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The Ten Most Insulting Things Anthony Bourdain Has Said About Food Network - Grubstreet


very funny stuff. A slideshow compiled as a result of his recent insult exchange with Paula Deen. Which I totally missed, but is discussed here:


bourdain just cracks me up. :)

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  1. Who could seriously disagree with what he said about anyone or anything in that list? The whole brainless FN concept is circling the drain and the spin is quickening.

    8 Replies
      1. re: Kagemusha

        Of course AB is right, and i love him turning his searing vision and sharp tongue on FN, just as he does on himself - with wit, snark, smarts, and honesty. FN has for years now been a station i zip right past - sometimes i glimpse a foodie title in the Guide that looks like it might be good, but then i realize it's on FN and i know not to waste my time by even clicking on the channel.

        1. re: mariacarmen

          No no, you can't call him AB. That is reserved for Alton Brown. Try calling him TonyB.

          1. re: pdxgastro

            Screw that, Bourdain was around before Brown.

            1. re: melo7

              Alton Brown is commonly referred to as AB, Anthony Bourdain is not. Brown's television show on FN was telecast 2-1/2 years before Bourdain's show on FN. Bourdain's book came out just about a month before his TV show.

              1. re: John E.

                How about T-Bo? Nah, just call him Bourdain. But AB is Alton Brown, period.

          1. Bourdain is right on the money.
            And the FN has indeed 'jumped the shark'...quite some time ago actually. Too bad...it used to actually have some substance. It has turned into a kind of a joke.

            1. At least he left the Two Fat Ladies alone.

              1 Reply
              1. re: EricMM

                As well he should. BTW, they were NOT ON last Saturday- don't tell me that the Cooking Channel has stopped showing the series, please!

              2. I like this--very funny!
                I especially agree with #3. In my opinion, Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee seem to be teaching people that cooking is a chore that should be rushed along, and cutting corners makes you clever somehow. I realize that not everyone has all the time in the world to create each meal, but if you have time to plant yourself in front of the tube for a half hour, you can probably find the time to cook properly.

                1. I think people tend to loose sight of the fact that he's paid to be a critic of things like FN.


                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Davwud

                    Really? Where'd you fish up that bit of conspiracy theory? Because he's paid by his publishers to produce books that sometimes contain critical remarks? Suspect Bourdain would speak his mind anyway--bucks or no bucks.

                      1. re: Davwud

                        Hardly. He's a chef/writer who's candid, OK? He could probably give two sneezes about FN and its meat puppet hosts and their shows. He has lots to say about all kinds of food-related topics and people. He never stints with praise for those he admires. Think his cynical take is baked-in, not bought.

                        1. re: Kagemusha

                          "he's paid by his publishers to produce books that sometimes contain critical remarks"

                          Your words, not mine.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            Can't stop you from believing Tony's in the employ of dark forces bent on destroying the quivering FN. C'mon.

                            1. re: Kagemusha

                              Ya,' cause that's what he's doing. Jeez


                              1. re: Davwud

                                The FN's onboard clowns and programmers are perfectly capable of reducing it to a smoking ruin--without Tony's quips.

                          2. re: Kagemusha

                            He gets lots of attention from the media by snarking on FN and "its meat pupper hosts." Oddly enough, they never seem to bite back at him. He's milking it for the publicity.

                            1. re: 512window

                              The fact most FN hosts are gormless twits might also explain their reticence. Bourdain's smart and verbal.

                              1. re: Kagemusha

                                I think it's interesting that he eventually ends up befriending, at least publicly, people he's trashed in the past, Emeril being the first that comes to mind. He's very publicly eaten a lot of crow for many of those past rants, and I for one find that refreshing, as opposed to taking one's pompous-ass opinion to one's grave. His description of being 'approached' by Sandra Lee at a party in his most recent memoirs is absolutely priceless. Took a lot of stones to put that part in, IMO. As much as I love him, I admit he can be a pompous turd, but having a functional wife and a daughter has given him a broader insight, which I also appreciate.

                    1. I enjoy his humor as well and think he is funnier in print than on tv ( I prefer his writing to his tv persona) I came across this article today http://www.delish.com/food/recalls-re...

                      1. LOL that was funny. I agree with him about Emeril. I can't stand his shows, but I love him and his cooking and cookbooks.

                        1. Any one that has followed Tony's career knows that those are certainly not the top 10. He calls it like he see's it with no reservations!

                          1. What does he have to say about the other Scripps channel, Travel?

                            Watch this page long enough
                            and you will see his mug along with that of his victims.

                            (admittedly his ZeroPointZero Productions hasn't done any FN shows - other than his first Cooks Tour)

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: paulj

                              The "Cook's Tour" series and book were arguably among his better efforts.

                              1. re: Kagemusha

                                which i believe, was shown on the old FoodTV channel currently known as Foodnetwork.
                                when No Reservations came out on the Travel Channel, back then, i preferred A Cook's Tour

                                1. re: ritabwh

                                  There's some discussion of the shows and network intrigue in "Medium Raw", which I just read last week.

                                  He seemed to pity Emeril, Mario, and Bobby Flay more than hate them, but there's a hysterical bit about meeting Sandra Lee at a party...

                                  Plus, he made reference to Chowhound as a place for "knowledgeable food nerds"--woot woot for us :)

                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                    He used to post on here back in the day. eGullet too.

                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                      It's my understanding that Bourdain was "...sideswiped by pur evil" at that party (the premier of Julie & Julia).

                              2. I scanned Bourdain's list of his past criticisms of the Food Network and cannot find much with which to disagree. I also recently watched his episode of No Reservations where he travelled to Ukraine and it bored me nearly to sleep. He and his non-Ukrainian friend spent what seemed like 1/2 the show at Chernobyl. There is so much more he could have done withat show. He and his producers phoned that one in. Frankly, I don't usually watch his show nor Andrew Zimmern's show because I feel like they're all pretty much the same lately no matter what country they visit.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: John E.

                                  Kurdistan was pretty damn interesting, I thought.

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    I have not seen that episode. (I have not visited Kurdistan. I have been to Ukraine).

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      Kurdistan was a great episode! I also saw Cambodia for the first time last week as a re-run and I really enjoyed that one as well.

                                    2. re: John E.

                                      I agree with you that Tony spent too much time at Chernobyl, especially since Andrew Zimmern seemed to cover this ground in detail awhile back. However, I love the Russian submarine base in the Crimea. Tony does a nice job of threading in recent history as a backdrop. IMHO, when these guys visit Eastern Europe the food kind of takes a backseat and they don't want to do a Samantha Brown "oooh look at that castle" type show. As a person with Eastern European blood, I feel that the food is not exceptional and it is very similar across the region. Notice that Tony hasn't been to Poland? I find myself glued to the set when he visits some Asian metropolis or backwater and have enjoyed the Latin American episodes a great deal.

                                      1. re: Foodie_Phil

                                        I think Bourdain has done enough shows in Vietnam and some other Asian countries. I think hie and Zimmern are doing the same show albeit Zimmern's is rated G and Bourdain's is PG-13.

                                        1. re: Foodie_Phil

                                          Agreed, Foodie_Phil. I love the Asian and Latin American foods. Their soups, veggies and fruits look like foods from another wonderful world.

                                      2. Tony must really be gratified by all this. Frank Bruni weighed in on the whole mess in the NYT:


                                        Why he considers Bourdain an "elitist" is truly baffling if he's actually read his books. Nobody pops utter pretense quite like Bourdain.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Kagemusha

                                          This was a very well-written article. Tony does shoot in a lot of directions so some of the bullets are bound to carom back. I kind of view Tony's barrages as infotainment first, hard commentary second. This is not the place to debate it here, but whatever your income you should not eat Paula Deen's biscuits & gravy or David Chang's pork belly every day. You hope people would have that sense. Separately, it is possible to eat healthy on a budget.

                                        2. Whatever and whomever he has insulted it has not been enough. l still miss David Rosengarten.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            Me too! That was when FN was a wonderful resource. David Rosengarten and Sara Moulton. Both great losses! You could *learn* something from them no matter how long you've cooked.

                                            1. re: rainey

                                              Have you tried to keep up with either of those losses? Like look up their websites? Look for their books?

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                i found Taste, online. copyright 1998 aby david rosengarten and
                                                television food network.
                                                now, i remember! i used to type in TVFN.com back in the early days.
                                                this book was not inexpensive: $29.95 full price online, where, i forget.
                                                and browsing the title page back page, for the publishing date, i notice now, that this is a first edition. lol. i better handle it with white gloves from now on, :-)

                                            2. Honestly, I can't stand the guy.
                                              I've read a bit on him, and all his comments seem so forced. Almost as if he is trying too hard.
                                              There is a difference between being rude and giving criticism, and just because he might agree with the techniques of most FN stars, other people do.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Laurenjo28

                                                "and just because he might agree with the techniques of most FN stars, other people do."


                                                1. re: melo7

                                                  Excuse my typo.
                                                  I meant to say just because he might NOT agree with the techniques of the FN stars...
                                                  Thanks for pointing that out :)

                                                  1. re: Laurenjo28

                                                    I totally agree with you. Thanks for making the point.

                                              2. absolutely love him. funny, snarky, smart and honest. FN is not even worth a pause anymore, and hasn't been for years, for me.

                                                1. The guy is snarky and he is a celeb. But he's a smart guy that's worked in the business (cooking and TV) for a while and he has keen insights. I love his Rachel Ray comment here - something I believe about not only FN, but much of foodie-ism, even here on CH. It's really the antithesis of the original CH manifesto. where excellence was always important. And folks, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is NOT excellent. It's "good enough" for some... as is FN.

                                                  "[Rachael Ray is] selling us satisfaction, the smug reassurance that mediocrity is quite enough."

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                    He has actually admitted a new found respect for Ray when he found out she was a real and not poser fan of the Ramones and other bands of the genre. They get along just fine, but he still calls it like he sees it.

                                                    And you know, I never noticed just how huge Giada's head was until he pointed it out. Now I curse him because now I can't help but notice, and he and I both like her.

                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                      He's as phony as a $3 bill who is milking his New York persona for all it's worth.

                                                      1. re: poser

                                                        blasphemy!! haha I think he's pretty darn close to what he shows on his, well, shows. With regards to his opinion of Emeril up thread, he has said in his books that Emeril is a "notoriously bad tv chef." He respects him as a chef, but not how he is in front of the camera.

                                                        1. re: poser

                                                          That's an interesting comment from someone with a handle such as yours.

                                                          And you "know" this how, exactly?

