Anyone else feeling ill?
Rachel Ray REALLY Knows Cooking!
I’d like to open up this updated rant with a quote from the now departed from the Food Network, the great, talented, Mario Batali on his former employer:
“They don’t need me. They have decided they are mass market and they are going after the Wal-Mart crowd. (This was)… a smart business decision. So they don’t need someone who uses polysyllabic words from other languages.”
Rachel Ray is a multimillionare. This is a subject I could rant about for hours. In fact, some of my closest friends have had the unfortunate opportunity to hear my rants and backsided comments about my arch-nemisis – Rachel Ray. God, even uttering her name…. just typing her name… makes my mouth purse, my body shiver and I find myself making a gaging sound. For this reason, I try my best to stay away. Emeril Lagasse gives me the same reaction every time I see him BAM!ing or GARLIC!ing or ADDING A GLASS OF WINE, WHOA!ing. (Update: He’s now off the Food Network. Maybe the execs read my rant? Nahh, he’s in the works for a new show on another channel – toned down possibly?) God, kill me. I’m now getting a skin rash. But I must get through this post. If I save just one, JUST ONE person through my mission, I will feel satisfied.
I digress. At least Emeril owns his own restaurants, has been a head chef, went to culinary school and has a decent show where he’s not feeding into this whole idea of producing a food TV show that’s “safe, fun and absolutely k-razy’ that seems to be overtaking the stupid Food Network these days. Anyone watch that show called “The Next Food Network Star“? Yes, I gave a few of the reruns a whirl. There was one contestant named “JAG” who was very proud of his Latino background. During one episode he mentioned in a radio interview that there is a lack of minorities on the Food Network and that’s one of the reason’s he thought it was important that he won. This is something I’ve thought about for years. Where are the REAL cooks? Where are the REAL chefs? Where are the cooks that look like the people I meet here in Brooklyn? They sure as fuck don’t look like Rachel Ray or frigginGiada DiLaurentis and her cleavage getting in the way of her Barilla pasta recipes (don’t even get me started). If I even begin to discuss Sandra “Life-size blow-up doll” Lee and her friggin’ “tablescapes”, I may pass out of exhaustion. My newest nemesis – or nemesis’s (if that’s even a word) – Ingrid Hoffman. I’m not saying that the Food Network must get someone who even kind of looks Latino or has a Latino name, and I know she was raised in Columbia and has a restaurant in Miami, blah blah blah. But, it’s just hard to swallow why Food Network continues to make these choices. When I’m watching the good food TV on PBS, like Latino cooking show Daisy Cooks! with Daisy Martinez, it just makes more sense as to why Food Network chooses yet another aesthetically beautiful “cook” who is “entertaining” and “Caucasian-looking” over a host who looks like many of the Latino cooks I know here in Brooklyn (like Daisy). Is it just me? Does it make sense to you?
I feel as though Rachel Ray catapulted the Food Network into changing the momentum of what the network originally stood for. Remember the old days of Molto Mario and a few minorities like that Curtis guy? When Emeril said BAM! only once every other show and it was barely animated? Sara Moulton was the hottest woman on the network – and one of the more exciting in personality? Her voice may sound like nails on a chalkboard, but she’s not even annoying because she was being herself! Not some animated cartoon character brainwashed to grab ratings.
Now, to the positives (still mixed with a few negatives… come on, what do you expect!!). Mario Batali is still a part of the Food Network. (Update: Again, I’m wondering if someone at TFN read this shitty piece of journalism? Mario is gone as well!) He continues to show intelligence, passion and vision (NOT ANYMORE – YOU’VE COMPLETELY LOST IT FN!). Emeril’s “Essence of Emeril” is still on and continues to make me hate Emeril alot less than when I’m forced to pass through the channel at 8pm, catching a glimpse of that other show I love so much. Iron Chef America, love it! Except that boring, we-have-no-other-woman-who-has-a-degree-from-a-culinary-school-to-represent-
women-on-this-show-so-we-were-forced-to-choose-this-biznatch, Cat Cora. CAT CORA!?! WHAT!!??! I can barely watch this show when she is on! If I have to see her create boring dishes and win again (I swear, the shows she’s on are fixed recently – probably b/c her losses were starting to be greater in number than her wins!). Oh, and I can’t even consider drinking Ouzo anymore because of her. Anywho’s, back to the positives. Alton Brown is still a part of the Food Network. He’s smart, witty, nerdy and cool all at the same time. He really does know his shiznit and I enjoy anything he’s a part of (he makes watching a Cat Cora Iron Chef tolarable). Sara Moulton is still kind of on – at a weird time when only stay-at-home-mom’s and the unemployed have time to watch TV. I’m not sure if she makes new episodes? (Again, wtf!? She’s g-g-gooone! Thanks for reading, Bob Tuschman!) One last positive, Bobby Flay. I can’t believe I’m writing this!! I just recently starting kind of liking Bobby Flay. I’ve always thought he had talent, but his ego just rubbed me the wrong way. Ever since he has been willing to deflate his ego (loosing a few times at Iron Chef America and loosing most times on Throwdown), I’ve realized he’s not so bad. I do think he’s a good and creative chef (except that “3 Sauce” trademark needs to go!).
All in all, I’ve ranted enough. Just realized I missed the chance to discuss Michael “Seriously, I’m a real Italian-American! Did you hear me pronounce mozzarell? Gobba-goo? Proccuit? Did you see how many hand gestures I make?!” Chiarello or Ina “Do I make anything other than roasted chicken?” Garten. That can be for a later post. Thanks for reading my rant. It’s something Jonny and I rant about often. I know I”m not alone with all this… please, tell me I’m not alone!
PS: If you’re really interested in venting your RR frustrations, head to http://community.livejournal.com/rachael_ray_sux/
Here’s another WANF reader chiming in on Ray-Ray too! http://normalmagazine.blogspot.com/2007/12/rachel-ray-devils-best-friend.html
**Update: It seems as though the powers that be (ie: Bob Tuschman) understands this rant. There are now 5 (count ’em FIVE) non-Caucasian Food Network personalities with shows (including my “one to watch” at the time, Daisy Martinez) out of 27. The Neely’s are counted as two separate non-Caucasians, so that would only be 4 shows out of 27. That’s up a lot from 2007 when this post went live. I’d like to say I had something to do with it but, I’m guessing, I didn’t. But maybe, just maybe, some intern downloaded my rant and handed it to a powers that be and it got them just a little pissed off. It’s my dreamworld, ok?
Also, feel free to check out some of our other Food Network commentary:
- Diversity Finally Comes to TFN
- Good Eats – Man TV?
- Sara Moulton’s Going to PBS!
- Mario’s Gone from TFN!!?
- HIT Me Rachel One More Time