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The Food Network? Yesterday and today  

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 
Strickly my opinion ""
When the Food Network started, I thought it was quite good. It aquainted the general public with concepts and procedures that pro chefs use. I feel however it has changed , and for the worst.
I put it on and watch Guy eating away a big sandwich while standing near or over a prep table in a diner, totaly against any health code in any state. Flay who gets up and stands on tables, and issues a challenge to a woman that makes dim sum for a living where self admits he never has made any.. Critics that judge the taste of chefs offerings based strickly on their likes and dislikes.
Some joker on Sunday mornings that has no idea about what he is talking about but has a good personality.
So many blatent examples of cross contamination., and although not on the food channel there is Gordon who makes the public think we are all a bunch of screaming idiots,. Why dont they have 3 days of Real Pros on there and 4 days of the other, like Sandra Lee (but she is attractive) Rachel (she is cute) and the Sunday morning guy and Oh yea the couple who have a bar b q place down south but attempt other things by trial and error. I hope the public does not think we run kitchen nightmare type places and this is the way we all act. :chef:
post #2 of 85
I agree and I havent turned it on in probably 6 months. I really have no interest in Rachel Ray, or Guy Fieri or any of the others on there. It is nothing like it was years ago and I just have no interest in it.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
post #3 of 85
Oh my. Open can - out comes worms...

Besides all the abominations you've mentioned, can we just chat for a moment about the sexualization of the FN? Now, I'm no prude but I can't, for the life of me, understand how I'm supposed to watch Giada's knife skills with an onion when her bigger-than-life boobies are filling the screen. How on earth can anyone tolerate that caricature of Southern hospitality, Paula Deen, an her constant dirty talk with every male that comes to her set? Watching Nigella Lawson is truly like watching soft porn. Even Rachel Ray has gotten in on the act with cleavage aplenty squeezed into her 30 minute meals. All these new female chefs (with the exception of Anne Burrel, who has her own issues) are appealing to whom? Other women? I'm a female and I can promise that Geena Neeley and her cutesy delivery and fliratious behavior with her husband makes me want to put my whetstone through the TV screen. Bobby Flay and Emerl are almost a relief from the onslaught of "home cooks" who have somehow landed a career on TV as culinary authorities. At least they paid their dues.

If you look at the bios for some of these folks (and I'm ashamed to admit I've done this), most have little or no restaurant experience. Some, like Ellie Krieger, were nutritionists and some have "written" about food. Those that have industry experience, like Dean and Ina Garten, owned their own specialty shops turning out home style cooking in exclusive communities. Hardly what I would call paying one's dues. At least Ina sticks to the classics and her recipes work, despite the fact that I'm convinced the woman is on high doses of Valium.

It's impossible to watch this channel any longer. While I still tune in for Iron Chef and Chopped, everything else is just idiotic and insulting. The network may have started with the best of intentions, but their goal now seems to be an appeal to the celebrity hungry culture and the Hooters-loving masses. I do find it interesting that FN gives no opportunity on their website for viewer feedback. When they ran their last Next Food Network Star progam, they allowed for some viewer email and most of it was quite negative - people complaining about how bawdy, raunchy, and unprofessional the shows were. Guess they don't read their email.
post #4 of 85
I find it interesting, but that is the way t.v. has gone in the last 15 years. I have been watching kitchen nightmares online..Its pretty interesting how some of the people get themselves in these jams with no experience in the food service business.
post #5 of 85
The invention of the DVR and the downfall of nearly every specialty network kinda balance out in my opinion. About 90% of the shows on food network now are crap, but I try to learn what I can. Even Rachel Ray occasionally cooks up an interesting flavor combination or preparation, plus as you mentioned, she is pretty cute. The shows on my DVR are Good Eats and Chopped. I like Good Eats, A.B. always has an interesting sciency take on food that I appreciate greatly even if I already know what he's saying, and my girlfriend loves Chopped. Frankly, I think it's a mediocre show, but I always get enjoyment out of thinking what I would make with the mystery ingredients. It's like three exercises of the culinary mind spanned over an hour. Then I get to see what they made. It's somewhat interesting, though I could deal without all the overdramatics. The show could be condensed into five minutes and be much better, but meh. DVR for the win.

post #6 of 85
yes. yes it is. As a mater of fact, I could gladly drift away into sweet slumber listening to her read passages of Escoffier. -But that's besides the point.

Why aren't there more shows like "After Hours with Daniel Boulud" ? THAT is the kind of cooking show cooks want to see. If you haven't seen it, go check it out on Hulu - Watch your favorites. Anytime. For free.