                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            Now don't get your knickers in a twist. It is just my opinion as your's is yours. I guess you know him much better than myself. As for my handle? I think it is very fitting for someone who participates on Internet message boards.

                                                            1. re: poser

                                                              The wisdom on CH is that Foodnetwork is bad, everything that real cooks don't want it to be. So by comparison Travelchannel, and Tony in particular, must be good, especially when he's providing us with good FN soundbites. Admittedly TC has Adam Richman, but he really belongs on FN judging ICA. :)

                                                              Tony is the incorrigible uncle at the family reunion who says what no other adult will, that Aunt Martha really does have a mustache. That's what endears him to us kids.

                                                              1. re: poser

                                                                No twisted knickers here.

                                                                Just know that when you express your opinion as a factual statement, it will be taken as such - with or without paying attention to your handle.

                                                                And no, I don't know him personally, but I've read his books, pretty much followed his shows from the get-go, and I don't see a disconnect as far as his personality and "shtick" go.


                                                        2. I don't know enough about Bourdain to understand why he feels the need to rail against FN and its hosts, or anything else he gets rapid about. He is entertaining in a Howard Stern kind of way, I guess.

                                                          I don't really get what all the hate for FN is about, whether from Bourdain or from CH'ers. To me, it smacks of elitism. Not everyone is going to be able to afford to execute the kinds of meals that Bourdain and other adventurous eaters find acceptable--for reasons of cost, time, accessibility, etc. Horrors! They may not even want to!

                                                          Most people live in the world somewhere between uber-fine dining (whether we prepare it or pay at a restaurant) and crap food out of a can or a fast food drive through. Food Network and its hosts provide a range of options for people who may have no food experience at all (didn't learn growing up, never had the time/inclination/whatever) and now find themselves wanting to prepare meals for their families.

                                                          I personally cannot abide Sandra Lee (even less so after encountering her at an appearance locally), but there is a place for her type of cooking. For someone who finds anything more than microwaving a frozen meal intimidating, she offers a way to get started on the path to meal preparation. No, her semi-homemade stuff isn't the be-all and end-all of great home meal preparation, but it is something a lot more so than microwave meals or fast food.

                                                          Once comfortable with semi-homemade cooking, then perhaps a newly inspired home cook may move on to full meal prep with the help of Rachel Ray, Melissa D'Arabian, the Neely's, etc. And so on...perhaps even becoming quite skilled and adept at all kinds of sophisticated techniques and cuisine.

                                                          My point being, in the world of food, and especially home cooking, there is room for all kinds of voices and instruction. IMO, it is a good thing to have a range of instruction available for those finding their way in the kitchen. If they don't aspire to their own version of culinary greatness, then they will be satisfied with semi-homemade. At least it is more than fast food and microwave dinners. More likely, they will get started and the instruction they get from a Sandra Lee or Rachel ray will be just the beginning for them.

                                                          Okay, I'm off my soapbox. I am just tired of the same old hate for FN. It gets tiring...can't we find something new to get worked up about?

                                                          86 Replies
                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                            I don't know enough about Bourdain to understand why he feels the need to rail against FN and its hosts, or anything else he gets rapid about. He is entertaining in a Howard Stern kind of way, I guess.

                                                            Apparently his first season of No Reservations was with FN and l believe it ended badly for whatever reason.

                                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                              It was actually his first show, called "A Cook's Tour," that was for FN (38 episodes over two seasons, according to IMDB), and it ended badly over budgetary issues. He moved to Travel (which at the time was partially owned by Discovery) for "No Reservations" and it's the ultimate irony that years later, Travel was bought by Scripps, which owns and runs FN. They have different programming staffs but there is obviously huge cross-pollination, as anyone who has seen "Food Wars" and "Food Feuds" can attest -- they are the exact same show. So Tony is railing against his corporate siblings, and joyously reveling in biting the hand that feeds him. Gotta admire that.

                                                            2. re: jlhinwa

                                                              "I don't know enough about Bourdain to understand why he feels the need to rail against FN and its hosts, or anything else he gets rapid about. He is entertaining in a Howard Stern kind of way, I guess."

                                                              So you've not read his books and don't know enough about anything to understand his objections?

                                                              That simplifies things, I guess. The man can't abide hacks, poseurs, talking heads or outright fakes. He likes authenticity, integrity and honesty. Those are pretty much the qualities in shortest supply at the FN. That's why I skip it, too.

                                                              BTW, since when did knowing more than someone else amount to elitism?

                                                              1. re: Kagemusha

                                                                No, I've not read any of his books. I've seen his show a few times and I've read a few articles about him, but that's about it. I find him entertaining and interesting in small doses. Lots of people like authenticity, integrity and honesty. It doesn't compel most people to go on public rants when they encounter others whose values don't measure up.

                                                                Knowing more than someone else does not amount to elitism at all and I'm not sure how you inferred that from my comment. I would call that "educated," not "elitist."

                                                                Thinking that one is superior because of their own beliefs or values is, IMO, elitist. Calling out others and randomly badmouthing them because of a difference in values about something as subjective as cooking and good eating is rude and says much more about the person spouting those views that the person(s)/organization(s) they are critiquing.

                                                              2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                I will have to disagree about Sandra Lee and her semi-ho cooking. Rather than putting a beginning cook on a path to learning to cook healthy meals, she will most likely discourage them.

                                                                She starts with ingredients that are often expensive and then piles on the clashing flavors from seasoning packets and canned soup and other seemingly random additions, so that you would be unable to taste the original food. She usually fails to demonstrate any useful or instructive cooking techniques and rarely offers a balanced menu either.

                                                                If I were a beginning cook, after a couple of expensive and inedible disasters trying to follow her recipes, I would most likely be happy to go back to the frozen entrees or the drive through.

                                                                1. re: pamf

                                                                  You are certainly entitled to your viewpoint. I disagree. Sandra Lee's semi-homemade makes cooking accessible to a group of people who have thus far been intimidated by cooking. I doubt the results are worse "expensive and inedible disasters" than if a fledgling cook tried a complex recipe out of a cookbook held in high esteem by CH'ers.

                                                                  Obviously there is an audience, because the show continues and she gets (presumably lucrative) sponsorships from Smirnoff and others.

                                                                  BTW, I am using Sandra Lee as an example because she is so polarizing but the same idea applies to many of the FN hosts.

                                                                2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                  "Food Network and its hosts provide a range of options for people who may have no food experience at all (didn't learn growing up, never had the time/inclination/whatever) and now find themselves wanting to prepare meals for their families."

                                                                  Yes, but what about the people that do have food experience and might want to learn more?

                                                                  1. re: dmjordan

                                                                    Grownups should know how to learn for themselves. They don't need to be spoon fed by FN. Between libraries, bookstores, and now the internet, there's no lack of resources for the cook who wants to learn more. I like learning as much as anyone, but when I tune into a FN cooking show, it mostly for the easy, relatively mindless, entertainment. If it includes some morsel of cooking knowledge that I is new to me, so much the better. But if I need to decide what to do with the chicken in the fridge, I don't start scanning the TV channels, not even on an Saturday afternoon (when I can choose among 2 pbs, 1 create, 1 FN and 1 CC).

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      Jlhinwa made the point that the FN is for those with little experience. I just asked what about those with experience. People without experience could also seek other sources for learning. YOU may watch it for easy, mindless entertainment (btw why are you depending on the FN to spoon feed you this entertainment?) but others have their own reasons for watching. Learning something is a valid reason.

                                                                    2. re: dmjordan

                                                                      Chopped, Iron Chef America and similar shows which push the boundaries of creativity and skill. Though I would love to know how those shows meet the criticisms about meals being well-balanced and healthy. If I'm not mistaken, Cooking Channel is a network affiliated with FN but is more appealing to serious cooks.

                                                                      At the end of the day, it is all entertainment.

                                                                      Edit: This post was meant to be a reply to dmjordan's comment a couple of posts above. Sigh. I can't figure out why it isn't properly aligned.

                                                                      One additional thought on the whole topic: A value I see expressed often on CH and one with which I very much agree is to not "yuk someone else's yum." I don't understand why that wouldn't extend to people's views about food media and pretty much everything else related to food.

                                                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                        I don't think that Chopped and ICA are instructional at all. That you say it's all entertainment seems to contradict your previous statement that FN offers many shows to instruct beginners. And I agree with you--I don't think that the food on those shows is all that healthy.

                                                                        1. re: dmjordan

                                                                          I actually like the 'instructional' cooking shows, the 'stand and stir' as Bourdain calls them. Those kinds of shows have either been given the boot or are on in the daytime only.

                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                            I totally agree with you about the stand and stir. I just would like something more advanced than Rachael Ray and Semi-Homemade.

                                                                            1. re: dmjordan

                                                                              I was not really referring to those two when I said I liked the stand and stirs. Mario Batali, Tyler Florence, Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, Ina Garten, Anne Burrell (although I'd add extra vlack pepper to any of her recipes) come to mind, even if I was not an avid viewer of all their shows.

                                                                          2. re: dmjordan

                                                                            I generally learn more from Chopped and ICA than 'stand and stir' shows. The culinary expectations on ICA are quite a bit higher than most instructional shows. Cook like an IC comes close. Sometimes I learn about new ingredients (nato on the Japanese show comes to mind), sometimes the cooking methods (the show may not give me the details, but it makes me aware of such things), and about tasting (from the judge's comments). ICA is the closest I've come to molecular gastronomy (along with a few of the Spanish travel episodes, and a kit that I haven't tried yet).

                                                                            On another thread we've been talking about what can and cannot be done in 30 minutes for dessert - based on Chopped. I don't recall any similar length discussions based on methods or recipes demonstrated on an instructional show.

                                                                            Part of why I like Chopped is that I ask myself - what would I do with the ingredients. Imagine a cooking class quiz or homework assignment.

                                                                            Right now the challenge is entree with halibut, pork skin, purple cauliflower and salted duck eggs.

                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                              I find Chopped to be ludicrous with the whole bizarre food pairings. I also cannot stand to watch Ted Allen. I only watch ICA if I find the secret ingredient appealing or interesting.

                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                Ted Allen as a person, or Ted Allen in that role? Personalities on shows don't bother me, at least not at a conscious level, especially when they fit the story line of the show.

                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                  The only Ted Allen I know is the one I've seen on television, so I suppose I don't know him 'as a person'.

                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                  Chopped and ICA are their good programming, food truck wars,cupcake wars,and that dip$%^^ that hosts the ManVSfood show rip-off, not to mention DD&D on hiatus untill the lawsuits are sorted out,,,FN just sucks, period, I see a ceo change in the near future, not to mention you should be subjected to FN canada's programming, aaaahhhhhhhhhh

                                                                                  1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                    >>>"I see a ceo change in the near future"<<< Unlikely. Their ratings and profits are at record levels. All the stuff we hate is working for them.

