It's no surprise that we are big fans of Food Network around here. While our FN staples like Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, and Paula Deen will always hold a special place in our hearts, we're excited for the new crew that will take our screens by storm this Fall. Some are more well-known TV personalities and others you may not have heard of yet, but all five are sure to inspire your culinary chops. Take a peek at the five fresh faces on Food Network we can't wait to watch!
The first, a concept titled The Big Time, comes from the producer of The Amazing Race. Details surrounding the program are minimal, but chefs will compete in a series of exciting challenges and "one talented culinary artist will have the chance to work alongside a world-famous chef."
The second show, from Bravo, is being called Around the World in 80 Plates. It will take up-and-coming chefs around the globe and throw them into acclaimed restaurant kitchens in different cities. They'll be expected to not only learn the customs and cultures, but also the menus of these world-renowned eateries.
Although both shows are still in the production phase, I can't help but wonder: what kind of chefs will these shows attract? What do you think about them? Are you interested in watching more food competitions?
When we recently disagreed with the assertion that cooking shows are too unrealistic, many of you seemed to share our opinion that food TV can actually be rather inspiring. Well, here's another question for you to ponder: Should TV chefs serve as role models?
In a Huffington Post article titled "Nasty Habits of Food Network Celebrities," columnist Isabel Cowles criticizes Food Network chefs like Giada De Laurentiis, Sandra Lee, and Guy Fieri for "encouraging wasteful, unhealthy behavior."
Cowles derides De Laurentiis for using (and not recycling) nearly 1,000 square inches of aluminum foil on an episode of Everyday Italian. She frowns on Sandra Lee's use of packaged foods that come in more bags, bottles, and packaging. She doesn't approve of a chili recipe by Guy Fieri that calls for four pounds of meat from three animals, which, she maintains, encourages the reckless consumption of big-agriculture meat. Cowles argues:
The image these chefs are creating of our country's food ethos and practices wreaks of wastefulness, over-indulgence, and laziness. The Food Network and its celebrity chefs should inspire Americans to savor quality food and the entire process of making a meal . . . It's a shame that these chefs don't use their popularity to truly help improve how Americans cook and eat.
I'm curious to hear what you think. Are television chefs being wasteful? Is it their responsibility to serve as an example for the rest of us? Should cooking shows lead the way in encouraging America to reduce its kitchen carbon footprint — or is society expecting a little too much?
In his blog on the New York Times, food journalist Mark Bittman makes the claim that food television — particularly cooking shows that teach a viewer how to make something — are too unrealistic. Unlike the real world, the chefs never make mistakes and each dish always comes out perfectly. He says:
When you watch most celebrity chefs go to work on TV it is a) baffling and intimidating, and b) a charade. Baffling and intimidating because nearly every ingredient is usually prepared in advance, and what isn’t is selected so that the chef can show off his (almost never “her”) knife skills, which are bound to intimidate nearly all of us who can never aspire (and why would we, really?) to chopping an onion with our eyes closed.
While I understand how the lack of miscalculation may isolate a viewer, I disagree with Bittman. I enjoy the Barefoot Contessa because her world is an escape from my reality: In her sunny Hampton house the food is consistently delicious. Rather than feel intimidated, I feel inspired! What's your take on Bittman's perspective?