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!!”

  • Megan C

    The ads for this atrocity alone made me want to run for the hills. Watching the event would seem to be an exercise in self-flagellation. Ow.

  • Jim H

    I was desperately hoping that Mr. Bourdain would weigh in on this “show”. And of course, he didn’t disappoint.

    I turned to the Food Network at the usual time, expecting to see a new episode of Iron Chef and, Lo and Behold, there was Paula Dean walking down the red carpet in front of the California Raisins…I chuckled to myself that it was difficult to tell who was who…

  • Kovalic

    It was just eye-bleedingly, gob-smackingly awful. My wife and I were stunned at the badness of it. I mean, just BAD, bad television.


    Our heads turned when we heard them announce someone from “No Reservations.” Oh. The movie that’s coming out, and not… Ah. I get it now.

    Still, seemed like some backhanded slam…of sorts…if you’d credit them with such cleverness.

    Ahhhhh, the nightmares we had afterwards. And we were only able to make it through to “Best Damn Ice Cream Machine” or whatever…

  • mishquilt

    Mr. Bourdain,
    Don’t take yourself so seriously.
    I only wish you had been a guest on Oprah when her British author-friend convinced viewers that each of us has a happy person living inside us.
    Maybe it’s time to give Angry-Anthony a vacation?

  • kt

    I’m impressed (and somwehat horrified) that anyone actually sat it out through that wreck.

    I tuned in long enough to become somewhat uncomfortable as Paula and her creepy son awkwardly presented an award… and then the discomfort grew significantly as Alton and poor sweet Nigella did their bit together-
    Sad thing is, I think I probably watched the most tolerable 10 minutes of the whole event.

    I’m still trying to figure out whether the plantain peeler nomination was serious, or some sort of sick joke.

  • Phidel Gastro

    Bourdain for El Presidente…

    I’m going to work on turning this disastrous cluster f into a drinking game. There has to be SOME way to make it fun.

  • Joisey

    Can someone please pass a law banning Bourdain from commenting about Food TV and/or its employees? The only thing more played out than that network is his constant bitterness concerning it. YOU DON’T LIKE FOOD TV, WE GET IT. Move on and find another parade to piss on with your sarcasm.

  • Kal

    As a (newly-arrived) Portlander, I don’t know whether to be glad or horrified that my new hometown won.

    I have to admit, the moment I heard about the FN Awards, I started breathing hard in anticipation. Not for the show itself (even my beloved Alton couldn’t make me tune in), but because I couldn’t wait for the post-award-show Bourdain smackdown. My only regret is that I had to stifle my laughter to avoid waking my roommate.

  • Wayne

    I did not watch it, because a cursory look made it seem as if it was a thinly veiled infomercial for their shows and the appliances provided to the shows for commercial considerations. Over all the programming seems to be more and more designed for an at home parent with two kids crying, who is only half watching.

  • stephle

    So for a minute, I was scratching my head having trouble believing that Mr Ruhlman would be quite so, er… colorful in his review of what must have been a truly godawful show.

    But then, I saw the byline and it all made sense in a beautiful, perfect, cosmos kind of way.

    So Mr Bourdain, here’s my pitch for next years show (because regardless of reviews or ratings, I’m sure FoodTV must have made enough money to justify doing it again next year).

    Do you remember ‘Mystery Science 3000?’ It was a show on one of the cable channels where they had a human and two puppets sitting in a faux theater, and they’d play really bad B-movies while the three ‘hosts’ made snarky remarks while the movie played.

    You should consider offering to cover the Red Carpet arrivals and show in the MST3000 style. Your version of the awards would be broadcast at a later date.

    One can only help but wonder whether any 3 second delay would have been adequately able to deal with your spontaneous reaction to seeing Paula Deen with the California raisins.

    Maybe you and Gordon Ramsay could tag team on this and become the new Joan and Missy of FT? I think that’d be damn hilarious and I’d certainly not miss next years show.

    Think about it. I bet your version would beat the clean version in the ratings. 😛

    (BTW well done with the review. this was the first thing I had the pleasure of reading this morning. Thank you for starting the week off right).

