Doorknock dinners

I believe that “Doorknock Dinners” had either ended production or was close to that point by the time I first got access to Food Network. But I got to see some reruns of the show before it disappeared completely. It was a fun show, and I wish Food Network — or its soon-to-be sister, once Fine Living turns into The Cooking Channel later this year — would bring it back, if only as a series of specials.

The show was hosted by Australian Gordon Elliott, who is now busier as a producer than an on-air personality. The premise was that Elliott and a professional restaurant chef would drop into a residential neighborhood and go door-to-door until they found a family willing to participate. Then, the restaurant chef would have to prepare and serve a gourmet meal using only ingredients, cookware and appliances from the home kitchen. I think the chef was sometimes allowed to bring his or her own knives, but nothing else. Everything else had to come from on-site. Meanwhile, while waiting for dinner to be served, Elliott clowned around with the homeowners, teased them (in good fun) about messy closets or cheesy bric-brac, hoped the kids would say something humorously embarrassing, and so on. It was lots of fun.

At one point, Elliott realized that the show had never done any episodes in the South, and a mutual friend recommended that he work with a gregarious restaurateur from Savannah, Paula Deen. That was what launched Deen’s TV career, and Gordon Elliott has been an executive producer of her various series on Food Network.

“Doorknock Dinners” is ripe for a revival, don’t you think?