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Food Network: Has It Gone Downhill?


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#1

lilyblue

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Posted Nov 13, 2005 @ 11:21 PM

Hey folks, since the Robin Miller thread is becoming a general Food Network thread, I thought I would start one up here.

Let's talk about how sucky it's starting to get when real chefs are being pushed off the network so that they can showcase some hacks who have never cooked a meal in their lives. (Yes, I'm referring to SLoP!)

Who do we miss and what would we like to see?

I would like to see a variety of ethinic cooking shows and a vegetarian show would be nice too.

I would not like to see any more of the FN produced competitions. It was nice every once in a while, now it's boring.

Your turn.
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#2

nh lass

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Posted Nov 13, 2005 @ 11:35 PM

Since I was whinging in the other thread, I'll chime in - I'd like to see good, creative, uncomplicated, uncommon food - I'd love to see a good Asian show, as someone else mentioned, hot and sour soup or simple Thai food, more Italian in the mode of Giada's show, simple but delicious, maybe even some Greek cooking.

Anything but more shit made with cool whip and seasoning packets....
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#3

Divaah46

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Posted Nov 13, 2005 @ 11:44 PM

I'd like to see more ethnic food too--and more ethnic presenters/cooks.
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#4

bxn5

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Posted Nov 13, 2005 @ 11:48 PM

they could give the pbs guys a shot. pepin, ming (again), bayless.
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#5

julii

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 8:05 AM

I miss David Rosengarten. I learned alot about food and cooking from his "Taste" show. It sucks that a no-talent hack like SLop has a cooking show and David doesn't.

On the weekends I usually watch the PBS cooking shows instead of Food Network.

Edited by julii, Nov 14, 2005 @ 8:07 AM.

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#6

Luciaphile

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 9:41 AM

Who do we miss and what would we like to see?


Miss: David Rosengarten, Sara Moulton, Ming Tsai

Want to see: a mix of things. They should be offering programming for a range of skill levels--a couple of shows on quick cooking are more than sufficient. I'd like to explore some more challenging options. More shows focusing on ethnic cooking. Something geared at cooking for one or two. And please god, stop going onto the street for this. Find some people who know what the hell they're doing.
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#7

Aileithyia

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 9:57 AM

What consistently shocks ME, actually, is how utterly food-ignorant today's Americans are on a broad level. I run into more and more people who really don't know HOW to cook at all, and rely 100% on seasoning packets and boxed, prepared, full-of-preservatives dinners. I think it's good that FN is trying to resurrect even the basic love of cooking, and rescue Americans from constant take out and Hamburger Helper with shows like 30MM, and Everyday Italian. But, and this is a big but, *encouraging* the masses' dependency on premade food, gluts of preservatives and sodium with SLop? Absolutely criminal. There are times for 30MM meals, and as a single mom with 2 young children going to school full time, you can bet that on weekdays I take advantage of some of RR's ideas, for instance. Better than calling for pizza, no doubt about it.

I would absolutely love to see a vegetarian show, or even vegetarian episodes of existing shows that don't focus on tons of cheese and portobello mushrooms. Asian cooking, for instance, can be very quick and healthful and vegetarian, so they wouldn't even have to depart from their 'formula' for that. I even have a 30 minute Indian vegetarian cookbook that has some absolutely fantastic recipes. Why is this sort of thing so seemingly taboo on FN?

ETA: I think it would be great to do some episodes on existing shows that take a boxed dinner (like stroganoff) and teach that you can make it from scratch, really, seriously, see? That kind of thing. Love tuna noodle casserole? Put down the canned soup and do it like this. It would be a good start.

Edited by Aileithyia, Nov 14, 2005 @ 9:58 AM.

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#8

rhys7

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 11:15 AM

I also don't watch those "how do they make that" type food shows on the food network. Blerg.
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#9

naugastyle

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 11:33 AM

I don't watch FN that regularly anymore, but I do use the website, and am genuinely surprised that Sara Moulton is no longer there. At least, that's the impression I'm getting from Luciaphile's post. And Ming...I thought he was relegated to the wee hours, but he's just not on at all?

