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"Sweet Genius" = Dr. Evil?

alkapal Sep 17, 2011 06:25 AM

Am I crazy, or does this "Sweet Genius" character remind you of Dr. Evil?

Especially since the winner of his show gets Ten THOUUUUUUUUUSAND DOLLARS.

Bwaaaahahahhaaaa.

 
  1. inaplasticcup Sep 17, 2011 06:32 AM

    Definitely not a strained comparison. All he needs is a monocle and a cat...

    7 Replies
    1. re: inaplasticcup
      alkapal Sep 17, 2011 06:51 AM

      the tv commercial has him peering into the camera -- like when dr. evil was making his demands.

      his "supplicants" here in the photo made me think of dr. evil's table with scott, mini-me, frau and no.2. LOL

      1. re: inaplasticcup
        paulj Sep 30, 2011 09:33 AM

        In the original Chopped concept, Ted was supposed to have a small dog that got to eat the chopped entries.

        1. re: paulj
          s
          soupkitten Sep 30, 2011 09:42 AM

          srsly? lmao!

          1. re: soupkitten
            paulj Sep 30, 2011 09:51 AM

            From an interview several years ago:

            "Funny story for you! When the idea of Chopped surfaced, it was originally meant to be taped at some guy’s mansion with him and his crazy Chihuahua. A stuffy fellow in a tuxedo was to host, and the losing chef’s dish was then fed to the dog! I am not kidding, I saw it! I think it is genius! Twisted, but genius! Turned out it was too much for Food Network!

            Continue reading on Examiner.com Exclusive interview with Food Network's Ted Allen: Behind the scenes of Chopped, Season Three! - National food network | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/food-network-..."

            1. re: paulj
              The Dairy Queen Sep 30, 2011 10:01 AM

              Too funny, though the show should then be called wolfed! or scarfed! as in, the losing dish got wolfed down by a dog.

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                s
                soupkitten Sep 30, 2011 10:07 AM

                leading to the inevitable "so bad the dog wouldn't touch it" clips. . . which i could see myself giggling at, but in reality it might make some potential competitors think twice.

                1. re: soupkitten
                  The Dairy Queen Sep 30, 2011 10:09 AM

                  HA! Good point. And I'll bet PETA wouldn't allow it, either.

                  ~TDQ

      2. j
        jujuthomas Sep 17, 2011 09:12 AM

        Thank you! He is totally creepy to me!

        1 Reply
        1. re: jujuthomas
          The Dairy Queen Sep 17, 2011 09:33 AM

          CREEPY!

          ~TDQ

        2. a
          acgold7 Sep 17, 2011 10:36 AM

          Based on those promos, I will never, ever watch this show. He looks like a complete and total a**hole.

          19 Replies
          1. re: acgold7
            bushwickgirl Sep 20, 2011 01:15 PM

            Ron Ben-Israel is actually a very highly respected pastry chef and cake creator, who has been referred to by New York Magazine as the Manolo Blahnik of cake makers. He is a Visiting Master Pastry-Instructor at The French Culinary Institute in NYC, specializes in wedding and special occasion cakes, really edible art, cake couture if you will, and is a master with sugar paste flowers and I mean master. He has a beautiful shop in NYC, has written books and is involved in food charities in NYC. He's also an all around nice guy.

            As far as the FN trailer making him look like Dr. Evil, that's their problem, and I can't imagine why they'd want that particular look, nor why they scheduling another dessert show. It appears to me that the premise is Chopped, but for desserts.

            1. re: bushwickgirl
              The Dairy Queen Sep 20, 2011 01:20 PM

              I can't decide if it's Chopped for desserts or Iron Chef for desserts.

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                Kajikit Sep 23, 2011 12:08 PM

                I thought it was Dessert Iron Chef... but having watched it it's Chopped: Dessert. The idea is okay, but what's with that persona? It's going to drive me NUTS. Does he really have to try to describe every dish in single words? What's wrong with using full sentences and proper English?

                1. re: Kajikit
                  The Dairy Queen Sep 23, 2011 12:16 PM

                  It's:

                  Chopped:Dessert hosted by Dr. Evil and the "voice" from Minute to Win It.

