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Great comments by Bourdain on various TV food shows

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  1. i just came on to post the same thing. very interesting. i liked it.

    1. He must have just taken his meds. He seemed much more courteous than I had thought he would be.

      Another Sandra Lee reference to the Kwanza cake. Yikes!!! The stuff of FTV legend.


      27 Replies
      1. re: Davwud

        Another Sandra Lee reference to the Kwanza cake. Yikes!!! The stuff of FTV legend.

        Yep, and the video is still on their Web site. with this line underneath it: “Semi-Homemade makes a most amazingly beautiful cake for Kwanza.“ Proof Food Network has no shame showing the rape of a perfectly innocent angel food cake like that.

        1. re: pisang goreng

          okay. i've never seen this one so i guess i will have to look... she creeps me out though. :)

          1. re: AMFM

            I read a great blog about it. It points out all the things wrong with the cake. Also the Star of David cake. The star of David on the Star of David cake has 7 points. It's unbelievable.


            1. re: Davwud

              I don't have cable, never seen most of these shows, but I just HAD to check out that Kwanzaa cake after reading these comment. OMG, words simply do not suffice. Why on earth does this woman hate food so? And why would a network give her any exposure whatsoever? Holy truffled foie gras, Batman! This is unreal!

              Davwud, what is your blog? I'd love to read what you had to say. Oh, and btw, marshmallows in a Jewish holiday cake? Marshmallows are one of those food items that are almost always not available in a kosher version (except around Passover or in Israel). WTF?

              1. re: rockycat

                My blog is davwudsfoodcourt.blogspot.com

                I didn't write about it. I read someone elses blog.


          2. re: pisang goreng

            Sooo. Much like passing a car wreck, I had to go look, it is just in my nature. Now I have lost my appetite for dinner. The Kwanzaa Cake video is the saddest, lowest, most pathetic piece of video I think I have ever seen. It was just so very sad to watch, on so many levels. (Question...Aren't her "acorns" actually Cornnuts? I haven't seen those for years - or maybe I just haven't looked for them.)

            The Bourdain comments, however, were on the mark and as usual, quite humorous. He is such my favorite. And yes, the prozac seems to be kicking in... he was quite generous with the kind words. I'm actually a fan when he is at his very snarkiest best...

            1. re: pisang goreng

              AUGGGHHH! I just saw the video for the first time!


              This recipe is not "semi-homemade", it's complete crap! Awfulness on every level! Store-bought frosting, store-bought pie filling? Was the cake store-bought as well? The cake looks like elephant dung! And what's up with those 6" Halloween-colored tapers? And that random collection of choclate chips and nuts that look like road gravel? There's no art, no attractive proportion to any of this at all!

              Now I want to heal the wound in my soul by curling up with Nigella Lawson on a sunny beach.

              Come to think of it, I want to curl up with Nigella Lawson anyway.

                1. re: KenWritez

                  LOL! Ahhhh, I always get a kick out of people getting their first glimpse of the infamous Kwanzaa Cake!

                  The horror expressed by everyone brings me back to the not-so-long-ago time when I first viewed the monstrosity that Dr. Shamdra begat. Memmm-ries, and good times.......

                  I'm really surprised that villagers haven't stormed the Food Network Castle to drag the hideous blue mutant from its lair to light those inch-wide tapers to bring the misbegotten beast to a melted, destroyed mess...ANYTHING to put us all out of our misery and prevent Dr. Shamdra from ever subjecting us to such deformed grotesqueness!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    OMG, I've never seen that before. The horror! The horror! That hideous pie filling, the corn-nuts, the phallic candle display. Where to begin? This woman should be shot for perpetrating this nausea-fest on the American pubic. For shame!!!

                    1. re: roxlet

                      So you're saying you didn't like it??