  • karenology

    Joisey: maybe when the FN stops being an abominable crock of shit. For now, they’re supplying Boudain with endless material.

    I saw the previews for this and thought they were awarding the FN personalities themselves, so decided to skip. No idea they’d plumb the newest depths of awful. Poor Nigella!

  • Jen

    Hey Joisey, it’s really easy to just…not read it. Try it, it just might work for you!

    As for the rest of us, we’ll wait with bated breath for Bourdain’s next post.

  • Matt

    I could not have said it better myself Mr Bourdain. You said it the way it needed to be said, and I am gald to know what you think of “Dinner Slightly Difficult” as well. Keep up the good work.

  • t-scape

    I live in Portland. Now, after being honored on this awards show, I fear for Portland.

    I’ll light some candles to ward off the evil spirits.

  • thespian


    I think the problem is that Mr. Bourdain *knows* that the Food Network can (and has been) pretty damn good in the past. I watched it a lot a decade ago; How To Boil Water was a fun introduction, and there used to be a lot of real cooking by real chefs going on there (I miss Ming Tsai like you would not believe). Now they abuse the real chefs, with Flay and Battali only appearing on Iron Chef and on that awful Throwdown, and the people who are actually ‘teaching’ about cooking are Ms. EVOO and whats her name who thinks if you add orange juice to cake mix then it’s semi-homemade. The shows are rarely about actually making the food these days (I’m fascinated by Ace of Cakes, but it teaches me nothing), and Good Eats has become filler. But when they started, they really *were* doing something interesting and promising, and its hard not to miss that, or indeed, wish they’d live up to what they have been in the past.

  • double h

    I’m still sitting here stunned that you were able to tolerate that entire debacle. How did you do it? And how much booze did it take?

    We got through about oh…3 minutes and ran like the wind. The whole thing was just shameful.

  • Nora

    What in the name of all that is holy was the purpose of “if you were stranded on a desert island which appliance would you take with you?” question?….if you were on a deserted island there’d be NO ELECTRICITY! Jesus Christ the whole thing was plain embarassing and made my soul weep.

  • Kuroshii

    what a wonderful thing to read on a monday morning. and, OMG leonard’s of great neck! (i grew up in p.w.) ghaaa.

    well done, anthony!

  • Kathryn

    And my friends think I’m crazy because I want Anthony’s bebbes.

    As shameful as it is to admit, I actually only started watching Food Network because a friend of mine recommended Rachel Ray. While I can still occasionally watch 30 Minute Meals (I’ve actually made some of those meals, they’re not half bad) the more I listen to her, the more I want to poke my eyes out with a spork. I’m really glad I didn’t know these “Awards” were on last night, otherwise I would have tried to watch it and just cried myself to sleep. I MISS BOBBY FLAY!! It’s time for a trip home to the Mesa Grill on Fifth Ave.

  • chiffonade

    I am SOOOOOO subscribing to this blog! The Bourdain entries ALONE make it worth reading. This is perhaps one of the best Anti-What-The-Food-Network-Has-Become-vs.-What-It-Was-Intended-To-Be tirades I have ever seen.

    My hat is off to you, Mr. Bourdain. I remember what TVFN was like in its infancy and not an episode of Semi-Homemade goes by that I’m not pining for “the good old days.” You rock!


  • Jim

    I’ve watched and read in fascination as Anthony Bourdain morphed from the amusing enfant terrible of the chef world to this fascinating, insightful and blessedly monstrous critic of the food world and wondered what, exactly, happened to him. Maybe it was something he ate?

    In reading this latest post, I think I’ve finally figured it out. Somehow, the soul of Hunter S. Thompson – the genius, tortured, insanely funny soul – reincarnated into Bourdain’s body.

  • Robert

    Wow I am Very glad I was working and got to miss it. No really i am!

