Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Watching The Food Network with your hand down your pants.

Last nights 11 p.m. rerun of Miami Ink featured the most audacious of all celebrity chefs, Anthony Bourdain, getting a skull tattoo from Chris Garver. I love Tony as much as everyone else does--you have to give a guy credit for exposing the raw underbelly of an industry, being blackballed for years and yet is still always held in the highest of respect by his peers. It takes quite a special man to be able to do that.

This morning, purely by accident, I'm browsing YumSugar.com and I find snippets of Tony's rants about Food Network and the death of the "old timers," the "Real Chefs." (The full text of Tony's rants, which are oh-so-gloriously penned, can be found in his guest blog at Ruhlman.)

I have to widely agree with Tony, although I admit that I actually like Rachel Ray--not as a chef, because she isn't, but because her food actually fits into my lifestyle. And sometimes, when it isn't heavily infused with red meat and pork, it's actually good. Basically, my two standby dishes that I will proudly claim are stolen from Rachel Ray are a. Drunken Pasta and b. my Spinach Artichoke pasta salad, which I need only make at a party one more time to claim that it rightfully belongs to me.

He is completely correct about Giada's purpose in life. She is a good chef--and underused only because she has large breasts and big scary white teeth. I know she's fluent in Italian, but everytime she switches to say the name of a dish it just sounds wrong coming out of that Giant Praying Mantis Head of hers. She should do her show from Italy--I've seen Papa Dino DeLaurentis' giant-ass kitchen at the family's Roman villa. That would be a much more interesting show and a much more interesting set than the house Food Network rents her for two weeks in the summer to film an entire season of Everyday Italian. (All Italian kitchens are incredibly styled--we basically invented attractive kitchen appliances. That and filmmaking saved our homeland after the fall of Mussolini.)

Tony's central thesis that Food Network has become something entirely male-centric (one out of every four men you know watches at least Giada's cleavage), younger and less-skilled. And he's entirely correct about the real chefs--yes, even people he admits are assholes like Bobby Flay--have been relegated to Kitchen Stadium. We can only enjoy Mario Batali's cooking when he's battling with people. (He, Mr. Bourdain, is why Rachel Ray won that battle against Team Flay-DeLaurentis, that and Giada had to jump up and down and make her boobs bounce to coerce Flay to open packages for her.) Even before shutting down production of Molto Mario, the show was only on at 11 a.m.--like all the other shows no one watches, poor sweet adorable boy-next-door Dave Leiberman and next Food Network Star's Party Line with the Hearty Boys, which both seem to be relegated to airtime at the ungodly hour of 8 in the morning. Anything that's on when people might conceivably watch TV, which I will argue might begin at 3 p.m. when the kids get home from school is a line-up of female chefs: Giada, Rachel Ray, that Stepford Wife from Half-Assed Cooking and Paula Deen. (The latter of whom Bourdain lovingly compares to Divine in Pink Flamingos . . . I will never love Paula Deen more than I do in that description.)

I think more than the cooking shows, which Bourdain proves are problematic at best, we might all be able to agree that the best part of The Food Network on any given day is a Food Network Challenge. I don't care if its wedding cakes or tappanyaki, I will sit my ass down and watch those any day. Chocolate Runway Challenge, hands down, is the best Food Network Challenge EVER and the chocolate flapper dress was totally robbed of the prize.

(Tony's fantasy Iron Chef battles are the icing on the cake that is his guest blog.)

1 comment:

Chris said...

is this the same chris garver? I know that he plays bass on the side right?