                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      If Sandra Lee's mission is to show the harried home cook shortcuts to providing good food for her family in a short time, I have no problem with that. Lots of FN cooks do that. But the Kwanzaa cake isn't good food, it's a candle-lit turd on a cake plate, looking like it was thrown together at the last second.

                      "Sandra, thirty seconds until tape rolls!"
                      "Omigod, I've timed the rundown, we're four minutes short!"
                      "Sh*t! I'll tell her. Sandra, we're four minutes short, can you whip up something holiday-related to fill time?"
                      "You guys are killing me! Yeah, I'll do a Kwanzaa cake or something. Tell Sanjay to prep an angel food cake, I need some canned frosting and pie filling, and I need Kwanzaa colored candles."

                      There is nothing good about that cake, other than it is edible. I think even she realizes what a POS it is, as her manner during the prep is grim and terse. (For her, anyway.) So why does she let FN offer the recipe and video? Or does she have no say in that?

                      1. re: KenWritez

                        Based on reviews I've read, it's not edible either.


                        1. re: Davwud

                          Not surprising. There's not one thing on that plate that's edible. Well, except for maybe the store bought angel cake (prior to violation) followed by the candles. And then the 'acorns' (what is with her calling corn nuts 'acorns'?).

                          Moreover, that doesn't even fit the fantasy of 'semi' homemade. The only thing 'homey' about that is the vengeful nature in which it had to have been imagined, Only a grudge (or complete madness) could influence those choices.

                          Also, I agree with Ken about shortcuts, but where are the shortcuts in buying crap and mixing it with other crap? I mean, frosting alone can be the easiest thing if one likes buttercream. But now I'm looking for realism and sensibility in these choices, when I've just seen what she does. Next think you know, I'll be fact-checking Heroes.

                          1. re: Lizard

                            I showed it to Mrs. Sippi last night and she got a kick out of it. We then went to You Tube and looked up a bunch of stuff. It's brutal. Creamy Roquefort potato chips were dreadful and her Christmas tree with the wine glasses and stuff hanging from it.
                            Some one added comments like on Pop Up Video that were really good.

                            We didn't watch it but there was one entitled "Sandra Lee Annihilates Asian Food" and another "Sandra Lee Rapes Thanksgiving."

                            We were almost in tears.


                            1. re: Davwud

                              I like the one where she cooks on the beach. Best cleavage I've seen in awhile.

                              1. re: billieboy

                                I'll have to look that one up.


                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        I just watched the video. Didn't think it could be as bad as everyone's saying, but it was. I've never seen her before. She is soooo blond and pretty skinny and very suburban. And that kitchen! She obviously doesn't like food and is only pretending that the cake tastes good. She probably doesn't like Kwanzaa. For all I know she doesn't like black people or any people. Did you see the way she stuck the knife into the cake before stabbing in the candles? She seemed positively hostile. Wow.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Oh, but the best part is reading the comments of people who actually *made* the thing!

                          1. re: momjamin

                            Which stuns me worse than a stun gun ever could. That people actually attempted to MAKE this horrific mess just boggles the mind!

                      3. re: pisang goreng

                        AB is correct; that cake is a war crime on TV. Disgusting, ugly *and* inappropriate; a triple threat.

                      4. re: Davwud

                        I thought the same thing about his courtesy; he almost seemed unable to say something negative, at least without backing it up with a positive spin.

                        1. re: Davwud

                          Oh the horror! I just watched the Kwanzaa cake video. That's just gross. What does any of it have to do with Kwanzaa.

                          Did anyone else notice she's not speaking in her usual weird sing-song voice in this video? That usually turns me off as much as her cooking.

                          1. re: LJBTampa

                            I am not familiar with the correct symbolism for Kwanza, but that cake looks like a large turd with peanuts. The official description of the episode on the web page is: "Semi-Homemade makes a most amazingly beautiful cake for Kwanza."

                            However, it's a cult favorite. It's our version of Rocky Horror Picture Show, and everyone gets to come as their favorite TABLE SCAPE.

