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Chefography

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I have actually been enjoying this show on the food network very much. It has been interesting to learn something about the cooks/celebrites backgrounds.I have especially enjoyed Sandra Lee's and Nigelia's episodes-as well as BobbyFlay's and Tyler's.Is anyone else watching and enjoying these shows?.

  1. I watched Nigella's and enjoyed it. Really, Sandra Lee's? Why did you like it??

    5 Replies
    1. re: twiggles

      Yeah, Sandra Lee's? The show confirmed how much I hate her show. I couldn't believe it when she said that while she was in culinary school, all she kept thinking was,,,"how can I make this with packaged ingredients?" I think she meant,,,"how can I market myself to appeal to the masses with crap food?" Sorry, her whole approach to cooking is a nightmare!

      1. re: ChefGirl412

        And her "culinary school" was two days of a two week course at Cordon Bleu in Canada (Ottawa?) that she quit because scraping beef tendons was "too hard". She's admitted she DOESN'T like to cook - so why would Food Network say she could have a show and do anything she wants "as long as she cooks a little bit?"

        1. re: LindaWhit

          "why would Food Network say she could have a show and do anything she wants "as long as she cooks a little bit?"

          Probably because she gets good ratings . . . .

          1. re: Seattle Rose

            Probably because she gets good ratings . . . .
            ~~~~~~~~~~~
            Which just boggles the mind.

      2. re: twiggles

        I thought Sandra Lee's bio was amazing even though I think her cooking show is abominable. Her life is a lesson in resilience -- given her screwed-up family history, she could have easily turned out to be a crack whore and no one would have blamed her for it. But no, she's made herself into an incredibly successful business woman with legions of adoring fans. I still hate her show but perhaps I can better appreciate that a girl needs to take a few short-cuts every now and then.

      3. I watched Mario Batalli's last night and really enjoyed it. He is truly a likable guy, orange crocs and all.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ArikaDawn

          I saw the Mario Chefography last night and enjoyed it. I didn't know he spent time living in Spain as a teen. It really explains some of his influences.

          BTW, I can't believe how thin Mario was on his first appearances on FN. He has doubled in size.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. You gotta laugh at young Mario's photos. You can tell he was a happy guy from a very young age. And I had no idea Giada was Dino DeLaurentis' granddaughter!

            1. I was actually very impressed with Sandra's Chefography too. I really didn't get her before I watched it but I have immense respect for someone who went through what she had to go through.

              44 Replies
              1. re: Ladycale

                What did she go through? i'm very curious!

                1. re: twiggles

                  Basically, her parents split up early, she was raised by a single mother who seemed like she couldn't really cope, and then SL was bounced around between her mother and various grandparents throughout her childhood and adolescence. She also had a lot of responsibility for raising her younger siblings -- then, after her mother got another divorce, she lost contact with some of her half-siblings whom she had helped raise. Pretty difficult family stuff. She's a go-getter, and definitely took control of her own destiny through being imaginative and working hard. Not so much the "sorority girl" she appears to be.

                  OK -- for the record -- in my house, we have ALWAYS laughed it up and mocked her mercilessly. We are NOT Semi-Ho fans in my house -- far, far from it. However, my girlfriend and I did feel a *twinge* of guilt after seeing the episode -- her show is horrendous, but there's a little more substance to this woman that it initially seems...

                  1. re: Neely_Ohara

                    Plus, she's does A TON of charity work, and gives back to the community... always a bonus in my book.

                    I have *really* enjoyed the chefographies and kept meaning to start a thread on them. I watched all the ones last season, and I've watched all of them this season except for Tyler's. It really has made me have respect for ALL of them, not just the ones I've liked in the past. It's amazing how interesting some of their lives have been. I would love to sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and talk with Nigella- she has an amazing outlook on life.

                    1. re: Neely_Ohara

                      I finally understood where the tablescapes and arty stuff came from. People told me that she got the show through her husband but seems to me she did this totally on her own (heck is she even married?). It's sad that people would start rumors like that. I respect someone who can make something out of nothing and that is what she did.

                      Contrast this with Nigella--oh geez a big whahfest. Okay she had some people in her life die on her. So did we all. Gimme a break, she's had a golden life and we have to listen to how she's suffered? I'll Sandra Lee over this whiny chick any day.

                      1. re: choctastic

                        She did get the show through her now-ex-husband's connections. She's definitely a go-getter and has been very successful, but she certainly doesn't know how to cook or develop recipes. She's just a brand name.

