Fun Article on the State of Food (on) Television
- DiningDiva Feb 20, 2013 02:58 PM
Best article on the status of food on TV that I've read in a long time. Searing, acerbic, and oh, so on target
Great article. Here's what I can't stand about this whole "food TV" enterprise. Every- e.v.e.r.y- commercial on these shows supposedly highlighting talented chefs, or even talented home cooks, is for some disgusting processed food product. Is it possibly that no one from these networks sees the irony, or do they just feel that their audiences are too stupid to see the disconnect? I guess in a world of "semi-homemade," maybe it's actually not as much of a stretch as I would like to believe.
On a totally different note, this is the funniest descriptor of any media personality I've read in ages: "Padma Lakshmi, that stoned and regal puma"
A disconnect between food programming and the advertising by food companies that keeps the programs and Food Network on the air? Now that's weird. And while you yourself may make every single thing you eat from scratch, most home cooks eat prepared foods as well as scratch. I don't feel that the Food Network advertisers disrespect me, then - but I do feel that about your comment.
I'm an Anthony Bourdain fan but there is a good deal of irony in his years of hitting those who sold out..given the game show of food tv he's hosting now.
I do think you can find the gem program from time to time but given the advertisers of these shows I think it's much harder to be truly selective in what the hosts are preparing and sharing with their American audience. Processed food is a part of our food culture and even if we're (CH's) turned off, we aren't the kind of consumers advertisers are trying to reach.
LOVE the description of Next Food Network Star as a "hubris-devouring succubus"
Must work that phrase into daily conversation somehow.
What a great article. I love his descriptions of all the personalities, but most especially this: "...Padma Lakshmi, that stoned and regal puma..."
I thought the article was more a reflection of TV in general than food TV. The following is a shortened version of the things that caught my eye. The full version is on my blog at http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...
"It was no longer enough to...instruct. The new goal was to entertain."
Another example of this way of mixing instructing/entertaining that has proven successful is Jim Cramer on CNBC. I think it says more about the way people consume media than about food TV itself.
"And so the TV part of the equation began to outweigh the food. Legit cooks...went out the door."
While this is true, the Food Network did spin off the Cooking Channel. There may be no more new episodes of "Good Eats", but you can find reruns, along with new shows that still actually teach cooking, on the Cooking Channel. While I might agree with the conclusion, I don't think it's fair to focus exclusively on the one Food Network channel.
"Bourdain was...a thoroughly undistinguished line cook lifer"
I'm pretty sure this is just plain wrong. I did read Kitchen Confidential, and I remember he was already executive chef when he wrote it. This just sounds like what someone who watches too much Top Chef would say. They think all real chefs are these endlessly creative artist types. Every real restaurant kitchen has line cooks, and actually running a successful kitchen is a legitimate big deal, especially for a place that did as many covers as Les Halles.
"Look, it's perfectly fine for Bourdain to cash in"
Yes it is, although my belief is that this happened well before The Taste. The last couple of seasons of No Reservations and The Layover show focused way more on already-known critical darlings than the earlier seasons.
"The main takeaway here is that amateurism just isn't all that interesting."
That to me was the best part of the article and my main takeaway as well. Unfortunately, he then loses me when he heaps praise onto Chopped and Top Chef. While the contestants on Top Chef do tend to be stronger as a whole than other shows, let's not get too carried away. There's a reason that every fcking season someone gets reprimanded for not seasoning their food. As for Chopped, I'm just not a fan of the whole food challenge thing. It goes back to this focus on chefs as artists, and forgets about chefs running a restaurant and feeding people. Even though Fox focuses too much on the whole cursing Gordon Ramsay schtick, both Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares do illustrate what it's like to run a kitchen professionally. The BBC versions of these programs, where the Ramsay character is dialed down a bunch, are very watchable.
Again, I think this article speaks more to how people (Americans in general) consume TV media than specifically to the state of food TV.