                            1. re: LJBTampa

                              Thank you for pointing out the delivery!

                              Nnext, I'm going to show you MY llllllucious lllllllatest cocktail- you're going to llllllove it."

                              Sounds like a singsongy bossy schoolteacher crossed with somebody of my acquaintance that I simply cannot stand, maybe that's part of the aversion. I was also taught by nuns.

                            2. re: Davwud

                              I . . . JUST . . .SAW . . .IT . . .

                              I am speechless

                            3. AB is my favorite tv food personality. It's his opinion and if you don't like it.... tough tiddly winks. I respect a guy that started his culinary career scrubbing pots.

                              1. I thought it was hilarious. Tony is so on point. And he always balances his wit with genuine respect for his fellow chefs.

                                1. Loved the comment about Toby Young. And no one, I mean NO ONE says "snarky" like AB.

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                    And the one about Mark Bittman for "Spain: On the Road Again"???

                                    "And Mark Bittman, I don't think he adds value to anyone's TV show. He doesn't come off well on TV. Let's put it that way. I saw him make paella once on a TV show; he's been dead to me ever since. "


                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      I had the same reaction to Spain: On the Road Again as AB. I wanted to love this show and it just fell flat. I also couldn't stand Bittman. He's like that annoying friend that you feel obligated to invite to parties.

                                      1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                        Same here re: the show. I tried three episodes, I think, and nothing was overly good about it. Gwynnie could have been left out, as could have Bittman. As could have the loudly dubbed driving music.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Yes, the show was a real bore, and the soundtrack incredibly annoying.

                                          Also annoying: Michael Stipe from REM is on one episode, they are in a restaurant trying dishes which the owner is explaining, and Michael Stipe sits there texting on his cell phone while on camera.

                                          1. re: poptart

                                            Funny, I didn't notice Stipe texting. I must have been paying more attention to the food. For example, I got the idea of drizzling molasses over pineapple from that episode.

                                            While a lot of people have complained about that show, focusing on the music, the personalities, the talking, and pacing, I have found it to be one of the more useful show when it comes to cooking ideas and inspirations.

                                            Tony, while interesting, has rarely inspired me to cook or try some new ingredient or recipe. For example, the only segment that I recall clearly from Tony's last Spain episode, involved melting chocolate ballons in the sun.

                                            For all it's faults, I picked up as much of a sense of what it is like to travel and eat in Spain from 'On the Road Again', as I have from Rick Steves' programs. In fact the two often complement each other.

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              Things I did like about the show: being able to see the places in Spain they visited, and Mario's very contagious enthusiasm about everything and explanations. In one episodeI saw, they visit an older couple's home and watch the woman make a (chicken?) dish, translating her explanations on how she cooked it before and after having a modern kitchen.

                                              THat said, I do wish the music wasn't constantly running( and the same songs over and over...). It just isn't necessary, plus I enjoy hearing the environmental sounds of the places they visit as every city has its own "sound". Plus, I didn't get that much out of the hosts other than Mario. Nothing against them, I just felt that Batali offered the most content and asked good questions wherever they were eating. Much like Rick Steves does on his shows :-).

                                            2. re: poptart

                                              I saw part of this episode today (on CreateTV), and saw Stipe using his phone. I didn't have sound on, so can't say for sure what he said afterwards. I suspect he was doing a web search, because I recall someone mentioning that Bittman has just published a review of the restaurant they were at.

                                              Bittman on Inopia

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                Well, if doing a web search then that's more relevant. I must have missed that and am so used to seeing people at a cafe sitting across from each other while texting OTHERs, I just assumed he was doing the same !
                                                Thanks for the clarification. :-)

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          Tony's just jealous that Mark didn't include him in his 'Takes on the Greatest Chefs' series. I suspect that is where Tony saw Mark make paella - when he took on Jose Andres.

