HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

No Asian Food Network Chefs....why not?

  • 34
  • Share

What's up with the Food Network not having any Asian chefs on their roster?
I find it kind of lame (and a bit insulting) that they don't have one program hosted by an Asian person. Anyone who agrees with me should email them about it and mention that The Iron Chef doesn't count. I've emailed them but haven't received a response.
As much as I love BBQ, Fried Chicken and tacos...Food Network's programming and recipes are getting redundant.

Does anyone else agree?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Ya think?

    1. Cancel your cable.

      Watch PBS instead.

      12 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Totally agree. There are only a few cooking shows on PBS,but they far outshine anything on food network, with the possible exception of Anne Burrell. The shows are all the same. Sometimes I wonder - who are these people and credentials do they have? Some I know but most........

        1. re: wincountrygirl

          Ming Tsai and Martin Yan have been on FN. But these days only the EVOO chipmunk and Semi-baked blonde are to be found. They cater to the lowest common denominator.

          1. re: pabboy

            @ pabboy, i know it's popular to bash FN for various reasons on this board - i've done it myself more than once - but they still have a couple of shows i and many other fellow CHers enjoy watching, and i'd hardly classify any of us as "the lowest common denominator."

            and in response to the OP, yes it's upsetting. and i think the network is aware that it's a gaping hole because i can't see why else they continued to let Debbie Lee advance in the competition for the Next Food Network Start last summer. she didn't deserve to stick around as long as she did. not that she was a true Asian chef by any means, but still, i think they were hoping she'd somehow pull it off so they could add an Asian name to their roster.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              FN is just like any other network: cater the largest audience possible. How many Asians do you see on NBC, CBS, ABC or FOX? It definitely doesn't represent the Asian population in this country otherwise E.R. , Scrubs and Grey's would have more than 30% Asian cast.

              1. re: pabboy

                "the largest audience possible" is a much more pleasant way to put it. the term "lowest common denominator" can have a more negative, judgmental meaning, and given the tone of the rest of your earlier post, that was how i read it - as something of an insult.

                thanks for clarifying.

                1. re: pabboy

                  the U.S is over 30% Asian? I agree that many (all?) non white ethnicities are underrepresented on T.V., including food newtwork, but the Asian pop. is aprox 4% of the U.S population

                  1. re: karenfinan

                    I'm talking about a hospital hence my reference to E.R., Scrubs and Grey's.

                    1. re: karenfinan

                      Don't know about in your neck of the woods, but in SoCal, you can't swing a stethoscope without hitting an Asian doctor, nurse or technician - I'd say your chances are better than 50-50.

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    As a major corporation, I trust that FN has done it's market research and has precisely figured out its audience -- down to the very last half hour of each weekday and weekend.

                    Given that FN probably has consciously chosen not to showcase any type of Asian cook or food host, it probably means that its market research has shown that the majority of people watching FN at any one given time are more likely than not of the non-Asian variety.

                    Perhaps the lack of an Asian show on FN says more about the FN audience than it does about FN the company.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I think you're right. I can't imagine that the FN wouldn't have researched this issue to death.

                      Being an Asian, I also can't say that I relate to Ming Tsai's and esp. Kylie Kwong's style of cooking. To me, their style is more Asian fusion than anything else, and that's not what I'm looking for. Martin Yan cooks the way I was brought up, but his shtick got old for me v. quickly.

                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      She may not have been the best, but Debbie Lee deserved to advance much further than "my mother committed suicide here's my food."

                      1. re: stet

                        i didn't think *either* of them deserved to make it as far as they did - the entire season was a train wreck. but that's a discussion for another thread :)

              2. Actually I don't find it lame or insulting.
                FN's host are all cast from the same mold so an Asian Rachel Ray holds not interest for me.
                PBS Create is the way to go.

                1. Well, they don't have any Middle Eastern chefs, and only recently did they add a Mexican show. No German or French either--the only European "chef" really is Giada now that Mario has been booted.

                  Ethnic or remotely interesting cuisine in normal portions is not their gig. "Money" food in huge quantities, competitions, Southern food y'all, and cakes that cannot be eaten (aaah! the horror of fondant!) apparently fulfill the FN mission statement.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: coney with everything

                    A Middle Eastern chef would be interesting. Lots of Middle Eastern dishes are healthy and can be pretty simple to prepare. And ingredients that were once hard to find are everywhere now.

                    They used to have a Latina chef (Ingrid Hoffman?) and Viva Daisy... but now they're both on at weird hours and usually only reruns.