                                                                                    For the most recent quarter alone, revenue at Food Network was $187 million, up 8.2 percent over the prior year.

                                                                                      1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                        >>>Well that is unfortunate,<<<
                                                                                        Not if you're a stockholder, which is all Scripps cares about.

                                                                              2. re: dmjordan

                                                                                You are right--saying it is entertainment wasn't the right choice of words. What I meant is that the media business (aka "entertainment" business) is about making money. If someone could make lots of money appealing to the CH type of cook, there would be a network, or at least a number of television shows, aimed at that audience.

                                                                                Edit: Yikes--again my post showed up in the wrong place. This is a reply to dmjordan a couple posts up.

                                                                                1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                  I wonder if one's own cooking style determines when shows are most instructive. Some people prefer to follow recipes in detail. An instructional show that goes through the steps might well be the best learning tool.

                                                                                  I on the other hand approach recipes as a sources of ideas rather than detailed instructions. If I want to make a particular item, I tend to look up various recipes, distill their essential concepts, and then fly on my own. Seeing people do unusual things with new ingredients on competitions is then quite instructive. Often the instructional shows are just too slow paced to capture my attention.

                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                    Good point, paulj. Chopped appeals to me because of the creativity it requires and inspires. Yes, there are severe constraints in terms of the basket, but man oh man, what I would give to have that kitchen complete with pantry, fresh items, etc. The possibilities are endless. Ten years ago, it would have scared the crap out of me--I was much more comfortable at that time with detailed instructions.

                                                                                    Iron Chef America is fun to watch for the frenetic pace and the unusual ways the secret ingredient is used, but it doesn't so much inspire me. It is still a little more in the "science fiction" realm of cooking, at least to me.

                                                                                  2. re: dmjordan

                                                                                    Sorry,I know this an old post, but it popped up on that list at the bottom of the page and I figured i would chime in.

                                                                                    Perhaps shows like Chopped and ICA are not instructional, but that does not mean they are not educational. A skilled home cook does not always need a prescribed list of specific ingredients, measured out, and step-by-step guidance to create a dish. While watching Chopped or ICA (admittedly the only shows I watch on FN) I have observed techniques that I was not knowledgeable about and looked into, been inspired to use new ingredients or use familiar ingredients in new ways. Sure, it is entertainment but entertainment can encourage creativity and inquisitiveness- an essential part of learning.

                                                                                    EDIT: Ooops. Sorry, again. I just read the rest of this part of the larger thread and see that paulj already said what I just said.

                                                                              3. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                "I personally cannot abide Sandra Lee (even less so after encountering her at an appearance locally), but there is a place for her type of cooking. For someone who finds anything more than microwaving a frozen meal intimidating, she offers a way to get started on the path to meal preparation. No, her semi-homemade stuff isn't the be-all and end-all of great home meal preparation, but it is something a lot more so than microwave meals or fast food."
                                                                                ---actually, if i were starting out, sandra lee would scare me, because of all the party-accesorizing and decorating on her show, as well as the cocktail preparations.
                                                                                rachel ray would be alot more newbie-user friendly to me.

                                                                                1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                  Isn't presumptuous for an experienced food person (why else would one be posting on Chow?) to speculate on why people find Sandra Lee interesting and/or useful? How can any of us realistically put our selves in the shoes of a neophyte? Why would we want to? Is it because we think we would be better teachers of all the things that we value - fancy healthy vegan paleo diets using local ingredients, things that we learned a decade ago during the glory years of FN?

                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                    paul, i don't know. i just don't know. :-))

                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                      I don't know why it would be presuptuous to speculate any more than it would be presumptuous to assume that CH'ers are all experienced food people. I would never describe myself in that manner. I am more experienced than many and less experienced than many. My reason for spending time on CH is because I love food and this is a great place to learn more about cooking, trying new things to eat, restaurants in the area I live or travel, and dscussing thngs related.

                                                                                    2. re: ritabwh

                                                                                      Sandra Lee doesn't position herself as someone who is a step above microwaving or fast food, though. She says she used to do it all from scratch and thinks it's a waste of time when you can just assemble food that tastes just as good. She's trying to convince people who cook that they're wasting their time and not to bother (but to spend time on tablescapes instead). It's about appearance over quality.

                                                                                      I agree about Rachel Ray--she doesn't say her way is better than others. Her goal is dinner on the table fast and she does cook. While most of us do enjoy cooking, there are times I need to get a meal done in half an hour and I might use her hints (if I watched her show, or read her magazine, or bought her cookbook...). But, there are never times I'd need to do what Sandra Lee does.

                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                        Well put. RR isn't setting the bar low or inspiring mediocrity. Not in the least. If you made a RR meal instead of hitting the KFC drive through, then you're doing really good.

                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                          I agree about RR, though Bourdain skewered her in the linked article as well. And there are plenty of RR haters around, even on CH.

                                                                                          I just don't get why anyone needs to go out of their way to insult any of them. Someone of Bourdain's stature shouldn't feel the need to go out of his way to "insult" any of the FN hosts. He is successful by a good measure in his own right and he has a lot of followers. It makes him look petty and small to go after others all the time. Aren't there at least 3 current threads about him and his rapid dislikes right now in the Food & Media Board?

                                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                            I agree with you, but I think it has become part of his 'persona' and he gets publicity out of it. "If you don't have something good to say about someone..."

                                                                                            1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                              For what it is worth, I have read all of your posts on this thread and I completely agree with you. I do consider myself a fan of Bourdain, but feel that he goes out of his way to make comments about the usual suspects.

                                                                                              And my feeling about RR, Sandra Lee, Paula Deen, The Neely's, etc. is the same feeling that I have about Brittany Spears and Miley Cyrus: the hatred and vitriol that is thrown there way has much, MUCH more to do with their audience than with them.

                                                                                              The vitriol that is thrown at Rachel Ray and Paula Deen was simply not there when one was a small time local TV host in Upstate NY and the other ran a restaurant in Georgia.

                                                                                              It was only after millions took an interest in them that the hate came out.

                                                                                              1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                dougrisk, Thank you for your reply. As the mother of a pre-teen, I can very much get the Britney Spears analogy. I watch my daughter--sometimes with amusement, sometimes with annoyance--latch on to the latest Disney-created actor/pop star and it drives me a litle nutty. The Disney stars cycle is much shorter than the Food Network cycle, though. It Is hard to keep up with the latest.

                                                                                                I can appreciate that people who take their food seriously might find the tv hosts like RR, SL, or PD tedious and a waste of programming time. I still don't see the point of the negativity, but then I don't understand why my daughter and her posse thought Justin Beiber was all that six months ago and now they can't stand him. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                  The vitriol also has to do with Tony's audience.
                                                                                                  is a review of a talk of his at Chrysler Hall.

                                                                                                  " In his first moments on stage, he looked bemused and appreciative of the love the audience gave him. Once the crowd calmed down, he said, “When I see a crowd like this, I have concerns about my language, but this is a Navy town, so fuck it.” It was a statement to set the tone of the evening, the precursor of his biting, humorous talk on cooking, Food Network chefs, and travel."

                                                                                                  Apparently what he told TVGuide has been honed in front on numerous appreciative audiences - ones that, like many on Chow, have fond memories of Food TV 'back in the good old days', and resent the new faces.

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                    Paul, I think I understand your point.

                                                                                                    Personally, I think it is great that people read his books, watch his shows and want to see him speak live (he is definitely good with words). And that he talks about his travels, different foods, various trends, etc. ... this is all great, I think.

                                                                                                    Also, I have no problem with the cursing...he knows his crowd and they know him.

                                                                                                    But, again, personally, I think he does go out of his way to show his superiority to the likes of RR, Deen and company, and I am not a huge fan of that.

                                                                                                    I am not a fan of Rachel Ray, but, well, who cares.

                                                                                                    Anyway, I got off track...I think I get your point.

                                                                                                  2. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                    "It was only after millions took an interest in them that the hate came out."
                                                                                                    That's exactly the point though. No one has anything against the individual mediocre shortcut-loving cook working in obscurity or making meals for their family. But when said mediocre cooks become the vanguard for American cooking, then people (or foodies, at least - people who advocate a higher standard in cooking) start objecting to what they represent. I'll agree that the personal attacks can be over the top. But asking a forum of foodies to applaud what Deen and Ray and Lee represent - it's never gonna happen. Bourdain is well loved because he speaks plain and obvious truths, and is damn funny while he does it.

                                                                                                    Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus represent the same thing for people who actually give a damn about music and musicianship - a constant reminder of how indifferent the culture at large is to that which they love.

                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                      I disagree with "...But when said mediocre cooks become the vanguard for American cooking..." since I don't think they are the vanguard of American cooking, but that is probably just semantics.

                                                                                                      However, my major contention with what you said is this, "But asking a forum of foodies to applaud what Deen and Ray and Lee represent".

                                                                                                      Who did that?

                                                                                                      This is mainly stemming from me "supporting" what jlhinwa had said throughout the thread and no one is asking that. Again, personally, I am not a fan of any of them. But, I am also not a fan of Justin Beiber or Miley Cyrus or Brittany Spears. But you better believe that I don't feel the need to disparage them either. They are the candy covered pop stars who exist for the candy loving fans.

                                                                                                      And, damn, I feel like I am attacking you, but "Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus represent the same thing for people who actually give a damn about music and musicianship - a constant reminder of how indifferent the culture at large is to that which they love."..this gets to the heart of my earlier point.

                                                                                                      When some serious musician, or music lover starts to HATE on the likes of Cyrus and Spears (or Bieber, or whomever), they are not hating on the "culture at large", even if they try to tell themselves that. Because the grand majority of the culture doesn't care for them. [Their audience is almost entirely teenaged girls (and some of there mothers...seriously). But, teenaged girls are a huge demographic for advertisers, so, their influence, at times, seems disproportionately large.]

                                                                                                      They are not hating on the "artist", but there audience; which is almost enitirely made up of girls. [No one hated that one pop star ("Teenaged Dream"...what's her face) until like her third album, because she was not yet a big star. But, her music always sucked. People only started to hate her AFTER she became a POPULAR pop star.]

                                                                                                      But it sounds misogynist to say such a thing, so, it is easier to say you hate everyone (i.e. the Culture at Large), or laser-beam in on the "artist" herself.

                                                                                                      And this goes for Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee. Without having any numbers in front of me (PaulJ sometimes gets his hand on such info) I feel very confident that a tiny portion of the Semi-homemade "lovers" are adult heterosexual men.

