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Food Network "Food Detectives"

Bunson Jul 27, 2008 11:16 PM


  1. bkhuna Aug 6, 2008 05:18 PM

    I like Ted Allen but didn't care for this show.

    Oh well, as long as there are American Idol fans, there will be a Food Network....

    1. coney with everything Aug 6, 2008 04:41 AM

      I must say I feel bad for Ted Allen. He is at his best in a more unscripted environment. His delivery in this show was very stilted.

      He's likable--they should have him do a Queer Eye lite sort of thing with general guidance of what to do and say, but no scripting. Let Ted be Ted!

      1 Reply
      1. re: coney with everything
        Scortch Aug 6, 2008 07:51 AM

        I agree. Perhaps, FN was a bit reticent to attempt to capitalize on that style of show with him, but the idea of going into someone's home and weeding out the useless gadgets, bad ingredients and streamlining a kitchen and a pantry selection to fit a lifestyle would be a really interesting show to watch. They could touch a bit on basic techniques (ala Queer Eye's "shaving with the grain"), kitchen must-have's, and bang for the buck food choices.

        Yeah, I'd watch Ted Allen in THAT!

      2. goodhealthgourmet Aug 5, 2008 06:55 AM

        review in today's NY Times...


        my favorite part [the final 2 sentences]:

        "Those who complain that the Food Network’s best days are in the not-too-recent past — you know who you are, and you’re blogging right this second — will only feel more disillusioned after watching “Food Detectives.” If they’re acolytes of David Rosengarten and his former show “Taste,” they may be positively depressed."

        4 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          mhoffman Aug 5, 2008 07:21 AM

          I was pretty young at the time, but I remember watching "Taste." His show on eggs, and especially this parpadelle with runny egg, shaved truffles, and parmigiano (and nothing else but salt, pepper, and olive oil) really captured my imagination.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
            applehome Aug 5, 2008 12:12 PM

            Perhaps that is the best contrast - Rosengarten v. Allen. On the one hand, you have an unmistakable passion, a real desire to share great foods and great discoveries. On the other hand, you have... tap dancing. It's a real nutshell presentation of what FN used to be and what it has become since Scripps took over.

            1. re: applehome
              goodhealthgourmet Aug 5, 2008 06:42 PM

              i miss rosengarten's show! that was one of the first things to really turn me on to cooking & gourmet food.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                MaxCaviar Aug 28, 2008 02:06 PM

                me tooooooo. he really got you INTO what he was doing. i really wish they would show re-runs of Taste, it was one of the best shows yet, and it was so simple without goofy graphics and junior high school rhetoric. and there was never a need to blame a cheap set, his was as cheap as they came, but he still made it work perfectly.

          2. chef chicklet Jul 31, 2008 01:54 PM

            Well there was nothing new to be discovered. I was so embarassed for Ted Allen. I like him on IC, but this show... well, let's just say that I found my eyes doing that Lisa Garza squinting thing, only not out of happiness...

            2 Replies
            1. re: chef chicklet
              alkapal Aug 2, 2008 09:13 AM

              chef, those eyes of yours are squinting from the sheer agony and utter pain of watching the show!

              and i believe that after watching the show, miss squinty mcbangs (phaedrus' moniker for lisa on tnfns) would be reading braille.....

              1. re: alkapal
                Phaedrus Aug 2, 2008 01:06 PM

                LOL. I would love to take credit for that moniker, but I fear I am not as original as alkapal has me pegged.

            2. c
              chem cook Jul 31, 2008 12:16 PM

              Honestly, the worst Food Network show I've ever seen. I just watched the finale of Next Food Network Star, and he did nowhere near as well as the finalists. Clearly awkward, from asking the questions to trying to look interested during the explanation.

              Is this guy even qualified to have a show about science? Do his degrees in journalism and psychology make him an expert on microbiology or even simple chemistry? During the only, well, almost scientific part, they told him the candy (with the hard outer shell) didn't absorb as much bacteria as the wet shrimp or the highly porous french fry, and Ted was surprised! "So bacteria don't like candy like we do, huh?" WOW! And FN gave him a show!

