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America’s Test Kitchen is the most-watched instructional cooking program on television, and it attracts more viewers than any program on Food Network or the Cooking Channel.* The show is filmed in a 2,500-square-foot test kitchen just outside Boston and is the workday home of more than 50 test cooks, food scientists, and product testers. Each episode features recipes that have been tested 20, 30, and sometimes 50 times or more until they are foolproof and guaranteed to work for you the first time. A cast of test cooks familiar to millions of home cooks solve everyday cooking problems, test equipment so you never have to waste money on gadgets that don’t work, and taste supermarket ingredients to save you time at the store. It’s a commonsense, practical approach that you won’t find on other cooking shows.


The lawsuit disputes Kimball’s claim that Milk Street is conceptually different from Cook’s Illustrated (which the suit says has more than 1 million paid subscribers) because of its focus on global recipes and techniques, rather than Northern European tradition. “Since its inception, ATK has written about recipes and techniques from around the world, especially in Cook’s Illustrated,” the suit says. “Indeed, while at ATK, Kimball openly compared Northern European cooking (as a melting pot cuisine) with the ‘rest of the world,’ which uses more spices and less heat — the very concept he now touts as the foundation of Milk Street.” Additionally, it states, Kimball “promotes Milk Street as a cosmopolitan reboot of America’s Test Kitchen.”


The show is affiliated with Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines, and the magazines' test kitchen facility at the Innovation and Design Building in Boston, Massachusetts is used as a set for the show. The America's Test Kitchen brand has also produced books, radio shows, and an online database for cooking recipes and tips.


“Mr. Kimball spent the last year of his employment with America’s Test Kitchen creating a new venture which literally and conceptually ripped off America’s Test Kitchen,” the lawsuit says. (While “America’s Test Kitchen” is the brand’s flagship public television series, it’s also the name of the multimedia corporation that includes its cookbook operations, online cooking school, Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, a now-defunct radio show, and a variety of other assets.)


“To quickly break into the marketplace with a viable and recognizable company,” it alleges, “Mr. Kimball stole confidential information from America’s Test Kitchen, solicited America’s Test Kitchen employees and outside relationships and misappropriated corporate opportunities belonging to America’s Test Kitchen.”


America's Test Kitchen features several recurring cast members, although not every cast member appears in each episode. Julia Collin Davison (identified on-screen before season 7 as "Julia Collin"), Bridget Lancaster, Kay Rentschler, Rebecca "Becky" Hays, Sandra Wu, Yvonne Ruperti, J. Kenji Alt (now J. Kenji Lopez-Alt), Erika Bruce, Bryan Roof and Dan Souza are the chefs who explain and prepare the recipes in each episode as Kimball watches and comments. Yvonne Ruperti and J. Kenji Lopez-Alt departed the company in 2011 and 2009 respectively. Usually only one or two of the chefs will appear in an episode. Collin-Davison, Lancaster and Rentschler appeared as regular cast members on season 1. Since, Rentschler moved to the positions of Culinary Producer and Executive Chef by season 2 and appeared in only one episode that season, before leaving the show by Season 3. Hays joined the permanent cast in season 5, Bruce, Wu, and Ruperti each appear for a single season (seasons 5, 6, and 8, respectively), and Alt appears in seasons 7 and 8. All are prominent recipe testers or editors in Cook's Illustrated. Beginning in season 5, Cook’s Illustrated staff chefs Hays, Bruce, Jeremy Sauer, and Matthew Card appeared in segments answering common viewer mail questions. Hays, Bruce, and Sauer joined the on-camera cast for season 6; Hays moved into credited cast member status beginning in season 7. Roof and Souza were added to the regular cast starting season 15.


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America's Test Kitchen will not sell, rent, or disclose your email address to third parties unless otherwise notified. Your email address is required to identify you for free access to content on the site. You will also receive free newsletters and notification of America's Test Kitchen specials.


X How We Use Your Email Address America's Test Kitchen will not sell, rent, or disclose your email address to third parties unless otherwise notified. Your email address is required to identify you for free access to content on the site. You will also receive free newsletters and notification of America's Test Kitchen specials.


A typical episode of the show consists primarily of two or three recipes that are consistent with the theme of the episode. Each recipe is presented by either Julia Collin Davison or Bridget Lancaster, who explain common problems that can occur when cooking the recipe or ordering it at a restaurant. Periodically throughout the episode, other segments are inserted, usually consisting of two or more of the following:


“No one is really happy we’re here. Let me start with that. I’m not the only one who has known Chris and worked with Chris for a long time, but we are here because of Chris’s actions,” said Bishop, who also frequently appeared with Kimball in “America’s Test Kitchen” and “Cook’s Country” segments. “It is what it is.”


In January, a new 26-episode season of “America’s Test Kitchen” (which the suit says is public television’s most-watched cooking show) will become available to stations, which have flexibility to air according to their own schedules. It will be the first one to not include Kimball as host; he’s being replaced by a duo of longtime on-air personalities, Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster. A similar transition will occur in the next season of “Cook’s Country,” which will be available starting in September 2017.


Scott Lashway of the Boston office of firm Holland & Knight, the attorney representing Kimball and his co-defendants, declined to comment. But in an interview with The Post last month about the new venture, Kimball said Milk Street is inspired by global cuisine that is less reliant on heat and time and more so on spices and levels of flavor. “It’s just a whole new way of thinking about cooking,” Kimball said. “In my prior iteration, which lasted 35 years, there would be no starting point outside of the kitchen. . . . With Milk Street, I think, we’re always starting someplace outside of Milk Street. We’re trying to tell the story to give a little bit of context. We’re trying to travel to actually go learn something.”