I liked the original "Malto Mario". real cooking, minimal editing, and the only thing that was sexy was the panchetta.
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
post #7 of 85
In Canada we used to get Chef At Large with Chef Michael Smith. LOVED that program. But they cancelled in favour of Chef At Home and another program which I believe was also cancelled called Chef Abroad. I HATE Chef At Home and Chef Abroad.

So I no longer watch Food Network...unless I catch an episode of Ace of Cakes. I really like Duff Goldman..he makes me laugh.
post #8 of 85
"Oh my. Open can - out comes worms..." Thanks for the chuckle trk!!!:lol:

I've made a promise to limit the time my foot spends in my mouth for a while so......with that said.......:blush:

I hate to be a basher with things like this but like most of you I find it lacking in....well....everything. There are a couple shows that are watched during a blue moon just for the chuckle factor but I have to say that it's not even a close shadow of it's former self. It's funny that television in general has taken on a sort of "Running Man" persona. Yet, given the popularity of many of the shows out there today, (FN and he rest) they're obviously someones cup of tea..... just not mine. I do miss some of the old shows.
post #9 of 85
I just found the "After Hours..." program on Hulu the other day and was THRILLED to be watching a great food show, with accomplished chefs, creating and sharing great meals. And, it WAS entertaining! It is so unnecessary, IMHO, to reduce food shows to such smarmy depths just to appeal to an allegedly larger audience. I watch food shows for inspiration, not titillation. I don't want to hear about the Neely's kids, Rachel's boyfriend, or Ina's FABULOUS Hampton companions. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence or knowledge would feel insulted while watching Tyler Florence refer to his carrots as "these guys" - he is worst offender in this cavalcade of clowns who, for some unknown reason, want to personify food with cutesy termonology like their hosting Sesame Street. I want to scream at the TV that I am a 50 year old woman and I do not refer to my food as "guys" or "gals".
post #10 of 85
wow... i cannot believe there is another person who felt this way...(http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/255649-post106.html) i am annoyed with giada... her breasts are the main focus of the show and the food is the supporting cast... it is ridiculous... (on a side not her over use of italian accent on certain items irritates me to no end, but that is a whole 'nother topic) imo she is only on there bc of her family connections and her looks.

it seems the food network has gone the way of reality tv to compete with the rest of the tv markets... everything is average joe, or cook easy/simply/quickly, i can only think of two shows on food network that actually involve restaurant chefs who focus on food... iron chef, and secrets of a restaurant chef... everytime i put it on food network i quickly turn it off... if i see guy fiery eat another disgusting sandwich im going to vomit.
post #11 of 85
if any pro is going to watch food network and is expectiong to find something for them they are crazy. these shows are for the house wife, i still get pissed when people ooohhh and ahhhhh at emril using butter and salt. My sister went to go see his show and at the end he says "thanks for supporting the cause"???? what!! is he a freedom fighter for salt and butter?
the only sjows pro's should be watching on food network is iron chef, good eats and the challanges. the challanges and iron chef is how pro's work in their kitchen and good eats is a little more on the science end of it but i get a ton of info out of every show. if the dvd's werent so expensive i would buy the whole series
post #12 of 85
Such a well timed thread.

I returned yesterday from a fabulous fortnight at folly beach sc. Hubby and boy slept late, and i gave into a masochismic hour of total cheese on the food channel...I cant believe emeril. OMG The man was applauded for adding butter. In fact every stage was woo-hoo'd. The audience constantly thriled with the guy's cullinary majesty.

I thought UK food channel was lame, but after a rainy day of food channel tv we were gobsmacked. It was so bad we had to keep watching.

Paula Deen Y'ALL...I was sick in my mouth

The heelies ...I think my marraige is in trouble

We get the barefoot contessa at home and she scaares me. You've just got to hear that constant fake laugh...Reminds me of a horror movie i saw in the 80's with sweet yet manic wifie and a couple of unfortunate kids.

