This might not be very timely or relevant to anything, but I recently had some free time so I decided to park myself in front of the TV for a few hours. The only channel I can really stand anymore is the Travel Channel, but they were airing some nature show so I settled for the Food Network. I have to admit, I was a huge Food Network fan when I was first learning to cook. I even went to a food expo just to meet a few of the hosts. I can’t stand that network anymore. It’s awful. They went from attempting to influence people into learning about food, to creating as many versions of Rachel Ray as possible and catering to house wives. There really isn’t one show I enjoy on there anymore, with the exception of Good Eats and maybe Dinner Impossible. Barefoot Contessa has to be some of the most boring television I have ever seen. Who the hell is that 90 year old guy that comes to over to take pictures of her food? Does that creep anyone out besides me? Why did Food Network set up a show to make it seem as though Ina Garten cooks every day then invites some old dude over for a photogrtaphy session? Sandra Lee only seems to do things that should be common sense. “Take the canned pie filling, put it in the store bought pie crust and bake.” Really? You need a show to tell you that?
The Food Network just seems to be a giant promotion for themselves now. They build up a chef or personality, and then market the shit out of his name. Great business, sure. What annoys me is when a chef or personality catches on with the housewives at home. Usually their show begins on Sundays at 2:30 in the afternoon. After obtaining popularity that personality gets their show moved to a weekday schedule along with a cookbook, cookware, commercials, and finally the show on the road. Every popular chef on the Food Network has had a series where they take their show on the road. Rachel Ray went and found $40 minute meals(and tipped very poorly, I must say), Alton Brown feasted on asphalt, Giada traveled and wore even more shirts to reveal her cleavage, the Neely’s went wherever they went and made even more sexual references to each other, Guy had Diners, Drive Inns, and Dives, and of course Bobby Flay has “Throwdown” with Bobby Flay.
I HATE “Throwdown” with Bobby Flay.
My bias against Bobby Flay is long term resentment-filled grudge of seeing him on an episode of Iron Chef Japan where at the end of the battle he jumped up on his cutting board with his shoes on in celebration and was dressed down by Morimoto for being a shithead that didn’t properly respect the sacred nature of his tools and profession as chef. Yo Morimoto, you and me : looking eye to eye. So during Iron Chef America, I endlessly roll my eyes at Bobby Flay and overlay Alton Brown’s commentary with my own shouts at the television.
“Ooh let me create a tamale with that and … ummm put a mango salsa on that.”
“Let me guess. Put a chipotle ragu or some fucksauce on top of that”
“Oh shit, let me guess, you’re going to put some avocado cilantro aioli on that. Again. ”
Haven’t seen “Throwdown”? For those of you who may not know, Food Network’s “Throwdown” pits Bobby boy against an everyday person who just happens to be very good at making one particular item or dish. The “opponent” originally believes he or she is going to be the subject of a Food Network special, only to have Iron Chef Asswad interupt the taping and challenge them to a cookoff. Bobby will have a week to plan out his version of the opponent’s specialty. More often times then not he just makes a bastardized version of his competitor’s item, adding typical Flay Holy Trinity of blue corn meal, chilis of some sort, and a grill. Is mango chutney and sun dried tomato sauce really the future of American cuisine? Really, Bobby? You’re going to add green chilies to this recipe? No shit. The only highlight of the show is the fact that a majority of the time Bobby gets his ass handed to him by his challenger. Can you imagine whoever pitched this idea to the network? Knowing Bobby Flay, it was probably him. The entire premise of the show is set around reminding everyone how great Bobby Flay is.
Bobby Flay: “Ok guys, I have a great idea for my next show. I’m going to do some research, find local chefs who take pride in a recipe that has been either in their family for decades or that has made them famous, then I’m going to travel there, make a completely unauthentic version of that recipe, and possibly have people tell them that my version is superior. Oh, and during the majority of the shows we’re going to mess the recipe up while creating it in the test kitchen and tell the audience that I created the recipe last night with my wife. Did I mention that I’m an egomaniac?”
Need further proof that Bobby Flay is a complete asshole? Read this article about Ben Sargent from the Clam Chowder episode. Apparently things are exactly how they look on TV. Here’s my favorite exerpt:
“He’s got all his soux chefs,” says Sargent. “Two women working under him in their black chef’s coats with the little Food Network logo on them. They looked so intimidating. His stocks were prepared in containers. He comes with 100 brand new glistening Japanese prep knives. He had his automatic chowder mixer. I’m sitting there, mixing raw potatoes, dealing with our lack of high flame.”
Don’t get me wrong, I respect the hell out of Bobby Flay’s talent and what he’s accomplished. I just think he should find more creative ways to broadcast this talent. Ways that don’t involve you proving how great of a chef you are. The Food Network used to be about teaching people the joy of cooking and all things food, not a non-stop worship of celebrity chefs.
For further Bobby Flay bashing, be sure to check out “The Staggering Dickerty of Bobby Flay”. It’s an oldie but a definite goodie.