The only show I still truly love is Good Eats, the style just suits me. Even though I have little interest in regular cooking shows, I think that there are many more people who would rather have those back, and if it means getting rid of the endless cooking contest shows (sometimes they're interesting, often they're not worth it), reality shows, and the "eat the streets" type shows I'm all for more variety in cooking shows. I was excited this weekend when I saw a tiny bit of "Good Deal" that started early on my saved recording of "Good Eats" because I think a true budget-conscious show that included a breakdown of costs would be fantastic...but from reading the forum I see this is not really the case.

As for the "how do they make it" shows...I think they can be OK if they were occasional SPECIALS...but they are on so often!

More ethnic-cooking shows would appreciated, and I don't mean fusion. True Asian, Latin, African, Middle Eastern shows to round out the Italian and French.
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#10

PlayItGeorge

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 11:38 AM

It is really shocking how poorly people can cook. My BF's family cooks using canned soup, seasoning packets, and the ultimate bane of my existence, those frozen crock pot meals. Now yeah I'll eat a can of soup sometimes and stuff cause I can't cook dinner every night due to other commitments, but when I *do* cook something you better bet I do it right.

I hate hate hate those non how-to shows like unwrapped and Secret life of... I really like Dan and Steve, Alton, Dave, and Paula for the most part. Rachael has good ideas but she grates on-screen. Ina is ok but a little tired to me now.

Eta: to remove "It is really shocking how little people can cook." and rephrase it so it doesn't sound like I am talking about physically small people.

Edited by PlayItGeorge, Nov 14, 2005 @ 11:40 AM.

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#11

Luciaphile

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 11:46 AM

I don't watch FN that regularly anymore, but I do use the website, and am genuinely surprised that Sara Moulton is no longer there. At least, that's the impression I'm getting from Luciaphile's post


Sara's Secrets is on in repeats, but they axed her. If Ming Tsai's show is on at all, it's only in repeats. He was also axed and ended up on PBS. I believe the execs felt they were both too dull. I know some posters feel the same. I don't care. Sara Moulton got me trying things I never would have had the courage to try otherwise. She knew what she was doing and it showed. Ming was just plain cool.

The Unwrapped and Secret Life of... stuff is okay, but frankly, I'd watch more of the FN at night if this crap wasn't on. It gets old fast. I know there are people watching FN strictly for entertainment purposes and while I enjoy that facet of the network (Iron Chef and Sandra Lee being how I get my entertainment), I really do prefer genuine how-to shows.

There is a place for the quick cooking and easy cooking type shows. No argument there, but the FN is becoming like a televised version of Ladies Home Journal. Is there some reason why the whole dang network needs to be homogenized?
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#12

CocoaGoddess

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 11:48 AM

I will echo the "more ethnic cooking" requests.

I miss: Sara Moulton's "Cooking Live", The Melting Pot, Jamie Oliver, Gale Gand, and some earlier (real early) FN shows, with hosts like Debbie Fields, the Two Hot Tamales, and Martha Stewart.

No more italian shows, please! I seriously crush on Giada, still watch reruns of Molto Mario, and enjoy Michael Chiarello, but enough is enough. There is more to food than pesto and pasta.

Get rid of: Unwrapped. Watching the twin factories make the same cupcake filling, and watching the same beefy men rolling globs of candy on a stainless steel counter got old after the first 200 airings.
Robin Miller. We're still suffering while SLop is on the air, thanks.

Bring Back: Best Of. It's like Rachel Ray's Tasty Travels, only...better. And the hosts aren't annoying attention whores like coked up and cracked out RayRay.
Tyler's Ultimate: I liked the idea of Tyler finding the best recipes, and then instructing the audience on how to make a simple version of it. Instructional and educational all at the same time.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I kind of like the barbecue competitions, but there's not nearly enough information given to the viewing audience. For example, I've watched every single competition that aired from May until September, and I still have no idea how to make a great barbecue rub from scratch. What's the point of watching this stuff if I can't experiment on my own?

FN needs to get their asses back into the kitchen, and stop looking for ways to avoid actually cooking. No, I don't want to know how to have Thanksgiving ready in 15 minutes. There are some of us who actually enjoy cooking, look forward to spending hours in the kitchen preparing a meal that we can be proud to serve to our families and friends--while using quality ingredients, and tricks from the trade. Quality ingredients does not equal Hidden Valley Farms seasoning packet.
Tricks from the trade does not equal using massive amounts of ziplock bags.