                                          Don't judge Bittman by just his Road Again performance.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            If anything, Bittman's more tolerable on the Spain series, which is to say he's insufferably irritating on every other show I've seen him on.

                                            1. re: ferret

                                              Wonder why he doesn't irritate me.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                He's like an unfunny Larry David.

                                              2. re: ferret

                                                I didn't mind him on The Best Recipes in the World series -- what few of those I caught. But his manner does tend to grate, and the 5 minutes I saw of the Spain series were enough to turn me off watching him. Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

                                        3. I may be off my meds but all I get at that link is a picture of Bourdain and a short article talking about an MSN interview, but no interview. HELP!!!!!!!!!!! I need to see this.

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: Midlife

                                            Go to the next picture and then read the comments to the right of the pictures. I had the same problem.

                                            He was definitely on his best behaviour, he may have just put his daughter down for a nap when the interview happened.

                                            The comments on Sandra Lee was dead on. I think he was too nice to RR. I am kind of surprised that he liked Gordon Ramsey so much, and Colicchio. Comments on TY was dead on too.

                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                              I don't know why but all I get when I go to the next photo is Rocco DiSpirito and still no link to the Bourdain article. I did my own search and found it here, should anyone else be as lame as I seem to be:

                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                " I think even Rachael Ray -- I hate to say this -- probably, on balance, makes the world a better place. Maybe not much."

                                                that was the LEAST he could say after Rachael was unnecessarily gracious towards him on nightline

                                                everyone's a critic...

                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                  It's not an article you're looking for, but a slide show with commentary on the side. You need to click on 'more' each time to see AB's comments.

                                                  I find this kind of media presentation really annoying. If they feel compelled to offer a slide show, it needs to be formatted differently. And they should always offer a full text version (the link you provide, Midlife, does not appear to be the commentary discussed in this thread).

                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                    I get it now. Unless you expand each piece of commentary you can't see Bourdain's quote. Pretty odd way to present a piece of material. The article I linked to is by the same writer and some of the comments are similar, but I found it through a different route.

                                                    After reading them..............the Bourdain comments in the OP's link are, I'd agree, a lot more calm and rational than I would have expected from much of the way Bourdain is usually quoted. It's almost like he's finally getting used to the not-so-blurry line between serious, instructional cooking and lowest-common-denominator entertainment programming. At least he seems, in these comments, able to allow for a variety of style with the proviso that the underlying methodology and presentation has merit.

                                                    He also holds people he REALLY respects to a higher standard. I personally enjoy On the road Again, but I watch it as entertainment/travel/'gotta-try-that, not as serious food information. It's revealing that Bourdain sees the show as a waste of Mario's talent not as Mario giving credibility to the advancement of travel and cilinary curiosity. My guess is Bourdain doesn't think a true professional should waste time on the beyond-help masses. I'd counter that the show is on PBS, where the presumption would be a higher audience intelligience level.

                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                      Online Publishers love the slide show because it increases their page views.

                                                      1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                        Shhhhhhh! Don't tell them I read all those pages and ignored EVERY ad. Couldn't tell you they were even there if you paid me.

                                                        1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                          Interesting. Does that mean they can inflate the number of 'hits' (for whomever counts it?) or sell more advertising space?

                                                          Still, I find it a poor design/layout. I've enjoyed slideshows that have the text readily available. If I have to search for that 'more' link every time, that's all the less time for me to glance at ads and information-- they miss the opportunity for other click throughs. The more work someone makes for a page, the less time a visitor will spend there before getting out.

                                                      2. re: Midlife

                                                        Thanks for that link, that one worked.
                                                        He's sure changed his tune about Emeril, who, like it or not, is one of the biggies when it comes to people learning about food. I'm not a huge, huge fan of Emeril, but I think he's been much maligned by the "bad boy chefs", who are now having their own demons and foibles pointed out to them.