              As a scientist/engineer/teacher, this was a mockery of the scientific method. To begin with, they start by saying, "We're gonna use REAL SCIENCE". Uhh, did you decide it was better than fake science? None of their methods were conclusive.

              Wow, someone stuck their head in the fridge; let's see how long it takes for him to realize it smells bad. No measurements of ppm of one given compound? No initial and final concentrations? No checking the same substances in different temperatures (say, fridge versus freezer)? They did nothings truly scientific; there was no evidence that was objective, non-refutable, and/or numerical.

              And the only time they bring in some sort of measurements, there are no conclusions. Their unitless graph of bacteria levels showed us that every time they ran the "experiment", the shrimp and fry had more junk on it. But they never showed us a comparison of surfaces. Good idea to have multiple tests and a control, but in the end we never saw a comparison of each individual substance's control versus tests. Argh!

              Their presentation was so insulting to the average Food Network viewer. "The food releases 'organic compounds'". Okay, that doesn't narrow down what is being released. He talks about negative calories, but for as low level this show is, they don't even explain what calories are (isn't this a science show), or why there are so few in celery.

              For such a great concept, FN should have got a real scientist chef. Otherwise, why bother making such a show. On The Next Food Network Star, they said the audience has to believe you're an authority in food. Ted Allen just got bumped down to guy who knows what good food tastes like, but doesn't really know anything beyond that. Please cancel this show ASAP, and leave the whole idea to it's old show name, "Good Eats" with Alton Brown.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chem cook
                Scortch Jul 31, 2008 02:03 PM

                From all that I've seen about Allen, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. I think that, as bad is the show is (and it-is-BAD!) I sincerely believe that Ted Allen is the guy who signed onto what sounded like a truly interesting idea for a science-based food show, ala "What Einstein Told His Cook". Once he was contractually obligated to do the damn thing, the marvelous heads at FN sized it up, popped it into their reformatting mouth, chewed it up, swallowed and sometime thereafter produced the turd we know and don't seem to love at all.

                As for Allen not being a scientist, so what? As long as he presents the material well, accurately and entertainingly, I'm happy. Of course, this isn't the case, so I'm not. Would I prefer an real food scientist? Sure. I'd love to see some new faces, especially from the science field, but if an old one can do the job honestly, I'll deal.

                If you look at the FN schedule, there are only two other eps listed, "Double Dipping" and "Brain Freeze", before they hit repeats of our friend "5-Second Rule". I bet this goes the way of the dodo real fast and Ted Allen and his agent get a bit more detailed on their future contract signings...

                1. re: chem cook
                  chef chicklet Jul 31, 2008 03:08 PM

                  You say and describe what I was thinking when this show was on. It was insulting and so childish. Maybe it was meant for a younger audience, like 6 and 7 year olds that have an interest in food and Science.

                  I agree that a real Chef/Scientist would be so much better to watch. Heck they can pull half their material just reading chowhound.
                  Such as:
                  "Why are my potatoes still uncooked?"
                  "I have mold on my jam, will I die if I eat it?" (ok sort of like that anyway..."

                2. y
                  yankeefan Jul 30, 2008 12:01 PM

                  I was hoping to like the show and gave it a chance, WOW, was it awful. Agree with the points made here, seemed to be made for children.

                  Still a huge fan of Alton Brown and his shows, but I hope his paths dont start to go this way.

                  Did any of us think the science would prove that indeed: Food was clean after 4 seconds on the floor, but not after 6 seconds.

                  1. m
                    mhoffman Jul 30, 2008 09:42 AM

                    Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but the (to me) most flagrantly unscientific part of the show was when they measured the stink in the fridge by timing how long the dude could stick his head in there. I just don't even know where to start with that one.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: mhoffman
                      Scortch Jul 30, 2008 10:36 AM

                      Yeah, again, the "science" portion of this show has much like the "cooking" portion of Semi-Homemade...

