There were not a few times when Anthony Bourdain's studied cranky behavior annoyed me. However, his guest blog entry on Michael Ruhlman's site neatly and rather viciously sums up why my personal viewership of The Food Network has waned over the last few years.
Bourdain is an indignant chef. He is obviously offended by the devolution of the Food Network from a channel that showed people how to cook well to a channel that plays with its food. He is even more offended of the treatment of top-tier chefs on the network.
To be fair to the food network, they seem to be trying hard to balance between good cooking shows and the mass-market pointless shows. Vivian has commented that she is watching more of Emeril now because he's actually migrated to cooking more interesting food and less things to "Bam".
It was a relief to see someone have my reaction to Rachel Ray. Restaurant owners I know who were featured in her various speed-eating eye-rolling pointless-moaning shows have uniformly had less than favorable reviews of her in person.
But even more than the eye rolling and moaning, what has always totally annoyed me about her shows is the stupid pointless mini-plotlines where she walks in and says to people "Hi, what's good here?" And her cameras are all in the shop rolling and it's obvious that people have all signed wavers and told what to say. No one ever says "HOLY CRAP! IT'S THE CHICK FROM THE WHEAT THINS BOX! WHAT DO YOU TAKE TO MAKE YOU SO UNIFORMLY PERKY?!"
I mean really, take a look at these two pictures:
I truly believe that chefs exposed to Rachel Ray's Tasty Travels end up feeling like Stephen Colbert's "black friend."
Anyway, the Food Network has migrated alarmingly to these drive around and eat at ten places in a half hour shows. In a few weeks, my business partner William is coming to my house with his partner Ryan. Vivian and I are teaching them how to cook. They, like many Americans, are realizing that eating out of a box, while convenient, is highly toxic to both body and soul.
It's a shame The Food Network couldn't have been a better reference.
What do I want to see on The Food Network? I want to see a nightly show that rotates the chef. And I want it to be entirely about technique. I don't want them to make a whole meal. I want them to make the perfect Hollandaise Sauce. I want the art of deglazing. I want dough preparation. And I want to see the food being prepared. Close ups!
It's the FOOD Network, after all!
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