                  I didn't see the entire show (fell asleep), but I dont' think he has the presence to carry this off by himself. Even Iron Chef and Chopped have judges...

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    DiningDiva Sep 27, 2011 09:11 AM

                    TDQ, that's the funniest description of this show I've heard yet :-)

                    It's more like a Chopped variant. The contestants don't get all the ingredients at once, they're kind of doled out at the worst possible moment, and each round has a "theme" that the contestants have to portray in their creations.

                    I was sure I wouldn't like this show, but having watched 2 episodes I have to say I've found it rather fun and amusing.

                  2. re: Kajikit
                    paulj Sep 23, 2011 12:59 PM

                    I didn't have problems with the single word descriptions. Given the context, 'crunchy' is just as understandable as 'this is crunchy'.

                    I don't know if I'll warm up to this as much as Chopped. I'm not that much of a dessert maker or consumer. Still I might learn something about how professionals think about dessert creativity and balance. It would be interesting the read the reactions of someone else in the business ( Jacques Torres?). Is this the way they think and talk about sweets, or is more is it a put on? So far it's better than cartoon based cakes. Looks like the set designers had some fun - more ICA like than Chopped.

                2. re: bushwickgirl
                  a
                  acgold7 Sep 20, 2011 03:27 PM

                  I'm sure everything you say is accurate. It neatly encapsulates why it's not a show for me. I'm sure a lot of people like this stuff. It just isn't my thing.

                  Isn't Manolo Blahnik the guy who makes really ugly, painful, obscenely overpriced shoes that are of no practical value whatsoever?

                  1. re: acgold7
                    bushwickgirl Sep 20, 2011 03:38 PM

                    Now that's a very personal opinion about the shoes, and not a common or popular one. I have more than a few a girlfriends who would die for Blahniks. Practical, maybe not, painful, most likely, overpriced, only for those who don't have it like that, ugly, never. But we were talking about cake.

                    Whether you watch the show or not is up to you, it's fine if it's not your thing. I just felt I needed to out Ron, he's a true professional and I found your a**hole remark a harsh and inaccurate slam.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl
                      a
                      acgold7 Sep 20, 2011 05:50 PM

                      If you actually read what I wrote, anything critical about him was referring to the promo, and in fact I said I believed what you wrote about him being a very nice man. I did not slam him at all.

                      1. re: acgold7
                        bushwickgirl Sep 21, 2011 10:24 AM

                        Sorry, but that was not obvious to me. Maybe you should have worded it a bit more clearly.

                        On another note, what if this program turns out to be the best thing ever on FN; and you'll have missed it.

                  2. re: bushwickgirl
                    karenmusic Sep 29, 2011 09:29 PM

                    All of his credentials stay the same to all the people who know who he is. As for "all around nice guy" - try working for him, or learning from him. You won't think the same for long.

                    1. re: karenmusic
                      bushwickgirl Sep 29, 2011 10:52 PM

                      "All of his credentials stay the same to all the people who know who he is."

                      They do. But I think you meant "are the same", correct?

                      As far as the rest of your post, do you have personal experience to back that statement up? Certainly sounds so. I detect some unhappiness.

                      Working for someone who consistently produces the quality that he does while maintaining the reputation that he has wiil most likely will be extremely demanding. That doesn't make him less of a nice guy. I think it makes him a better person, professionally and spiritually, for staying true to what he does, and that works equally as well for his employees or students; he gives them his best, be it harsh or gentle; the demands for the most creativity and the highest work ethic trickle down. So if he's tough, cranky, overly demanding (from one's perspective) or a downright bitch, that has no bearing on his personality, just on the quality of expertise he demands.

                      I bet if you took him out for a nice glass of wine, he''d be a puppy.

                    2. re: bushwickgirl
                      e
                      edge610 Nov 16, 2011 04:59 AM

                      With all due respect, Ron is not a Pastry chef. He makes beautiful cakes, yes, he teaches at FCI, yes but a pastry chef he is not!