                      1. re: Scortch
                        Phaedrus Jul 30, 2008 11:10 AM

                        We all know that Tablescaping should be the focus of a show on the FOOD Network.

                        1. re: Phaedrus
                          mhoffman Jul 30, 2008 11:16 AM

                          If only there were an FN show that would delve superficially into the science of tablescapes...

                          1. re: mhoffman
                            sommrluv Jul 30, 2008 11:55 AM

                            Don't you get it?

                            They're camping him up, hoping to gay him down a little.

                            I seriously think that's their goal. While Bravo becomes OutTv's cousin, FN is obviously becoming conservative city.

                            I'm not quite sure how I feel about that yet.

                            But it was terribly obvious to me...while I didn't think the show was that bad...it wasn't his personality..and that's honestly what I thought...they told him to not be himself. Flame me if you want..who else do they have other than Alton and the booze guy in the closet? Aren't they together??

                            1. re: sommrluv
                              chef chicklet Jul 31, 2008 01:56 PM

                              What? Way over my head. Who is the booze guy in the closet?

                              1. re: chef chicklet
                                sommrluv Jul 31, 2008 05:25 PM

                                I honestly couldn't remember Kevins Name when I was typing..

                                He does that show, where he drinks...the thirsty something.

                                I wasn't trying to be vague, lol. I just have no memory.

                                1. re: sommrluv
                                  Phaedrus Jul 31, 2008 06:05 PM

                                  Kevin Brosch, or something like that. I think Alton is married. Of course that doesn't mean much.

                                  1. re: sommrluv
                                    chef chicklet Jul 31, 2008 08:18 PM

                                    oh yea, now I recall that news.. he he, well he is just so..Forgetable, as Gail would say!

                                2. re: sommrluv
                                  rozz01 Jul 31, 2008 08:04 PM

                                  They could always put him on at 0730 in the morning... outta sight

                            2. re: Scortch
                              HarryK Jul 30, 2008 12:21 PM

                              LMAO! That's I needed that!

                            3. re: mhoffman
                              MaxCaviar Aug 28, 2008 01:58 PM

                              You must have missed the part where they calibrated the test subject's nose to an the international smell standard. It was completely legit.

                              1. re: MaxCaviar
                                mhoffman Aug 28, 2008 04:18 PM

                                Yeah. I guess I did.

                            4. NYCkaren Jul 30, 2008 09:21 AM

                              I think it WAS that bad. As someone who always liked Ted Allen, I'm disappointed.

                              1. m
                                mumblety Jul 29, 2008 09:45 PM

                                Aww, it wasn't THAT bad. Ted Allen is endearing and it was a "fun" show. Not really informative in that it's stuff you didn't already know, but it wasn't godawful. I can't believe I'm saying it but there it is...

                                1. h
                                  HarryK Jul 29, 2008 08:31 PM

                                  I'm guessing this show exists for a singular reason: They hope to get cross-over viewers who normally don't watch FN or cooking shows. It's intended to be a "base broadener" IMHO.

                                  1. m
                                    Mellicita Jul 29, 2008 06:34 PM

                                    I hated this show.

                                    Did I really need to be told that it takes less than 5 seconds for bacteria or dirt to get on food??

                                    Its too bad, Ted Allan on Iron Chef seemed to be knowledeable about food..... I wonder why he stooped to this?

                                    I definitely wont watch again.

                                    1. applehome Jul 29, 2008 01:05 PM

                                      The most irritating thing is their calling the show scientific. At best, this show is a bunch of facts or psuedo-facts presented by actors. It is about as scientific as Alton Brown. When these folks start using meaningful samples and applying double-blind isolation techniques, they can start talking science. At least Alton will reference meaningful studies - this show just pretended that their actors acting, actually proved something. It may be intended for a juvenile audience, but I wouldn't let my kids watch it - it would teach them the wrong things about what science is and isn't.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: applehome
                                        Phaedrus Jul 29, 2008 01:09 PM

                                        Plus Alton has Shirley Corriher on some times, a known entity. Who is the schmuck in the lab coat?

