Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Foodies on stage tonight

If you are in the business of wine, you either "get it" or you don't "get it", as I always like to say. "Getting it", in one manner of speaking, is not about wine, but the culture that nearly completely envelops wine, which is food. "Getting it" is about understanding the importance of great food and a great food culture. The foodie culture has grown by leaps and bounds. For those of us fortunate enough to be in this biz, we get a front row seat, and often participate. The best part of my job, hands down, is the time I spend with chefs writing menus. I feed off their creativity, and the moments that I give them direction or inspiration are unlike any other. Personally speaking, I am fascinated by creativity. I find myself now talking about chefs like I used to speak only of athletes or movie directors. I try to not be impressed by celebrity chefs, but I've been too impressed by too many. It could be worse, I could spend hours reading about Brittany/Paris/Miley/ blah blah blah, instead, I fawn over people that actually create something and that represent something that is essentially art. This inspires me. Sadly, Food Network now largely sucks. Except for a few great shows (Iron Chef, Good Eats, Chopped), they've given up on the chef and inspiration angle and gone towards the "you're an idiot and don't know how to cook, so we'll put someone up there that may or may not know more than you to not intimidate, and in the end, you'll have acquired no new skill set" . So I am left with BBC America, for Gordon Ramsey in the slightly less obnoxious persona, an occasional Mario Batali spotting on PBS, and the guiltiest obsession I have which is Top Chef.
I know, how can artists actually compete, how fair can it really be? Product placements are beyond annoying. Unfair editing. Padma? Lot's of easy knocks on this show. But they get several things right. Tom Colicchio with his flabbergasted eye twitches and rolls,has taught us all where the bar should be set. That Molecular Gastronomy for MG sake is crap. That poorly seasoned and cooked meat is inexcusable. That this competition, as unscientific as it may seem, has raised the bar for an entire generation yearning for a little boob tube foodie inspiration. While it's not perfect, it's the best thing us foodie's have. While I'm patiently awaiting the arival of Ad Hoc at Home , I'll relish in Kevin's victory tonight (after all, the Voltaggios are clearly robots).


  1. Ok Adam, I'll have to disagree with you on this one, while I like Iron Chef I really don't like the other "competition shows" as I feel that they are just another set of "reality" shows. I feel the reality shows such as Survivor are an abomination on TV, and are just done because they are cheap to produce and the writers wouldn't know an original thought if it bit them in the ass. And I will say I have never watched ANY of them. The other shows that you don't like on the food network actually get some people cooking who would otherwise just microwave something frozen. I don't like all of them, don't have much tolerance for Paula Deen, The Neeleys or the like. I also didn't like Emeril's variety hour, although he is doing a show on the Green Network which actually is interesting. Unfortunately our puritan backgrounds probably won't allow a real Food and Wine show that would help with matching.

  2. Steve-Good points, and certainly valid arguments. I do believe there's a place for Rachel Ray in the world, and I don't mind her on FoodTV, but it's the fact they abandoned the better chefs for this type of show that's frustrating. I don't disagree with the ire about Reality TV either, and i held out for a long time, but this is, without a doubt, the best cooking show on TV. Thanks for reading