by Bourdain

It is a measure of how seriously crack-brained, rapacious and evil the Deep Thinkers at Food Network must be that I find myself–yet again–in deep sympathy with their stable of stars. Last night, during the breathtakingly awful, interminable cruelty that was The Food Network Awards, I even found myself feeling bad for Rachael Ray. YES, friends. Rachael Ray. If nothing else, Rachael’s BIG now. Network talk show– doing- well- in- ratings- Big. Own magazine Big. Friend-of-Oprah Big. So, how must it have felt for her to stand up there in front of what appeared to be a halfway empty room of stunned, near comatose trout and feign enthusiasm while presenting the award for "Best Appliance"?

Do Emeril and Bobby–who, whatever you think of their shows–BUILT that fucking network, deserve to be pimped out with such casual disregard? Does anyone deserve to run the Gauntlet of Shame that was the "red carpet", forced to waddle past the California Raisins and Tony the Tiger and a bunch of other corporate Big Heads? The overmuscled fuckwit from DINNER SLIGHTLY DIFFICULT delivered the best line: something like "This is the greatest night "ever!" If that was his greatest night ever, I suspect he would say the same thing while being publicly butt-slammed by the San Diego Chicken.

(If you’ve ever seen his show, by the way–it’s hilarious. It’s "Knight Rider Meets Leonard’s Of Great Neck "" Can four professional cooks make onion dip for 40– in time?!!!" )And Nigella, Nigella, Nigella..the strange and fabulous Nigella Lawson!! Iconic in England– and internationally…. fabulously wealthy.. a good cook…new to the Network– and this is her welcome. Surely she had no clue as to the horrors she was facing. She looked trapped up there on stage.."the information" as Martin Amis calls it, coming terribly, suddenly home with painful clarity. To be stripped of one’s dignity by one’s new masters so quickly and with such ferocity–all in the cause of some product placement cannot have pleased. My only hope is that Charles, her husband, on hearing of this atrocity, this degrading mis-use of his wife , will buy the network–in order to spare her further ill treatment.

Emeril always the good soldier, sweated dutifully through his obligations, wondering privately, no doubt, what he had done to deserve this.

The production itself–above and beyond the witless, ill-considered, just-plain stupid "concept" of an Awards show where most of the "awards" went to inanimate objects (accepting the award for Best Comfort Food is…Macaroni and Cheese!!), appliances or cities (Portland’s mayor wisely did not bother to show),–the production values–were lower than whale shit. The food styling during the "Best New Appliance" looked like some kind of 1960’s themed monkey effluence, dying, soggy, butt-ugly. Perfectly appropriate to the Info-mercial From Hell theme of the presentation as a whole–but still shamefully crude for any "Food" network. The selection and photography of "beauty plates" from winning "Delicious Destination,. Portland, Oregon (in fact a terrific food destination) looked like somebody took a dump at McFunsters. Portland for fuck’s sake! They couldn’t find some good looking plates in fucking Portland!?

You have to ask yourself: WHAT were they THINKING?? Okay…so some brain dead douche bags from Ad Sales and "creative" got together and cooked up this hybrid, fur-bearing catfish of a beast, this jackalope of a High Concept. Fine. That’s what they do. But who green lit this monstrosity? Did no one raise their voice and say, "Boss…boss..Can we really DO this to our talent? " or even ask.."Uh…boss..Do you think this will be even remotely entertaining?" The answer, apparently arrived at the taping in Miami–where the Awards were perhaps the lone under-attended event of the South Beach Food and Wine Fest. . They couldn’t even hold on to a LIVE audience–ordinarily mesmerized simply by proximity to Sandra and Paula. In a few shots in the finished show, you can actually see the large empty spaces–the quick and the shrewd fleeing for the exits.

Did the network, upon realizing (as they surely did) that the whole thing was a hideous, stultifyingly boring cluster fuck–and a public slap to their talent–did they consider maybe having the good taste to just bury the whole thing in archives like a rotten bone? They reportedly had no trouble burying the Ripert and the Ramsay episodes of the excellent, critically acclaimed My Country My Kitchen. Have they no decency?

There’s a famous story where Robert Mitchum walks into studio head David O Selznick’s office, pulls down his pants and takes a crap on his white carpet.

I hope Emeril is pinching a loaf right now.

[Update: Serious eats notes the show was ratings success.]


183 Wonderful responses to “THE FABULOUS FOOD NETWORK AWARDS!!”

  • Ray

    Anthony Bourdain, you are the SH*T and that’s why i am a fan.
    BTW: i missed the show and i think it was common sense pulling my hand away from the remote control. I think i watched I LOVE NY, the reunion. Sounds like that was much better.

  • Tony P

    Kinda amusing but really, Anthony needs to develop his own style and stop trying to be Hunter S. Dressing as the Doctor and dropping 28 drug references in the Vegas show was embarassing enough but this rant makes me think he’s really starting to believe it. Cease. Desist. Find your own thing, please.