                                      2. farmersdaughter Jul 28, 2008 02:22 PM

                                        Just a bad show. Cheap production values, Ted appeared uncomfortable the entire time. Painful to watch and not worthwhile for anyone who has even the slightest clue about how things work. Were any of the answers to any of these things a surprise to anyone? Or am I just a complete nerd?

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: farmersdaughter
                                          iluvtennis Jul 28, 2008 02:44 PM

                                          No, lol. I mean it really reminded me of some videos we watched in jr high science classes.

                                          1. re: iluvtennis
                                            Phaedrus Jul 28, 2008 03:23 PM

                                            I think that was the intention, to get that ethos of kitschiness like that of badly made high school informational videos. I think they succeeded in that regard, but they failed in holding my attention.

                                          2. re: farmersdaughter
                                            sugarbuzz Jul 28, 2008 03:22 PM

                                            Exactly..who doesn't know that milk puts out the fire!? OOH..I just ate a habanero pepper..give me something carbonated..quick! Come on!

                                            And the people who were the test subjects?..really bad acting. I doubt they really ate a habanero salsa. Someone hit it on the head with the Nickelodean thing..I was waiting for the losers who picked the wrong beverage to get slimed.
                                            Ted is so much better than this show..I wonder how he got suckered into doing it?

                                            1. re: sugarbuzz
                                              Scortch Jul 28, 2008 05:59 PM

                                              "Ted is so much better than this show..I wonder how he got suckered into doing it?"

                                              It's amazing what a network can do/say to entice someone. Once that contract is signed, they often have a whole lotta leeway to change things for better or, as I think is the case with this, for worse. Unless he's signed for a time-based contract (foolish for him) I would be very, very surprised if we saw Ted hosting another show for FN after this one bombs.

                                              1. re: Scortch
                                                yamalam Jul 31, 2008 01:57 PM

                                                I think he was feeling the pressure to do something, anything. You can only be introduced as author of The Food You Want To Eat so many times, especially when sitting on panels with people like Tom Colicchio and Eric Ripert. He shoulda held out for something better though.

                                          3. b
                                            Bunson Jul 28, 2008 12:37 PM

                                            Ted Allen is outstanding as a judge/commentator/blogger, but this show is just bad. It's a bastardization of Mythbusters and Good Eats, and the subject matter is not very interesting. The questions they covered in the show could be answered in 30 seconds doing a search on Google or Yahoo Answers search.

                                            1. Kajikit Jul 28, 2008 12:00 PM

                                              I actually enjoyed this show... nothing super-groundbreaking or really new about it, but entertaining.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Kajikit
                                                dchan Jul 28, 2008 12:49 PM

                                                I've only seen Ted Allen as a judge on Iron Chef America, and he struck me as someone who knew food. Too bad the first episode of this show came out as such complete trash.

                                                Where to start? I expected this to be an informative show, like Good Eats usually is. But besides the best way to quench spicy foods test and parts of the other tests, nothing came close to explaining anything.

                                                More than anything, this show insulted the viewer's intelligence. The most egregious example was when Ted commented that he was surprised that the food lab's supposedly clean floors were dirtier than a sidewalk that dogs walked over. And instead of the food tech explaining why, the food tech basically says, "well, yeah." Ugh. I'm not a super scientist, but I'm pretty sure it's more plausible for a dry outdoor surface that is exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun will be cleaner than an enclosed indoor laboratory that's exposed to a bunch of nasty stuff.

                                                The "find out after these messages" tactics don't help either. Neither does Ted's rather ditzy demeanor that is nothing like his demeanor on Iron Chef. Maybe the show will get better later on, but it doesn't look good now.

