You might not think that there’s much going on behind closed doors at the Food Network other than rotting or wasted food. Maybe an affair or two. But there is a lot more going on than I could have ever imagined at a network that exists solely to make you either hungry or disgusted.
Maybe it’s no surprise that they like to use women to boost their ratings, but did you know that the network “accidentally” broadcasted some naughty business that certainly stirred the pot when they started out? Did you know that Guy Fieri is kind of racist? Did you know that Martha Stewart is actually a really unpleasant person? Or what about Rachael Ray posing for some tasty photos?
With all of that crazy stuff also comes the fact that so many of the cooking shows you might enjoy watching are almost entirely staged. And in addition to that, many of the “chefs” have almost no skill. And they never needed it in order to be a hit on the network! Prepare to have your brain scrambled as you take a stroll through the messy kitchen that is the Food Network!
15. 14-Hour Shoots
I imagine the judges on Chopped probably get more time away from set than the contestants do but, either way, each episode is at least a 14hr shoot day. That’s a long time to cook three different meals. Each contestant has to make each meal more than once so that there’s one for the presentation part of the camera work, and one for the judges to actually taste while it’s warm. Then the judging actually takes closer to 90 minutes rather than the 30 seconds it seems to take in the final show. Also, the contestants always get to walk around the pantry to see where everything is before they start their challenges. And then they have to get those individual interview done with each contestant. Which sometimes means they have to get them into tears before they start shooting. It’s “reality” tv. Which means it’s all fake.
14. Bloody Hand Goes In The Tomatoes!
Mario Batali, a now legendary chef once ended up grinding some of his knuckles into a bowl of tomatoes. How the hell did this happen? Well, the Food Network has a “no do-over” rule. So, ultimately that means that even if the chef messes up, they have to soldier on through whatever mess they make. So, after grating some cheese and some knuckles, his hand starting to cover up with blood, he plunged it into a bowl of tomatoes and began crushing them until the next commercial break. Now, you might find that disgusting to know that he was going to serve food with bloody tomatoes in it. And the Food Network wouldn’t want you to know that. But they’d really not want you to know that none of that food was going to be eaten anyway.
13. The Food Network Knows What Sells…
One of the things you might notice if you frequent the Food Network is that, wedged between all of the Guy Fieris and Gordon Ramsays of the world, there is likely to be some hot chef doing either a commercial segment or a full show. This is definitely done on purpose. We all know what really sells in show business and it’s not the melons cook contestants find in the fridge. So, in order to boost ratings and to keep you from changing the channel because of douchebag cooking show hosts, the Food Network gives their audiences a little bit of eye candy to take their mind off of otherwise ridiculous shows hosts and plot holes. I mean sure, Hell’s Kitchen and Chopped are fun enough shows, but we don’t need all that drama do we? Yup. To build the tension before the melons come back out.
12. Food Network Fires Emeril, But He Wins Big!
Emeril Lagasse was probably one of the most popular tv chefs of the 90’s and early 2000’s. But after ten years on the air, I guess the Food Network decided that he had done enough for them and cancelled his show. What’s kind of hilarious about this is that Emeril ended up screwing the network out of millions of dollars and I’m sure they don’t want people to know that. Lagasse managed to keep hold of most of the rights to his name and products. So, when he got cancelled, he sold off all of his properties to Martha Stewart’s then rival production company Omnimedia for 50 million bucks! I bet the execs at the network lost their minds! Of course, Stewart ended up on the Food Network eventually anyway, but she didn’t pay them for anything.
11. They Stage So Much!
You know, realistically, it probably wouldn’t take much for some guest contestant to beat Bobby Flay. Why is that? Because he doesn’t really do much work at all anyway. So much of the Food Network is staged. This doesn’t just apply to Flay. It applies to most of the chefs that grace the network. Meals are brought in already made by actual chefs, prep hardly needs to be done. Basically, he just needs to strut around, cut a few things, start something up in a frying pan and then – cut to commercial – suddenly everything looks beautiful and Bobby Flay is a culinary genius. It’s all crap though. I’m sure he can cook to some extent, like Gordon Ramsay or any other big name out there. But none of them needs to. They just need their special personalities.
10. Guy Fieri Is Racist And A Thief!?
Ok, so this might not actually surprise you. I mean, every already knows that Guy Fieri is a total douchebag. So adding on thief and racist can’t be all that shocking. But it’s true either way. The creator of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, David Page, was fired from the network (presumably because of tension between him and Fieri). Well, Page sued the network for breach of contract and also came out saying that Guy Fieri not only “plundered the budget”, but also “had issues with Jews and gays”. This is the same douchebag host who found it hilarious when someone in an episode called chicken soup “Jewish Penicillin”. What I find strange is just how flamboyant Fieri is…and yet he thinks he has some sort of right to judge people just as flaming. But he’s still working.
9. Martha’s A Hard A$$
Alright, so besides it being kind of funny that Martha Stewart of all people went to prison for a while, she’s more of a pain than you might think. I’m sure she learned some interesting arts and crafts when she was in the clink (like how to make a special shiv or some sort of curtain or something). But she was hard even before she went inside. Allen Salkin, a Food Network insider wrote about Stewart signing her deal with the channel. “When it came time to sign, she strode to the table, signed the papers, and strode out of the room without… a handshake or even a glance.” And that’s not all. Stewart produced a show for Ina Garten but ordered the tapes destroyed because Garten’s dishes looked like what Stewart used on her show, and she was “unhappy that another woman was going to be the star of a show produced by her company.”