There is no justice that Sara Moulton was literally pushed out of the network to make room for Shamdra, Robin Miller, and fucking Rachel Ray. No justice at all, and FN ought to be ashamed.
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#13

PlayItGeorge

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 11:57 AM

Personally I think Rachael Ray has had her day in the sun on Food Network and should stick to cookbooks/her magazine. I really dig the magazine so far and have had much success using her cookbooks...but I am sick of watching her.

And I agree--no more Italian! Coming from the mouth of an Italian-American! Maybe we could have Tyler's Ultimate, but where he only does ethnic foods? Like Indian/African/South American recipes, you know what I mean. I am in the minority I know but I do really like Tyler and would enjoy having him on more often.
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#14

polpetti

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 12:16 PM

Get rid of Unwrapped and Secret Life of and the totally worthless Top 5. Unwrapped actually showed them making cough drops the other night. I'm no longer fascinated with the process of panning.

I would start watching RR again if she'd stop hitting the crack pipe so hard. Sometimes I can watch her with the sound turned off but other than that I can't hear her tell me about nutmeg adding that little something that makes people go "hmmm, what is that?" I used nutmeg last night and that was actually going through my brain.

I want to see a dessert show since RR is constantly putting the fear of baking into people by insisting she can't do it. Warren Brown, who is hosting the disappointing Sugar Rush, turns out amazing cakes apparently and has a cookbook coming out in the spring. Let him do his stuff. I doubt he really needed to go to Seattle or whereever to learn how to make chocolate curls.

I'd love to see an ethnic cooking show as well and if we have to pick just one, my vote is for Latin cuisine. I'd love to see vegetarian options on all the shows more often and I'm not a vegetarian.

I'd like to see a show about kitchen and cooking trends, i.e. new ingredients, kitchen designs. My memory is a little hazy but I think David's show had some of that.

I'm sad Sarah is going. She's got mad knife skills.

Edited by polpetti, Nov 14, 2005 @ 12:19 PM.

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#15

Shnuglet

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 12:30 PM

I'm on board with the more ethnic food shows already mentioned, and also some other styles. How about Tex-Mex, comfort food, Jewish food, and baking and desserts (I miss Gale Gand, and I have a sweet tooth!).

Also, enough with the searching for "The Next Food Network Star." We don't give a flying fig about the sexiness or the high-powered personality of the person doing the cooking. We want to see it done right, by someone who loves food, has basic knife skills, knows their way around a pot and a stove, and can tell the difference between a turnip and parsnip. FN, is that so much to ask?
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#16

tisha

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 12:34 PM

I really enjoy both the Italian shows, and that's in part because they are less "Italian" lik Mario, whos show I also loved, and more California cuisine or California Italian fusion shows (one more Italian-SoCal and the other Italian NoCal) than purely Italian.

I also like Giada, Michael, and Ina, for example, because they know how to cook and they know how to handle a knife. I think shows like How To Boil Water are great and they need to do more of those. But I'm most tired of seeing people on the network who don't know how to dice an onion by themselves--I am thinking of SLop, Robin, and Paula. They're personality PLUS! and they depend on viewers forming a frinedship with them--or reliving their childhood or something--instead of cooking skills.

Which isn't to say that I need to see difficult to accomplish meals every half hour; in fact, I think the idea of creating a populist stance in food programming is a good idea, provided it is done with people who know more than I do. So give me 30 MM and How to Boil Water, if you want, but have people like Tyler do them. He can be annoying sometimes, but at least he knows how to cook.

I would also love to see a Latin food show....even though I realize that "Latin Food" is incredibly heterogeneous. Same is true about my hopes for/concerns about an Asian Food show. I'd really like to see more diversity of voices on Food Network, but I'd also, paradoxically, like to see In Martha's Kitchen return.
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#17

naugastyle

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 1:14 PM

Yeah, I don't expect a Colombian or Korean cooking show, but I think true "Latin" or "Asian" would at least be a start as opposed to FUSION, and then maybe each episode could concentrate on a different culture.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I kind of like the barbecue competitions, but there's not nearly enough information given to the viewing audience. For example, I've watched every single competition that aired from May until September, and I still have no idea how to make a great barbecue rub from scratch. What's the point of watching this stuff if I can't experiment on my own?