    If Hunter S was still alive he would kick your ass for trying to rip him off.

  • h. thompson

    Poor guy, you can tell the ratings for his show on the Travel Channel
    are in the toilet! And with the Travel Channel being sold yet again I’m
    not surprised he’s in a foul mood!

  • h. thompson

    ..or maybe it’s because the awards show had such high ratings (one of the top ten highest for Food) as opposeed to the lack luster ratings for his show on Travel. I’d be pissed off too. Come on man, don’t player hate, congratulate 🙂

  • chefwannab

    Thanks Tony for suffering for all of us and commenting on this horrible waste of TV space. Like others here I was too intent on not missing The Sopranos to care about this useless “awards” show – aside from the tribute to Julia Child, when I read the synopsis of this show on I couldn’t fathom a single minute spent on it.

    With the exception of Alton and his recent Peabody award, it is apparent that since the majority of these celebrities are not going to be given awards for anything else, the FN folks had to invent an excuse for them to get dressed up and walk a red carpet. I was pleased to see that two of my favorite and most respected FN personalities (Batali and Garten) didn’t take part in this disaster.

    RonS, while I didn’t watch the show, I agree with you that there may have been some worthwhile recognition here such as the independent producers, but I don’t necessarily agree that Bourdain missed the point. The Oscars-wanna-be format was pure cheese, everyone knew it at the SoBe festival, and Bourdain certainly wasn’t the only one to point it out then or now since it aired on TV.

    There could be a much more inventive and worthwhile way of showcasing the interesting winners and topics – how about this for next year: skip the red carpet awards show, leave out stupid, I-couldn’t-care-less awards to inatimate objects like mac-n-cheese, and have Alton Brown put together a fun documentary of the nominees and winners that is informative and people would actually enjoy watching!

  • parkbench

    happily missed it all. Out here on the Left Coast the only Rachael I watched on Sunday was Rachael Robinson. Then it was off to the Sopranos. Time much better spent.

    Congrats to Alton, though. He’s the only one left that we watch on FN.


  • RonS

    chefwannab…Well Said.

    I would agree that maybe “missed the point” was a bit strong here, and agree that an Alton Brown doc would be an amazing way to approach this. Less celebrity and more about the people who are doing great things across the country.

    The thing is that the bulk of the FN watchers are tuning in to see their favorite celebrities and may not even watch an Alton Brown piece about nominees and winners.

    Although we all suffered through the insipid celebrity banter to see some great people be recognized, there are many out there who probably loved the whole thing. It is these people who quite possibly would never have been made aware of places like Burgerville or Zingermans without this show being aired. To that end, the show did something good. It got people who watch only Rachel Ray to hear about some fantastic products from some true food pioneers.

    To that…I wish Tony would have at least recognized this and spent lest time grousing about the parade of celebrities and the cheese-factor of the show.

    I love to read his writing, but get a little tired of him worrying about how Mario and Bobby are being treated by the network. They are all big boys and girls who have chosen the path they travel. If someone wants to sell-out to the FN, it is their choice.

  • Usedtobehungry

    You are a wee bit curmudgeonly, how typical of a chef.;-)>
    Your opinion about the FN and their lowly TV “award” show is right on the money, it is only for the stupid masses.

    I’m married to a retired French chef; you all have a common bond, the same vitriol towards Food Network and the insipid cooks they hire.

  • Christina

    I’m just appalled lately at the demographic FN seems to be courting…..didn’t know double-wides could get cable reception on their tinfoil covered rabbit ears. The “awards” show was so clearly a front for something else, I lasted 5 minutes and that’s even after steeling myself for complete drek. It managed to somehow achieve head-shattering badness, and not in a good way! And does anyone else almost expect to see the banjo picker from Deliverance on Paula’s porch these days when they play the intro??

  • Maya

    Ron, I second your opinion that at least the show acknowledged independent (and probably not rich or famous) producers. That alone made it worth the air time.

    It’s too bad it was so friggin’ cheesy. Instead of making it a pseudo red-carpet event, they should have spent the year making a creative, entertaining, high-quality event that honored the same people in a way that doesn’t make the viewer nauseous.

  • Jennie/Tikka

    Didn’t see it (I don’t watch the FN as a rule) but I’m certain it was an unholy assault on all that is right with food.

    To the poster who misses Ming Tsai – take heart, he’s still on, on the Fine Living Network instead (along with his other program “Ming’s Travels.” Ming’s “East Meets West” show is a regular on my DVR. Anyone who sauces red meat with a sauce de foie gras is ok in my book!

    “Pairings with Andrea” is pretty good, too – with some actually useful wine and food pairing information (and not just the standard pairings, either). Some of it is predictable, though – oakey Chards with lobster (a major pet peeve with me), etc.

    Their show on the internal workings at “Rain” in NYC is interesting, too.

    Would like to hear Tony’s take on The Fine Living Network some day.

