food on tvI grew up watching 6 hours of cooking shows every Saturday on PBS, without those shows, I never would have gotten into the biz. The TV Food Network, has some good shows and good personalities, BUT, the biggest problem I see is that a lot of people are sort of disillusioned by the idea that chefs have become celebrities. I went to the CIA when this started to become a phenomenon and a lot of students thought they were going to graduate and be chefs the next day and be paid 6-figure salaries per year. Within the first year of graduating school, at least 5 of my classmates had left the industry and decided to do something else, after flushing nearly $30,000 to pay for their education.
In regards to Emeril, I liked him a lot more before he became a tv personality, but his show is entertaining. I don't see what the big deal is with Rachel Ray except that Oprah Winfrey loves her (which is enough for most Americans, it seems.) I have to say I really like Paula Deen a lot, she offers the coziest atmosphere for a cooking show, which is what I love most about cooking anyway. My absolute favorite chef on tv is Anthony Bourdain (he's on some other station), the man is such a great mixture of culinarian and poet; I love his gritty and brutally honest point of view. The only tv personality I'm not too crazy about is Bobby Flay. To me he is more an entertainer than he is a chef, which from a professional point of view, is somewhat annoying. But hey, I can't deny his success!
I don't know, its a bit more difficult for me to judge the Food Network fairly since I work in the industry and have either met some of these chefs or known someone who knew them. Of course, anyone who works in our industry knows its a very small world and that these chefs sometimes have a very different reputation in the real world than they do on tv!