                                                        I don't think i'll ever forget the time I saw Batali on Emeril Live. They both appeared to be alittle stiff, it was hard to see any cameraderie between them, but then they were both running around like madmen. Batali was doing his education-as-he-prepares, and was talking about adding salt and pepper, and suddenly Emeril yells "WAIT!" ran off for a second, and reappeared with one of those three-foor-high pepper mills, with a look on his face of anxiety, hoping he was worthy. Batali burst out laughing, it appeared to be pure improvisation. Hilarity ensued.

                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                          Actually turns out THAT's not the right article (see Lizard post above and the 3 that follow it). You need to go to the OP's link, click NEXT and then click on 'more' in each successive picture. The commentary, including Bourdain's remarks are to the right of each photo, in the expanded text. .

                                                      3. re: Phaedrus

                                                        "I think he was too nice to RR."

                                                        I dunno about that. There was a definite contrast (contradiction?) between "I think even Rachael Ray -- I hate to say this -- probably, on balance, makes the world a better place. Maybe not much."


                                                        "I think people respond to her because of her personality and not her cooking, which is pretty damned awful. ... She's big now, like Oprah big; the sooner she stops cooking, the happier we'll both be."

                                                        So, he thinks she's probably nice, but he sure doesn't think she can cook.

                                                      4. re: Midlife

                                                        You weren't the only one. I had the same problem & didn't quite get it. I'm a dunce. Thanks all for pointing the way to reading AB's comments.

                                                      5. I am glad he likes Alton Brown. And I agree with him. Of everything Food Network offers up, only Alton Brown is really worth a damn (actual chef/cook or not. I know the whole actor turned cook story, don't yell at me, it's been done already). I was a bit surprised at the respect he gave Martha, but maybe I shouldn't be. And maybe I should watch the Chopping Block. I trust his opinions and if he thinks Marco is a badass , then he must be. (And I love how he described him as Michael Corleone. Could be a really interesting antithesis to Gordon.)

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: gastrotect

                                                          i thought it was interesting to see who he respected. agreed. and now i too will get sucked into the chopping block show. like i needed something else... :)

                                                          1. re: gastrotect

                                                            I like Good Eats as well I just wish he could eliminate the cheesy skits.

                                                            1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                              The skits are an integral part of the show, not just some silly add on.

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                Actually, they're both. But they're supposed to be silly. Cheese/camp is okay as long as that's what you're going for.


                                                            2. Loved, loved, loved his commentary. But then again, I adore AB. Loved what he wrote about Man vs. Food. I have a tough time watching that but I do like Adam. I was kind of surprised he thought so highly of Duff, and what he said about Rocco pretty much echoed what he'd said on his Bravo blog for Top Chef. Oh, but the kwanzaa cake - that was like bringing up a bad lunch! Heartburn and pain all over again! I've been trying to forget that since I first witnessed that abomination. Didn't you love his "All you have to do is waddle into the kitchen, open a can of crap and spread it on some other crap that you bought at the supermarket. And then you've done something really special"?

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: phee

                                                                Given how often people say they can't stand 'semi-homemade', is it surprising how familiar they are with kwanzaa cake. Do they watch the show just to be disgusted? I've only seen a few minutes here and there of that show. I don't have time to watch a half hour of something that isn't interesting or is disgusting.

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  I've never watched the show. I heard about the Kwanza cake and googled it. I suspect that's how most people on here have seen it.


                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                    I've watched chunks of 2 or 3 episodes just to see what all the angst was about. Speaking just for me, her show neither thrilled nor offended me, it was a show I didn't care for and would never watch again.

                                                                    My non-foodie wife likes the show so I asked her why. "She helps busy moms put together a fast, easy meal for their family" she said. I think she even likes the tablescapes, but I was too frightened to ask: Some things mortal husbands ought not to know.

                                                                    If you take a "food as merely nutrients and calories," then her show is acceptable, I suppose. If you take the view of "food as art" or "food as more than the sum of its parts," then the distaste people on CHOW feel for the show is understandable.