  • Ken

    Jeez, FN what the hell happened to ya? You used to be so great, with shows hosted by David Rosengarten, the “Too Hot Tamales”, the Food Planet series, and yes the late great “My Country, My Kitchen” – too ethnic for ya huh?

    Now you’re overrun with marketing geeks with no culinary heritage. And to top it off your classic video website misspelled the “Too Hots” as “Two Hot Tamales”. Can’t even spell your own shows.

  • jmmkp

    Tony –
    Thanks for the commentary that I trust was dead-on. I say, “I trust” since, gathering from your writing and TV work what your take on things is, I find myself in general agreement with what you’ve had to say. Also, I knew from the get-go (preview ads) that the event would be a study in self-inflicted toothpicks under fingernails.
    I have to say that there is not one show on FN that does a thing for my appetite. It’s such a heap of over-packaged drivel. “No Reservations” on the other hand, has me running to the fridge/cupboard/freezer within the first ten minutes (thank God for TiVo). There’s something to be said for watching working pros in their element throughout the world. There’s a reality that shows through and makes the dishes leap from the screen, so to speak.
    With that in mind, I think it would be foolish to pair a show of this calibre with a squeaky, oversanitized host. I appreciate what you bring to the whole presentation: a genuine, seasoned view flavored with a sardonic wit. Would that some of your posters here would get that.
    Oh, well – keep up the good work and avoid the warthog anuses (that was a tough one to watch!).

  • kelly

    If you hate the network so much, why did you sit through the show?

  • Jerzeetomato

    I love Bordain’s comments on the “Used to Be” Food Network. I also think that he has every right to take them to task. I only briefly watched the spectacle awards, it made my stomach turn as most things Food Network do as of late. Tushman has his head right up his big fat ass. It was no surprise to me when Mike Chiarello’s “friend” Guy Fieri won their last food network star contest. Why even bother to go through the motions with a contest when you knew who was going to win?
    Some star he is, his show was like watching Biker Billy cooks with Jewelery.

  • Suzy, t.u.Pastry Chef, ...class of '07

    I’m baaaack…

    In this instance however, I must say I wholeheartedly agree with Mr.Bourdain.
    My only criticism of his essay (above) is that despite his almost frantic usage of pithy maxims, Mr.Bourdain’s written account just does not – and could not – do the real event justice.

    This is not meant in any way as a criticism of Mr.Bourdain’s skills as a journalist. It is only meant to convey to those readers who were not actual witnesses, that words are not adequate to convey the horror.
    O,the humanity!
    I do admit that I myself was only able to tolerate a few seconds at a time of the broadcast, and even then I found it necessary to cover one eye, and squint with other in my effort to fight the natural instinct to turn my head from away from the carnage – the sort of graphic carnage which has sadly become all too pervasive on reality TV.
    I would like to pose one query though: Perhaps it is just me, as I am surprised that no one else has mentioned it…er, them: Just HOW does Giada do it?
    By that I mean; How is she able to orgiastically eat her own rich Italian food in front of the all-seeing eye of the TV camera – nay, whilst moaning orgasmically, and yet still she manages to retain her toothpick like figure?
    No, wait – I must add a caveat to that last comment. I did happen to catch a few moments of Giada’s stint as a presenter. I was awed! Transfixed! My God Almighty in Heaven: THEY ARE REAL!
    I shit you not! Even as a heterosexual woman I was dumbstruck! Up until now I had been assured by those in the know regarding The Glitterati of Hollywood, of which Giada is a scion, that it is not humanly possible to have bodyfat hovering at the starvation-like levels (due to wisespread famine in the part of Hollywood from which Ms.DiLaurentiis hails), and yet still, Giada has the (seemingly genuine) assets to rival Nigella’s?

    Perhaps, Mr.Bourdain, in your travels amongst the high and mighty of the culinary world you may have had occasion to meet Giada in the flesh? Maybe you have even had the pleasure of dining at the same table as Ms. DiLaurentiis? My question to you is: Did you happen to notice if she excused herself from the dinner table to “powder her nose” an inordinate number of times? If in fact she did, then did she return and continue – voracious and moaning – to consume even greater mass quantities of the food set before her?

    Just curious…

  • Tags

    To those who took this “rant” too seriously;

    While the religious may speak in tongues, Tony speaks in cheeks, saving the cheekiest bits for his FN commentary.

    That being said, that “Best Comfort Food” award to Burgers & Fries was a hamburger-handed attempt at humor that fit in with the overall tone of the show.

    Lastly, I was also pleasantly surprised that they focused on local organics, sustainables, and energy efficiency at the start of the show.

  • Nick S

    But you have to understand that it was either do the ‘awards’, and take the mounds of sponsorship cash in one nasty bukkake session of self-degradation, or spend the rest of the year giving sneaky handjobs to mechanofood manufacturers in the regular programming.