                      1. re: edge610
                        paulj Nov 16, 2011 08:38 AM

                        FCI bills him as 'Visiting Master Pastry Chef-Instructor'
                        Is this a case of 'those who can't do, teach'? :)

                        1. re: paulj
                          e
                          edge610 Nov 16, 2011 02:37 PM

                          Except he never went to Pastry School. Agree!

                          1. re: edge610
                            paulj Nov 16, 2011 06:34 PM

                            Is a degree from pastry school a requirement for being a pastry chef? Do apprenticeships, and success in the business count?

                            1. re: paulj
                              e
                              edge610 Nov 16, 2011 07:29 PM

                              Is a degree from medical school required to be a doctor. The point i made was that to call yourself a Pastry Master means more than making cakes. You should be able to excel at all the techniques of pastry

                              1. re: edge610
                                alkapal Nov 17, 2011 05:36 AM

                                back in the day, you didn't need a degree to be a doctor or lawyer.

                                i don't see why not having a degree precludes one from "excel[ling] at all the techniques of pastry."

                                surely he has "made more than cakes"?

                                1. re: alkapal
                                  chef chicklet Nov 17, 2011 04:08 PM

                                  People with higher intelligence do manage to bypass the traditional schooling or at least shorten it. Pair that with natural talent and those are the exceptions.

                  3. Withnail42 Sep 17, 2011 10:39 AM

                    Just what FN needs yet ANOTHER cake show.

                    I will say this though the host does make a decent cake.

                    1. alkapal Sep 17, 2011 04:16 PM

                      i've never heard of this genius, but i wondered how he let himself be F-networked. he seems to have some funny photo promos on the google images search.

                      1. s
                        silence9 Sep 19, 2011 03:30 PM

                        'Sweet Genius' makes 'The Chairman' (from Iron Chef America) seem like Ernest Hemingway by comparison. And if 'Sweet Genius' wore a black bodysuit, he'd be that _other_ Mike Myers SNL character -- Dieter -- from 'Sprockets'...

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: silence9
                          alkapal Sep 20, 2011 02:08 AM

                          touch my monkey

                          1. re: alkapal
                            inaplasticcup Sep 20, 2011 01:03 PM

                            love it

                            1. re: alkapal
                              srsone Sep 22, 2011 08:38 PM

                              did i log onto reddit or CH?

                            2. re: silence9
                              g
                              guilty Nov 16, 2011 07:09 PM

                              Dieter was the first thing that came to mind when I first saw Sweet Genius. But I think that Ron Ben-Israel is even more entertaining.

                              For my money, he's actually the best character I've seen on TV for decades. Seriously. I freaking love his character. I find it hilarious that so many here take him seriously. Not that he's not a serious pastry chef--his work is amazing. But his character on the TV show is basically performance art; it's just so, so great. Kind of like a real-life Willy Wonka game show, where Willy is a villain . . .

                            3. s
                              soupkitten Sep 20, 2011 12:47 PM

                              http://gruuvy.wordpress.com/de-person...

                              1. paulj Sep 21, 2011 09:09 AM

                                Another thread links to a NYTimes article about The Chew, and other trends in Food TV.
                                The comparison to Dr Evil is not an illusion
                                "“Ron is the Dr. Evil of the food world,” said Bob Tuschman, an executive who has worked at the Food Network for 13 years. “He’s authoritative, commanding and somewhat frightening.”
                                http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/din...

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: paulj
                                  bushwickgirl Sep 21, 2011 11:08 AM

                                  That sounds like copy ploy to garner interest in the show. I can't think Bob Tuschman would be terrified of anyone.

                                  1. re: paulj
                                    alkapal Sep 22, 2011 04:16 PM

                                    so i was NOT crazy that they are promoting him like this!!!

                                    ha! well, i guess i should not take any credit, as the little mini-Mao outfit that he wears is pretty obvious -- notwithstanding his professional credentials.

                                    as to another dessert show, <sigh>.

                                    ~~~~~~~~~
                                    i am looking forward to cooking channel with the new chinese cooking show.. in san francisco? i hope it is good.

                                    1. re: alkapal
                                      alkapal Sep 22, 2011 04:20 PM

                                      here is the evidence, as well.