                                                                    1. re: KenWritez

                                                                      I don't think she's geared towards busy moms as much as she appeals to people who find the appearance more important than the food, eg stepford wives. I've met far too many moms who use boxed foods but spend huge amounts of time with decorations, eg. turning marshmallows into snowmen on boxed cupcakes. They worship SL more than they do Martha Stewart.

                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        Really? Really? Really? Please tell me that they only watch to get the same thrill as they would from COPS or a road accident . . . I brought an episode up (and just saw that indescribable cake) and have no grounding for the waste [trying to thing of an appropriate word] she is 'creating'. Should I laugh or cry?!!!

                                                                        1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                          LOL, when I'm channel surfing, I always have to stop to see what she's doing, just like watching a road accident. I was at a lunch the other day and the other women were talking about how wonderful she is. Really. I thought they were being sarcastic at first but they were serious. I think it's for the Martha wannabe crowd who can't be bothered to put in the work that MS does. They spend their time on making processed food look good. And it's a lot of time. I mean, changing your tablescape to suit the food is time consuming. My friend's husband said at least there's no surprise what kind of food you're having when you come home from work, just look at the decoration.

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            OMG, you actually know of someone who changes the decor for at home, family meals. SL really must be stopped.

                                                                            1. re: pamf

                                                                              I read somewhere that she has a number of different KitchenAid Stand mixers in different colours to match the set that day. Whew..pretentious or what?

                                                                              1. re: billieboy

                                                                                Would the manager of the props department at Food Network, or any other major studio, theater, or opera company consider that pretentious?

                                                                    2. re: paulj

                                                                      I think the kwanzaa cake has become part of pop culture. I wonder if the crew decided to play a joke on Sandra Lee and put together something as atrocious as they could and see how she'd respond. Then, they decided just to go with it and see what would happen. In the clip posted above she seems to be kind of hesitant. Could anyone seriously put together angel food cake, cocoa and cinnamon in canned frosting, canned apples and corn nuts with large candelabra candles? They never even matched a tablescape to it.

                                                                  2. Bourdain was spot on in his critiques (only because I agree with him)! His lack of love for the FN devolution is perfect.

                                                                    1. I'm unable to see any of the comments he made. It's just a portrait (a good one) and a short blurb, with no link to anything more.

                                                                      Is there another link to an article?

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                        Never mind, somebody already posted a more direct link.

                                                                      2. Yay! I'm glad Bourdain likes AB! I love them both. But overall, yea he did soften up, more subtle. Like the Rachel Ray one, he never even said that he thinks she's a nice person, it's more like he thinks she's PROBABLY a nice person.

                                                                        I'm really surprised about the Ace of Cakes one though since I absolutely hate that show and about Top Chef. I really do not like Tom Collichio, especially after this season.

                                                                        1. I just had an opportunity to see him speak live - he echoed a lot of his sentiments in his lecture. He is a funny funny guy and I love the fact that he doesn't really pull any punches!

                                                                          1. Wow has Ab mellowed. I think after the episode of No reservations when he went to New Orleans and sat down with Emeril, he realized that the man lives for cooking and making people happy (and employed). I think Bourdain secretely still think's he's a hairy little hobbit, or whatever he called him, but he respects that Emeril respects the same things he does.

                                                                            I was surprised he softened his view on Rachel Ray. Glad to see he is still bashing Sandra Lee. Although I did hear him once say, she probably (along with Ray) get more people to try cooking than any other personalities on the food network...and he stated "that is a good thing."

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                                                              Bourdain called Emeril "Ewok-like".

                                                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                Marriage usually mellows people.

                                                                                1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                  No doubt marriage does, but I think being daddy to a little girl does more to mellow you out.