                                                                                                      But to put 2 and 2 together and say that you hate a large portion of women out there (the RR, Deen, Semi-Homemade, etc. audience is women...Anthony Bourdain is much more likely to have a mixed male and female audience) just sounds bad.

                                                                                                      So, instead of hating all of those women that just love a pretty table-scape to go with their apple-tini, we say we hate Sandra Lee. And, after we tell everyone that we hate Sandra Lee (and instead watch Jacques Pepin...my personal favorite), then, everyone knows how superior we are.

                                                                                                      And, again, I don't hate Bourdain. I am a fan. But, it does irk me some when he, IMO, seems to go out of his way to denigrate such people.

                                                                                                      1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                        I'm intrigued by the discussion regarding music. So I'll hopefully-not-too-rudely jump on the bandwagon here. Spears and Cyrus (along with Beiber) are definitely not my choice of music. However, I've been known to recite Spear's "Womanizah" on many an occasion or Cyrus' "Party in the USA" during *ahem* a few party moments. Spears, Cyrus, and all those aren't harming anyone.
                                                                                                        Paula Deen, with her artery-clogging foodstuffs, is the Gangta Momma of food. Just as I'm not a fan of Gangsta Rap ( it doesn't do any good to promote violence or abusing women)...I don't like Gangsta Food Cheflebrities. Lee isn't helping anyone with her sodium-filled, processed food recipes. Rachel Ray...well, I'll compromise here..I guess it's better to whip up something quick when there isn't time--but that isn't saying I think her recipes are the greatest.
                                                                                                        Music al tastes are very personal choice. Food is substantial and should be treated as such.

                                                                                                        1. re: jarona

                                                                                                          "Paula Deen, with her artery-clogging foodstuffs, is the Gangta Momma of food. "

                                                                                                          Gansgta Rap came AFTER people started dieing in the streets of drug-addled neighborhoods.

                                                                                                          Paula Deen came DECADES after people starting shoving Banana Cream Pie down there gullets (obesity had been on the rise for a long time before she became a star, and seems to have leveled off at the peak of her popularity...so, maybe she is a saviour???)

                                                                                                          Julia Child, probably more than any other "celebrity" in America, railed against the "hate" of butter and cream at the height of the anti-cholesterol/anti-saturated fat hysteria of the 80's and 90's. Yet, few would demonize her for such a thing.

                                                                                                          Paula Deen is not making anyone fat...nor is she killing anyone. She is no more making anyone fat than Will Ferrel is making anyone dumb. They are each providing for a demographic what they were already craving. (Will is helping with silly, over-the-top, light-hearted comedies...many of which I like).

                                                                                                          I have seen Paula Deen's show more than once and my arteries are just fine.

                                                                                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                            I'll say this as someone who likes NWA and has a soft spot for Snoop - let's put aside the issue of whether gansta rap was/is an artistic reaction to the very real events that shaped the lives of the artists (though it would be quite a stretch to call Deen's cooking show the same) - if you think the reinforcement of telling young people it's good to be violent doesn't encourage violence, you're fooling yourself. You can't look at pop stars only as products of their culture while conveniently ignoring their contributions to the culture they are creating for others.

                                                                                                            The same goes for cooking. Yes, centuries of butter-packed, sweets-heavy Southern home cooking creates a potential fan base through which Deen can thrive. But it goes both ways. She champions that type of cooking, expands her fanbase, and advocates its adoption. Daily, to millions of people. How far does one have to stretch their mind to accept the possibility that this is influential?

                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                              Jeez, that was not my point. Come on, really?

                                                                                                              I thought I was pretty clear in saying that we were fat before Paula came along and we had cocaine and crack wars before the gangsta rap. And, actually, we started to see a pretty clear drop in violent crime right after Gangsta Rap became quite popular.

                                                                                                              Now, I don't think that the one caused the other, but it is still there.

                                                                                                              The number of kids who were likely to become accountants did not start dealing crack after NWA became well known. And Alice Waters daughter did not start making Kwanzaa Cake after Sandra Lee became well known.

                                                                                                              We are, in general, watching (and listening to) those people that we want to watch.

                                                                                                              Anthony Bourdain grew up with the Galloping Gourmet and yet he seems to show no sign of it.

                                                                                                              He is a big Ramones fan and no matter how popular the Monkees were, he was basically never going to be a fan.

                                                                                                              1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                I looked back at your post, and I'm still not seeing how I missed the point. I thought you were arguing that Deen has no part in encouraging and bringing about bad eating and cooking habits.

                                                                                                                I'll grant you that she's mainly preaching to the choir. But you don't get a mainstream cooking show, millions of viewers, guest appearances on other shows, product endorsements up the wazoo, etc, without your influence spreading beyond the pre-converted every now and again.

                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                  Yes, I over-reacted to that, and was wrong to boot.

                                                                                                                  You did understand what I was implying. Granted, I still disagree.

                                                                                                                  I will not say that Paula has had no influence, because that would be impossible. But, the amount of sugar (or whatever) that we get in our diet since she has become famous has changed very little. And, like I was saying before, if I read the literature correctly, we have actually slowed or even stopped the growing obesity problem that we have in America at the very peak of her popularity.

                                                                                                                  "But you don't get a mainstream cooking show, millions of viewers, guest appearances on other shows, product endorsements up the wazoo, etc, without your influence spreading beyond the pre-converted every now and again."

                                                                                                                  Again, there is a huge difference between popularity and Influence.

                                                                                                                  She is, in general (I am positing), having very little affect on increasing the amount of Mayonnaise that we get in our diet. The Mayo lovers, and Table-scape lovers went flocking to their respective Crack Dealers (to quote Chris Rock, "You never hear some Drug Dealer say, 'What am I going to do with all this crack?!'").

                                                                                                                  American Idol did not create an audience for Reality-themed Singing contests...they simply did it with better production values and more charming/polarizing hosts than Star Search and the audience came running. But that audience was always there.

                                                                                                                  Now, Ferran Adria, that guy has been influential. Paula Deen, not so much.

                                                                                                                2. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                  "He is a big Ramones fan and no matter how popular the Monkees were, he was basically never going to be a fan."

                                                                                                                  Why not? Joey Ramone only had good things to say about the Monkees. The Osmonds or Bobby Sherman on the hand...;-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Sloth

                                                                                                                    Joey may have been kind, but I would bet good money Tony would not.

                                                                                                            2. re: jarona

                                                                                                              You can bet there are musicians on music-related blogs who will argue as vehemently about the soul-killing nature of pop music ala Cyrus, Spears, Beiber etc. And you can definitely bet there are parents on parenting forums who take issue with the negative influence Spears, Cyrus, et al have on young girls and pop culture.

                                                                                                              EDIT: This is a reply to jarona's comments about music above. I can't get the reply alignment correct.

                                                                                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                What a nice new breath of fresh air you are, jlhinwa.

                                                                                                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                  OK. I'm reading over this, and my comparison was most likely a little over-the-top. I forgot about the parents who think that Spears, Cyrus are a bad influence on girls...and I remember my own parents thinking I was some sort of rebel because of my adoration of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison (back in the day).
                                                                                                                  I was just trying to make SOME kind of comparison with the FN people b/c I truly think Bourdain was spot on. (actually, he was too nice in his comments).

                                                                                                                  Hope this clears things.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the clarification, jarona. Back in my day, my boyfriend's mom was sure he was going straight to hell for listening to AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. And of course was convinced there were demonic messages recorded on albums if played backwards. The conspiracy thinking about music and musicians can be pretty spectacular!

                                                                                                              2. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                For one, 'hate' is too strong a word, and certainly 'HATE' in all caps is. Sure some people do actually cross that line to really hate on pop stars or food tv personalities, but I don't support that, and for the most part that's not what's going on in this thread or in AB's commentary.

                                                                                                                For another - and I shouldn't really even have to clarify this - this issue has nothing to do with misogyny. Do I really need to give a male example for every female one I list? Fine - I guess there is Guy Fierri - he has a lot of male fans. Ever hear anyone bitch about him? Course you have. The "Man vs Food" guy gets no love from me. Or just today I saw an add for some guy on TFN promoting his new show, going on about how 'we need to get back to appreciating what's great about the food we eat every day' as though that wasn't the M.O. already dominating TFN. I don't know him and haven't seen his show, but I dislike him. It's not a female thing at all - it's about TFN network execs realizing that they have an easier time selling adds if their programming doesn't teach people anything or expose anyone to anything new, but rather just tells people how great the cupcakes already in their fridge are, makes viewers feel like great cooks even if they can't be bothered to learn the craft.

                                                                                                                Honestly dude, the misogyny thing is sort of a low blow. It's just a fallacy in general that disliking the pop culture favored by some demographic means that you dislike the demographic themselves.

                                                                                                                More basically, it's not even about hating on the fan base, just as it's not exactly about hating on the TV/music star. It's about the phenomenon. 13 year-olds by and large may not have great musical tastes, but it's not about them. It's about an industry so eager for their parents' dollars that it has put good music at its very peripheries, creating a pop scene where musical creativity and originality are stifled, and where writing lyrics that are actually clever makes it that much harder to get a record deal. The same goes for food TV. TFN held real promise when it started, but rather than growing with its viewership, it regressed instead, moving to a model where a 'personality' doesn't need any real insight or skill to host a show. It's a network ostensibly built around a craft, and they're burying said craft in their programming. Their fan base is beside the point; I love good food and cooking, and bemoan the lost potential there.

                                                                                                                "This is mainly stemming from me "supporting" what jlhinwa had said throughout the thread and no one is asking that."
                                                                                                                Are you expecting people just not to comment on TFN, here on the CH food media board, unless they approve of everything on it? That's not gonna happen. It would be one thing to interrupt a coworker or something discussing some Paula Deen recipe they made the other night with your opinion. It's very different to state your opinion here, on threads designed for that purpose.

                                                                                                                And yeah, you supported someone who claims that it is 'elitist' to disparage TFN here on CH. Apparently, it's now elitist to make fun of absolutely anything as low quality if other people somewhere out there like it. Given that this is a forum where people give their opinions on such things, and given that Lee, Deen and the like are putting out a poor quality product, how should the rest of us who don't get down with Kwanzaa cake and buttered bacon avoid being such elitist pricks?

                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                  I put the "hate" in all caps to emphasize how much criticism is lobbed at these "stars" on boards like these. I am not saying that the "hate" is what you would see for some sort of tyrant.

