Eat Random

The idea for this blog is to blog about everything I think about food and food culture. I'll tell you what I like to eat, where I like to eat it and if I thought it was good or if I thought it was crap. My thoughts about food could go anywhere. Hey if you don't like it go blog at

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Curing the No Top Chef Blues

Seeing as my flip flops melted to the asphalt in the parking lot of my apartment complex when I took the dog out earlier today it's hard not to notice that Summer is here.  Along with thunderstorms, oppressive heat, and humidity we all know that Summer also brings a serious lack of good television.  My favorite shows like How I Met Your Mother and Parks And Recreation are in reruns and the best food competition show on TV, Top Chef, is on hiatus, but cable food shows are usually airing new episodes so typically it's not a bad place to go for a TV fix.  However, I've noticed something else this year.  The shows on Food Network are harder to watch than a Rosie O'Donnell sex tape. 

I know I've ranted on here before about various crappy shows on FN, but that was before they brought out television atrocities like Tough Cookies or Extreme Chef .  Tough Cookies is just another "reality show set in dessert shop run by a family in New Jersey" concept or as most of the world would call it "Cake Boss With Cookies Instead of Cakes Or Some Shit".  Aside from being unwatchable it's a pathetic attempt to capitalize on the already waning popularity of a show on a different network.  Extreme Chef is similarly stupid.  It's another chef competition show that some moron thought they would make better by throwing in twists every 10 seconds. I mean they are having the chefs pull such lame stunts as cooking on the engine of a muscle car.  The reason Top Chef works isn't because all of the zany twists and challenges.  It works because they have (mostly) talented chefs adapting to clever, sometime subtle, twists to produce great food.  With all this garbage you may be thinking there is no where to turn for some interesting Summer food programming.  You'd be wrong.

Master Chef is a program that debuted last Summer as an American adaptation of a British and Australian cooking competition series featuring talented amateur cooks.  It's currently in its second season, and I find it quite captivating.  The three judges are Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliott, and Joe Bastianch. These are three guys with pretty heavyweight (in Graham's case literally) chops.  Even if you think Ramsay is an a-hole, when you watch Master Chef you realize he's  a different person than the character he tends to portray on other shows such as Hell's Kitchen.  On Master Chef the food seems to be of high quality.  The competitors are interesting.  The challenges and format are unique without being too gimmicky, and the judges are neither afraid to give praise or criticism when deserved.  Also, it's on twice a week in prime time. It works to fill  two gaps in your TV lineup.  Hooray!  If you're like me and can't stand to hear "culinary point of view" on Food Network Star one more time give Master Chef a shot.  If you don't like it come on here, and tell me how wrong I am in the comments. I'll go all Ramsay on you and call you a stupid donkey, but hey it's worth a shot.  Happy viewing.


Erin L. in Noblesville said...

I have to agree, FN is really grasping at straws with crap like Extreme Chef and such. (I especially cannot stand their rip-off of Man Vs. Food) I have been keeping up with Next FN Star, mostly b/c I started it and now I feel an obligation to see it through to the end.

MasterChef is a really decent show, I think Gordon Ramsay knows how to make good TV. Hell's Kitchen is getting a little played out though, same crap every season.

Evan Edwards said...

Gordon Ramsay's British shows are much more balanced, with most of them showing positive, earnest and even quiet passion for cooking and food. There are shows where he gets angry and yells -- Kitchen Nightmares started off as the British Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, which is far less reality show-esque than the American counterpart -- but there are a large number where he is primarily quietly and politely observant.

Great blog, by the way.

Brent said...

@Evan I've seen various episodes of the original Kitchen Nightmares on BBCA and your right he's not nearly as over the top. While I think he's still genuinely trying to help people on the American KN it's hard to watch because I know a lot of the yelling and such is an act.