Giada... we get that too...I don't

Rachel Ray ... she's the tops. She could be rubbish and i'd still watch her. She must be doing wonders for the sales of evoo... Anyway i bought her magazine to read on the way back to Edinburgh cos i did actually learn stuff from her programme. Unlike &^% Emeril unless you count the best way to use "paperico or make a nice tampenade"

We did do other stuff too, but food channel will be a holiday memory
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #13 of 85


just wanted to say... If ive offended anyone re. their food channel heroes, then i'm sorry...Just my opinion
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #14 of 85
youre forgetting that iron chef is almost entirely staged, when a nights service isnt... not trying to take away from these iron chefs. theyre all great at what they do, but the show to is borderline watchable.
post #15 of 85
Most of those TV Chef show are for the general public who have no clue what goes on in a restaurant and have limited cooking skills. The Pro Chef should feel insulted. Next time you go to the grocery store check out whats in most of the carts, processed foods, frozen prepared meal, can this and that, its not to say that there isn't any good home cooks but they are definitely in the minority. So the public( a term used in pr to segragate a group to be marketed to) that watch those shows have a very low food IQ. These people need simple and entertaining show. Even Alton Brown show Good Eat which i think is ok is just a few recipes with Food Science thrown in. So next time you get that " I can't believe he/she is doing something you don't like" tune into the porn channel no I mean the NBA play offs.
post #16 of 85
I am not a pro. chef, so I'm not allowed over here, but I couldn't resist.
The Food Network is for entertainment only. Just like the survival shows on The Discovery Channel. If you watch Survivorman and then go out and try to live off pine bark and grasshoppers for a week, you're crazy.
The Food Network is mainly reality tv now anyway. The only shows I'll watch are Good Eats, because I find it funny and somewhat informative and Chopped, because I think it's entertaining. You won't learn much about cooking from watching a vegan chef trying to make gummy bears and squid into a meal...
If I were a professional chef I wouldn't be offended by TFN. It's for fun.

And I agree about Giada. Her skinny *** is just on tv because she's hot. And I hate Dean's fake accent. I watched her show once and it took me a while to figure out that "all" means "oil" and I live in the South!!

I don't think a pro should be watching ANY cooking show looking for working knowledge. I mean, Good Eats will teach you some cool facts you might not have known, but most of the fare offered on the Network is just entertainment for normal folks who like looking at inedible, motorized cakes.
post #17 of 85
I don't think any of us in the industry actually watch the Food Network for "working knowledge". We just like food and anything that has to do with food interests us. We're looking for entertainment too!

I am a professional chef and I am not offended by the Food Network. It's geared to a different audience than me. It's just that in times past there used to be some great cooking shows that could be enjoyed by the home cook and the pro chef alike. I think those of us in the industry sort of mourn for those shows.

There also used to be some other shows that while not geared to the professional chef WERE entertaining. Then they removed them all. My favourite time of the morning used to be 2 am when I was getting up to go into my bakery for a 4 am start...I'd spend my first hour of the day with the Food Network Challenge. And if I was really lucky I'd catch an episode of The F Word. Now it's all Guy's Big Bite, Christine Cushing, and 30 Minute Meals. No thanks.

I think I'm probably seriously in the minority here but I CANNOT STAND Alton Brown. He gets on my nerves big time. To each his own, I guess.
post #18 of 85
Meh.... for the last 11 years we had no cable, so the TV was pretty much for ornamentation and videos. So after Christmas this year we finally gave in to the kids and got cable. For the first week, I watched nothing. One evening my son had the TV on to food channel, he called me over because there was a "cooking show" on. Ah, so that's what Racheal Ray looks like. After 30 seconds I walked a way again. I've never bothered to look at the box since, and it's almost May now.....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #19 of 85
Maybe some folks have long term memory loss but alas, there was a time when the food network had much to offer for EVERYONE. In my opinion, as a pro, if you can learn from or take inspiration from a cook book, a class, or a youtube video, you can certainly learn from TV. I'm not elititist and never felt bound to PBS only (until now) because back in the day, FN had such awesome and educational programs as Chocolate with Jaques Torres, Bakers Dozen with Marion Cunningham, East Meets West with Ming Tsai, Rick Bayless, Mario Batali, Gale Gand (who will be a guest here on Cheftalk) and of course, Julia. When I was first starting out as a pro in the early 90's, I DID take inspiration from some of these shows and they were targeting an audience of foodies. While I agree that those days are long gone, I think it's a bit pretentious to assert that pro's are beyond learning from cooking shows. I don't know everything about Mexican cooking or Asian cooking - and according to St. Bourdain (who was ALSO on Food Network), one could live an entire lifetime and still continue to learn about these cuisines. Why on earth would it be more acceptable to learn from a cookbook or a class than a TV program?

Ideally, one would hope to learn on the job, under the tutelage of a great chef. But if you're cooking in a Mediteranean style restaurant, who is going to show you how to make great tamales? I suppose you could spend another ten years on the job, hoping for a chance to work in a great authentic Mexican restaurant where you might be taught these cuisines. Or, you could teach yourself.