                        I like the Chefography shows -- definitely a good addition to Food Netowrk's programming.

                        1. re: choctastic

                          Perhaps a bit of a read elsewhere about SL and the truth-stretching might be informative:

                          http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            wow those are some scary people on that forum

                            1. re: choctastic

                              Just callin' it like they sees it! :-) But the fact that her background info is different in many, many stories, you have to wonder what in the Chefography was actually true.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                So she is not only a horrendous "chef" with a two-day "professional training" course under her belt; but she's also "creative" when it comes to her self branding/packaging? Why does the Food Network need to scrape the bottom of the barrel so much? There should be minimun standards for hosts. I don't give a fig about how much she suffered when she was a kid, what should count is her ability as a cook.

                                1. re: maria_nyc

                                  what should count is her ability as a cook.
                                  ~~~~~~~~
                                  Funny how that doesn't enter the picture, huh?

                                  1. re: maria_nyc

                                    damn right. sandra lee is a great success story, but i guess that so is karl rove. she is one of the many reasons, and long with rachael ray and co, that the food network has completely gone downhill. they have this crazy idea that making good food should be something you brush aside to get on with the more important things life, like, you know, decorating...

                                    1. re: maria_nyc

                                      Maria, you are right on...there have got to be better qualified cooks/chefs out there to give viewers some creative, wholesome, food concepts other than packaged, unhealthy, alcoholic crap. There I said it...CRAP. This woman does NOT represent what American cooks want. I'm convinced. Ohhhh, Julia Child, I miss you so!!!

                              2. re: choctastic

                                I don't know her personally, however, from what I can see on screen, Nigella has never struck me as whiney, despite having lost her mother, sister and husband - all way too soon. Far from whiney.

                                1. re: pescatarian

                                  Nigella's passion for food has brought her where she is today, not because she had a famous father. You could say the same for Giada, with her wealthy, famous filmmaking family. Losing three extremely close family members to cancer is not a mere 'whahfest'. And her fantastic outlook on life is very inspiring.

                                  1. re: twiggles

                                    agreed. her authenticity on so many levels is evident. boy some really miss the essence of Nigella. she is the eptiome of anti-whiney my view!

                                2. re: choctastic

                                  Nigella never strikes me as whiney but death is death, does it hurt less if you've had the "golden life"? She's an interesting cook. I'd rather eat her food than some of the 30 min RR concoctions.

                                  1. re: moymoy

                                    Alright alright. Fine she's not whiney. Even the rich and successful have the right to cry in front of the camera once in a while.

                                    1. re: choctastic

                                      Choctastic -- get on board! You're supposed to diss Sandra Lee, not Nigella :)

                                  2. re: choctastic

                                    I just watched the Nigella one today, and boy, did you and I have different takes choctastic. I can't think of a single moment in the hour in which she appeared to be whiny by any stretch of the imagination.

                                  3. re: Neely_Ohara

                                    According to her Chefography, at the age of 12 her single mom became severely bedridden to the point where Sandra basically became "mom' having to do the cooking, shopping, and budgeting for her three younger siblings. I can't imagine having that responsibility at such a young age.

                                    My husband and I are also ones that have made fun of her show in the past, but her philosophy as explained in her bio seems very reasonable - that not everyone has the time or budget to do things completely from scratch and that you can get good results if you take shortcuts. I'll have to take another look at her show.

                                    1. re: Ladycale

                                      I'm all for shortcuts. But when a "chef" makes 4-cheese pasta and includes Cheez Whiz as one of the four cheeses, I have to question her knowledge, skills and sanity.

                                      1. re: JennS

                                        Hey, in the south it's hard to find a cheesey recipe that does NOT include whiz or velveeta. I may not like it, but it is definitely an American product.

                                        1. re: mojoeater

                                          should have left it as 3 cheese pasta then

                                      2. re: Ladycale

                                        I was certainly impressed by the show and what she went through - and the fact that she started up her own business designing easy/cheap ways to make curtains etc. - put some of her siblings through college, in addition to the other things mentioned. I've always watched her shows for the amusement factor and don't think I'll every make her recipes, but if the choice is having true slop on the table, and making somewhat of an effort to make it look nice etc., I guess I'm all for that. And, there is truth in her advertising - it is semi-homemade - she doesn't pretend to be something else.

                                        1. re: Ladycale

                                          let's start a spam coupon club!

