Tag Archive: cooking shows


Did anyone watch this past season of FNS?  Did you care if you did? I did watch it but I did something I rarely ever done in the past; I DVRed it to watch later. I opted to watch Game of Thrones and then Masterpiece Mystery instead.  Yes, British accents often trump all, it’s true.

The format of the show as a bit different this year; 3 current FN stars (heh) would act as mentors to 5 home cooks each and send them all the way to the top of the FN food chain (see what I did there?) and to their own show. We had Giada DeLaurentis, Alton Brown and Bobby Flay. So, big head, big attitude and big ego. Nice combo!  Don’t look at me that way! You know Giada has a giant head for that wee little body she’s toting around.   

At first, things seemed promising but soon, it felt like they all hated their teams, and each other. If you had forced me to take a guess at the beginning of the season as to top 3 standing; I actually would have said Justin, Ippy and Yvan. Instead, I was almost right…we got Justin and Yvan, but Michelle snuck in there. Michelle is the Guy Fieri look alike in case you weren’t sure. We also got Martie at the end there because her Southern charm and chutzpah won over Bob and Susie, who seemed softer and gentler this season.   And you may be saying to me “But Lori, what about Eric? He has had chef’ing skills.” and I will answer with “Firstly, who said you could use my name, and secondly…yes. But that doesn’t necessarily make for good tv.” His chef’ed his ass right on out of there actually. I admire him for sticking to his culinary guns. But those guns could not stand up Justin’s lip balm and Martita’s Latin spice.

And let’s go there..if that woman “Un Beso” ed me one more time, I was going to punch her. Must we ALWAYS have the spicy Latina?  If I ever get on one of these shows, I am going to be the spicy Jewess. See if I’m not! There was a soul food guy, or should I say… a guy they tried to put in the soul food category. There was the type A overly competitive one…Nikki, who I never quite warmed to. Actually, I wanted her to go home the first week. The fact she kept hanging on was commendable and annoying.  Emily was retro girl and I liked her, it was hard not to.  I like a bit of quirk.

In the end though, it was Alton’s love child, Justin that took the prize. And I think, deservedly so.  People often say that they think outside the box, but they seldom do it.  Justin actually does. He would do things and I would think “how cool!” It wasn’t how I cook or I how wanted to cook, but it is how I would want to be entertained by a cooking show. In the end, I can cook and I do get a lot of my ideas online and from books, sometimes from shows. But mostly I watch these shows to be entertained by the person doing the cooking.  I don’t watch Bobby Flay because for all of his culinary prowess, I don’t enjoy watching him.  Ok, I want to punch him in the face, but that’s just me I’m sure.

I am not entirely sure how I feel about this new format. I don’t mind it as much now as I did at the beginning and now I know that Alton is a big ole crybaby.  He teared up at the end there, go watch it. And I suspect he was the biggest surprise for me, how invested he actually got. I saw the most commitment to a team from him actually, and while I am not a fan (of him, I have watched his show), I give him props for actually giving a shit.

So, do I still care? I guess because I posted about it, I do. And I still actually want to be on this show so I must care. I think the shake up in format was probably because people were caring less and maybe this shook things up. I still really like the idea that I could be sitting here typing this one day and the next, have my own show. In theory.  I was asked recently about Master Chef and the difference there is that I want to cook on tv, I admit it. I’d like to be tv personality (I think. I could hate it). I don’t need to be a master chef, I don’t necessarily need a cookbook either…and honestly. Joe Bastianich scares me…even while he is a little sexy. Shut it…he is.  Also, I think MC is HARD. Like really hard. I think it probably is harder than FNS and that kind of scares me. I like being an armchair judge for that one.

Next post up…food trucks I have known.

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Has Top Chef jumped the Mahi Mahi?

I have a confession to make. A deep, dark confession. I’ve not been watching the most recent season of Top Chef: Texas! Or rather, I’ve been DVRing and watching later, but honestly not really paying attention to it. I tend to play games on Facebook while it’s on and then I mostly listen. Sort of.  I do forget to fast forward through the commercials though.

I am finding it boring. Or maybe it’s finding me lacking as a viewer, I’m not sure which. The people are kind of boring. When the biggest attitude is from judge Hugh Acheson (this season’s Anthony Bourdain and that’s a compliment by the way. I like Hugh), then you have a problem. I thought we might get some entertainment from this season’s Hall and Oates bromance of Chris (Hall) Jones and Richie (Oh, so very Oates) Farina, it was not to be. Richie left us early…we hardly knew ye Richie!  He also cried like a baby when he was eliminated. There’s no crying in cooking shows, Richie.  Hopefully Chris brings home the prize for you.