                                              2. Miss Needle Jul 28, 2008 07:32 AM

                                                Only watched the spicy food and a bit of the refrigerator part. Really painful to watch. Love Ted Allen, but wasn't happy with how they tweaked him up a bit. Show was all about the campiness of Good Eats that I don't like.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: Miss Needle
                                                  smtucker Jul 28, 2008 07:51 AM

                                                  It was like watching Nickelodean. I expected slime to come from the ceiling at any moment. Couldn't watch it.

                                                  1. re: smtucker
                                                    SharaMcG Jul 28, 2008 07:58 AM

                                                    Oh my gosh, you're right! I couldn't take watching it for more than a few minutes, it was that annoying. And I like Ted Allen, too. For me it's yet another dumb food trivia show (not as bad as the awful Unwrapped, but similar). It has no relevence for me. I'll occasionally watch Road Tasted or Diners Drive-Ins and Dives because I might, conceivably, see a product I might want or resto I might want to visit. But Food Dectectives? What's the point? If I drop something on the floor, I don't count to five. I toss it out!

                                                    1. re: SharaMcG
                                                      iluvtennis Jul 28, 2008 09:19 AM

                                                      I felt exactly the same way. I, too, really like Ted Allen, but this show is not right for him. I was too
                                                      uncomfortable to watch it for more than about 10 minutes...and what kind of budget do they have for it? It looked soooo cheap.

                                                    2. re: smtucker
                                                      scubadoo97 Aug 5, 2008 02:11 PM

                                                      Man you hit the nail on the head.

                                                    3. re: Miss Needle
                                                      Phaedrus Jul 28, 2008 08:12 AM

                                                      I think it was a mix of all the bad bits that I don't like of Unwrapped and Bill Nye the science guy.

                                                      They treat science as if it were a mysterious and mythological thing.

                                                      I hated the fact that they made the food techs look like idiots, i.e. mug for the camera. They used the whole tease thing way too often.

                                                      I was ready to scream:" Tell us the damned answers before wasting any more of my ^(*^(^)&*%$ time!"

                                                      And then managed to make one of the more pleasant people on television, Ted Allen, sound like a moron, or Marc Summers, whichever you prefer.

                                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                                        Scortch Jul 28, 2008 09:59 AM

                                                        I am in whole-hearted agreement all around. The mugging, the in-your-face-ness, the pandering, the gaudy, cheap set and photography... And all in the name of "science"? Hardly a truly scientific way of examining the spicy food remedies (see the just-this-week repeated MythBusters episode for the same damn topic, done properly:


                                                        - oh and they've done the "5-second rule" too).

                                                        Ted Allen - who I respect and like- was on the verge of being Pee-Wee Hermanized...

                                                        Painful all around.

                                                        1. re: Scortch
                                                          HarryK Jul 28, 2008 11:34 AM

                                                          As a big MythBusters fan .. yep, you nailed it. Half the show was done previously by MB and done better and more scientifically and (even though the MythBusters team can have fun and ham things up) done without any of the corny gags.

                                                          1. re: HarryK
                                                            jgg13 Jul 29, 2008 01:59 PM

                                                            I still haven't seen the Food Detectives (It is on my DVR, haven't had a chance) but if this show is basically Mythbusters but less serious then I don't think I'll like it. I quit watching MB years ago because they started getting more into "the presentation" and less into the nitty gritty.

                                                            1. re: HarryK
                                                              Scortch Aug 28, 2008 08:19 AM

                                                              Just took a peek to see if this show had actually warranted any further episodes beyond the initial 3. There's two more up and coming, "Sleepy Turkey" (sure to be filled with the "Detectives" mugging and yawning...) and "Poppy Seed Drug Test"... yet another bit of territory very, VERY well previously covered by Mythbusters.

                                                              Talk about a lack of originality!

                                                          2. re: Phaedrus
                                                            HarryK Jul 28, 2008 11:32 AM

                                                            Hmm. Was it a Marc Summers production, I wonder???

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