  • t-scape

    Oh, such scorn towards Sandra Lee. Is it because the first ingredient in her crab bisque recipe is a can of crab bisque? Is it because she buys her mashed potatoes pre-made at the grocery store deli, because even boxed mashed potatoes throw off the carefully calculated ratio of semi to homemade? Or is it because her kitchen decor matches her outfit on every episode? Leave her alone, you barbarians. I’ll bet your dinnertables aren’t even scaped.

  • al

    Puh-leeze! These celebrichefs will whore themselves out in order to sell more cookbooks, pots,knives, and prepackaged food. Without FN, would we know any of them?

  • Catherine

    I dunno, Mr. Bourdain is unquestionably a talented writer, but I wouldn’t mind reading something from him from time to time that was enthusiastic rather than merely apoplectic. (yawn)

  • sorcha

    T-scape, Kal, and other Portland food enthusiasts: what say we get together and storm the Food Network headquarters? I don’t know what exactly we’ll do when we get there, but defending our city’s honor and liberating Alton Brown and Mario Batali are high on the list of possibilities.

    Join us! The revolution will not be caramelized!

  • lectric lady

    Oh My God! There is going to an “Encore Presentation” on April 19 at 9pm. I don’t know what to say.

  • Ryan

    Check out Bourdain’s newer book, “The Nasty Bits.” I love the sarcastic, bugger-all tone, and he even manages to mix the good with the bad in a more even-handed manner than this latest FN bashing. To be fair, though, how good did anyone expect this “awards show” to be? Even the promo spots just trotted the higher profile FN stars out like pull-string toys. BAM!

  • Pat

    All hail King Anthony! I fortunately had friends at my house for dinner last night and did not have to even consider enduring this. I, as one of the others, thought it was awards being given by FN to FN “personalities”. I did not realize until this post that it was for “best appliance”?!?!?!?
    Robin Leach, Killer Kate, David Rosengarten, Alan Richman and the rest of the original FN crew must be in mourning today to see the evil adult their cute child grew to be.
    We must remember that FN is now part of Scripps TV, the publisher of some of the worst newspapers in the US. So, we should not be surprised.
    Thank you Tony for keeping us all sane.

  • cheapseats

    I expected no less from you Tony!

    I’m sorry to say, I just kept watching the train wreck.

    I was actually hoping Nigellas top would drop down a little further.

    That would have been the only thing that could have saved that pile-of-show.

  • Trish

    I tuned in for one only one presentation: Innovative Appliance, in which two different kinds of ovens competed against a sheet that instantly freezes food. The sheet won. I guess the two ovens split the vote… Pathetic, yeah. Just try to watch more than 15 minutes…I dare ya.

    Spot on, Tony.

  • kristin

    Just shows how far the FN has sunk. They have undergone such a change in format that it is barely tollerable to watch anymore. Oh sure there are a few shows that are still good, Tyler isn’t bad, Ace of Cakes, Hungry Detective, ICA. But it has turned into a network of roadshows, one looking hideously like the last as they all rush to copy Rachel Ray’s success. I can’t stand ANY type of award show, so I am glad I missed it. Thanks Tony for watching it for me.

  • Sandy

    Uh, I was too busy watching “The Sopranos” to even consider watching some bullshit food awards. But, thank you so much for your entertaining piece, including your reference to Amis’ “The Information.”

  • Russ H

    I liked the Hall Of Fame tribute to Julia Child.

    The rest was crap. If they wanted to do a yearly 1-hour ‘Hall Of Fame’ special, that would be okay…

    This was just 2 hours of my life I won’t get back ever again…

  • The Goalie

    I think FN Canada passed on this ’cause I didn’t hear anything about it. They probably aired another episode of Restaurant Makeover. Bloody hell. Good thing I had an extra copy of A Cooks Tour beside my bed.

  • Gabrielle

    If you hate the Food Network and all it stands for so very much with every fiber of your being, why in hell do you persist in torturing yourself by watching it? You do have a choice, you know. Or… are you just jealous because your show is no longer on Food Network? 😉

  • Chris

    Oh, thank god they’re repeating this train wreck. Because frankly, the commercials made it sound like excrement. But Tony’s analysis really makes me want to watch this, because I really want to see HOW BAD this program really is!!!