                                                                                                                  re: Guy Fieri

                                                                                                                  I didn't mean to imply that some people will only hate those pop stars supported by women. What I was trying to say is that it is not the "star" that we hate (again, use whatever word is appropriate here), but the people who like or support them.

                                                                                                                  "Honestly dude, the misogyny thing is sort of a low blow. It's just a fallacy in general that disliking the pop culture favored by some demographic means that you dislike the demographic themselves. "

                                                                                                                  Like I said, "it sounds bad". Not that these people are harboring some sort of hatred for all women (or, Camaro-driving, beer-swilling, NASCAR-watching Fieri fans). But, if they were to own up to the idea that they really hate the fans, and not the cook themselves, it would sound bad. It would, in the case of Sandra Lee (in as much as most of her fans are of a certain demographic) sound misogynistic.

                                                                                                                  "It's about an industry so eager for their parents' dollars that it has put good music at its very peripheries"

                                                                                                                  The likes of Dave Matthews, U2, and even the Beatles, Rolling Stones and maybe even Bob Dylan are still massively promoted. The Stones to this day are one of the highest grossing bands on tour. By and large, they look to sell what is profitable. But, so is Spears and Cyrus. However, many more people have "hatred" for the fans of Brittany Spears than they do for those fans of the Rolling Stones...even though the Stones are still massively popular (I had heard that The Beatles are so popular that one of there songs is being played on the radio at all times.)

                                                                                                                  "Are you expecting people just not to comment on TFN, here on the CH food media board, unless they approve of everything on it?"

                                                                                                                  Again, much of this was stemming from a comment supporting a poster who commented on Anthony Bourdain. Basically, that he seems to go out of his way to make comments about certain Food Network stars. And I agreed. I just tried to provide some extra analysis to give some context and understanding. That analysis might be wrong, but my support for her still stands. People should comment on whatever they want.

                                                                                                                  "Apparently, it's now elitist to make fun of absolutely anything as low quality if other people somewhere out there like it" I don't know where that is coming from. I am not following that.

                                                                                                                  "Given that this is a forum where people give their opinions on such things, and given that Lee, Deen and the like are putting out a poor quality product, how should the rest of us who don't get down with Kwanzaa cake and buttered bacon avoid being such elitist pricks?"

                                                                                                                  OK. This is what I was trying to get at. People all over the place (various magazines, food blogs, local TV cable-access shows, cooking demonstrations, etc) make food on par, or worse than, Kwanzaa cakes and buttered bacon and we barely here anyone on Chowhound say anything about it. Rachel Ray was doing what she was doing on TV years before anyone started making a stink about it. People only started in on her AFTER she got a large audience.

                                                                                                                  It's the popularity of the star, not the star that people dislike. And I would be willing to bet that the big fans of RR, Guy Fieri, Emeril (back at the height of his popularity), Sandra Lee, etc are not nearly as "nuanced" (or "enlightened", or intelligent, or authentic, or whatever) as those fans of Jacques Pepin, or Anthony Bourdain, or whomever. I never said anything about elitism, but, if that idea is to be employed, it would be here. Those with taste (in this case, maybe literally) are taking shots at those who don't. The masses seem to be on the side of Paula Deen and not on the side of Anthony Bourdain (as popular as he is). And this is where the "hate" comes from.

                                                                                                                  It is not the same as, say, some Beatles fan saying that The White Album is a weak effort from them (and then, some other fan, disagreeing). You would not think that the one is being elitist by that statement because, you already know that the two of you are both fans. But, your fandom is not identical for all songs and albums.

                                                                                                                  But, trying to get back to my original disagreement...

                                                                                                                  "But asking a forum of foodies to applaud what Deen and Ray and Lee represent".

                                                                                                                  Who did that?

                                                                                                                  This was never addressed. Again, I thought he was trying to hard. That is why I supported jlhinwa. But neither of us were looking for anything like that. So, where did that come from?

                                                                                                                  1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                    DougRisk, thank you very much for 1) helping me understand the deal with CH'ers, AB and FN, and 2) trying clarify comments or points that I seemed unable to articulate well.

                                                                                                                    I am pretty new to CH and am still learning the ropes. I had no idea that trying to understand why people do/say the things in the food-related world could be so contentious.

                                                                                                                    Interestingly, the analogy about Britney Spears was the closest thing to an "ah-ha" moment I will get. That helped a lot...who knew?!

                                                                                                                    1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                      Just a couple points to clear up.

                                                                                                                      Before I start sounding too much like an old grump, I just want to make it clear that there has been some excellent music made in the last decade, even some pop music. I'm just saying the overall trend has been towards the insipid. Those bands you listed - some or (likely) all of them would have a hard time achieving stardom if they were just starting out now, even if they updated their musical styles. Dylan especially.

                                                                                                                      Back on subject, it's really not about the fan base, and since no one has said anything negative about TFN's fan base, I'd say you're stretching to explain the criticism that way. I'll agree that the popularity of the star is certainly a factor. But it doesn't follow that anyone dislikes the people who made said star popular. They just object to the star's basic food philosophy, and resent said star being crammed in their face and pushing out the old guard who seemed to know a little more about and care a little more about the food and cooking itself. Rather than representing a fan base, these TFN stars represent a school of thought that many disagree with.

                                                                                                                      "'But asking a forum of foodies to applaud what Deen and Ray and Lee represent'.

                                                                                                                      Who did that?"
                                                                                                                      In fairness, you're right - that's not exactly what was asked. Rather, the accusation was that people were going out of their way to insult TFN stars, that such insults were unnecessary and gratuitous.

                                                                                                                      I submit that these are some of the dominant figures in American food media and that anyone on this subforum would have to go more out of their way to never comment on them.

                                                                                                                      They come up because they're sort of ubiquitous. People dislike them because they're hacks. Put those two factors together and some criticism is inevitable.

                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                        "Back on subject, it's really not about the fan base, and since no one has said anything negative about TFN's fan base, I'd say you're stretching to explain the criticism that way"

                                                                                                                        Let's just say that my analysis is completely off (which is fine since it is not really necessary for this discussion anyway), my basic point remains: these people (Paula, Sandra, RR, etc) are, basically, no more harmful now than when they were local stars/cooks (Paula owned/owns a restaurant, Sandra had some video produced with Florence Henderson, RR was on local cable access and some other local spots). And, back then, they were basically pedaling the same stuff/schtick.

                                                                                                                        But, it is only after they become popular that anyone feels the need to make it public how much they can not stand them. And they are influencing (basically) no one. You can better believe that none of my friends are constructing table-scapes after becoming aware of Sandra Lee.

                                                                                                                        Nor are they saying y'all as they dish out dish out deep fried butter, or saying EVOO.

                                                                                                                        Each one of them is dishing out their drug to their particular drug users.

                                                                                                                        Now, if you want to criticize the drug-use (staying with this analogy), fair enough, but those particular drug dealers are only popular because of their very willing audience.

                                                                                                                        "...and resent said star being crammed in their face..."

                                                                                                                        They are being crammed in no ones face. They are no more being crammed in my face then the latest sitcom. "My Name Is Earl" was one of the most promoted shows of its time and had millions poured into it and it still could not take off.

                                                                                                                        These shows are popular because we choose to watch them (maybe not you and I, but many people do). and this is what drives us nuts.

                                                                                                                        If so many people did not choose to watch them, then few, if any, would care.

                                                                                                                        "People dislike them because they're hacks."

                                                                                                                        Then why do we here so little about all of the other hacks in the food world. Just go to Barnes and Noble and you will likely see at least a dozen different books that are pretty bad (probably worse than the latest from Paula)...full of recipes that call for prepared ingredients, Equal Sweetener packs, Molly McButter (ok, maybe I am pushing it on that one), but you get the idea.

                                                                                                                        YouTube is loaded with both good and bad cooking shows. You barely hear a peep about the bad ones. It is because they are not popular so one cares.

                                                                                                                        When Justin Bieber was pulling off his stuff at the local malls (or wherever) no one cared to say anything.

                                                                                                                        Now they do.

                                                                                                                        However, I do want to make sure that I make this final point: people should talk about what they want to. It is no skin off of my back. But, if a person makes an intelligent remark about how Tony Bourdain seems to go out of his way to criticize these otherwise harmless food hosts, then I am going to say, "Right on".

                                                                                                                        And then I will watch his episode on Kurdistan and think it was pretty great (one of the best ones I have seen from him)

                                                                                                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                      Cowboyardee, to clarify (again) my comment about elitism, here is a copy and paste from above: "Knowing more than someone else does not amount to elitism at all and I'm not sure how you inferred that from my comment. I would call that "educated," not "elitist."

                                                                                                                      Thinking that one is superior because of their own beliefs or values is, IMO, elitist."

                                                                                                                      That is not the same as being called elitist for disparaging TFN.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                        I was just saying that I feel you mis-attribute one's motivation behind taking the odd potshot at TFN to elitism (trying to show how superior you are) when most of it is actually just speaking plainly obvious truths and shooting the shat here on CH where discussions of food media are encouraged.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                          Cowboyardee, I really am going to have to agree to disagree about the elitism thing. There will be people on CH who admire some of the FN hosts, who have learned from them, who are still learning from them. These kinds of threads don't do much to make them feel welcome or respected. It is more than just constructively observing and criticizing those people. I do get your point about discussing the food media being encouraged, and I get that, but as I've pointed out ad nauseum, I don't agree with how they're carried out.

                                                                                                                          If someone shows up on a board and described offal as disgusting, and went on to voice strongly negative views about offal and those who eat it, in unflattering and abrasive language, would that be acceptable? My sense is no, it would not be okay on CH.

                                                                                                                          So I'm back to my point made much earlier: If one of the core principles on CH is to not "yuk someone's yum," why is it okay to do so about people in the food media? It is a little different, but the general idea of raining on someone's parade and denigrating them because of what they prefer would seem to apply to both.

                                                                                                                          Things that make ya go hmmmmmmmm.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                            "I really am going to have to agree to disagree about the elitism thing. There will be people on CH who admire some of the FN hosts, who have learned from them, who are still learning from them. These kinds of threads don't do much to make them feel welcome or respected."
                                                                                                                            This is a big site; there are surely plenty of people on CH who use bouillon cubes when a dish calls for stock or who think that sloppily using a grooved steel is all the sharpening their chef knife could possibly need. If I point out that bouillon is a poor substitute in most cases for real stock, or that you can't possibly learn good knife technique with a knife that hasn't been properly sharpened in years, does that make me an elitist? I've seen other CHs get up in arms over such suggestions and take them personally. To what extent should I sugar coat or avoid stating the truth as I see it so that I avoid hurting anyone's feelings?