  • Isaw Manok o Baboy

    wow. guess subscribing to this crappy cable tv service that pathetically attempted to come up with its own lifestyle channel ain’t so bad after all. we got the ripert and ramsay eps of my country, my kitchen!

    and oh, love you tony. hahaha. seriously.

  • Nappy

    Rachel Ray needs to go away. And soon. Who did she blow to get where she is? She’s a no-talent, loud-mouth chain smoking product of a trailer park. “Drop to me knees, suck this guy off, and I have another 40 bucks for tomorrow’s show….YUM-OH!”

  • Paul

    For the love of God, can somebody please shoot Mr. Voice Inflection who narrates “Unwrapped.” “Next, they ADD eight pounds of sugar to the ALREADY very gooey concocation, MAKING a surprise treat that has ONE OVER customers across the country.”

  • Ghol

    Anybody else go the IACP last weekend in Chicago? I saw a real, live “Food Network Slice” award in person during the culinary showcase. It was displayed by some nitwit from a lab equipment company that was there showing their new temperature regulating devices which could be used to create a warm water bath appropriate for sous vide cooking.

    It struck me as incredibly odd that the Food Network, home to Sandra Lee’s Semi-Horrible Cooking, home to Ray Ray Yum-Oh® and Giada DeLaurenTITS, would give an award to a soon-to-be passé restaurant-only cooking appliance. What home cook, fan of Sandy, Ray Ray and Giada, has $3500 to plunk down for a jacuzzi designed to make brisket?

  • Sandra Lee

    Anthony Bourdain can fuck off. He’s a cocaine addicted piece of shit who has an ax to grind because I slapped his face when he grabbed my ass.

  • Ma The Meatloaf

    The Food Network is a disaster these days. That dude with the voice inflection disease on Unwrapped drives me crazy as well. Jack Nicholson should sue Rachel Ray for copyright infringement for stealing his Joker face from the Batman movie. If you want good cooking programs, then you need to turn to Public Television for Rick Bayless, Jacque Pepin, etc. The Food Network is an infomercial.

  • Fang

    Now that would be funny if it was actually Sandra Lee! PMSL if it is!! Hope she reads/read some of the other derogatory comments toward her from other posters.

  • el jefe chefe

    You have made it quite obvious for years now that you loathe the Food Network, time to move on, don’t you think? It’s only entertainment so get over it and get a life, for crying out loud. The jealousy that you show for anyone on TV who has made a successful attempt to entertain is pathetic. Your taste is obviously in your mouth, a location shared with both of your feet.

    Have a nice day, somehow.

  • Mimi

    I agree completely with your comments. At first I thought this award show was to give awards to the “talent” and I just thought that was rediculous since there are like three of them? That would have been a better show to watch, to see Rachael Ray called up to the stage 10 times to accept the award for Most Annoying Person in the World and to hear her speech of “thank you Food Network, thank EVOO, yummo out to the fans” blah, blah, blah.

  • mike

    What should we expect. Food Network has been a shrill for the processed food industry now for several years. Ever since 11 September turned middle America into a society hateful of anything remotely “exotic” or “foreign” the corporate masters who pay TVFN’s bills with their advertising have used their leverage to ensure that the move towards more interest in better quality foods and more diverse foods, which used to be TVFN’s bread and butter in the late 90s, has been quashed and instead the drip tubes of corn syrup and hydrogenated fats hooked back up to the collective American arm.

    While it is great that people like Mr Bourdain are willing to publicly state their continuing opposition to the dumbing down homogenization of American food culture back to the horrors of the 1950s and 1960s, in the end it will take a real change in American culture before we see the kind of openness to diversity and experimentation in food culture that was gaining influence in the late 1990s. For now, the most exotic Middle America seems to accept is Italian, and even then there are a lot of people who find that just a bit too “foreign” for their tastes.

  • carolina girl

    Three words came to mind:

    Yes, I also thought this would be a rediculous self-congratulatory waste of …..wait! It was wasn’t it? Face time for their galaxy of stars as they droned on and on and on….
    and then to bring Julia Child into this debacle.How many times did she roll over in her grave?

  • Suzy, t.u.Pastry Chef, ...class of '07

    Oh DUH!

    They even had YOU going Ton-eee!

    The whole thing was a tongue-in- cheek joke! Really!

    I went back and watched some of it again, and it is actually an intentional “Up yours, Scripps!” send-up of the sad “self-parody” that the FN has become — despite the now obviously pained best efforts of the real chefs who were there at the start; Batali, Flay, Alton, Emeril…

    Check out the smirk on Alton’s face. The intentional ridiculousness of Flay’s attire (C’mon – he’s a native New Yorker AND he’s not stupid!).

    I’m afraid that they gotcha good this time To-neee. But then they got all of us good, including a great big “Fuck You!” Fickle Finger of Fate right up Scripps’ ass!

    Good on ‘ya guys(and gals)!