                                                                              2. Doesn't even seem like Bourdain...

                                                                                Can't believe he was so positive about Rachel Ray... She is the worst, IMO

                                                                                19 Replies
                                                                                1. re: duckdown

                                                                                  IMHO RR is not the Axis of Culinary Evil. She has never claimed to be a chef and her schtick has been those 30 minute meals--something every frazzled working mom and dad would love to do so as to feed their families good food on on a budget and in a short time.

                                                                                  The temptation for such a parent to say, "Forget all this cooking crap, I'll just boil a bag of Bertolli's / open a can of ravioli / nuke a Hot Pockets" is huge. One drawback to showing no one but high-end chefs cooking is the intimidatiom virgin cooks feel when they see Bobby Flay or Martha or Gordon Ramsay quickly and effortlessly chop garlic, make a roux or saute fish. "I can't do that!" is what too many of these noob cooks will say to themselves, not realizing none of those chefs will be judging the food prep, and these skills are easy to acquire ***because no one is there to tell them and, more importantly, show them.***

                                                                                  RR's onscreen demeanor drives me nuts and I can't watch her show, but I can appreciate what she does. She is the stepping stone that leads to Ina Garten or Paula Deen. From these two the student graduates to Nigella, Bobby Flay, Mario or AB , finally culminating at someone like Morimoto or Julia Child. (Ming Tsai is definitely post-grad!)

                                                                                  Entry level currcula is always lowest common denominator--it has to be. So, RR serves that need and IMHO serves it well. Her recipes are easy enough to attract the noob cook and offer that person a reasonable chance of success. Once that cook starts successfully making chili or chicken parmesan or stuffed pork chops, then their confidence will build, allowing them to range more widely across the culinary savannah, to really stretch a metaphor.

                                                                                  1. re: KenWritez

                                                                                    i agree. and i think it is good that there are different people at different levels so that you can find someone who appeals to you. i don't like RR but can see her appeal. different from sandra lee who uses fake food. it's not that i never use fake food but i certainly wouldn't laud it. she to me is worthy of no praise. i dislike paula for her schtick but like ina. but could see someone else liking the other. so...
                                                                                    well summed up.

                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                      Yeah, Sandra Lee's food bothers me, too. It's not that it's quick, or uses store-bought items (I heard a caterer say that Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup saved him multiple times when his own sauce didn't turn out or it had to be stretched at the last minute) but that she seems to promote it as of higher quality than it is.

                                                                                      1. re: KenWritez

                                                                                        Everybody takes a short-cut once in a while, if you say you never do I will suspect you of lying.
                                                                                        But SL gives the concept of "partly homemade" a bad name with her over the top bastardizations of real food.

                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                          while i'm not crazy about either of them, the problem is more that these shows replaced, rather than supplanted shows that catered to a more informed food fan. I do not blame FN for the changes they made from the early days - a bigger share is a bigger share.. but i miss the FN of old

                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                            My only defense is that she states right off the top that it is 70% premade food. She also explains on her website that this "cooking" style came out of necessity to feed her family (she was the oldest sibling) buying stuff with food stamps and welfare checks.

                                                                                            While her cooking style isn't as impressive as the Bobby Flay or Mario Batali's, she, as Rachel Ray, probably connects to more beginner cooks and especially working parents, because her meals are simple and cost effective. She is also one of those people who donates lots of time and money to charities, so she should be commended on giving back to those who are less fortunate, like she once was.

                                                                                            Also, how can you completely knock someone who adds an alcoholic drink to every show!

                                                                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                              Also, how can you completely knock someone who adds an alcoholic drink to every show!
                                                                                              The Kwanzaa cake and tablescapes are two reasons. <vbg>

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                Of course, the alcohol is the sole reason for the existence for the abominations known as the Kwanzaa cake and tablescapes.

                                                                                                In addition, no one is saying that Sandra Lee is a horrible person, she is just a horrible excuse for a TV food show host.