                                                                                                                            'Don't yuck someone's yum' makes for a fine slogan. And it's a good rule of thumb when dining with others in a social setting. But it is NOT a core principle of CH. In fact, it's nearly antithetical to the core principles of CH. This is a site for food criticism. You eat at a place and if it's good, you recommend it; if it's bad you recommend that others avoid it. Since the site has expanded, I feel the same applies for home cooking techniques, for cookware, and even for discussion of food media.

                                                                                                                            Plenty of people on CH have described offal as disgusting. Happens all the time. It's fine. Ridiculing people who eat offal would be crossing the line. But did anyone actually ridicule the Food Network's audience? If so I missed it. Or are you just buying into DougRisk's vaguely Freudian conjecture about misplaced hatred? Don't get me wrong - it was admittedly interesting, but conjecture nonetheless.

                                                                                                                            I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings or piss anyone off. Hopefully none of my comments on this thread have come across as nasty. But my commitment on CH is to speaking honestly about food. Elsewhere, I might hold my tongue elect not to criticize. But not on a site for criticism.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                              "Or are you just buying into DougRisk's vaguely Freudian conjecture about misplaced hatred?"

                                                                                                                              I was willing to let all that go. Like I said, it was just some analysis, that, in retrospect, was not necessary for this discussion.

                                                                                                                              And if the analysis is completely wrong, so be it.


                                                                                                                              "But did anyone actually ridicule the Food Network's audience?"

                                                                                                                              I think that is at the heart of all of this. And, so, I wil simply restate my main point: "None of these hosts got the bashing that they have gotten until after they became popular. If they remained marginal D-list TV Food 'Celebrities' (like quite a few others on FoodNetwork who almost never get mentioned), they would barely get any criticism."

                                                                                                                              Regardless of any baloney Freudian analysis that might be applied as to why we do this, we bash them because they have a following.

                                                                                                                              Few people (relatively speaking) are tuning in to watch the 5 Ingredient Fix girl, so she gets very little criticism on CH (some, but not that much). Whereas, plenty tune into watch the Paula and Sandra and RR and so they get tons of criticism.

                                                                                                                              No, popularity does not guarantee massive criticism (Alton Brown fairs pretty well), but without it, we just don't care that much...even if their food looks awful and amateurish.

                                                                                                                              (And, again, personally, I generally have no problem with people voicing their criticisms of almost any host, but, I do recoil somewhat when we try to say that it is because of their bad food when tons of bad food is being made and displayed by tons of hosts and authors and we barely say anything about them).

                                                                                                                              1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                I never disagreed with you that popular hosts are subject to more criticism than less popular ones or anonymous bad cooks without TV shows. I disagreed (and still do) that you can somehow extrapolate that this means people are ridiculing the fans of a popular show or host. It just doesn't follow.

                                                                                                                                I mean, I could list reasons that more popular hosts are more subject to criticism that have nothing to do with hatred for their fan base, if you want:

                                                                                                                                - They're more visible and come up more often. This is a HUGE factor, and I could probably stop listing here. My case is already made.

                                                                                                                                - Resentment of popularity, which differs from resentment of the people that made said host popular. You don't seem to make this distinction - you should. The point is that the host and his/her techniques and philosophy is not worthy, that worthier hosts and techniques and philosophies are cast aside.

                                                                                                                                - The notion that the guys at the top can take the heat, that criticizing them isn't really hurting anyone. Bourdain makes reference to this every once in a while. I think he's aware of a sense of futility in criticizing RR and the like. Personally, I'm at times reminded of a Neil Gaiman quote that I'm about to butcher: 'It has always been the prerogative of children and halfwits to point out that the Emperor has no clothes. But the halfwit remains a halfwit and the Emperor remains an Emperor.' Now, I and Bourdain may be taking the halfwit's path, but it's not cruel or damaging in the same way that holding a private anonymous cook (or even a struggling, low rent TV host) up for public ridicule would be. RR, SL, PD - those ladies will be just fine.

                                                                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                By slamming RR, PD, SL, and their cooking techniques in such an unconstructive manner as Bourdain does (and others here have parroted), it is reasonable to believe that CH'ers that like those shows would feel the disdain extends to them.

                                                                                                                                I do understand your points about this being a website for criticism, and I respect that part of the community. I do wish that criticism would be leveled in a helpful way that more can learn from rather than in a way that is demeaning to the target or others. But this is America, land of free speech, and we all get to say what we believe. And that is a good thing.

                                                                                                                                Edit: This a reply to cowboyardee's post one upstream.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                  "By slamming RR, PD, SL, and their cooking techniques in such an unconstructive manner as Bourdain does... it is reasonable to believe that CH'ers that like those shows would feel the disdain extends to them."
                                                                                                                                  No, it's not. If I say restaurant A is awful, a blight on the local food scene, you're welcome to argue with me that I'm wrong, that the food at restaurant A is fantastic or that I'm just missing the point. But if you tell me that my review is bad for CH and that I'm hurting the CH community by posting it - that's where I call BS. And if you as a fan of restaurant A feel personally insulted by my negative review and on that basis call me and anyone who disagrees with you an elitist, the disdain in this situation is actually running the opposite direction than you claim it is.

                                                                                                                                  If you can't stand to see your sacred cows (culinary-wise) slaughtered every once in a while, you're in the wrong place.

                                                                                                                              3. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                Long before "not yukking someone's yum" was important, we understood that the board was here to seek and share excellence. We've debated the nature of excellence in food in every way possible, but nevertheless, the goal was always to identify something we thought of as being better in some way, and to share that with others.

                                                                                                                                Apparently, not any more. The trend here and on FN and in the general public regarding food, is to drive straight to the bottom - to praise mediocrity and mass marketing - to share shortcuts and simplicity, in the name of, well, it's better than McDonald's.

                                                                                                                                Some of us still want to share real excellence. That doesn't make us snobs or elitists or some sort of intolerant being that can't abide by Duncan Hines or Ragu or Kraft Macn'Cheese. We just don't think those things are worth our time to discuss here. We want to talk about the really good shit. To us, Tony is a guiding light. His language is somewhat coarse and his demeanor is disrespectful. And that is what makes him interesting - an honest reaction, by a public figure, to all the nonsense spewing forth from FN.

                                                                                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                  applehome, I appreciate your comments. And while you say, "Thatt doesn't make us snobs or elitists or some sort of intolerant being that can't abide by Duncan Hines or Ragu or Kraft Macn'Cheese," this thread started with a link to an article where Bourdain pretty much does just that, and then the CH'ers jump on board praising his honesty.

                                                                                                                                  I don't see how pursuing excellence in food and being respectful while doing so are mutually exclusive. Clearly I am in the minority, at least on this thread, and I accept that. (Don't like it, but accept it.)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                    ", in the name of, well, it's better than McDonald's." - wasn't that the essence of Tony's praise of McFoxy in the Ukraine? That and the fact that it was able operate in the shadow of the golden arches.

                                                                                                                                    Tony's trash talk does not aim to shame Emril or RR or encourage their fans to seek excellence, it aims to reassure his fans that they are better (or have made better choices) than most FN viewers. He is, in effect, their spokesman.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                      "Tony's trash talk does not aim to shame Emril or RR or encourage their fans to seek excellence, it aims to reassure his fans that they are better (or have made better choices) than most FN viewers. He is, in effect, their spokesman."

                                                                                                                                      That is, basically, what I was trying to say. Thank you.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                        "it aims to reassure his fans that they are better" (or have made better choices)

                                                                                                                                        i consider myself an AB fan, however I do not think I am "better" than most FN viewers; not liking something that the masses enjoy does not necessarily = "I am better"

                                                                                                                                        1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                          That's exactly the same as calling someone a snob here on CH. Seeking excellence or seeking something better doesn't make you a snob and doesn't mean that you're making yourself better at the expense of others. If AB is a pied piper, calling out the "good enough", mediocre food advocates, then he is doing so because he thinks that these people, and FN, in general, does more harm than good - not because he thinks he is better than anybody. He doesn't need to assure his fan base that they are better than anyone else, and stating that, that is his purpose is not only idle speculation, but baseless and ludicrous.

                                                                                                                                2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                  Sorry jlhinwa but I called this one(you're actually paraphrasing me here from way upstream)and you're still offside. You're confused about the difference between incivility and disagreement. People who know enough(and often better), like Bourdain, are in a position to criticize the worst of the FN hacks and fakes--whether you like it or not. You still need to read Bourdain sometime--soon preferably.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Kagemusha

                                                                                                                                    Kagemusha, yes I am confused. I am confused about where I am paraphrasing you--sorry, there are quite a lot of posts upstream.

                                                                                                                                    I don't believe I am at all confused about the difference between incivility and disagreement. And for the record, I have no problem with disagreement--to the contrary, I value it and believe that all are better when spirited disagreement can occur between people who respect one another.

                                                                                                                                    I fail to see how a comment like this, "Pure evil. This frightening Hell Spawn of Kathie Lee and Betty Crocker seems on a mission to kill her fans, one meal at a time. She Must Be Stopped." about Sandra Lee can be construed as disagreement. It is an strongly-worded opinion that does not offer anything in the way of constructive suggestion or direction. Incivility barely describes that type of vitriol.

                                                                                                                                    I have no problem with Bourdain being well-qualified to criticize the good and bad in his industry. That is a given. Ultimately, I am of the strong opinion that he would be much more effective in influencing the direction of that industry if he were able to frame his objections and desires for change in a way that a broad audience will be able to hear and learn from. Sure, being bombastic is highly entertaining to many, and no doubt there is more than a kernel of truth in his words. But if no one can really hear him due to all the noise, what's the point? For his own amusement? To amuse a select, limited audience? Because he has no interest in using self-control?

                                                                                                                                    I may read Bourdain, I may watch him. I used to find Jeffrey Steingarten's curmudgeonly schtick on the Iron Chef America quite tedious but after I read his second memoir, I viewed him in a new light. Maybe the same will happen with Bourdain...who knows.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                      "But if no one can really hear him due to all the noise, what's the point? For his own amusement? To amuse a select, limited audience? Because he has no interest in using self-control?"

                                                                                                                                      The point that bugs me the most - when you refer to others' vitriol - is that it's your opinion that it's vitriol. It's your opinion that there are only a select few that "hear him due to all the noise". Of course, you're entitled to it, as we are to our own - but we don't assume or state here that your opinion is some sort of minority or off-kilter statement that the majority of people (here or otherwise) dislike.

