What Happened To The Cast Members Of Cook's Country?

When a show runs for as long as "Cook's Country" has, it's natural for fans to become curious as to who the main players are and where they've gone in their careers. Over the course of 16 seasons, "Cook's Country" has become a staple for home cooks learning some key tips to get their meals to look and taste restaurant-quality.

Since Christopher Kimball first created the concept in 2008, the show has seen several presenters and chefs grace its airwaves. Many of the big names are still visible on "Cook's Country" and "America's Test Kitchen," but a few people have headed off to other major projects over the years.

We've taken a look at some of the people you've come to associate with "Cook's Country" on a regular basis and some you might have forgotten ever appeared on the show in the first place. Where are they now and what are they up to these days?

Christopher Kimball left the show in 2016

There's no way to get around the elephant in the room: Christopher Kimball's messy departure from "Cook's Country" in 2016. Kimball served as the host of the show from its inception in 2008, but he was forced out after Season 9, which aired in 2016. It was the latest in a long line of dark and depressing things in Kimball's life, and it would culminate in him getting sued by "America's Test Kitchen" when he created "Milk Street."

"Milk Street" appeared to be a perfect clone of "Cook's Country" and "America's Test Kitchen," and that was the problem. Kimball couldn't claim that he had created something special in starting up "Milk Street." All he had done was repackage "Cook's Country" with a different name on the content.

As might be expected, the executives at "Cook's Country" weren't amused. They filed a lawsuit claiming that Kimball had ripped their ideas off, and it's hard to blame them. In the case of Kimball, "Cook's Country" had reason to worry because he was the founder and held plenty of valuable information about all things related to the kitchen. 

The parties settled in 2019, and Kimball's "Milk Street" remains a visible program to this day. It hasn't lasted as long as "Cook's Country," of course, but seven seasons is nothing to laugh at for a cooking show.

Julia Collin Davison added Julia at Home

Julia Collin Davison has been one of the mainstays of "Cook's Country" from the beginning. That made her a natural choice to take over when Christopher Kimball left "America's Test Kitchen" and "Cook's Country," and she and Bridget Lancaster have thrived in the role. While some fans were reluctant to accept the change, others thought she and Lancaster were better without Kimball's presence overshadowing things. It's helped that she and Lancaster have a natural chemistry on screen, and between them, "Cook's County" has a more relaxed vibe than it did in the Kimball days.

Enough fans liked what they saw from Davison for her to get her own show, "Julia At Home". As you might expect from the title, there are two meanings to it. The show started in December 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone was spending far more time at home. It's continued for the other meaning: Davison's show is all about showing home cooks how to make the things they enjoy.

Davison does still film the entire show at her home kitchen and uses most of her own supplies for "Julia at Home." She's admitted to borrowing items from "America's Test Kitchen" so she can have doubles when preparing her dishes, which might be the best-ever excuse to take things home from the workplace. 

Bridget Lancaster added a podcast

While Julia Collin Davison's extra work came on camera, Bridget Lancaster opted for a microphone. She founded "Proof," an "America's Test Kitchen" podcast that's now in its 16th season. It sounds almost comical to say this now, but at the time, this was an uncertain foray for ATK. The channel's bread and butter was recipes on camera and in its magazine, and going into the stories behind food on a podcast could have taken multiple directions.

Fortunately, having a recognizable host in Lancaster and an interesting premise made the podcast a hit. Even though some ATK fans still missed Kimball, they didn't hold that against Lancaster. "Proof" became a hit for ATK, and it exposed the channel to a new audience. The majority of listeners weren't existing fans of "Cook's Country" or any other ATK property. They came because of Lancaster's knowledge and presentation, which allowed the podcast to thrive.

Lancaster would eventually step back from "Proof," which now features Kevin Pang in the host's chair. Still, given the success of "Proof," calling her the godmother of ATK's podcasting wouldn't be a stretch.