                                       
                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        alkapal Sep 22, 2011 04:25 PM

                                        close enough… -- i guess we should invoke the "six degrees of separation:" concept. LOL
                                        (now…just imagine kevin bacon in a mao jacket, dr. evil jacket, or sweet genius jacket. pick one…any one…).

                                         
                                      2. re: alkapal
                                        s
                                        sr44 Sep 22, 2011 08:36 PM

                                        She's been on the cooking channel for a while, just not in SF.

                                      3. re: paulj
                                        karenmusic Sep 29, 2011 09:39 PM

                                        He definitely is "commanding" and "frightening" but has his moments. Last week during the premiere party for his Sweet Genius show he was walking around with a basket of croissants on his arm being perfectly nice to everyone he passed.

                                      4. mattstolz Sep 22, 2011 07:52 PM

                                        watching this now.

                                        with how bad this show actually is, he might just be worse than Dr Evil

                                        14 Replies
                                        1. re: mattstolz
                                          TrishUntrapped Sep 22, 2011 08:30 PM

                                          I caught it too...

                                          Somehow this show managed to be both simultaneously weird and boring.

                                          Hitting the gold layer cake like orb... The phallic symbol conveyor belt.... bizarro ingredients...

                                          Somehow it makes Chopped look like Masterpiece Theater.

                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                            bushwickgirl Sep 22, 2011 09:01 PM

                                            Ah, foiled again by FN. Damn them.

                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                              mattstolz Sep 24, 2011 05:51 PM

                                              "simultaneously weird and boring"

                                              yup that pretty much nailed it.

                                              1. re: mattstolz
                                                s
                                                smartie Sep 25, 2011 01:08 PM

                                                perfect description! It was Chopped for desserts but not really very interesting.

                                              2. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                chowser Sep 25, 2011 05:18 PM

                                                Bad, so much of it really bad--what's up with the computerized voice that describes what coffee beans are? There could be some substance to the show, it could be interesting to see what chefs do with last minute, odd surprise ingredients and a theme but this was all shlock-y, like they were trying to see how cheesy they could make it. And, Ben-Israel--ow, what a way to be introduced, as a live person, to the American public. I would have loved their toning the Food-Network factor down and having Jacques Torres as a judge.

                                                1. re: chowser
                                                  The Dairy Queen Sep 26, 2011 08:26 AM

                                                  That's why I'm calling it "Chopped for Desserts" PLUS the "Minute to Win It" voice. That's the same voice they use on that silly Guy Fieri "Minute to Win It" game show...

                                                  Ben-Israel seems to have a very tender heart and I'm inclined to like him--he's obviously very well-respected--but he needs a better vehicle than this mess of a show.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                    alkapal Sep 26, 2011 08:42 AM

                                                    i actually haven't seen the show, but i looked him up when i saw the promo.

                                                    i wonder how the food network is able to twist the arm of a man with an established good rep to become a parody of himself. it can't just be the money.

                                                    i'm being serious. how can the network persuade someone? do they mislead them in the beginning about the "show's theme and their role in it" and then "evolve" the show as the production develops? are they promised more "creative control" and then that is tweaked or diminished or focus-grouped?

                                                    i genuinely am curious about how the pitch goes.

                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                      The Dairy Queen Sep 26, 2011 08:49 AM

                                                      Wish I knew.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                        a
                                                        acgold7 Sep 26, 2011 02:02 PM

                                                        You would be shocked at what ego and money can persuade people to do. I'll bet there was remarkably little arm-twisting and persuading going on.

                                                        1. re: acgold7
                                                          paulj Sep 26, 2011 02:53 PM

                                                          Ruhlman in The Reach of a Chef talks about the 'branded chef' - chefs (and wabes) building on their fame with exposure in multiple venues. We are well past the time when a chef was famous for heading or owning just one restaurant.

                                                          http://books.google.com/books?id=AHKC...

                                                          1. re: acgold7
                                                            s
                                                            smartie Sep 26, 2011 03:22 PM

                                                            and potential book sales?