    Thanks Tony … keep on writing. When’s your new book out??

  • Phillip Hamilton

    I doubt he’s jealous at all. His gig on the Travel Channel is far, far sweeter.

  • eat4fun

    The commericals for the awards show did not even peak my interest and I’m pretty devoted to watching cooking shows.

    I sure miss the early days of the FoodTV. The shows were actual cooking shows.

    Now, they’ve out-grown FoodTV to become the Food Network with award shows, competitions (there’s only so much foundant shaping I’m willing to watch per year).

    I need to buy myself a TIVO so I can just record the shows I want (mainly from PBS and Travel Channel) and create my own home version of Cooking TV network.

    Thank goodness for modern technology.

  • potty mouth princess

    Bourdain, you rock my world.

    I barely made it to the plaintain peeler before I had to walk out of the room, vomit rising in my gullet, hoping I could somehow recover the brain cells I’d lost watching even five minutes of that dreck.

    I can’t imagine how much alcohol one must have had to imbibe to survive an entire two hours.

  • dbn

    “bury the whole thing in archives like a rotten bone”

    I am an archivist and I can assure you we want none of that in the archives. No, best it drift off into the ether…


  • rockandroller

    I’m so glad I was watching Sopranos.

    Bourdain, you must really be into self-abuse if you actually sat through this dreck.

  • e. nassar

    This post had to have been infinitly more entertaining than the show which I totally forgot about. Other than Alton Brown’s good Eats, I watch almsot nothing on FTV. It does sadden me that the lovely, graceful and classy Nigella was one of the ‘presenters’

  • DinerGirl

    My dog had explosive diarrhea all over the dining room floor last night, so the time I spent cleaning that up sounds like it was a comparable experience to yours in watching TVFN. My condolences.

  • Joisey

    –Hey Joisey, it’s really easy to just…not read it. Try it, it just might work for you!

    As for the rest of us, we’ll wait with bated breath for Bourdain’s next post. —

    How the fuck can I NOT read it? This stuff is posted and copied and re-posted to every food blog in the country. I feel like I’m right in the middle of the barrel of fish Bourdain has been shooting for the past five years.

    BTW, any of you that think Tony’s brand of crankiness equates to “Gonzo Journalism” needs to get out more.

  • Nancy

    So Tony, are you saying you didn’t enjoy it?


    I no longer have cable but if I did I probably would have watched it: gagging, moaning and striking my fist against my head repeatedly…

  • t-scape

    Bourdain watches this dreck so we don’t have to. He takes it for the team.

    However, I’m an ingrate because I will probably watch the encore presentation anyway. I’m a sucker for trainwrecks. Plus, I’m trying to picture the plantain peeler.

  • Jim

    Joisey dear, Is Mr. Bourdain truly so ubiquitous in food blogs? I’m sorry to hear that it has disturbed your high-minded readings on food and gastronomy.

    Perhaps, then, you’re unaware of the enormous influence of the Food Network in the real world. Ask any food professional, from a produce stockperson to a magazine editor what impact the Food Network has had on their jobs and they will tell you it has been enormous.

    Such an impact requires critical analysis and that is exactly what Bourdain is providing – intelligent, thoughtful and critical analysis of one of the most influential forces in American culture today – wrapped in foul-mouthed humor and spit-up-your-coffee-writing.

    Let’s see, what does that sound like? hmmm. Oh, I know. Gonzo Journalism.

  • Michele

    LOL “Knight Rider Meets Leonard’s Of Great Neck”. That’s the best!

  • chas

    I used to think mr. Bourdain was a little off base with his comments but he is right on about the food network awards show. We still need to consider removing that thorn from Mr. Bourdain’s paw. chas

  • Joe Corey

    How can Mac & Cheese beat out Forbidden Black Rice? Cause the Food Network is out to keep the Black Rice down. They’re scared of its forbidden nature! They don’t want to see their children with purple lips and a full belly of forbidden goodness.

  • clarkehead

    Through my displeasure, my wife insisted on watching that train wreck last night. I lasted 4 minutes before I got up and disappeared into the next room. All the foie gras in France couldn’t get me to sit through that drivel.

