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Rouxbe helps you to be a better chef

This excellent recipe video site aims to mix good food with good deeds.

Rouxbe provides both seasoned foodies and clueless cooks with top-notch, how-to recipe videos. Product reviews, chef profiles and other articles are coming soon.

Both the content and images in Rouxbe's ad-free videos are terrific. You can download them for an iPod or at HD-quality to a hard drive. You can rate, bookmark, and print each recipe. Click on an exotic tool or condiment, and Rouxbe explains it and provides the option to make a purchase on Amazon. Nice touches include letting you control the volume separately for narrative instruction and music. The videos aren't personality-driven, unlike so many cooking shows. There are closeup shots of hands chopping and pots boiling instead of chef's faces, also a bit different from the videos at AllRecipes, Gourmandia, or CHOW (owned by CNET). However, Rouxbe does highlight its budding network of professional chefs who provide recipes.

It's too bad that the name Rouxbe, pronounced like the red gem, may be hard to read for non-French speakers or for cooking newbies who don't know what roux is (a flour-and-fat sauce thickener). Rouxbe is in beta testing, and some links are broken, like the one explaining what happens after the 30-day signup time expires. From another page, I learned that 15 percent of each $49 annual subscription goes to the World Food Program, and has helped to serve more than 19,000 children so far. The Canadian company also pays to offset its carbon emissions.

If I were cooking more at this point in life, I'd consider springing for a subscription to the refined Rouxbe. But I'm also on the lookout for a renegade recipe service. I want videos to show what not to do, not only to help me avoid botching the creme brulee, but also to satisfy that same sick sense of voyeurism that makes it fun to watch a bloody game of ice hockey. After watching a chef make the perfect dish, I want to see grills gone wild, and when crawfish attack, and other kitchen disasters in all their gory glory.

Rouxbe's elegant videos cover all steps of a recipe, from dicing to plating.
Rouxbe's elegant videos cover all steps of a recipe, from dicing to plating.