Top 10 Most Irritating Food Network "Stars"

by - Sunday, December 02, 2012

Ok, this list is definitely my own fault. I am admittedly addicted to cooking shows, starting with the consistently wonderful Top Chef (actually we loved the original Iron Chef in high school, that might be the real root), and this love has spread into us watching Food Network shows. The Boy loves a lot of them, but I mostly hate them. These people are no Padma and Tom. Good lord, they aren't even Gail.

There are shows we like- the food truck race one and anything with Ron-Ben Israel, who is delightfully (and not self-conciously) bizarre. We have been recently watching the Next Iron Chef, which pretty much sums up everything that is ridiculous, overwrought, and the worst about this network. They are over-saturated with personas who are trying way too hard and they only get more grating. Pun intended.

I blame part of this on producing and editing, but these people need to curate their surfaces in a way that is more authentic and less faux- quirky. I think they all write three words on a piece of paper describing their "personalities" and they are only supposed to be those things. This is not a good way to endear yourself to people. It seems to me that the network has taken a weird turn, and I miss the simple cake competitions (without the obnoxious girl and with more Gerhard and Carrie). I do really like a couple others- Marti, Ron Ben, Aaron Sanchez, Ted Allen, and Nigella Lawson. But why focus on the positive when you can rant about the magician on Cupcake Wars?

10. Marcus Samuelson- I really want to like him, and he was great on Top Chef Masters, but it seems like he really really wants to be on this network when he actually should be too good for the whole thing. It's ok, Marcus, keep at it and everyone will buy your line of pots and so forth.
9. Robert Irvine-  Blerg. The poorest version of Gordon Ramsay ever. Plus, on his obvious and unrepentant rehash of Gordon's show, Irvine genuinely seems to not be truly helping the people on screen. He doesn't understand non-directive or collaborative learning, so it always just seems to be about him. I think it is telling they don't revisit the places he "helps" because I genuinely think he presents the worst kind of model of "helping" people. Yes, I know it is a reality show. But if I just wanted to watch a (sort-of) chef pat themselves on the back for their own wonderfulness, I could watch any other show on this network.
8. The Iron Chef Chancellor person- Blerg! Why can't I think of his name??? Oh that's right, because he doesn't matter. He is just a very dorky martial arts master they pay to yell at the beginning and end of ever episode. Why pretend he is in any way related to the guy who ate a pepper in the original? Because that was a lot more badass. His entire existence on the network seems unnecessary. At the same time, he probably steals screen time from Alton Brown, so for that I should be grateful.
7. The Magician from Cupcake Wars- Why? Why hire a magician at all? Why hire this one who always seems so bored? Why make him always speak in ridiculously lame puns? Why give him a second show to host? Joyless. It's what people who have never felt the joy of truly committed campy television thinks would work.
6. Rachel Ray- Honestly, I have never seen her show to my memory, but she does come up often in the competition shows. I will definitely not be watching the competition thing with her and Guy. She mostly just always feels clenched to me. Like I feel tense when I watch her. And she talks about her dogs too much for someone who makes people food, but maybe she is planning
5. Paula Dean- I mean, this one goes without saying, but the woman is all sorts of evil. Encourage American obesity and then only come out with your own diabetes when you have gotten an endorsement deal for medication? That is pretty low. I don't often see her show, but every so often I will see it when we leave the tv on all night at my in-laws house. Her voice is actually kind of soothing, but then she actually makes the kind of food you expect her to, and you feel sad.
4. Guy Fietti- Man, this guy is taking a beating lately, so it seems like a jerk move to rail against him much. He isn't actually a chef. He, like every Food Network "Chef" only comes in one emotional register- for him, that seems to be "look, I am so excited I am yelling." It wouldn't be so bad, but they show his diner show constantly on the network, and no one needs yelled at for hours at a time. Also, spikey hair and frosted tips are only cool to people who have recently discovered Nsync. That is part of the problem with the network as a whole. They either need to embrace their nerdiness or stop presenting flames and spikes to me as if they are the new big thing. I look forward to their hipster chefs 5 years from now.
3. Alex Guarnaschelli- You could give this woman a pot of gold and she would have an anxiety attack about it. On Chopped and the Next Iron Chef, every time any one is cooking anything, they cut to an image of the chef swaying back and forth with her head in her hands so you know just how serious the situation is. Apparently every situation on Food Network is extremely dire, and I just can't believe that is the case. Next Iron Chef is treated like it is such an honor, but I just don't see it. It mostly seems to be vying for Majumdar's good opinion, and honestly, who cares? This poor woman is going to have an aneurism about carrots or something.
2. Anne Burrell- Her hair makes me so angry. She has a distinct arrogance that I find so incredibly obnoxious. I seriously cannot watch shows she is involved in, because I find myself actively rooting against her, and I usually don't play that way. Never have I seen someone who did so little be so sure they have done so much. I would like to know what demographic she does well with so they keep her on the network, because her attitude really is foul. I like sass. In general, I love women who know they are a badass much more than shrinking violets, so I am not sure why her attitude rubs me the wrong way, but she really does come off basically as a jerk.
1. Alton Brown- I am sorry, but he is the creepiest man on television. I am just waiting for the recording of him berating an assistant. He comes off as using a sort of faux levity and a really flat and trite mimicry of intellect to create a thin cover over something aggressive, angry, and entitled. I do not get him. I feel like he is exceptionally condescending. His banter (like what he did on the Thanksgiving Live thing) comes off as dismissive and even mean. I also feel like he is somehow closely connected to the upper ups at Food Network because they only give him more to do. I think The Boy watches Iron Chef America (seriously, so dumb!) to annoy me. We get it honey, you are the smart one. Lay off.

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