                                        2. re: Neely_Ohara

                                          Neely - I couldn't agree more. I too felt guilty after seeing that episode. Her show holds "train-wreck" appeal for me but now I must admit that I have a new-found respect for her.

                                          1. re: Neely_Ohara

                                            I don't know...doesn't seem so difficult to me. Talk to homeless kids, or kids who watch people in their neighborhoods get shot everyday...and they go to school and work..and they live in a house without heat and they are lucky to eat once a day. That seems difficult to me.

                                            1. re: melly

                                              You know i was thinking exactly the same thing. I had a difficult childhood as many do. I didn't see her upbringing all that tragic. That's no excuse for her unhealthy meals and showing women an unrealistic view to meal planning & entertaining. Why in the world, under any circumstances would a person change their kitchen curtains to match the meal? The time she saves using prepacked foods she spends matching her kitchen accessories. Absolutely absurd.

                                              1. re: PastaFace123

                                                Not only that, but my oh my she has an air of self-entitlement doesn't she? I thought the quote, "Any one who gives a bad review about Semi-Homemade is really giving a bad review about all the women out there just trying to make it."

                                                Ya know what? I don't have hours and hours to spend every day on cooking. I work a full time job. And still, I manage to get a healthy, homemade dinner on the table just about every night. So, spare me.

                                                1. re: QueenB

                                                  There are a LOT of people out there that have little to no culinary interest, feel daunted by the idea of cooking a whole meal from scratch (whether due to time constraints, fear of the kitchen, etc.), or have never been exposed to varied cuisine. Sandra Lee touts her show, and food, as semi-homemade - nothing more.

                                                  Would I ever make anything from her show? Probably not, as my culinary skills have progressed beyond what she is presenting. However, she attempts to reach out to a segment of the population whose diet consists predominantly of McDonald's, Dominos, and the like and encourages these people to attempt a meal at home. I frankly can't see why any of you would have disdain for this concept. We all had to start somewhere!

                                                  1. re: jrhsfcm

                                                    I don't have a problem with Sandra Lee if at least the food looks halfway edible and the store-bought items she uses are worthwhile shortcuts. Most of her creations are just downright ghastly (Kwanzaa cake anybody?). Comparatively speaking, Rachel Ray's show is a much better program for beginners.

                                                    1. re: dty

                                                      Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Rachel Ray's a bit too perky for me from a personality standpoint (Sandra is almost there, too), and her culinary vernacular annoys me beyond belief: "once around the pan," "EVOO," etc. Just personal taste... though I, again, admire what she tries to do and the message she's sending.

                                                    2. re: jrhsfcm

                                                      I believe her show is wonderful in concept. However, her execution is extremely poor. Not only that, but I have disdain because she promotes seasoning packets and pre-packaged foods as "healthy".
                                                      She does make a few things that I actually would make and eat (most of them consisting of fresh veggies...she made a grilled asparagus and a lemon broccoli that weren't bad). But the fact that she promotes her food as being healthy is completely misleading.
                                                      I guess I'm picky, because I believe that someone on TV who is teaching me to cook should at least know how to properly pronounce the ingredients they are working with.
                                                      It's really the Food Networks fault. They've put out all this "entertainment", replacing shows that could actually teach you something, in favor for personalities.
                                                      As much as I dislike RR's personality, I believe she does the Semi-Homemade thing better than SL. She uses fresher ingredients and her meals are easy and can be considered mostly healthy.

                                                      1. re: jrhsfcm

                                                        I frankly can't see why any of you would have disdain for this concept. We all had to start somewhere!
                                                        ~~~~~~~
                                                        Her "concept" is supposedly time-saving, cost-saving and healthy. None of those three happens with what she presents as food on her show. And all she's doing is one giant commercial for prepared foods - not a very healthy way of eating. I agree with dty - Rachael Ray's better than SL.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Okay, here it is...I am an interested viewer of the FN,,,it took years for it to come to my hometown. Sandra Lee is a fabrication of what a cook/chef should be. I feel she wastes my time, having to switch channels while her stupid show comes on. I don't care if the ratings support her,,,I'm here to say, she's a disgrace to anyone who truly cares about cooking a healthy meal for their family. As someone else pointed out...her Kwansa Cake is enough to throw her off the air. She's less than mediocracy. She INSULTS those of us (professional and otherwise) who adore cooking!!! I can't state this enough,,,the TIME she spends on prepackaged food preparation,,,she WASTES on matching kitchen accessories and ridiculous tablescapes. This woman has set women back 30 years -- "oh look at this beautiful tablescape I created, for $$ and it only took me 3 days to find everything to match." UGH !!!!!!!! Hate her concept !!!!!!