  • whaaaa?

    i can’t believe (most of) you people think bourdain is a talented or witty writer. his stuff is sub-average ranting that’s bested by about 98% of the blogosphere. what, because he uses phrases like “fuckwit” and “douchebag” suddenly he’s edgy and interesting and hysterical? he picks the easiest targets ever — like shooting fish in a barrel, as one astute poster mentioned — and then can’t even properly dissect them. i’m not arguing whether or not the doof, i mean food, network sucks, or if awards shows in general suck, but for anyone to annoint bourdain the “brilliant bad boy” of writing is just silly. wake me up when he approaches possessing the writing ability to hold hunter s. thompson’s nuts (had they not been cremated) — oh, i guess i’ll be sleeping forever.

  • Jennie/Tikka

    Okay, prepare yourselves – I’m going to say something that’s been left out of this conversation. You won’t like it. If you have a weak stomach – turn back now, or forever hold your peace. Here it is:

    Non-Foodies do not care about food as much as Foodies do. There, I said it.

    The same revulsion you feel for a reconstituted chicken Frankenburger from a fast food joint is the SAME level of revulsion non-foodies feel for those who need a truffle-shaver and a $60 salad from the French Laundry, else they won’t eat.

    This is not religion – there is no moral imperative to convert to “Foodism” or perish in the fires of Hometown Buffet for all eternity. Consistent attendance at 2 and 3 star Michelin rated restaurants will not grant you access to Valhala, Nirvana, or Heaven. No one will cease to exist because they cut corners making dinner because a meeting kept them at work later than they planned.

    What therefore is the motivation for Mr. or Mrs. Average American to devote time to reading up on how Kobe beef is raised and how truffles are located before they can grab themselves dinner on a weeknight? Why should they CARE that chefs do things differently??

    Because you find food fascinating, and can even become degree’d in it (i.e. culinary school), and are willing to devote time, energy, money, and attention to it – does not mean everyone else is going to find the topic fascinating as well.

    The same way I cannot fathom why people spend up to 72 hours at a time prancing around in a digital world slaying humongous spiders that take about a billion keystrokes and several tomes of ancient necromancy research to eradicate, is the same reaction non-foodies have to the message that they need to change their taste in food. And really, I can’t blame them.

  • Dragun

    Mr. Bourdain, I am a fan.
    I am also a FoodNetwork fan.
    Last night was incredibly bad. I would rather have seen them have a cook off to get the silver cake slice. And I’m not sure I would have watched that.

    I kept thinking, “what were THEY thinking??”

    I found your post dead on.
    Thanks for honesty.

  • cowpati

    HA! ant’ny’s post was good, but the comments are to die for!

    missed the fn awards, but i’m sure it will be re-run more than once, if i stay up late. (can’t beat that negative advertising, makes me want to watch.)

    i like sandra lee. i don’t know. rachel has huge forearms and man hands, anyone notice? and paula used to be a good until she had to cackle louder and longer to upstage the family that coattailed in behind her. (honestly, she gives me a headache.)

    good article, tone.

  • latenac

    “Non-Foodies do not care about food as much as Foodies do. There, I said it.”

    While this might be true, those non-Foodies aren’t watching the Food Network either. There is actually a middle between the Foodies that you characterize as only wanting to eat in 2 or 3 star restaurants and the non-Foodies who think Sandra Lee’s Kwanza cake is fuel and thus fine by them.

    There are people who will never buy $60 salads who still care about what they eat, where their food comes from and how to prepare it. Some of us dream of eating at the French Laundry some of us don’t. Most of us look at meals as a social occasion where good food enhances the experience. Some of these people like my FIL refuse to pay more than $10 for a bottle of wine.

    Those were the watchers of Food Network before it went so terribly downhill. People who want to learn about new foods and how to prepare the strange interesting things they get from their CSA. The people who like to cook. And no, maybe they don’t cook every night but they do see the value in good food.

    Instead Food Network decided they needed to appeal to larger audience than those who like to cook and made food a spectacle. Frankly the people who feel food is just fuel and who cares what processed crap goes into your body are just as bad as the people who feel they need $60 truffle graters and can only eat at 2 and 3 star restaurants for status purposes. Both groups are missing whether the food is good or not. Food Network will never appeal to either of those groups.

    And btw, middle America actually does care about food. Example #1 Mr. Ruhlman in Cleveland. Example #2 my extended and close Lebanese family in Indiana and Michigan. I’m sure most of you never caused a scandal in your family by marrying into a family that puts cumin in the kibbe.

  • Tony D

    Thank you Anthony – the food industry marketing machine in this country needs a reality check.

    Thanks for your raunchily elegant diatribe against this latest affront to the intelligence of viewers.

    I stopped watching the FN years ago – the whole friggin network is one big product placement machine…

  • Pinky

    Tony…thank God you left FN! It blows just like that stupid Iron Chef “America”…Battle garlic…gimme a break is there nothing else more original? The so called Awards was a disgrace to everyone…including my baby who threw up with every given moment. After seeing the red carpet intro…I fell asleep! Thank God for DVR…I was able to repeat No Reservations for the night!