    Glad to see it’s getting a resounding WTF around here.

  • Rebecca

    While I consider the Food Network to be slightly more tolerable than the vast majority of you guys (hell, I’ll even watch The Secret Life Of… when it’s a quiet night at home), I couldn’t stomach more than three minutes of these “Awards”. Bob Tuschman, if you happen to be off your meds and reading this blog, please don’t subject your loyal (or even lukewarm viewers like me) to that abortion of an awards show ever again.

    I need to know: was there an award for “Best Tablescape”?

  • Kovalic

    ***I hope Emeril is pinching a loaf right now.***

    Accompanied, of course, by a quick but heartfelt “BAM!”

  • Maya

    Nina, your comment reminds me of those electrical devices we kept by the pool at night to prevent bug bites.

    I love irony, so I will say that since Bourdain’s last post I have fallen for Alton, Nigella and, yes, Rachel.

    Nigella (I call her Nutella because I keep forgetting her name) is fun and talented, but…how should I say this – distracting!

    I watched Ray out of blinding curiosity after the first Bourdain post – I had to give Rachel Ray credit – $40 a day, in Revere, with a sweet and joyful smile on her face.

    I’m from Mass and believe me, NO ONE smiles when they’re in Revere. She made it look like a vacation in Miami. I don’t care if she does make $6 million a year, she’s a tough cookie to put on a smile in that place. Well done, Ray.

  • Numbersix

    I didn’t watch–the ads were all I needed to know that the Food Network ship, already on a course to mediocrity, was heading toward a Lusatania-scale disaster.

    I do thank you, Tony, for providing those who abstained with a rapier-sharp recounting and commentary.

    The Food Network has gone from offering a variety of interesting programming (Mario Batalli’s show, A Cook’s Tour, etc) to pursuing a relentless, MTV-style drive towards the lowest common demonmenator of food-related shows. Were the ratings really that poor? Couldn’t come up with any more interesting ways of showing people how to buy, prepare, and cook GOOD food, so you have stoop to stupid shows like “Dinner: Insipid”?

    It’s all a huge shame for amateur cooks like myself that like to learn about cooking. For me, the Food Network has become the “Good Eats” channel–no more.

  • Diana

    I really hope before the ship sinks on Food Network that Alton Brown finds another cable TV station so we can keep watching the always educational “Good Eats”. Did anyone else on Food Network win a Peabody award? NO!

  • JP


    How could you miss a chance to slam that clown suit that Bobby Flay was wearing? It just added insult to injury! But on the other hand, maybe he dressed for the joke that it was!

  • Roy

    I tried to agree with the commenter who said the presentation to Julia was the only good part, I really wanted to. I can’t bring myself to give them credit due to the “KRAFT (not really, can’t remember which purveyor of premade foods) salutes JULIA CHILD” that scrolled across the bottom. I threw up in my mouth a little after that. Emeril’s address was very touching, though.

    No one can deny that FN has done a lot for food in this country, but they’ve gotten greedy. Instead of carrying the lesson of “fresh, local foods, simple prep” they’ve decided to start carrying the banner of Kraft “semi-homemade”. Local foods don’t really pay advertising. Perhaps Nigella’s husband will buy FN and put her in charge. That would be awesome.

  • Anonymous

    love it! Just love your attitude… Makes me smile every time. I actually watched only about 10 minutes of it and that was all I could take. Saw Paula, the baseball stadium food winner, the clip from the movie No Reservations w/Catherine Zita-Jones, the CIA scholarship and then after Sandra Lee walked on stage, I turned the channel.

  • kappel

    one thing i did get a kick out of was the guy who made a masterpiece of rosie odonell using orios and cheetohs. ill admit it, i watched the entire show, just waiting for something halfway interesting to come on. what? no award for best restaurant or best chef?? 1 and a half hours of my time wasted. i dont care about some broad who made a city out of jello, or some fast food burger joint that has organic beef. neither could i give a fuck about some ice cream shop ill never go to who uses goats milk instead of the usual cow. thanks bourdain, you couldnt have said it better.