                                                          1. re: ChefGirl412

                                                            Well, at least she elicits some strong emotions! lol

                                                            I never said I thought she was a Culinary Messiah; I did, however, say that she has a concept and pitches it to a select demographic. I'm sorry (I say that empathetically, not apologetically) that you dislike her so. I do think your response is just, well, a bit over the top. She in no way "...has set women back 30 years." Lest ye forgot, Martha Stewart, the consumate domestic diva, created tablescapes (and everything else under the sun, for that matter) which were far more elaborate, labor intensive, and expensive. I vividly remember her episode on champagnes: to paraphrase, "This is the only champagne I'll drink," in reference to a bottle of vintage Krug Grande Cuvee. Yes, Martha, because we all can afford Krug. :)

                                                            Frankly, no one forces you to watch her. I'd be willing to wager there are far more annoying people on the Food Network - take the Dean boys, for instance. At least Lil' Miss Sandra Lee cooks something. haha I still also say that what she's peddling is a lot better than what most of the American populous lives on daily: even with her 30% prepackaged concept, it's still a lot better than stuffing your face with most of the items on a fast food or chain restaurant menu. And at least she's promoting people to sit down to dinner with their families - hardly Food Network's AntiChrist.

                                                            1. re: jrhsfcm

                                                              Oh Please - Sandra Lee AND Martha Stewart set too high of standards for the average women - perfectionism is not a virture. Sorry, I totally disagree with you. I don't watch, and it wastes my time to have to change the channel between two shows that are enjoyable.

                                                              1. re: ChefGirl412

                                                                Whoever said that only women watch their shows and that they're marketing only to women? Sorry, honey, but that's a pretty sexist and antiquated thought. I'm a good ol' 26 year gay male, I'm willing to throw down with any "domestic goddess," and I'm d@mn proud of it.

                                                                If you're trying to live your life based off of a television program I think there might be more at issue here. If you're not interested in these types of show, simply don't watch them. There are plenty of people who want to watch them, learn from them, and might even change a negative lifestyle habit because of them. Besides, no one ever said you had to subscribe to all of a person's ideas in order to watch (and benefit from) a show!

                                                                Btw, I think you might want to abandon your television set if you think that clicking from one channel to another to avoid watching a show you don't like is "a waste of your time." There's a lot of crap on TV in general. Heck, you might be able to make one of Sandra Lee's tablescapes with all the time you would save. :)

                                                                1. re: jrhsfcm

                                                                  You're right, I stand corrected,,, even guys can recognize a good waste of resources. You go girlfriend! SNAP

                                                        2. re: jrhsfcm

                                                          Couldn't agree more with you , jrhsfcm.
                                                          This show is meant for people who don't wan't / do not have the hours to spend in their kitchen but at the same time do not like eating out.
                                                          However, Sandra Lee should definitely STOP the entertaining/ decorating business on food channel or else get a show like Martha Stewart instead of a cooking show.

                                                          1. re: indiancook

                                                            Just because someone begins to cook doesn't mean they have to cook crap. SL's cooking does not even reach the level of mediocrity; she's simply bad. I would even say that the show's intended audience isn't the novices; it's aimed at people who so lack imagination in cooking that they don't aspire to the level beyond canned soup. Most Fandras can probably come up with the kind of recipes she comes up with herself.

                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                              That's "russipies" to you, Phaedrus. Say it the Shamdra slurred way, or not at all. :-)

                                                              And I'm going to have to disagree with jrhsfcm - she's not teaching anyone. She's NOT promoting healthy foods, as Queen B says below. It's cheaper and easier to buy the actual ingredients that use the heavily sodium- and preservative-laden packets of who-knows-what. If those people actually picked up the phone and ordered a takeout pizza, they'd be eating a helluva lot better than some of the slop she's putting out there!

                                                        3. re: QueenB

                                                          "Any one who gives a bad review about Semi-Homemade is really giving a bad review about all the women out there just trying to make it."

                                                          That sounds like a very manipulative remark.

                                                          1. re: maria_nyc

                                                            Very astute. She's the queen of manipulation which is part of how she's gotten so far in her career.