  • Pauly P

    Awards shows are consistently bad, awful, but not bad enough to be entertaining, so I’m really looking forward to catching this (think Plan 9 From Outer Space). Food Network, stand behind your product, find the courage to run it again and again!!

  • susan

    Bourdain’s comments? He is in no way jealous, in need of anger management or crazy for watching that award crap. We should all thank him for being the shining voice of reason… one of very few who can be counted on to shine a light on the huge wave of mediocrity and total “whale shit” (FN awards show, in particular)that threatens to overtake us all. GO, Tony- you rock. Hope your new roll as dad brings you much happiness. Thanks for ensuring there will be a voice of reason in the future- teach her well! Congratulations!

  • Deframon

    and the award goes to this………….. inanimate carbon rod!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bill Dowd


    I enjoy your books, your travelogue TV shows, et al. But I’m disappointed that you keep falling into that trap of mistaking vulgarity for wit. You’re clever enough to clean up your language and make your points with better writing.

  • carolina girl

    the carbon rod would heve had the good sense to run for the hills!

  • Sorcha

    Amen, latenac. There is a middle ground. I think the reason so many people are angry and disgusted with FN is that it has, for lack of a better word, betrayed its original customer base. Something similar happened with a clothing store I used to work at; it began as a plus-size Goth/punk store, and when the management decided to take it more mainstream and girly, our customers really felt betrayed. Sure we still carried a few of the items they loved, much like FN still has Alton and Mario, but “their” store wasn’t theirs anymore, and they weren’t happy. The store’s still doing fine, but with a different customer base.

    hahaha Deframon. Maybe they could make a Hoho the FN Employee of the month.

    I did sit and watch the reair last night. I liked the bit where they gave the kid the CIA scholarship, and yay, Burgerville won best burger. Alton was a joy as always. But other than that, yeah, it was pretty dismal.

  • JunkyPOS

    Hahaha… this is great. I do get a kick out of Bourdain’s rants. It’s almost as if you a sitting at the table w/him having a conversation and he flies off on that tangent. He appears to be true to himself.

    I DO question some of the vulgar name calling though. While it does add to his diatribe does he go over the line?? Would TB actually speak to Mr. Dinner “slightly difficult” and call him a fuckwit to his face?? If I was Mr. “fuckwit”, I know what I’d do. Besides… you are calling him “fuckwit” for a show he hosts on FN because you don’t like it. Do you know him in real life and can judge him alone by a half hour FN creation? I certainly wouldn’t. He seems like a nice enough guy and I don’t even like his show.

    All in all it boils down to entertainment. I didn’t watch much of the awards either as I thought it also wasn’t very good. I agree that FN has certainly “sold out” and isn’t as enjoyable as in the early days. There are some shows I still catch and enjoy though (just a few though). Who am I to judge any of it and the reasons why when I’m not the one… “rolling in the dough”


    PS Thnx for giving Nigella some respect.

  • FoodLoverinUS

    Mr. Bourdain:

    First off, after reading your review, HAD to subscribe to this blog…..good writing is hard to find. As for the Food Network Awards, I didn’t see it; not because of the time it was on, or the day, but the fact that I might start bleeding at the eyes for seeing such a demonically bad show. To answer one question–that is, “who green lit this monstrosity?”…could it have been the same people responsible for the Chimpanzee travesty and his vamparitic vice-minister of evil that is in the White House right now? Or, were they just thinking of the bottom line (like most here do), and just thow some garbage together in the hopes that the sponsors would pony up more money for being there? Personally, I am glad that I missed it; after all, there is only so much before the human mind begins to fall in on itself and madness ensues—and your eye sockets begin to bleed from seeing such carnage.

  • Lisse

    Did not watch the show, but saw the promos and thought Tony would have something to say. I was not disappointed.

    With all the people they named as presenters, I wondered who would be left to receive the awards. What – the appliances, really? That’s sad.

    Thankfully, I was watching the other Jersey Tony. Soprano.

  • JellyKnees

    Tony, thanks for taking the bullet for all of us by watching and reporting back on that mess.

    Wouldn’t be nice if while your up alternating 2 am feedings, the food Network would show Cook’s Tour?

    Congratulations on your new little girl!

  • Figaro

    In a fit of self-humiliation that would have warmed Sacher-Masoch’s cockles, I watched the Food Network’s immolation, glad to see that Madame Smug, aka Ina Garten, had the good sense to hide out in some upscale patisserie. Would that I had done the same. Oh for the early days of the Food Channel when cooking was taken seriously, before It became Clown Central.

  • nondiregol

    I was tempted to watch just to see how long Rachael Ray could hold a boomerang in her mouth sideways before running back to her trailer to offer up belly shots—while performing her spastic hand jive.