This is a good idea. They could show clips from contests to keep the pacing tighter, then have actual cooking portions during it as well.

OK, I think I'm really out of it with FN...didn't realize how many people had left. Someone mentioned lack of dessert shows? So that means no Gale Gand anymore either? The only recipe I ever made of hers was fudge, but it was perfect, really simple and delicious.
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#18

mambotaxi

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 1:29 PM

Seems like only Discovery Home and PBS are doing actual cooking shows anymore.
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#19

Nocona

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 1:44 PM

It seems like the only place where i see my favorite chefs anymore is Iron Chef, it has Alton and Mario... and guests like Ming and the Two Hot Tamales. I miss them so. Its those guys that really taught me how to cook...well, ok and Emeril. I used to stay up and watch FN all night while pulling all-nighters in college (which was just about every night) and I owe a lot of getting my bachelors degree to the FN. But now? nope... i don't care about Unwrapped, never did... top 5 sucks, the secret life of? who cares? and it all started with that stupid Gordon Elliot with Follow that Food. Thanks a lot Gordon.

I so miss David Rosengarten, I learned sooo much from him... i still remember his lecture about how pepper changed the world. much more interesting than any history class. And Mario and Ming were so informative... Tyler is okay, but I wish he was as foxy as he once was. is that mean?

I think that if the FN is going to have a quickmeals kind of show it should just be one! Leave it to RR and be done with it! She is obviously the expert on such things... and get her a decent stylist and coach her on toning it down several million notches. And give me a vegetarian show! Curis Aikens anyone? I want to know how to do amazing things with tofu... and a Latin-type cooking show. No, Bobby Flay doesn't count!

Edited by Nocona, Nov 14, 2005 @ 1:46 PM.

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#20

bookwirm

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 1:53 PM

Add me to the list of people who would love to see more vegetarian cooking on the FN. It could be either a show devoted to vegetarian cooking, or more, vegetarian meals incorporated into existing show. I eat meat myself, but certainly not with every meal, so it bugs when the chefs/hosts act as though no one watching was even aware that it was possible to eat a meat-free dinner (I'm looking at you, Rachael.) Also a greater variety of ethnicities would be nice. It amazes me poorly Asian food is represented.
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#21

bxn5

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:01 PM

quick thoughts.
do you guys watch epicurious on travel channel? michael lomonaco is really full of life. i watch that show daily.
sara moulton is dull so i don't mind if they're phasing her out.
in general i don't watch new shows until they've been on for a season. so i haven't given dan and steve a chance yet. their commercials turn me off.
i wouldn't watch a veggie show but they should at least have one show per genre. we don't need so many italian shows! why is the network so italian baised. even all star thanksgiving had two italian dishes. i don't know why tyler didn't make something other than italian artichokes. italian giada is there. let her make it! tyler can make any cuisine in the world so pick something else.
speaking of tyler, i love watching food 911. it just amuses me to see him hit on all the women. it doesn't even matter if they're pretty or not. the fire fighter should have been worried when the alarm went off and he had to leave his wife alone with tyler.
unwrapped is the only behind the scenes show i need.
i saw pictures of rr before watching her show. i thought, wow she's hot. i gotta see her show. once i heard her talk i was repulsed.
next fn star sucks.

Edited by Wing Chun, Nov 14, 2005 @ 7:18 PM.

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#22

Pasta10

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:05 PM

I'll hop on the vegetarian train. As others have said, it doesn't have to be a strictly vegetarian show - just more vegetarian meals incorporated into existing shows. And I'm not talking mac n' cheese or some kind of pasta alfredo. I'd love to see some great stir fries, how to cook and flavor different kinds of rice, fun with tofu, etc. And, of course, vegetables as a whole meal. I eat meat, too, but more and more my meals are meatless and I could really use some ideas from a professional. Plus, I love trying new veggies, once I know what to do with them.
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#23

PlayItGeorge

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:07 PM

I am surprised you say that about RR not appreciating vegetarian meals. She has a vegetarian cookbook out that is designed to appeal to vegetarians and meat-eaters trying to eat less meat. I could see how with her constant burger episodes though people would think she only does meat-based dishes.