  • Tom Luffman

    I loved the rant…


    Gonzo Journalism it isn’t. It’s a very funny and accurate critique, not journalism. And certainly not Gonzo.

  • guttergourmet

    But what about the unanswered question of the FN Awards: Who has nicer tits: Nigella or Giada?

  • Flounder

    Luffman: Excellent point! Giada’s are my fav, but that giganto melon head throws me off. And I read somewhere the she has a “cleavage stylist.” And, why are people all whipped up ab the review of the show? Why get bent ab the review? The show was horrible-get bent ab that.

  • Mercutia

    I have never been so palpably glad to miss an event involving food.

  • Trey

    Wonderful. Makes me glad I haven’t had cable for the last 4 or 5 years. Though it is sad to see what was once my favorite channel has slid to such a low state.

  • Phoenix Woman

    — Somehow, the soul of Hunter S. Thompson – the genius, tortured, insanely funny soul – reincarnated into Bourdain’s body. —

    We were about seven miles outside of Portland when the drugs began to take hold.

    As was my wont, I was travelling with Emeril “Raoul” Duke, weapons expert and drug connection, with “Sympathy for the Devil” cranked as high as the stereo could go with the top down…

  • Humuhumu

    My favorite bit was right after “Burger & fries” won some cockamamie award (as if it wasn’t already absurd enough that I was actually watching a show where “burger & fries” would win an award). As the show goes to commercial, a brief pause, because sponsor Campbell’s has a very important announcement: “Campbell’s salutes burger & fries”.

    Yes, Campbell’s and Food Network have joined forces, and untold amounts of money exchanged hands, so that you could be told that “Campbell’s salutes burger & fries”. It was really important to them that you know that.

    By the way, I salute haw flakes.

  • Isabel

    I enjoy most entries posted on this blog, but I look forward to yours most. This one was another gem. The Food Network just keeps getting more and more ridiculous.

  • eggplant

    The Julia Child Hall of Fame Award was presented by Campbell’s Soup. Shilling for FN is one thing, but how did the “presenters” get through that?
    The “Best. Super. Market” award went to Wegman’s—-isn’t that where Rachael Ray got her infamous non-culinary-school start?
    Batali was conspicuously absent. (Would love to have been a fly on the wall if he and Bourdain were watching together. OK, a fly on the wall wherever Bourdain OR Batali was watching.)
    In response to the commenter who wrote, “I tuned in for one only one presentation: Innovative Appliance, in which two different kinds of ovens competed against a sheet that instantly freezes food. The sheet won. I guess the two ovens split the vote…” The “sheet” was apparently invented by a Grant Aschatz buddy. Despite the nod from the FN jackalope, clearly not enough to swing the vote here.
    Train wrecks. Gotta love ‘em.

  • Sue

    Not only did I sit through the whole thing (and take over 100 pictures off the tv screen), I blogged about it endlessly. You know how you have to talk about something horrible to get it out of your system. And THEN, I started blogging about Tony. Will this ever end??

  • John Walker

    As Tony laments…On the FN I really just miss real food being cooked by real down-and-dirty restaurant cooks. That’s really what it should be and it almost was. Mario, Bobby, Tony, Jamie Oliver, Ina, Ming, and who knows the other real cooks they could have exposed on that network?

    Is there room for 2 food networks? I think so. Let’s just hope #2 “gets it”.

  • Anhdeluxe

    Upon reading Bourdain’s review, I set my TiVo immediately. I must witness this train wreck for myself — and yay! Big ups to Portland. Why do I get the feeling that the re-run of the awards show is going to require large amounts of alcohol? Drinking game, anyone?

  • sorcha

    Phoenix Woman, depended on which direction you’re headed out of Portland, seven miles out is just about when you’d want the drugs to take hold. 😉

  • kristin

    Despite the train wreck that is becoming the FN, did anyone see that Alton Brown’s Good Eats got a Peabody?

    And as always, Alton takes it with grace and good humor.