    And I actually would have watched it if they’d advertised Charlie Trotter being force fed grain from a funnel by Ariane from D’Artagnan. Or maybe to see Paula Deen’s two sons reinact a certain scene from “Deliverance.”

    I’ve met Nigella before and she is both brilliant and beautiful—astonishingly so. But the one I love the most right now is Mary Alice from “Ace of Cakes.” And she doesn’t even cook!

  • Antonia Namnath

    WOW…I love a man who speaks his mind. Anthony you hit the nail on the head.

    What a piece of crap that show was.

    They did not even let the “Winners” get on stage LAME!

    Why did they not Honor the shows on the Network?

    I love the food channel because it is a great escape from the world of bad news and I love to cook, however, it seems to me the food network is becoming one huge infomercial SAD

    I now watch No Reservations on the Travel Chanel and hope they add more food related shows that are related to world travel.

    I love learning about other cultures and there food a true escape on all levels.


  • Shonna

    Tell me, please, the San Diego chicken kissed him first….or at least took him to dinner *cough*

    oh ouch LOL

    I feel sorry for Rachel Ray – she’s the host Chefs love to hate – she’s the “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” of the food world – she’s succeeded perhaps a touch TOO much, doncha think? Just about every Chef I know whines about her, complains about her, rages about her shows and everything she says or does *shrugs* Dunno – she’s not baked up any WMD’s, so I can’t complain too much. Emeril and Bobby, for all they’ve paid their dues and work bloody hard have also (let’s face it) some of the most annoying Ron Pompeil-esque shows going today – Bam?! Respect for Bam?! Well……hrmmm……..there are a few chefs on that channel I can stomach but not bloody many – Bummer that there’s no longer a sign of Jamie Oliver on – at least he had a sense of humor that didn’t come squeezing out so intensely fake (oh Paula, Paula….) Thank you for the laugh and the blow-by on this…….train wreck. Good to know I didn’t miss much.

  • JR Brooks, Executive Chef

    Tony, your dead nut on, again. I saw about 10 minutes of it at a frends, had to leave because I was going to hurl
    Me, I’m to busy working at my craft, to be bothered with FTV.

  • Philip Cox

    Outstanding. I’m actually watching the re-run of this because I was suspicious of the whole deal. Sweet heaven. This is sad, sad, sad. I understand that corporations underwrite this channel, but this is SO SO SO bad.

  • AJ

    I don’t watch the food TV channel any longer, not even for my favorite Alton Brown… Way too many commercials, less and less shows that truly educate and just a piss-poor selection of new shows! (a show on making custom cakes with tons of frosting and animal characters?? please). And now this awards show, which i’m glad I didn’t even know about. Only confirms my opinion of FTV Net.

  • Credit

    Mr Bourdain, once again you did not disappoint! What an awful idea of an awards show… I’d rather watch a TV show about credit reports than “the best potato peeler”!

  • JB

    I laughed as I was looking over a Wegman’s flyer and saw a blurb across the bottom thanking everyone who made it possible for them to win a Food Network award… apparently they think it’s a serious award! Somebody call these people.

  • Christina

    Wegmans Food Market- in 2004 there was a huge commotion when students took hidden video of the incredibly cruel conditions under which they kept chickens on their egg farm. Thanks FN for rewarding this company, unbelievable. Link below for anyone interested in reading about it.

  • lorettalockhorn

    >>Why did they not Honor the shows on the Network?

    I love a good rhetorical question.

  • Kay

    I’ve never met Robert “Fuckwit” Irvine, but I wouldn’t have any problems calling him that to his face–he’s got his dick deep enough in the devil’s pocketbook to make any penile shortcoming fueled physical injury he might choose to inflict upon me well worth it. Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is an incredibly talented chef who is merely falling on his sword at Marc Summers’ command (Blimey, I used me salt instead of me sugar! Now me pie is ruined with only minutes left!) he signed that contract and that makes him stupid.

    Recent episodes of his show have come to resemble “Double Dare” a little bit less than they once did, and the crises seem less manufactured as well. This isn’t really working to his benefit unfortunately, as the clearing of the ersatz drama smokescreen has only revealed new facets of fuckwittery. After seeing what he served as “chocolate mousse” last week I’ve come to believe that he honestly is that incompetent. I have fond memories of Jell-O 1-2-3 that looked better than that runny sludge.

  • JunkyPOS

    ^^^LMAO…now that’s funny. Do you kiss you’r significant other w/that mouth. Nasty…

    …but what’s even funnier is the fact that you are actually even watching his shows. What a fucking hypocrit. K


  • Claudia

    The funniest thing about this blog, en masse, is that people are beginning to sound as cantankerous as Bourdain himself, even while complaining about said Bourdain crankiness (!) But I have to agree with you, Kate – while I have no animosity per se towards Irvine, I did find it incomprehensible that ANY chef – of his rep or otherwise – would add an ingredient to a recipe without tasting the damn thing first. Salt/sugar? In a strange kitchen? In an unmarked container? Now THAT was a flunk right out of basic culinary training 101. Or don’t they still use sodomy, rum and the lash back in the Royal Navy from which he sprang? (!!)