                    1. re: coney with everything

                      Well, how about a nice Kosher style chef too

                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                        That would be awesome. Don't know if it would go over well, since there are so many restrictions, and there may not be such a great audience.

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          Yes but a nice grandma with a yiddish accent making potato kugel would be so nice!!

                    2. The redundant ship has sailed quite sometime ago. Sadly if you are serious about leaning to cook and food FN is not the place to be.

                      As other have already posted your best bet these days is PBS.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Withnail42

                        I'm not sure FN is trying (anymore) to be about cooking, per se.

                        Sure they have many cooking shows, but many of their highest rated programs are just about food in general -- e.g. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Iron Chef America, Ace of Cakes, etc.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          See the blurb about a second FN.

                          http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                      2. I wondered about the lack of a Chinese food instructional cooking show and a French food instructional cooking show for a long time. Since the Food Network transmogrified itself into the Food Gameshow Network about eighteen months ago, I haven't wondered why as much.

                        I had been surprised by the lack of a Chinese cooking show because, according to polls taken over the years (yeah, I know that's vague--but who can remember where they read this stuff?), Chinese food is either the first, second, or third most popular ethnic cuisine in the United States. Italian, Chinese, and Mexican seem to shift places periodically in American diners' affections. Anyway, it is a popular cuisine, totally unrepresented on the Food Network, even before FN shifted its programming emphasis to shows about food but not about cooking.

                        One certainly cannot blame the lack of a full time Chinese cooking show on a lack of viewer interest or a lack of available oriental chefs. [Yeah, Chinese cooks and oriental cooks make rare appearances on the Food Network, but there is no television show dedicated to instructional Chinese cooking, as there is for Italian cooking--Giada, (formerly) Mario-- or Latino cooking--Ingrid Hoffman, etc.] And yet, with the Food Network dedicated to dumbing down its programming, I think that the explanation for the lack of a Chinese instructional cooking program is precisely that the FN executives figure that home cooks can't relate to Chinese cooking. I think that they think that it's too weird, exotic, and demanding of foreign ingredients.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gfr1111

                          On FN Canada, we have a show called French Food at Home, featuring a chef named Laura Calder, who trained in France. We also have a few French Canadian chefs. But still no East Asian chefs.

                        2. It will only be a matter of time until they get themselves another cookie cutter "big personality" loud mouth who tells stories and smiles nicely into the camera while stirring together pre-cut ingredients that real chefs prepped behind the scenes. Who happens to be Asian.

                          1. The problem is that the show would not be accessible to everyone in terms of ingredients, its not like every supermarket will stock anything beyond bok choy even if they did.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Johnny L

                              Also consider the wok and the btu's needed to get the proper hei.

                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                that is very true also, although Wok's can easily be purchased online using it on a regular stovetop is very limiting.

                                I'm in the process of trying to revamp my kitchen to use a giant Mexican burner in order to achieve such desirable heating levels. This is something only the most dedicated homecooks or homesick Chinese-Food lovers like me would do.

                                1. re: Johnny L

                                  Yes, the woks are problematic in their shape relative to a regular stove. I have seen flat-bottom woks but in my mind, it eliminates one of the major features of the wok. Folks in SE Asia use a burner similar to what you mention. Because cooking inside can be trying (the excess heat piled on to the existing heat and humidity plus an enclosed space), many choose to cook adjacent to or in an indoor/outdoor area with a simple high-btu ring-shaped burner connected by hose to a propane tank. Even simpler, charcoal stoves are still commonplace.

                                  I've seen some homes where there is a small room about the size of a half-bath where it's fitted with a counter specifically built for a high-output burner and super-efficient ventilation. This keeps any potential smoke limited to that room, and the ventilation carries most of it out.

                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                    You can cook many, many things in Chinese cuisine without the use of a wok.

                                    Think of all the noodle dishes from northern China, or the braised dishes of Shanghai, or the claypot (or hotpot) dishes of Chengdu, or the dim sum items of Cantonese origin.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      And one of my current favorites as well - dumplings.

                            2. A good series on Aisan cooking would be fantastic. I'm surprised they haven't explored that angle, since a lot of Asian food is so easy to prepare authentically at home.

                              The Food Network jumped the shark quite some time ago. The food shows on PBS on Saturdays and Sundays are far more interesting and useful.

                              1. There ar no Italian cooking shows. What Giada and Michael Chiarello make IS NOT Italian food. It is a very contrived menu that nods at some Italian ingredients. That's about it.
                                I very much dislike his personality and sweating, But Mario Battali was the closest thing to Italian cooking FN ever got. I have to give him that.