Tucker Shaw went full-time into freelancing

Tucker Shaw was originally the man behind the scenes at "Cook's Country," the man responsible for putting out the recipes into the "Cook's Country" magazine as the editor-in-chief. Even though he wasn't the main face of the show, he still made appearances on camera. He also was responsible for several of the food hacks and secret ingredients that made their way into "Cook's Country," mainly because of his philosophy that you should always follow a recipe exactly the first time because you'll learn something. After you've made it once, Shaw believes you can begin to tinker and find how it works best for you.

These days, Shaw is a full-time freelance writer. He left "Cook's Country" so he would have time to write his latest novel, "When You Call My Name," which he published in 2022. He's now a regular writer for the Bittman Project, another food-centric website.

Toni Tipton-Martin became the new editor-in-chief

When Shaw left "Cook's Country" and the pandemic hit, the show had several different directions it could take. It had already shown it could provide helpful home cooking hacks under Shaw, but with the success of "Proof," the EIC opening made it the perfect time to add someone who could take a deeper dive into the history of food.

Enter Toni Tipton-Martin, who had shown her abilities as a food journalist in Los Angeles before coming to "Cook's Country." During a book tour, she pushed her name to the top of the wish list when she suggested that "Cook's Country" could be a great way to tell the American food story through a modern lens. That remark resonated with her hosts, who began discussions with her about moving into Shaw's vacated post.

These days, Tipton-Martin's influence on "Cook's Country" is clear from the show's more detailed stories behind its recipes. It's still well-known for teaching home cooks how to make the foods they love, but now those meals come with a backstory that gives them a bit of education as well. That's a win-win for everyone.

Natalie Estrada went into wine education

The team at "Cook's Country" puts a lot of thought into its recipes, so it makes sense that someone would go from the show to educating consumers. That's the path of Natalie Estrada, who appeared on the show from June 2018 to Nov. 2019. As a self-employed chef before coming to "Cook's Country," she was used to educating others on different foods. Her specialties include building dietary plans around ketogenic and vegan restrictions, making the program a natural fit.

During her time at "Cook's Country," she focused on recipes that contained 10 ingredients or less, putting emphasis on regional favorites wherever possible. It shouldn't be much of a surprise, then, that she went into a regional culinary educator role after her time at "Cook's Country": wine education at California's Sequoia Grove Vineyards. Basically, she's using her expertise to help customers shop for wine and find the right ones for their personal tastes.

Cooking with alcohol and pairing it with finished dishes takes time and experience, and Sequoia Grove has an extensive history of providing top-quality recipes to its patrons. The vineyard also produces some of the best wines in Napa Valley, earning tasting room honors four times in the past five years. Even though she's no longer appearing on camera, it's clear that Estrada landed on her feet in a job that she understands well.

What's Eating Dan Souza?

One of the things that makes "Cook's Country" so popular is that it hits recipes from every angle. From the history behind a recipe to the hacks that home cooks can use to the science behind grilling your meats, "Cook's Country" doesn't leave any stone unturned when it presents a new recipe to its audience.

Dan Souza is one of the main minds behind the science of popular cooking techniques. He excels at explaining why homemade ice cream needs to contain between 10 to 16% butterfat, how you can use science to make better sandwiches like tuna salad, and the ratios you need to cook rice properly.

And that's the thinking behind his "What's Eating Dan?" series on YouTube. Souza has hosted this series for the past five years and explores everything that fans might want to know about why food tastes the way it does. If you're the kind of cook that's never satisfied with just a recipe, this is a series designed with you in mind. Souza explains the why behind different favorites, which can open doors for cooks to take "Cook's Country" recipes in their own direction. He's also still a regular on the show, and he remains one of the top minds behind several of the test recipes.

Erin McMurrer went behind the scenes

There's a lot that goes into "Cook's Country." Each recipe takes time to test and get right, tweak if necessary, and confirm that home cooks can make it the same way. So much of the show starts with the people behind the scenes who test the recipes, and one of the people on that job is Erin McMurrer. For more than 20 years, she served as the director of the test kitchen for "Cook's Country" and "America's Test Kitchen," and she moved to on-camera in 2017 following the departure of Christopher Kimball.

