Good Cooks

We enjoyed this recurring sketch show so much the first time that we decided to return for a proper review. Did this month’s episode meet our expectations, or is Good Cooks a one-hit wonder?

By Andrew Andrews

The Good Cooks program takes the form of an a la carte menu.

The Tank is one of our favorite venues for developing and experimental theatre, but we have to acknowledge that their shows are very hit-or-miss when it comes to quality and level of enjoyment. When we decided to drop by in July to check out a monthly sketch series in the style of Saturday Night Live, we admittedly had high hopes. Unlike more general-purpose comedy shows, this one is centered around an obvious theme—food!—and like most New Yorkers, we love food.

Instead of your typical “program,” Good Cooks provides you with a “menu” listing the sequence of bits, as though you could place an order. And sandwiched between more than half-a-dozen sketches is an interview segment with a local food celebrity. Last month, it was Matt Gallira of Chelsea Market’s Big Mozz, and this episode’s guest was Michelle Buster of Forever Cheese. During the interview, the crew delivers an edible treat to the audience: previously we enjoyed fried mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce; this time we sampled three cheeses, fig cake and even a sip of white wine.

“Head Chefs” Deby Xiadani, Alec Ring and Luke Katler host and perform in the show, alongside other “featured cooks” such as Kate Owens, with her quirky staple Cooking with Kathryn. Last month, they had us nearly rolling on the floor laughing at a sketch about the invention of marinara sauce as a plot to stain a rich Italian woman’s expensive white tunic. The highlight of this episode featured a “beef sommelier” who could pair the perfect steak with anythingexcept a McRib® sandwich.

Although some sketches are bound to be funnier than others, Good Cooks comedy is a little like pizza: when it’s good, it’s absolutely delectable, and when it’s bad, it’s still easy to swallow. My only complaint about the production is that Xiadani really needs to develop better interview skills, as the guest segment borderlines on uncomfortable. But you’re always willing to forgive the awkwardness when it’s interrupted by delicious food samples delivered to your seat!

The series returns to The Tank on Thursday, September 26th with a menu that features canned wine, and we’re sad we’re going to miss it due to prior commitments. We’ll be back, however, every chance we get, and I can’t recommend Good Cooks highly enough for their creative recipes, and the $10 cost of admission is easy to digest.


Andrew Andrews attended Good Cooks at The Tank The 99 in Manhattan on Saturday, August 24, 2019 @ 7:00pm to write this review.