                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                  Everybody on TV has a "schtick". For SL, tablescapes are part of hers. Heck, I never even heard of the term "tablescape" until I saw one of her shows. She fits a niche. Might not be MY niche, or YOUR niche, but there is an audience out there for what she does. She's actually a pretty amazing individual, considering where she came from & what she's done in her life. I should have such drive & determination! (but not Kwanza Cake).

                                                                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                    Like I said, this has nothing to do with her as a human being.

                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                      Exactly. Criticizing her show is not a reflection on her as a person, just as a cook.

                                                                                              2. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                "Also, how can you completely knock someone who adds an alcoholic drink to every show!"

                                                                                                Given that her mother was an alcoholic and she supposedly had to raise her family as a result, you'd think she'd be more wary of that.

                                                                                                In the beginning of the show, she says she used to make it all from scratch but found that it was just as good to do do these short cuts. Buying processed food costs more than doing it from scratch so I can't imagine she fed a family with food stamps and welfare checks doing what she's doing on the show. What I've seen would end up costing a lot. I mean, the Kwanzaa cake alone must be well over $10. She's successful and she fills a market. She's laughing all the way to the bank.

                                                                                        2. re: KenWritez

                                                                                          KenWritez, I don't think that could have been said any better. I got into the Food Network a few years ago watching Iron Chef, but then I found Jamie Oliver. He made food I liked, and made it look so easy. He showed a joy for cooking that my mother had and I wanted to replicate those meals. So I bought his cookbook (HE had one at the time). I wanted to start easy so I tried a burger recipe, one of his steak rubs, and a celeriac gratin. Well after spending about $60 on herbs, and another $40 on the proteins, I went to work. Everything came out perfect and I learned two valuable lessons. I need my own herb garden and I don't like celeriac. The cost is what people forget when buying these celebrity chef cookbooks. The top end proteins, the fresh herbs. These things cost a fortune. I have one of Bobby Flay's books, and wanted to make something. While pricing it out in the supermarket, I realized, to make his dish the way he says to make it, it would have cost me almost $80 to make dinner for two. A little pricey for a weeknight meal.

                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                              Unfortunately I don't have one. Live in an apt with one window that doesn't get enough sun to even have a window box.

                                                                                          1. re: KenWritez

                                                                                            Of course, you're absolutely correct. If everyone went by that philosophy this particular board would be about half the size it is. :o)

                                                                                            It's just that sometimes lowest common denominators can grate like fingernails on a blackboard. For me, there are many Food Network Shows I can't watch, but Sandra Lee is really the only one I feel is too far below the bar to defend. I won't trash her but I won't defend her.

                                                                                            1. re: Midlife

                                                                                              it was not "comments" it was criticism

                                                                                              calling emeril an "ewok" is just rude

                                                                                              and his criticism of rachael and even sandra lee just plain isnt necessary

                                                                                              i am sure this will get clipped here but

                                                                                              grow up already bourdain!

                                                                                              1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                                Did you actually read the comments he made about RR and Sandra Lee? They were beyond mild and didn't call Emeril "ewok like" in this interview it was years ago when he wrote Kitchen Confidential so you've gotten your wish, Bourdain has grown up.

                                                                                                1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                                  sugarsnapp, which post(s) and poster(s) were you quoting and responding to? You're nested right below mine but I thought I was pretty much in the 'live and let live' camp.

                                                                                          2. Great stuff!

                                                                                            That Sandra Lee Kwanza cake really should have brought out the NAACP lawyers, as it was nothing short of a hate crime!

                                                                                            Thanks for posting.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                              ROFLMAO. Ok, I never thought of it that way.

                                                                                            2. "I'll be leaking like the Exxon Valdez!" - Tony in Shanghai, about to finish his spicy beef vermicelli Sichuan style noodle bowl from a street vendor.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: K K

                                                                                                Oddly enough it doesn't have to be from a "Spicy beef vermicelli Sichuan style noodle bowl from a street vendor."