8. The First Food Network Kitchen Was A Dump!
Apparently, when the Food Network first opened up, its kitchen was a disaster. It was said to be both small and useless. There wasn’t even a working stove in it. So all of the food that would come out looking so wonderful (from the non-existent stove) had to be prepped and cooked elsewhere and then brought to set. So the tv chef would do all the “prep” on the show and then pretend to pull a fully cooked dish out from where the oven wasn’t! I am sure that the Food Network doesn’t want people to remember or know this, but I think that’s pretty impressive. I mean, considering the network was started to promote cooking and food education…and then to start without any means to cook the damn food. That’s pretty awesome.
7. They Accidentally Broadcasted Some Naughty Things…
Before anyone reading this gets too crazy, they didn’t actually have Sasha Grey on the network. I just figured she’d have a good photo to use that was exciting. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Food Network once broadcast some hardcore naughtiness. Whoever planned it (they never caught them) had a great sense of humour. Why? Because it happened during a showing of Too Hot Tamales. Some people might think that in poor taste, but I think it’s hilarious. And the x-rated segment went on for at least a full minute before regular broadcasting could resume. And because it’s a federal offence to broadcast such things, the feds came down to the Food Network to see who had the sense of humour.
6. William Shatner Hosted Iron Chef?
Here is something that the Food Network will definitely not want you to know. Once upon a time, the Food Network turned down buying the rights to Iron Chef. So UPN picked it up and threw William Shatner in it as the host! That’s not all though. They dressed him up in some glittery, frilly outfit and had him say things like “totally rad”. So what happened? Well, the show got canned after only two episodes. So as far as almost anyone knows these days, Iron Chef has always been a Food Network show (because obviously, they picked it up after UPN failed). I can only just imagine Captain Kirk saying “totally rad” while talking about some sort of exquisite dish that was pretend cooked up by a bunch of contestants. Good thing it didn’t last.
5. TV Chefs Don’t Have To Have Skill
All they need is an intense amount of personality. Which I’m sure you’ve noticed they all have. And if they don’t have that, then they have really nice bodies. That’s the way the Food Network gets you. That, and very effective camera cuts. They might shoot live, but all of the things they do during the commercial breaks are what really make their shows a success. All of that perfect-looking food? A lot of it is covered with a glossy spray to give it that perfect shine that food never has. Essentially, they make plastic food ahead of time and a lot of it isn’t even fully cooked. It’s just cooked enough on the outside to brown the turkey or crisp a pie. So all the tv chefs need to do is talk and cut and maybe stir a bit. Everything else is done for them.
4. So Much Food Wasted
The amount of food waste coming from the Food Network is staggering. I bet just from that network alone, every third world country could have at least some sustenance throughout the entire year. Contestant shows like Chopped or Master Chef have repeated dishes from each cook. Meaning they each make the same dish several times. They have to make it once for the contest itself, but then they have to make a separate one for the judges. And only one or two bites are taken before the dish is thrown away! And then, of course, there are all of the tv chef shows like Emeril Live that also have several versions of one dish, and they are usually completely inedible anyway. They only partially cook the food to get the right look, show it off, then throw it out. People are starving, but at least we’re entertained.
3. Emeril’s Crew Found Him Boring So…BAM!
True story! Most of the production crew filming Emeril’s show, in the beginning, must have found him incredibly boring. To be fair, the same crew members were always running between shoots for different shows because that’s how the business works. But Emeril figured out a way to keep their attention and to stop them from falling asleep. This is how a legend was born. Wanting a cameraman to focus on something specific, Emeril would yell out “Bam!” to draw the right attention. And from there, a star was born. For about a decade all sorts of people would say “Bam!” in their kitchens at home. It made them “happy, happy, happy” and I think it might have “kicked things up a notch” as well. All from trying to wake up a camera guy.
2. The Shows Are About Drama. Not Skill.
Yeah, something you don’t need when working for the Food Network? Skill. This doesn’t only go for the star tv chefs. It also goes for the contestants of challenge shows like Chopped and Master Chef. Everything is about drama. If your parents divorced when you were too young to remember, they’ll still use that angle to say you came from a broken home and it drove you to cook. If you were ever talked sternly too by the police, then they’ll say you were a bad boy or girl who found their salvation through the kitchen. It’s crazy. If you’re ever in the interview process for one of these shows, make sure you amp up the dramatic parts of your life because they will cling to you even if you don’t know how to cook. And sometimes you’ll still win even if your cooking sucks!
1. Rachael Ray Poses
Alright, so first and foremost, Rachael Ray is not really a cook or a chef and she can’t even make toast or a coffee. Seriously. She’s been quoted stating that she can’t make either. But that’s not the exciting thing that the Food Network doesn’t want you to know. It’s that they were associated for so long with this pretty smokin’ cook (depending on the years you watched her) who then went and posed for a naughty magazine. And to be fair to Ray, it’s not like she posed nude or anything like that. She just posed with minimal clothing while putting a turkey in the oven, or while licking a spoonful of chocolate. Either way, it was hot. The network should’ve loved it because of it boosting her ratings, but they acted ashamed instead and tried to bury it.
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