I was also hoping for strong women this time and while we get two (Grayson Schmidt and Heather Terhune), once again I am left wondering if strong=bitchy when it comes to women. And why we are so quick to label women as bitches if they are tough in the kitchen. I am tough in my own kitchen and I’m….ok, bad example. Season 1’s Tiffany Faisson even came back to All Stars as a kinder, gentler chef and she got eliminated. What does that tell you?  Mind, I don’t find either Grayson or Heather (who I prefer, mostly because she is named after an orchard that does AWESOME wine) particularly bitchy, but then again…it’s me so you may want to take that with a grain of salt. The week before last’s episode  (episode 6) saw both of them win, one the Quickfire, one the elimination challenge. It also saw another woman, Whitney (You aren’t Grayson?) Otawka go home.  A bad gratin will get you every damned time.  And apparently two women went home last week. I don’t know…I’m behind an episode.

I am kind of perpetually behind 2 episodes. I can’t help it. BBCAmerica’s Dramaville is infinitely more entertaining than these people. At least in Episode 6, we saw Tom Colicchio get mad.  That’s always fun. But he’s right. There is nothing to commend these chefs and maybe you all did pick the wrong ones with your dumb method of getting to the top 16. The cooking has been ok, but no one has been bowled over. And personality wise, eh. You want good chefs but you also have to want good tv. And if you say you don’t, think back to any season of any reality show where there wasn’t a strong set of people personality wise. What do you remember? Nothing. You remember nothing. Trust me on this.

Maybe it’s overkill. We went from last season’s TC, to TC: Just Desserts, to this season. And while I like Johnny Iuzzini and his hair, I am generally left cold by TC:JD. TC needs to go away for awhile and let us miss it.

Project Runway did that (well, it had no choice, PR and Bravo parted company) and remember when it came back? We missed it. We were glad it came back. Even if it was short lived (and do NOT get me started on the borefest of PR: Accessories!  How do you take something awesome and make them dull as dishwater).  The good thing about Runway is that it needs Fashion Week to do its thing. TC only needs a kitchen.  I mean even Padma looks bored. Well, more bored than usual.  So Top Chef, before you decided to do another season…go away for a bit. Let us miss you and then we will welcome you with open arms and a well cooked gratin.

The Mac Daddy…

In my last post,  I discussed the summer cooking shows. I forgot one. One that could be considered, by some, to be the mac daddy of Chef-y contest shows..Hell’s Kitchen. Gordon Ramsay abuses his way through 16 contestants of varying degrees of experience. Some are chefs, sous chefs, banquet chefs and corporate chefs. The one thing they have in common; they want the job that Gordon is offering up. The thing we as viewers have in common? Never wanting to eat there.

No, really.   The show is a bit formulaic in that you KNOW the chefs won’t get through a service unscathed for oh, about 12 weeks or so. For the food makers among them who have never worked the line,  I get this. For those of them that have, you guys have no excuse. Seriously. You should be able to get a dinner service on, even if a British blond dude is calling you an effing donkey.  Chefs yell.  And while they may not yell with the veracity that Gordon does…they do.  Gordon has come under fire (for a lot of things lately actually) for his style on the show. He’s fairly abusive and nasty and his methods are considered harsh. But it makes for great tv. If he doesn’t yell, admit it, you’re disappointed as a viewer.

As for myself, I would never make it on the show.  Not because of anything lacking in my culinary skills (although it’s a concern), it’s the fact that I do not react well to being yelled at. He’d either make me mad or we would have the mac daddy of all fights on that show. I once scared my trainer at the gym just by staring at him after he tried to drill sergeant me. You can be firm, you can point out my mistakes, you can even tell me my cooking is crap…the minute you get up in my face and name call, it’s all over.  But hell, I’ll watch him to do it to other people. Yes…I am a mass of conflicting impulses.

You can read the contestant bios here: http://www.fox.com/hellskitchen/bios/gordon-ramsay/index.php

Please be sure to read the first guy’s bio carefully. I suspect he’s either going home really early, or he’s winning.   He cooks for the Lord..although I am wondering if the Lord is a vegetarian and should we tell Andrew this.

In other news, I’ve been watching The Cooking Channel all day. And now, I have a new addiction.  I mean, all old episodes of The Galloping Gourmet and the original Iron Chef? Are you kidding me? Oh, so happy!