I used to be a huge fan of the Food Network. Of the very few hours I would give to TV a week, Food Network used to get a substantial amount of them. But, in the last year or so, FN has become as boring as, well, HGTV; all show and no substance. With the advent of Rachel Ray and a bevy of insipid “personalities” who couldn’t cook their way into a family diner, the Food Network has sacrificed its mantle as a cooking network to become a food entertainment network and, worse, a reality TV network (“America’s Next” + futureShowNameStr + “Star”)
The basic night is now packed with contrived competitions (cause cooking is all about head-to-heads), “celebrity” chefs rehashing the same crap they have for years, and Emeril. Props to Emeril for sticking it out this long because I can’t imagine what a soul-sucking experience it must be when the network you helped make starts tossing talent left and right.
For example, Mario Batali, the oddly fascinating Italian chef didn’t have his contract renewed by Food Network. Must have been hanging with the wrong crowd again. You know, foodies. Which leaves Alton Brown and Emeril (maybe Giada if you’re into her) as the only things worth watching. (Thanks to Ashley for the tip.)
So, my occasional Good Eats viewing will sustain me until someone figures out that what cable really needs is a cooking network. Stars will make themselves if the shows and the cooking are good. Maybe I need to pick up another season of America’s Test Kitchen on DVD. Or Anthony Bourdain could finally get to be the ultimate chef and run a network. Can you imagine?