Being on camera apparently wasn't the right fit for McMurrer. She only appeared on "Cook's Country" for 14 episodes, going back behind the scenes in 2018. Since then, she's made a couple of spot appearances on "America's Test Kitchen," but she hasn't shown up again on "Cook's Country." Given that she's since been promoted to the director of culinary production for "America's Test Kitchen," it seems like she's one of the people who's happier behind the camera than in front of it. With the show still running strong, this appears to be a decision that's worked well for everyone.

Ashley Moore takes on today's special

One of the best ways for home cooks to save money and eat healthier has always been to buy and use produce that's in season. In 2021, "Cook's Country" opted to capitalize on that desire by using Ashley Moore's knowledge of food in a new YouTube series called "Today's Specia.l"

Moore, a food stylist by trade, showed she was the right person for the job by operating behind the scenes at "Cook's Country" for four years before going on camera for the first time in 2017. Even more impressively, she balanced her new role as part of the on-screen talent while going through pregnancy and becoming a new mother.

"Today's Special" took common ingredients that home cooks were likely to have on hand or easily acquire, such as pizza dough or rotisserie chicken and make them the star of their meal. Moore prepared two ways to use the star ingredient of the day in a 10-minute segment, making it easy for home cooks to plan based off her demonstration.

However, "Today's Special" might have run out of steam after a two-year run: no new episodes have been produced for the series since April 2023.

Lan Lam focuses on technique

Watch any how-to style cooking show, and you'll notice a lot of helpful tips for how you prepare your meal. Some might focus on how to prepare staples, such as a roux. Others might include how to use a specific ingredient, such as turbinado sugar, to maximize flavor.

Lan Lam understands these cooking techniques and how they can help home cooks, and she's made that her focus on her YouTube series "Techniquely." Like Erin McMurrer, Lam didn't last long as a test cook on "Cook's Country," only making it through one season. However, that wasn't through any fault of hers, as "America's Test Kitchen" liked her work enough to give her a YouTube series in 2023.

"Techniquely" covers some of the basics for home cooks that make such a difference when you're preparing a meal. In her series, Lam has covered things such as knife work when chopping, using water to brown your meat, and ways to get the most use out of your microwave. Unlike Ashley Moody's "Today's Special," Lam's series is still going strong and producing new episodes.

Jack Bishop became the jack of all trades

When Christopher Kimball left "Cook's Country" Jack Bishop stayed. And he's now the jack of all trades at both "Cook's Country" and "America's Test Kitchen," having a hand in virtually everything that the shows and the magazines produce. Whether it's the main idea of a "Cook's Country" episode or something as simple as what oils to use in a recipe, Bishop is always available to offer his expertise from years of working with food.

Bishop is a self-taught cook who has been with the company since the days when it was just a magazine back in the late 1980s. When the television show launched in 2001, Bishop admitted that he didn't have high expectations for either "Cook's Country" or "America's Test Kitchen," claiming that nobody would watch a bunch of editors talking about their work. 

Clearly, that wasn't one of his better predictions, which he's been quite happy to be wrong about. With more than 600 episodes produced and Bishop present for all of them, it's hard to imagine "Cook's Country" without his presence.

Bryan Roof went on the road

Food is both universal and regional, and one of the best things about travel is exploring the world through regional delights. For example, Colorado has become one of the best places to try Mexican-inspired cuisine, while green Hatch chiles make New Mexico a must-visit for foodies who can handle the heat.

Bryan Roof's YouTube series "On the Road" explores the United States and checks out the foods that make the country worth exploring. Roof goes around the United States to check out a few well-known foods and a few lesser-known regional specialties that are worth learning from and eating for yourself. With "Cook's Country" offering a fuller picture of the story of each recipe than ever, Roof's work offers a detailed backstory that appeals to chefs and travel lovers alike. 

Roof's still a regular on "Cook's Country" but he doesn't appear on the show or on "America's Test Kitchen" as often as he did before "On the Road" premiered. That's understandable, given that it takes a while for Roof to get to his destinations and complete all of his filming. He tends to produce a batch of episodes at a time, depending on where his travels take him.