Food TV has gone the way of MTV, IMO. Once, the latter network was devoted to music only and appealed to a predominantly rock audience (remember Michael Jackson couldn't get his video on there at first). Today, the only time you'll see a music video on MTV is 8am or 2am. The rest of the time is devoted to highlighting the general debauchery of tatooed and pierced bottom feeders and attention whores.

Rant over...for now...
post #20 of 85
TRK nailed it I think. I think that most channels that used to be educational have gone the way of mind-numbing pointless bull, personally. I mean, does anyone remember when you used to be able to learn something from The Discovery Channel or The Learning Channel. Now all you can find on there are reality shows about idiotic dog trainers who hardly know which end of the animal to feed and documentaries about religious wing-nuts with twenty plus children. I think we just have to keep in mind the nature of your "average" TV viewer. Most of them are vapid morons who would rather light their own heads aflame than learn something, so reality shows about midgets and cooking shows about 7 foot tall flying super-hero cakes it is.
post #21 of 85
anyone here remember graham kerr??? i remember watching him as a kid... he was funny and educational. also yen can cook...
post #22 of 85
I just want to see that Guy dude's sunglasses fall into a deep fryer, preferably whilst still attached to his head
post #23 of 85
I remember my mom following along with Julia Child on TV, she was making some sort of duck a l'orange? My mom couldn't keep up with the show, I learned many new words that day.......
Fluctuat nec mergitur
Fluctuat nec mergitur
post #24 of 85
I miss the Cajun Cook from the good ol days of PBS. Him and Yan Can Cook would be on back to back when i was a kid. Would watch him with my dad. Every recipe had wine in it and half the bottle would go in the recipe and the other half in to the Cajun Cook.:D
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
post #25 of 85
I miss "Justin" too. He had a great recipe for BBQ crab using smoked salt.
He was really fun to watch and if you ever tried his recipes, some were
pretty darn good. He reminded me of my Grandfather...who was from the
outer banks in the carolinas....
post #26 of 85
i hate him so much. he is so annoying and it aggrevates me to watch him on tv. i immediately change the channel... hes such a bro. worst person.
post #27 of 85
Thanks to all for this thread. It's given me a hearty laugh. From criticism of Giada's cleavage to Nigella's "soft porn", to the general dislike of Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee, I've laughed and laughed. How in heaven's name can anyone be so upset, make that incensed, over TV food programming designed for a mass audience?

What do you expect, Dr. Robert Jarvik, to replace Hugh Laurie in House so physicians are happier with the show? Maybe Alan Dershowitz should have replaced William Shattner as Denny Crane in Boston Legal ???

It's TV, nothing more. If, as a professional, you're looking to The Food Network for continuing education, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

Most TVs have functioning on-off switches and channel changing capability. If Giada and others offend you, watch something else. Frankly, I saw more cleavage on my morning walk today than I would in a few years of viewing Giada.
post #28 of 85
Problem is, it's billed as "reality TV" and most schmucks believe it.

Many of them are young and think nothing of spending 40 grand on a cooking school so they can be like "their Hero" on TV. And guessy-guessy who has to bring such people back to reality in MY kitchen?
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #29 of 85
A wee bit condescending, no?

So, I guess you've never read any chef autobiographies or articles where chefs discuss their earliest influences? Never heard any of them say that seeing Julia Child or Jacques Pepin on TV inflamed their passion for cooking? And perhaps you are unaware that prior to any food programming on TV, cooking was on a downward trajectory and heading quickly toward the prolifieration of Swanson Frozen Dinners into every American home? Yes, I'm generalizing, but anyone who has ever read a book about the history of food in our country in the last 50 years can't rationally deny the impact that food programming on TV has had.

With all that said, the Food Network did have credibility when it first started. My previous post lists the many successful chefs that had, at one time, either their own show or a presence on the network. In response to your statement:
let me just say that yes, I can still learn from such folks as Lidia Bastianich, Rick Bayless, Jacques Pepin, and GALE GAND (a recent guest here on ChefTalk). All these successful chefs did time on the Food Network. I suppose when I've published several cookbooks, owned a string of my own restaurants, and hosted my own food show, I can say confidently that there is nothing I can learn from successful chefs who appear on TV.
post #30 of 85
No, not at all. The Food Network is not educational TV. You want educational TV, sample some of the food programming on PBS. Nothing in the entertainment media stays the same, ever.

In your opinion, The Food Network has regressed. Others find it more entertaining. Obviously, the general public has moved TFN's programming in another direction; away from education and directed to entertainment. If it no longer suits your needs, watch something else. I think I get 97 channels with my cable TV package and I often can find nothing I care to watch, so I just shut it off.
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