                                                                                                                                      Bourdain is funny and honest - his immediate popularity with Kitchen Confidential far exceeded the target audience of lowly food worker - it was a best seller. Your assumption that a best seller writer is writing only for his own amusement and some sort of narrow, deviated bunch is, well, amusing.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                        applehome, referring back to the link that is in the OP above, I stand by my assertion that some of Bourdain's quotes, particularly regarding SL, is vitriol. Certainly not all of the posts on this thread have been, but the original article that started this discussion, contains very mean-spirited, completely unconstructive criticism.

                                                                                                                                        The fact that Bourdain has been a best seller doesn't compel me at all. Using that as a measure of success, I am guessing he wouldn't stack up so well against all of those FN people he finds disgusting.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                        Jlhinwa there's no "play nice" clause in Bourdain's contracts, so why tiresomely insist he'd be more credible if he played nice? You should try reading some of Giles Coren's old resto reviews:


                                                                                                                                        Sometimes criticism is just less pillow fight and more cage match. Innocence lost.

                                                                                                                                3. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                  Female here and I always hate to see Ray Ray grouped in with Lee and Dean. I'm puzzle why she turned into some sort of homemaking empire, but I actually quite liked 30 Minute Meals- nothing hugely innovative but there were a lot of very solid recipes on that show that were nice to have on hand for days when you didn't feel like the same old dinner rotation but didn't have enough energy after work to really do a hugely involved meal.

                                                                                                                                  And Rachel doesn't seem to have Sandee's fascination with weird taco spice packets that seem to be mostly salt and MSG, booze and tablescapes, and also never really seemed to turn into a caricature of herself like Dean has over the years.

                                                                                                                                  Ray's middlebrow, and a huge part of Anthony Bourdain's schtick is rallying against the middlebrow, but she's always seemed to me to be far more competent than the other two.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                                                                    I'd like to seem him cook on tv so he too can be critiqued. I've seen him do it twice, once manning the line with Eric Ripert at Les Halles, and the other a bechamel sauce, both on No Reservations.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                      They just re-ran the Provence episode of No Reservations this week. Tony cooked a meal for his French hosts.

                                                                                                                                      He wanted to cook a meal with all the great ingredients that were available there, but was very nervous about what their opinion would be and if he could live up to all the great traditional dishes he had been eating with them.

                                                                                                                                      I remember the first time I saw him on TV (or even heard of him). He was a guest on Sara Moulton's Cooking Live show. He must have been doing publicity for Kitchen Confidential. He was very awkward in the initial interview and then Sara asked him to help out with whatever she was cooking and once he got the saute pan in hand he really relaxed. Prompted me to check out the book and I've been a fan since.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                                        I'll check out that Provence episode. I have faith in the Travel Channel re-airing it. The Les Halles episode was one of my favorites.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                                          I think I just found it. Is it "At the table with Anthony Bourdain?" Description: Tony hosts a dinner with four guests. It's on at 12 pm CDT this Wednesday.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                            I think that is a totally different series that was pretty short lived where Tony was doing sort of a talk show format with guests having dinner.

                                                                                                                                            He did not cook, but had other well known chefs cook for the table. IIRC Wylie Dufresne did one show, maybe the only show.

                                                                                                                                            If you like Bourdain, then it's amusing, but not that great of a show.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                                              The guide says it's a No Reservatios. I'll check it out and see.

                                                                                                                                4. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                  While I am neither a fan nor a hater of either Ray or Deen I do know that the Rachel Ray of local TV in upstate New York and the Paula Deen, proprieter of The Lady & Sons of Savannah, Georgia are not the same people that are national FN celebrities of today.

                                                                                                                        2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                          When I was a new cook, I thought Sandra Lee's stuff looked disgusting. I hated that her show came on between 2 other shows that I liked during the Saturday morning line-up. I learned much more by watching Tyler Florence on How to Boil Water (great show, too bad it's not on anymore), and from Ina Garten. I was mostly interested in learning how to cook things I could get in restaurant, or at my super-hostess aunt's house, and nothing Sandra Lee makes would be in any restaurant or at my aunt's house. The promotion of using packaged ingredients that are full of all kinds of unhealthy things is not something that should be taught to new cooks who don't know any better.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                            +1. Thank you Jlhinwa.
                                                                                                                            I personally don't watch food network much anymore, but I respect all of them for doing what they do making cooking accessible to the masses. And I love Rachael's upbeat personality, and I've tried several of her recipes (scallops in a vermouth sauce was out -of-this-world)

                                                                                                                          2. He's right on the money.

                                                                                                                            1. sometimes we may not like what someone is saying or how they are saying it, but that doesn't mean that what they are saying isn't true; and often times honesty is not what we would rather hear, but I think honesty is better in the long run- even if it makes us uncomfortable in the short run...

                                                                                                                              Keep on making us uncomfortable Bourdain!

                                                                                                                              1. The irony here is Bourdain must be watching FN to come up with his opinions.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                  If you are trying to identify posers and airheads, it's enough to flip through the channels while nursing a morning hangover. :)

                                                                                                                                2. Just watched the latest show on Cajun Country. I saw him insult no one. Even as he ate the asshole in Namibia, he insulted no one. Vietnam? Japan? Nothing but the deepest respect shown. He got a coupla licks in at that Romanian castle... I guess he's just got it in for food phonies. I might suggest that if you feel insulted by Tony, you check your phony creds. Even some of the best go after the buck or get lost in their own hyped up TV show. Then, Tony calls you an Ewok. Later, when you're back to cooking real food and helping real people in the industry, Tony will come around - even pay his respects. Straightforward. Calling a spade a spade. If you don't like it, don't watch. I don't watch Rachel Ray, Paula Deen or Sandra Lee - their food sucks, and they're phony.

                                                                                                                                  36 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                    What are you getting at? As far as I can tell, nobody accused Bourdain of insulting his hosts on his own television show. He has been called out a bit for his nasty attitude to the Food Network. Personally, I think it would show a lot of class if Bourdain would concentrate on making his own show better and not speak out negatively about others' television programs in an attempt to boost his own visibility.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                      Clearly, he's a guy that's capable of showing great respect for people and traditions that are alien to him. So he does not speak negatively out of a generic nasty attitude, a predisposition, as it were, towards seeing the worst in different food, people or cultures. And I doubt that he does this as a publicity gag, to push book sales or viewership, as you seem to feel - he does not need to "boost his own visibility". I doubt if all this "publicity" adds up to an additional 10 cents in his coffers. Tony says what he feels, and when he sees the idiocy rampant in today's foodie culture, especially as led by the Food Network (whose members are most definitely in it to boost visibility to the lowest common denominator), he points it out honestly. He doesn't reserve his negative comments for FN - he's taken on some of the highest doyens of today's foodieism, including Alice Waters.

                                                                                                                                      I can't help but wonder if he's biting the hand that feeds him, and doing so on purpose. The ultimate irony in Scripps (who he blamed heavily for the FN downfall) taking over the channel he found a new home at, can't be lost on him. But he has apparently been green-lit for a new show, so it can't be all negative. Certainly, he'd go after the idiocy of FN regardless of the Travel Channel situation.

                                                                                                                                      I don't know what you call "class". If it's honesty and straightforwardness, dedication to the real food workers, admiration of the best foods and techniques and the people who practice them, then I say that Tony has more class then the entire Food Network.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                        I still don't understand why you are bringing Bourdain's respect for his hosts around the world on his TV show. As far as I can tell, nobody on this thread made such a claim.

                                                                                                                                        Anytime a TV personality/writer gets some publicity their persona is promoted. I never made any claim as to the value of the publicity.

                                                                                                                                        My point about class is pretty obvious. People with class pretty much worry about themselves and don't go out of their way to criticize others just to in some way promote themselves. Bourdain does show some class on his show sometimes, other times he shows little class on his show.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                          I suspect that if someone were to ask him, AB would say he cares a lot more about being thought of as someone with integrity than as a 'classy' individual. There's a distinction there, and I think he does a decent job of it, which is probably why some of us really respect him while others obviously don't.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                            What is wrong with being classy and having integrity? Surely they are not mutually exclusive.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                              They're not. Pepin comes to mind. But not everyone can be Pepin.

                                                                                                                                              But AB has set himself up professionally as a critic of food culture, among other things. It's hard to maintain one's integrity as a critic without calling a spade a spade. John E.'s definition of 'class' basically excludes any honest critic.

                                                                                                                                              Admittedly, his commentary can be scathing - that's for entertainment value. And like it or not, it sells books and endears him to many. I assume he's willing to compromise a little 'class' for that. There are many virtues in life, and class is only one of em.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                The way I see it, Bourdain's continuous harping about Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee (Deen is a new one) should be beneath him by now. "We get it Tony, you don't this much of their food". When he complains about them it comes across to me as jealousy at their success. I would guess that three out of those four (Lee being the exception) make

                                                                                                                                                Uch more money from their success than does he.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                  He's not continuously harping on the FN personalities but he did write about them in Medium Raw and he's being asked about them so he answers the questions. What's he suppose to do? Pull a Christine O'Donnell and only answer the questions he deems appropriate?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melo7

                                                                                                                                                    I don't know the circumstances of all of his FN references. I do know he has made his criticism of FN personalities as part of his 'stchick' so of course he is going to be asked about it. He even makes snide remarks about Ray or Lee on his own TV show, "Tony, we get it. Give it a rest".

                                                                                                                                                    This is another thread where my comments have apparently taken on a life of their own and their importance is much less than is being made of them. Bourdain can show his jealousy about anyone hexwishes to. I don't really care that much.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                      "I don't really care that much."

                                                                                                                                                      19 post says you care somewhat.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: melo7

                                                                                                                                                        I suppose I should have ekaborated by sayingI don't care ANYMORE. How many times did I post "we get it Tony"? I thought my being tired of this came through. Apparently not.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                    John E. - Well said; I agree. It should be beneath him by now. His followers are well-schooled in his views about all of this so what's the point? I think it's the continuous harping that makes it seem like he has an axe to grind.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                      I think the ax he is grinding is one of jealousy because he is a trained, fine dining chef and Ray, Deen, and Lee are not only not trained, but their food is beneath him and look at how successful they are when they don't work anywhere near as hard as he dies. He travels the world for his show going to hell on earth and subjecting himself to all kinds of crap that none of them are doing.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                        or maybe he just doesn't like the food they make on their shows.
                                                                                                                                                        "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
                                                                                                                                                        -- attr. to sigmund freud

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                          How does that take into account D, D, & D? I would have to say that quite a lot of food seen on that show looks pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                            Generally speaking, I think most of the objections to Guy Fierri and his shows, DDD included, have more to do with his shtick than the food. The food itself is inconsistent - not necessarily bad, and some of it probably pretty decent - but there's not a whole heck of a lot of insight into it on the show.

