the Julia Child in everyone.

Speaking of the 88-year-old Child, the grandmother of boob-tube chefs is also a Food Network fixture. With her distinctive voice and carefree demeanor, the 6-foot-2-inch California native is anything but conventional. Though time marches on, Julia keeps on cooking.

If you're hankering for a good food fight, Japanese import The Iron Chef may sate your craving. Structured around cook-offs between the Iron Chef (one of four men sharing the dubious distinction) and unknown challengers, this network regular is a high-impact culinary experience.

For the heavier side of things, a pair of not-so-barenaked British imports, Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright have the inside scoop on mincemeat pies and rice pudding on Two Fat Ladies. With a taste of the Isles, these portly off-beat bag ladies heat up the screen as part of The Food Network's all-star Saturday.

And you thought that eating the food was the only fun part.


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