A vegetarian show would be great. Bring back Curtis!
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#24

tisha

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:22 PM

The David Rosengarten you all keep talking about....is it the same David Rosengarten who authored the Dean and DeLuca Cookbook? It's one of my favorite cookbooks and, if it's the same guy, I can't imagine how I missed his show. It must have been on a while ago or at a time I couldn't watch.

Edited by tisha, Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:22 PM.

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#25

rhys7

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:24 PM

I'd like to see some bread making shows once in awhile.

Frankly, this whole thread needs to go for about a week then mailed to FN.
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#26

Ms Chicklet

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:30 PM

tisha, it's the same David Rosengarten. He hosted a show called "Taste" in the early days of Food Network. It was shot on this horrible set with an all-white background. The 30-minute show was devoted to one single food, a la "Good Eats." The first segment would be a brief history of the food, and some of the ways it's been made over the years. Then he'd make what he considered the best recipe for it. The final segment would have him at a table with the finished dish, and he'd talk about how to serve it and what sort of wine/beer/beverage to serve with it. He was knowledgeable, pleasant and funny without being over the top.
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#27

tabbygirl521

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:43 PM

BRING BACK SARA! BRING BACK MARIO! It's just appalling that these hosts had their shows cancelled. I know Mario is massively successful in real life so maybe he doesn't care, but I DO!

I like the shows where I actually learn something I can apply to future cooking endeavors. I love Alton for this reason, plus he shows how to have fun while making GOOD food. He's entertaining but not silly or giggly and he's not gimmicky and full of crap like SOME PEOPLE who make up a foolish premise for their "menu," for no reason, then don't even carry it out. What a waste of time.

I'd love to see a wider variety of cuisine represented, for sure, but please let it be presented by real cooks. I would really like a vegetarian-oriented show, too.

I kind of thought Robin Miller would be on the right track with a practical concept but so far I don't think she's cutting it.

"How to Boil Water" is good for demystifying cooking for the novice but Tyler gets on my nerves. Maybe it's just me. But I think it's basically a decent show, and one that I think addresses a real need if we're ever going to stop the downhill slide toward living on fat, sodium, and sugar.

All the "How'd They Make That?" all that kind of stuff is not of much interest to me.

Forgot to say that axing Ming was wrong, wrong, wrong. Food Network loses me to PBS during his timeslot over there.

Never saw David Rosengarten because I haven't had Food Network all that long, but I suspect I would love his show.

Edited by tabbygirl521, Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:52 PM.

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#28

leew261

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 2:54 PM

David Rosengarten's show was definitely the epitome of taste. It was the absolute opposite of Bunny Hotcakes' daily crapfest.
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#29

Shnuglet

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 3:17 PM

...and he's not gimmicky and full of crap like SOME PEOPLE who make up a foolish premise for their "menu," for no reason, then don't even carry it out. What a waste of time.

Hee, tabby, whoever could you mean?

And if they're going to insist on specials here and there, nothing wrong with that, but enough with the inane challenges and bake-offs. How about some interviews or kitchen visits or tours of famous places/restaurants with people of interest, like Ruth Reichl, Mimi Sheridan (Sheraton?), Daniel Boulud, Jean Georges Vongerichten--sorry, this is very NYcentric! Or the Chez Panisse lady, I forget her name. Like that, you know? Are the Rombauers even alive anymore? Craig Claiborne? Even Peg Bracken! The Gallery of Regrettable Food guy! People with historical insight, knowledge, memories of fabulous meals, and great stores of food lore up their sleeves and/or wit to offer the viewer.
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#30

Mya

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Posted Nov 14, 2005 @ 3:40 PM

I love the food network. I enjoy most of the shows they have on these days. My favorite chefs on the network are: Ina, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Paula, Tyler Florence and Michael Ciarello. I also enjoy watching Iron Chef and Iron Chef America. I can't stand Unwrapped and Good Eats (yawn) and the Food Network Challenges.
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