                                                            1. re: smartie
                                                              paulj Sep 26, 2011 03:29 PM

                                                              While I never heard of him before, he apparently has done multiple TV interviews and appearances. It's easy to find promo clips on Youtube. Having glanced at those, I don't think this new show will hurt his brand.

                                                              A new WSJ article on Ron and his show
                                                              http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/0...
                                                              From this it sounds as though he really is interesting in promoting creativity via this competition. I still wonder what real pastry chefs think of the show, not us armchair ones.

                                                          2. re: alkapal
                                                            karenmusic Sep 29, 2011 09:37 PM

                                                            I'm sure they didn't have to twist his arm for anything. Anyone who's spent time with the man knows he calls himself the "Queen of Cakes" and makes jokes like, "I'm not the best pastry chef in the world... or am I?"

                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                              chef chicklet Nov 17, 2011 04:14 PM

                                                              Could be he is a really good sport and perhaps thought the premise fun?
                                                              I do like it, but then I'm twisted that way. ; 0

                                                    2. h
                                                      HillJ Sep 24, 2011 08:07 AM

                                                      Too much gimmick not enough real genius.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                        r
                                                        rainey Sep 30, 2011 10:23 AM

                                                        AMEN! Who cares how someone could incorporate gummy worms? That's just making people jump through pointless hoops for the sake of perversity. Why not make them cook while running on a treadmill instead? Or use cement mixers?

                                                        This is just more of why cooking shows as competition are dopey.

                                                        1. re: rainey
                                                          paulj Sep 30, 2011 11:02 AM

                                                          Using a cement mixer - that's already been done.
                                                          http://www.cookingforgeeks.com/blog/p...
                                                          On the Monster Kitchen pilot, one team
                                                          " We’d make a mold in the shape of a donut, mix up the donut batter in a cement mixer, bake it in an industrial powder-coating oven, then fry it in a dumpster."
                                                          They didn't get to the frying part, because the dumpster was leaking oil.

                                                      2. b
                                                        Bunson Sep 24, 2011 09:09 PM

                                                        Recorded this show because of Ron Ben Israel's reputation, then 1 minute into the show realized it was yet ANOTHER competition/elimination type of show. Promptly deleted.

                                                        1. paulj Sep 30, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                          Another interview with Ron and contestant
                                                          http://cliqueclack.com/tv/2011/09/29/...

                                                          1. b
                                                            Brad Ballinger Oct 3, 2011 09:02 AM

                                                            The show had/has potential, but it's far too self-aware. Iron Chef America falls prey to the same trap, on occasion, but it's still all about the cooking and the food. Sweet Genius is not.

                                                            1. xo_kizzy_xo Oct 3, 2011 09:11 AM

                                                              I finally caught one of the episodes...yes, the whole conveyor belt/Dr. Evil thing is gimmicky, the underlying premise has echoes of Chopped, but I honestly I think I there's potential here.

                                                              The "inspiration" is clever. It forces one to think outside the box. The last inspiration in the show I watched was "cat", and one of the pastry chefs initially wanted to use spun sugar as a garnish (cat = playing with yarn). It didn't work out, he thought of something else, and Ron Ben-Israel remarked that he should have stuck with the spun sugar. The hard-boiled egg in the first test was a bit trickier; "pearl in oyster" was the inspiration, and although using hard-boiled eggs as a dessert component is exceedingly difficult, the cheftestants really gave it their all.

                                                              Personally, I'm thrilled FN is finally paying attention to pastry. But then again I'm a baker ;)

                                                              1. h
                                                                hueyishere Oct 6, 2011 09:01 PM

                                                                I can't believe I watched the whole show, no more Foodnetwork for me. Nothing entertaining

                                                                1. d
                                                                  Dee S Nov 16, 2011 08:08 AM

                                                                  I've only seen the commericals but instantly recognized him as the person I would cast in my live action "Thunderbirds" remake as "The Hood".

                                                                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/anderson/th...

                                                                  1. iL Divo Mar 22, 2012 08:49 PM

                                                                    watched the show tonight.
                                                                    I like it, husband says, ''oh not another cooking show, honey you're not a pasty chef..."
                                                                    there was a French gentleman that appeared to be the front runner. what talent.
                                                                    I like RBI, think he's intriguing.