                                                                                                                                                            The common thread with a lot of these shows is that the host's personality has become more important than the food they showcase.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                              I don't disagree with much of your post (along with forgettable bar food, some of the places Ferry goes to feature what appears to me as some pretty good food). I still think what most bugs Bourdain about Guy Fieri is the enormous amount of money Guy is making.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                certainly the only reason anyone ever dislikes anyone is because of the money they make.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                The common thread with a lot of these shows is that the host's personality has become more important than the food they showcase.

                                                                                                                                                                | Permalink | Report | Reply
                                                                                                                                                                By cowboyardee on Sep 04, 2011 07:50PM

                                                                                                                                                                ...and, No Reservations being........?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                                                  No Reservations is a travel show.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                    And Bourdain is more important than are the sites and people too which he travels to see.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                      according to whom? certainly not bourdain.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                          perhaps you could provide some evidence, then.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                            You're barking up the wrong tree = replying to the wrong poster.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                    And when was the food more important than the personality?

                                                                                                                                                                    I can name cooks that I watched back in the 1980s, but I'd be hard pressed to name a specific food or dish from those shows. To come close to doing that I'd have to pull out one of Fruge's cookbooks that I got as a pledge drive promo.

                                                                                                                                                                    Ruhlman describes 1993 FN as "sparse offerings, mumbling chefs, Robin Leach, and food news. He quotes a FN exec in 2004 as saying "Cooking shows will always be personality driven" Ruhlman asks "How else to explain the popularity of the show 'Two Fat Ladies', featuring two eccentric Brits who adored just about everything Americans were taught to fear....": The Reach of a Chef, p238

                                                                                                                                                                    And the last paragraph from a chapter titled Emeril and Rachael
                                                                                                                                                                    "That's television. And I suppose it should be no surprise , then, that the professional chef, for a time the reigning figure in ratings at the FN, has now been eclipsed by the self-taught home-style cook. The television chef may be fading away as we return to the origins of food television and the personalities of James Beard and Julia Child." p268

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                He's said as much in "Medium Raw". He admits that these people are really popular, and it's too bad, because it has marginalized much better chefs who just weren't as popular on TV.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                      “As I’ve said before, if you talk about class and you’re not referring to a room where kids are taught, then you have none.”
                                                                                                                                                      -- anderson cooper

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                        A quote (or anything else he says) from Anderson Cooper means nothing to me.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                          "you stay classy, san diego."

                                                                                                                                                          -- ron burgundy

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                            Surprisingly enough, a quote from a mediocre film said by a medicre actor means even less to me than does a quote from Anderson Cooper.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                              Too bad, then, that mediocre food doesn't inspire you to be more aggressive. You choose to interpret honest, impactful statements, directed at food mediocrity as being classless. In fact, they're intended to be a call to action for the excellence we all deserve.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                Just as mediocre films don't inspire me, mediocre food does not either.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                  On the latest Chopped the question was raised as to whether talking trash during such a competition was appropriate. Talking trash is not part of my vocabulary, but it got me to wondering whether that's what Tony is doing. Seems that others think so to

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                    Talking trash has always meant some sort of competition - not necessarily directly, as in a sporting event or game, but in terms of racking up points or sales or viewers or something to tally who's ahead. I just don't see Tony as a guy that cares about who's ahead. If some publicity outfit were to plan a series of interviews with scripts intended to push sales and viewership based on some cockamamie plan to trash his competition, he'd probably tell them all to go take a hike (not necessarily in such a nice way).

                                                                                                                                                    I think he says what he feels. He doesn't have to exaggerate, or read from a script, or otherwise make-up ways to intimidate supposed competitors or generate some sort of public adoration or good will that would let him increase his tally.

                                                                                                                                                    I have no idea what lead him to do these interviews now - perhaps it really is some sort of calculated stunt meant to increase his shekels. But I interpret these comments as his honest feelings about these people and their programs rather than some contrivance intended to accomplish whatever talking trash indeed accomplishes.

                                                                                                                                                3. I watched Bourdain seeming to enjoy himself in the Amazon earlier tonight. The guy has charisma, and kept his girlish figure. He would be a fun guy with whom to enjoy a beer.

                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                    I agree, I think he'd be a hoot to hang out with. But we must be in the minority, Veggo. There's a poll on the Entertainment Weekly website asking: "Whose food *and company* would you rather experience all day?"

                                                                                                                                                    And Paula Deen is winning, FFS. By a lot

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                      I would vote for TonyB over Paula Dean any day.
                                                                                                                                                      I'd also like to chill with AB. :)

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                      I too think Bourdain would be a fun guy to hang out with and knock back a few. If the question is about who I would choose to cook for me and to eat their food with them I would choose Pepin by a country mile with Hubert Keller in second place.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Hi all, please pardon the interruption.

                                                                                                                                                      We've had to remove a number of posts on this thread that were starting to get heated. Please keep the focus on the topic, not on other hounds. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Anthony Bourdain's comments regarding FN and the FN cheflebrities were too kind. Anthony can do better than that! I truly like Bourdain. I enjoy his books--his candor and wit are amusing. I enjoy No Reservations and especially love the France ones. However, I wish he would concentrate on the food more than some of the travels. In addition, I really wish he had a cooking show. He knows his stuff. Instead of pontificating about his beloved pork--he should show us how to make some of those appealing pork dishes! He's pretty much a stand up guy, IMHO. If it weren't for Bourdain (along with Eric Reipert) I would have never enjoyed one of the best meals of my life--at Frenchie in Paris!
                                                                                                                                                        Respect the food--is my motto. FN does NOT respect the food. Sandra Lee is too busy trying to validate prepared foods (although I DO have an affinity for Franco-American's now defunct canned Macaroni and Cheese). Rachael Ray is telling the world to make dinner in 30 minutes or less--food is better when it is prepared at a slower pace and with love. Respect the food Rach! Next FN Star is a blasphemic joke. It isn't about food. It is about the personality (and I write personality loosely) who can carry a half-hour show regarding bad cooking. Paula Deen used to be alright before she became this larger-than-life persona. Her "down-home" cooking was not something I would make for my family, but she seemed like a nice person. Now she's shilling everything from cooked chickens to mattresses. That's vulgarity. It's like a food ambulance chaser.
                                                                                                                                                        I don't consider myself a food snob at all. When the kids were younger there were many evenings in which dinner consisted of hot dogs and fries at the Little League fields--or Perdue chicken nuggets and canned peas because I had to drive my daughter to an Irish Dance class 30 miles from home. However, to be consistently programming bad food techniques and "recipes" that are crap is just wrong on all levels. We are in bad economic times. FN should be evolving into an area in which people are being taught to stretch fresh produce into dishes that can be served in healthy ways--not to add processed foods to people because it is "easy and fast"...At least Bourdan is a professional chef and is a working restauranteur (did I spell that right?). AND..he looks mighty fine in a suit. I caught an episode that was filmed in NYC. He had dinner at an old school French restaurant--La Veau dor and had to dress for the occasion. The bad boy looked like an angel!

                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                          " We are in bad economic times. FN should be evolving into an area in which people are being taught to stretch fresh produce into dishes that can be served in healthy ways--not to add processed foods to people because it is "easy and fast"."

                                                                                                                                                          SL money saving tips
                                                                                                                                                          SL money saving meals program
                                                                                                                                                          RR on using summer produce, with all the relevant buzz words " Take advantage of the fresh and local produce that is at your fingertips and dine on the healthy and eco-friendly side with some of our favorite seasonal dishes:" (even 'local'
                                                                                                                                                          Count the 'healthy' buzz words from Paula - seasonal, fresh, healthy, cost effective, local farms market, cast iron.
                                                                                                                                                          Paula's son Bobby is doing the whole 'lighter' thing.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                            yeah jarona- some of us are comfortable without the sugar coating; I'm sure that you've noticed that no one says that what Bourdain is saying isn't true, just that many don't like how he's saying it or even that he's saying it; the truth can be uncomfortable, but I think healthier than pretending all is good (when it's blatantly not)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                                                                                              But how many of his insults are matters of fact versus opinion?

                                                                                                                                                              On Emeril - " I just hate your show" (that may be true of Tony, and some readers, but not actual fact about Emeril).
                                                                                                                                                              on Guy - "I just dislike ... barbecue inside a *** nori roll" (opinion?)
                                                                                                                                                              on 2007 - 'a personality with a saute pan' - so there's been a change of the guard. Good or bad, that's an opinion. After all, doesn't he hate Emeril Live?
                                                                                                                                                              again on Guy - "I look and thing .. ridiculous..." - fact or opinion?
                                                                                                                                                              Food Network Awards - what about Travel Channel Countdowns (sexiest beaches etc)?
                                                                                                                                                              RR - 'mediocrity is quite enough'
                                                                                                                                                              SL - ''fill our mouths with Ritz Crackers, jam a can of Cheez Wiz in after ...' - real recipe or caricature?
                                                                                                                                                              Insults may take truth as a springboard, but seldom are truth themselves.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                He has also made fun of Travel Channel.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                  "But how many of his insults are matters of fact versus opinion?"

                                                                                                                                                                  they are all opinion of course; we're blogging about a guy saying what he thinks; and we are doing the exact same thing by commenting on his behavior. Regardless of opinion or fact- who can say that a semi-homemade meal is not like putting Ritz crackers in your mouth and then spraying cheese whiz to go with it; like it or not (the semi home made) it IS what it is; what many are taking as an insult is simply just someone saying it like it is; if i enjoyed kwanza cake Bourdain's opinion would not bother me in the least because, i would like it regardless of what he said. I would know that I am enjoying bad taste. When i eat bad candy and coke at the movies for ex, I do it knowing that it's not good food (Reeses w/popcorn- together :) but i still enjoy it and would not care if anyone reminded me that i was eating crap. I am aware of what I eat and I think Bourdain just wants us to be aware- whether we change what we do or not- pay attention to what you are watching, reading, or eating; don't assume because it's packaged a certain way on a big network or the supermarket isle that it is quality

                                                                                                                                                            2. Almost all of those quotes are out of the first couple chapters of "Medium Raw". Just an FYI.

                                                                                                                                                              1. It's pretty apparent the Bourdain demographic and the RR/Sandra Lee/Paula Deen demographic are very different and probably doesn't overlap much. I'm proudly in the Bourdain camp.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I've said this before about Food Network. It's disheartening that they have dumbed down their programming to the degree they have. I hardly watch anything on the channel any more. But................. as the legendary H, L Mecken said:

                                                                                                                                                                  "No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."

                                                                                                                                                                  Sad.................... but very true.