The "Love" Part of my Food Network Relationship

The Food Network and I have a love/hate relationship, and the relationship is, of course, one-sided at that. There are quite a few shows that are worthless, both in terms of educational value as well as entertainment. Date Plate? Oi. There are quite a few hosts that I find anywhere from mildly annoying to absolutely unbearable (but I won’t name any names). Certainly, there are a few shows that I do love to watch, like Good Eats – who couldn’t love such an adorable food nerd?!?! But the good ones are few and far between. Some shows that I used to enjoy now air at ridiculous hours. For some strange reason, I was awake at 3:30 am, and one of my old favorites that I thought had disappeared, Tony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour, was on. Right before it, Jamie Oliver. And some shows have been cancelled – like whatever happened to East Meets West? I loved Ming Tsai, even though his cuisine, fusion aka f*ew*sion, is the exact opposite of anything I like. I hate their programming, and yet, every night, the minute I walk in the door, I turn on food tv (it’s already set to channel 55) and leave it on, even if it’s one mute. ;)

chairman kaga
that’s hot.

But one of the shows I loved from the moment it hit the airwaves and am grateful that it still airs every night at 11 pm (if you’re in West LA with those trolls, Adelphia) is Iron Chef – the original Japanese version. Nothing can beat Chairman Kaga biting so realistically into that bell pepper at the beginning, the slo-mo replay of mad chef skillz, and of course, the *giggle* Hello Kitty voice over comments from the female guest judges. I can only imagine that if Hello Kitty could speak (if she had a mouth), would sound like one of the female judges – LOL!

iron chef america
this time, america bites off the japanese!

Iron Chef has spawned into a whole mini phenomenon, most prominently Iron Chef America. I am still not exactly sure how I feel about the show. Is it at all upsetting that much of the show format stays true to the original, but so much of it is so very different? What happened to the silk pajama chef outfits? How come the challenges are so damn easy, like potato? What’s wrong with a battle with…live eel? Who told this new Chairman to wear a shiny purple shirt? And why the heck is Anderson Cooper a judge?!?! Am I obsessing?!?!

*breathe* Okay, I’m calm now. We’ll see how season two rolls out.

Iron Chef America also changes the English vocabulary by asking, “How do you Iron Chef?” with a little video and contest. “To Iron Chef – verb. to wear a denim chef’s jacket and run around a kitchen like chicken with its head cut off.” LOL!

Anyway, I can answer that right here in the food blogging world, we have our own cyber version of Iron Chef, Tomatilla‘s Paper Chef. Where on planet Earth Owen came up with the term “paper” is a mystery. Owen? Paper? Ah, but it’s no matter. Paper Chef is something I love – as if you didn’t already know that. :)

So if the original Iron Chef moves to some ridiculous air-time, or *gasp!* gets cancelled, or the new Iron Chef America really lets me down, I have Paper Chef to look forward to every month! :) That’s how I Iron Chef!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kirk July 19, 2005 at 3:57 pm

Hey Sarah – Great post! Sometimes it’s almost as if TFN will turn into VH-1 or MTV and really not be about “cooking” anymore….


2 Anonymous July 19, 2005 at 4:04 pm

Man, those episodes of the original Japanese Iron Chef rock! Remember how the old Iron Chef Japanese used to be Morimoto? After Rokusaburo Michiba? I liked the Italian chef, too, but no one ever picked him to challenge. Maybe they knew no one could beat Italian food!


3 Daily Gluttony July 19, 2005 at 4:28 pm

SO true, sarah!

and I’m still laughing about your comment about the Hello Kitty voices! ha ha, good one!


4 Clare Eats July 19, 2005 at 5:22 pm

*sigh* I wish I had the food channel!

oh well… at least I can still get Iron Chef original! :)

I wonder when we will get the American Version…. hopefully soon!


5 Owen July 19, 2005 at 5:31 pm

Sarah – thank you for your Paper Chef comments. For the true, original story of how it came about and the name, see here…

I should add that I was also looking for something weak and pathetic to provide an ironic contrast with ‘iron’.

The part that isn’t spelled out in the posting is that November 2004 is one year (approximately) from when I really kicked into blogging regularly and from when I decided to put together the Digital Dish book.

Anyway, thanks for the compliments – I really appreciate them!


6 Stephanie July 19, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Ming left for another channel…I think his new show is on Style, or DIY.

I will watch FN for weeks, then get so sick of it, I won’t turn it on for months.
I mean, that’s what the site is for…I can still get the recipes, without suffering through the antics of some of the hosts.

But I agree: Alton Brown makes geeks look good. And no matter what they do with , IC:America will never match Kaga’s Liberace-like theatrics, the intensity of the chefs (oooh…some times those guys frighten me), and the absurdity of the judging panel.

I think Cooper was there because the USA guys couldn’t find anyone to fill the ‘former Lower House member’ slot…needed someone vaguely affiliated with politics.


7 Sam July 19, 2005 at 11:18 pm

Sarah – if you read Owen’s history of the Paper Chef, you will see how absolutely necessary it is for you to write another post dedicated to Ready Steady Cook and Fern Britton. The beauty of that show is it is under 30 minutes real time and they have to cook from a scrappy little bag of random items somebody in the audience gives them. They could give Ms Ray a 30 minute run for her money, I tell you!


8 Matt Kerner July 25, 2005 at 1:12 pm

I agree that food network programming isn’t in the best of conditions. One show I greatly miss (I would even buy DVDs if they were available) is Taste. Not sure how many people remember this show, it’s been off the air for a long time. It was similar to Good Eats in that David Rosengarten took a geeky approach to a food topic each episode. It was also very snooty at times, but still a good show.


9 sarah July 25, 2005 at 4:23 pm

oh! i totally remember a show on the food network that must have been a copy of ready steady cook – it was called ready, set, cook! and i remember the hostess beng so super annoying, though i can’t remember her name. hm.

i also remember taste with david rosengarten, and that too was another show that i thought was pretty good. too bad it’s not on anymore, along with many other good shows. *Sigh* but i am finding that many of the good shows and hosts are slowly making their way off of food network and onto public television. :)


10 the deputy July 27, 2005 at 5:31 am

Sarah, enjoying your site tremendously, now time for me to stop being quiet. Wanted to let you know about one of your old favorites, Tony Bourdain and his new show on the Travel Channel, I think it’s called “No Reservation.” We’ll just have to wait and see if it’s as good as “Cook’s Tour.”


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