                                                                    1. mamachef Mar 23, 2012 08:32 AM

                                                                      alkapal, this is killin me. I had watched only a snippet of the show until just last night, when in a bout of insomnia, somehow the telly got turned on and there he was. I watched two episodes in disbelief, and halfway through the first one, it hit me who he reminded me of. I was relieved. It explained why I kept looking around for Mini-me.
                                                                      "Youuuuuuuuuuuu are not...................ssssssssssssssssssssssweeeet geeeeeeeeeenius."
                                                                      (Moue)

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mamachef
                                                                        h
                                                                        HillJ Mar 23, 2012 08:52 AM

                                                                        Too funny, mamachef. I've yet to finish an entire show. More evil than genius for my sensibilites but the challenges are so over the top I just can't get behind it. A friend of mine adores the show.

                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                          paulj Mar 23, 2012 09:47 AM

                                                                          I'm most interested in the judging step. His comments give me another way of looking at desserts, usually more nuanced than the dessert phase on Chopped. On Chopped the desserts are more rushed, and the judging complaints are little more than 'its not cooked through' or 'its not sweet enough to be a dessert' (Amanda). I'd love to hear from other pastry chefs as to whether Dr Evil's comments are typical of how professionals judge each other's work.

                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                            h
                                                                            HillJ Mar 23, 2012 09:52 AM

                                                                            The only dramatic judging I have ever witnessed was in Vegas and the tv contestant shows appear to hold much of the same drama. So Sweet Genius fits the bill but the pastry chefs I've had the pleasure to learn from are not tv-dramatic.

                                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                                              paulj Mar 23, 2012 10:05 AM

                                                                              I wasn't thinking so much about the drama, as the content. I've seen international pastry competitions on TV, but all they show is the judges tasting and looking, and then making notes. We don't know what they are thinking. It's like a wine tasting without hearing comments about fruitiness, notes of banana or papaya, or bouquet.

                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                h
                                                                                HillJ Mar 23, 2012 10:09 AM

                                                                                Oh I see. Well, I suppose that's my issue with the show SG. It's the drama, the crazy camera shots and angles that take away from any chance I have of enjoying the content.

                                                                            2. re: paulj
                                                                              moto Mar 23, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                                              it's easy to see the appeal of his show from the point of view of the dessert makers who compete or would like to compete on the show. his critiques have a lot of instructional content -- and reveal he has an exceptional palate that can resist being overwhelmed by sweetness. there's also an element of art and fantasy in his aesthetic which informs his judgment and differentiates it from the 'panel of judges' format.

                                                                              1. re: moto
                                                                                a
                                                                                Ariadanz Mar 27, 2012 02:17 AM

                                                                                Personally I watch this show when I'm in the mood to see someone else suffer. Had a bad day, hate the world - watch the poor contestents on Sweet Genius and revel in their misery. Delight in the fact that you have not been subjected to that level of misfortune piled on top of yet more misfortune.

                                                                                Chopped is kinder to its contestents in my opinion. I watch that to giggle, Sweet Genius requires the full-on evil laughter.

                                                                        2. n
                                                                          newhavener07 Mar 30, 2012 06:14 AM

                                                                          Wow, I just had the weirdest experience with this show: Watched one episode and was put off by the host's artificial tone, goofy chefs, silly challenges. Bored last night and watched a second episode and found myself completely enraptured: Once you suspend a bit of disbelief, the challenges are really compelling in their limited scope and Chef Ron's blunt and bemused commentary is just fascinating. For the first time with a FN host, I found myself wanting to drop everything and become his disciple. Could Chef Ron be the messiah?

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: newhavener07
                                                                            g
                                                                            guilty Mar 30, 2012 11:09 PM

                                                                            I'll start wearing a purple robe if you will . . .

                                                                          2. d
                                                                            deelync May 4, 2012 04:14 PM

                                                                            The guy is a freak. Please take this show off the air. It's the worst Food network Show yet.

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