  • FoodFlyer

    I grew up in Portland. Great Food City. However, the filthy psuedo hippies, with their ultra anal version of “laid-back” and the cookie cutter tree hugging lesbi-leftists makes it hard to keep the food down…I don’t live in Portland anymore.

  • Annie

    I couldn’t watch it all, but I was amazed that a channel that promotes cooks who use easy, prepackaged ingredients, (or recipes requiring 4 sticks of butter) and that advertises such, only had competitors for best buger that use non-antibiotic, grass fed, happy ground beef. On the whole, Food Network doen’t seem to care much about food and ingredients that might be GOOD for us.

  • steve

    Once again Tony Bourdain thanks for taking the Red Pill.
    I feel sorry for those on the Food Network.

    Though I wonder if they tried to call you…
    “Miiister Bourdain, we miss you”

  • latenac

    As much as I enjoy Mr. Bourdain’s show and books, I don’t think this is gonzo journalism. It’s really just a rant that belongs on Television Without Pity. Don’t get me wrong, love that website. But why should anyone be surprised by these awards? The Food Network has been at this level for quite sometime now. At least since they fired Sarah Moulton. Anyone that is still on the network with any food credibility should run away as fast as they possibly can. At least until Mr. Saatchi buys it and puts Nigella in charge.

  • Tommy Rector

    I saw the promos for the show and elected to clean my knee scab instead. Glad I missed it (based on TOny’s hilarious sceed). Thank you, AB. Only you can wield the blunt instrument that is your writing for the good of the people. Will FN get it. Not on your life. Keep up the good work…love the travel channel.

  • RonS


    You pretty much only have focused on how the network treated their talent in this awards show. The thing is…these people are celebrities…and that is it. They are no longer chefs, slogging a day in front of the fire. They are celebrities and with that, comes crap like this show.

    Instead of focusing on the injustice done to the celebs, how about you talk about some of the press these awards brought to some people who are really trying to do something great with food.

    I watched the show, and was actually pleasantly surprised. I was expecting these to be a self-congratulatory set of awards to honor the nework celebrities. Instead, I was actually greeted with a show that is honoring independant producers who are sourcing food for their burger joints with local produce and people like Zingermans Deli who are bringing quality food to people across the country.

    Screw the diatribe about the network parading their poor, extremely weatlhy, stars on stage and treating them so awfully. They are celebs for goodness sake…that is what you do with celebs.

    Next time, talk about some of the folks who were honored in this mess of a show.

    Tons of people watched it and tons of people are now going to buy products from excellent producers.

    I really don’t think that anyone really cares that they paraded Bobby Flay out on stage to present prescripted crap.

    Tony…I usually love your stuff, but this time you missed the point…completely.

  • Alejandra

    Please do not listen to the person who suggested, “Maybe it’s time to give Angry-Anthony a vacation?”

    “Angry Anthony” is my favorite Anthony.

  • MikeB

    Nicely done!

    I’ve all but given up on the Food Network. I have DVR grabbing Good Eats, Iron Chef, and the handful of other shows that can stomach but I’ve lost hope that Food Network can come up with a show like After Hours with Daniel.

  • Genny

    Why the hell are any of you going to watch this for the “train effect” factor? Seriously? How do you think that whore Semi-Ho keeps her job? It has the highest ratings because haters watch it to poke fun…but you still watch it! This only encourages more shitty programming from FN. If you want to get better TV, watch better TV. Its that simple people.

  • Marco

    In SOBE, a lawn chair outside a gay disco at 3 a.m. trumps anything Food TV could come up with. Even The Deuces early trumps it.

  • Chris Simmons

    Fantastic article Tony… well written and was exactly what I would expect from you. Nice 🙂

  • t-scape

    Thanks for the lesson, Genny. Never again – not even once – shall I watch something just to be able to point and laugh. Rather, all my TV viewing will be directed towards the higher purpose of vanquishing the evils of crappy TV. I think I’ll start by actually watching all those WWII documentaries on the History Channel.

    And in solidarity to Sandra, I’ll go bake her very visually-appealing Kwanzaa cake.