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Jun 16, 2010 08:07 AM

TV's "Bitchinest" Chef Shows?

Did MSN get it right?

They certainly started off well, and I think they ended well, but the stuff in between? You be the judge...

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  1. Definitely disagree with "30 Minute Meals" and "Throwdown." I can't stand Rachael Ray or Bobby Flay.

    I would have to replace those two shows with Good Eats (which is as funny as it is informative, even if his recipes can be a bit ridiculous and over the top... ) and "French Food at Home." (I think Laura Caulder has this incredibly attractive and pleasant mood, and she cooks beautiful food.) I would probably replace a few more too... "Barefoot Contessa" is on my list (She is the BEST! She's the perfect mom figure, and cooks such gorgeous food!) The original "Iron Chef" should definitely be on there too... I'm also a fan of anything Michael Smith. "Opening soon" is great...

    You happen to be talking to a guy who pretty much only watches the Foot Network... I'm also Canadian, so some of those shows might not be familiar...

    1. Is this supposed to be in "best to worst" best-of-the-best order?

      1. Food Network is my default channel too. If I happen to be home all day, it's definitely on all day, whether I'm actually watching it or not. It's a sickness.

        That said, I do agree with some from the list:
        - Chopped (interesting concept with unusual ingredient combos, although judges can be weak, like that onion-hating guy)
        - 30-Minute Meals (ok, I also thought Rachel Ray was annoying when I first saw the show, but she kind of grew on me! It's an uplifting show thanks to her personality, although I don't ever see myself actually trying any of her recipes...hmm...)
        - Everyday Italian (Giada does come up with some brilliant dishes that are good to replicate at home, so have to give her credit for that)
        - Ace of Cakes (they are extremely talented, and seem to have so much fun; makes it also fun to watch)

        And I do agree with banjoman2375 regarding Good Eats (one of my favorite shows, and my geeky husband appreciates it too), and the original Iron Chef! They should be included. I'm upset they can't show the original Iron Chef here anymore... I grew up watching it, and I so miss watching Michiba Rokusaburo work...personally I think he was the best tetsujin (iron chef) ever.

        Anyway, some shows mentioned here that I can't stand, though, are Throw Down with Bobby Flay (where his obnoxious personality truly shines...what a jerk) and Bizarre Foods w/ Andrew Zimmern (I only sometimes watch it because I love the concept of the show...just hate the guy; loud, obnoxious and just plain annoying).

        9 Replies
        1. re: FoodieJaponica

          I too am a big fan of the original Iron Chef. The Foodnetwork's sister channel The Cooking Channel is now airing it. Not sure where that chanell is or is not available though

          1. re: curiouscook

            The Cooking Channel used to be Fine Living Network. If you got FNL, you should get TCC.

            1. re: agoodbite

              Darn! I looked up the listing for my cable network, and there's no Cooking Channel (although I've seen ads for it on Food Network).... Oh well.

          2. re: FoodieJaponica

            I think Flay is the antithesis of a jerk on Throwdown. He spotlights regional cooks and drives a lot of business their way. He rarely wins, but when he does he is truly gracious and almost embarrassed. Any specific examples of when he has been a jerk to the people he challenges?

            1. re: jackbauer

              about a year ago Boby Flay did a throwdown with a local restaurant owner here - fish tacos. Cesar won and his restaurant has been swamped since then. Just when the crowds die down the repeat runs and he gets flooded again. It's a blessing and a curse. A blessing because being featured on Throwdown really does drive a SUBSTANTIAL amount of business to the chef or restaurant featured. It's a curse because many of them are not prepared for the onslaught of customers even though the FTV production team tells them to be be prepared and to expect their business to boom..

              This is also the case with Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. As annoying as Guy Fieri may be to a lot of CHs, he does put butts in the seats of the places he spotlights. One of our local seafood places got a small shout out on Triple D as it was next door to a Mexican place that was the main focus of the segment. The seafood place has been slammed ever since and that was a good 6-8 months ago. Same with a burger joint at the beach that he featured. The line used to merely be out the door, now it's out the door, around the block and down the street.

              The feed back on both Bobby and Guy and the whole FTV expereience was nothing but positive.

              1. re: jackbauer

                OK, I admit I've been biased against Bobby Flay ever since he jumped on top of the cutting board, with his shoes on, during his challenge on the original Iron Chef. Such disrespect, and I found it appalling.
                But since we're talking about Throwdown... The first time I watched the show, he lost in a challenge on...cupcakes? I can't remember clearly anymore, but he started making excuses such as "maybe mine was too sophisticated for them", and he was not at all graceful. I guess that was enough to cement my impression of his character. So now, unfortunately, even little things like how he opens the show ("I may even lose!") can bother me, so yes, definitely biased!
                But I guess you and DiningDiva are right, the show does help the local chefs with their business in many ways. And even though, on the show, they make it look like it was a total surprise visit, I'm sure the people know beforehand of what is going to happen.

                1. re: FoodieJaponica

                  Actually, no they don't. FTV told the owner of the Mexican restaurant that they were taping a special for Mexican Independence day and wanted him to demo his fish tacos. They told him he could invite his friends to the taping. They also told him they wanted to tape some material in his restaurant and to invite friends so that the place was full. He did not know it was really Throwdown, and he didn't actually meet or see Bobby Flay until Bobby walked on stage during the first part of the fish taco demo.

                  I do, however, agree with you about the early BF. He was kind of insufferable. I'm a HUGE, HUGE fan of the original Iron Chef. First caught it in 1997 when I lived in the Bay Area and was flipping through the TV channels while recovering from knee surgery. I was totally captivated in about 5 mintues and watched it regularly, even after they dropped the subtitles and I couldn't understand a word. I, too, was appalled at the jumping on the cutting board schtick. Don't you find it somewhat ironic though, that Bobby Flay is now an Iron Chef competing on the same show as Morimoto? I also think the American version of IC has gotten better as it's aged. As much as Iike Alton Brown I still miss hearing Hatori-san and his commentary.

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    All restaurant owners should know by now that any "Food Network Special" is the code word for Throwdown with Bobby Flay!!!!!

                2. re: jackbauer

                  @jackbauer, i totally agree. i get why people think Bobbly Flay used to be insufferable, but he's mellowed & matured a lot since his cutting board-jumping days...i really wish people would just let that go already. i have friends who know him socially & professionally, and they've all had nothing but good things to say about him.

              2. I dunno about Rachel Ray (shudder) or Everyday Italian - both shows seem forced at best (I know I know they have their fans...)
                The title seems to be "TV's most Bitchinest..."
                maybe shoulda been "Food Network's most...".
                Nothing against the Foodnetwork, I watch it all the time, but I'm also a fan of some of the PBS shows like Lidia's Italy, Mexico One Plate at a Time, Jacques Pepin, etc.
                I think some of these PBS shows are a tad bitchiner than the ones on the list.

                1. my two cents:
                  - love Top Chef, Chopped, DDD & No Reservations
                  - TNFNS is a guilty pleasure - i watch it for the train-wreck factor
                  - watch Throwdown if there's nothing better on
                  - occasionally watch a few minutes of Everyday Italian, but can never seem to make it through an entire episode
                  - will turn off the TV if there's no better option than Ace of Cakes, 30-Minute Meals or Hell's Kitchen
                  - never seen Bizarre Foods or Man Vs. Food