  • Toni

    I didn’t watch it. I knew it would be a waste of time. FN was really good in the beginning. To their credit they got a lot of bored cooks interested again in cooking. People like me. I invested money in good knives, cookware, a good stand mixer, etc. But they left me out there twisting in the wind with the line up of cooks they have now.
    If you watch FN you would never know that Hispanic, Asian, or Black people ever picked up a chef’s knife. It has bcome pretty much a “vanilla lineup.

    It’s sad to me that they don’t get it that it’s important that kids of other ethnicities see what can be possible for them in the food industry. It’s sad and irresponsible.

    If you have Create TV in your area, you should check it out. Their website is I just stumbled across it last night.

    They even have Charlie Trotter on Saturdays. I can’t wait.

    I almost wish they had started off with this current lineup. Then I wouldn’t be so disappointed.

  • Marlies

    Tony, Tony, try not to be so wishy-washy all the time.
    Luvya to death!

  • Jennie/Tikka

    “I did find it incomprehensible that ANY chef – of his rep or otherwise – would add an ingredient to a recipe without tasting the damn thing first.”

    In school you’re taught to recognize things visually, or, by taste without being able to see it. Usually they put about 15 – 20 little cups full of similar looking ingredients in front of you and to pass you have to identify them without tasting them.

    Its the same in wine class….your tests are usually glasses of wine presented to you (without being able to see the bottle) and you have to identify it without external clues (bottle shape is always a giveaway).

    So, in other words – I’m not surprised he didn’t taste something. He’s not supposed to need to. Culinary 101 is being able to identify salt from sugar visually.

  • Claudia


    Which, here again, he obviously didn’t, so he still flunks 101. (Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against Chef Irvine. But he still should have made sure he was adding sugar, not salt, to his dessert before he dumped it in the mix.)

  • Ivey

    My poor mom drove 4 hours to Miami because she won tickets to the show. She’s the best chef in our town, trained in France by none other than Julia Child…mom says Julia was rolling in her grave at how awful the awards were. Apparently the ushers at the event we rude, the audience was shuffled every 5 minutes to move up! move up!! She was so disappointed in the experience…poor moms.

  • LL

    All awards shows suck balls, so I wasn’t even tempted to watch this one. Now I kinda wish I had, if only to marvel at the badness. Next year, Bourdain should definitely live blog it. Can’t think of a better person to do it. I watch some FN shows, but yeah, too many of them are just not good. I also miss Ming Tsai. And I’m sick of the competition shows. I don’t give a shit who the ace of cakes is. My mom makes the best cake, as far as I’m concerned.

  • platinumblondepunk

    OMG…SPOT ON…this is the funniest shit ever;I’m actually laughing out loud.Love the Robert Irvine diss.

  • Shannon

    Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love and admire you anymore…

    I second the plans for a Mystery Science Theatre-style televised smackdown next time they do this. Get Nigella to co-host. Play a drinking game on screen. Now THAT would be must-see television!

  • JunkyPOS

    Yo Dude…haven’t even seen the show and you may be right. I hate the none chef type shows but you may want to check u’r self… ermmmm hello…

    …May 2006 was sooooo yesterday!!!!

  • Nicholas Robinson

    One has to compare the descent of the Food Network to that of A&E. Once the purveyor of such lofty fare as “Longitude” or “Shackleton”, we are now instead regaled with endless episodes of “Dog the Bounty Hunter.”

    Thus did the Food Network descend from Molto Mario to Paula Deen and Rachael Ray.

    TV always manages to find its lowest common denominator.

  • Ken

    You know, I was just thinking of A&E too. I recalled when they had concert shows like “Horowitz in London”. Yes, it was “Arts & Entertainment” back then.

    Food Network originally used PBS as a working model which is why they were so great once. Newcomers don’t see the difference, but I’ve followed them since 1994. It’s like seeing a good friend go downhill.

  • horsenuts

    tony, somewhere in the universe, hunter s thompson is getting lit and firing shotguns into the air, and i truly believe that every now and than he pauses to give a wink and a nod of approval towards your direction. god bless you and your honesty.

  • craig thornton

    i thought it was amazing, how did they manage to make a show that is so painful to watch that even mid west housewives who would cheat on their husbands for just one night with rachel ray would turn off their tv sets in disgust, either the guy who thinks up show ideas heard he was getting fired and wanted to put one last bomb on the air as his parting gift (most likely this guy is responsible for the bullshit that the food network runs) i don’t know, but i really hope thats what happened. that network needs some new faces actually teaching and quit airing the bullshit shows about candy and snacks running through machines all day. show some real cooking and ditch the other shit that is completely useless! what a joke!!!!