FoodTV

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Joined Jan 31, 2002
I just got back from a (really great) tour of NECI.

Everyone there asked me, several times, the same thing that I found Chef David Simpson asking here: have you been in the real world, or do you want to cook like on the Food Network?

Now, I know there's a difference, and, even washing dishes, I've done 18 hour shifts and cleaned out greasetraps. But really, why does everyone seem to despise the Food Network? I think it can be pretty fun and informative. Frankly, I watch every chance I get. Have I been totally bamboozeled?

Furthermore, has anyone out there been able to compare FoodTV and FoodTV Canada? They're basically the same, but I think the canadian version's few diferences make it much, much better... so many more shows that deal with ingredients (I.E. "how does yeast work"? instead of "Do this to make bread.")

Curiously,
P
 
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Joined Mar 13, 2001
Many posts, if not threads, were done on the subject. You might find your answer somewhere in the Late Night forum. :rolleyes:
 
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Joined Dec 8, 1999
Moxie, I think the point these people were trying to get across to you is that, informative or not, the Food Network is not an accurate representation of what real work in a professional kitchen is like. Fortunately, you are one or more steps ahead of the rest due to your experience. The people at NECI don't all know the level of your experience, so they tell you this just in case. I find myself talking to trainees in my kitchen in much the same way. I apologize to them for it, explaining that it is impossible for me to know all that they know, so I must assume they know nothing. I think that NECI treated you the same way (and good for them!).
 
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Joined Jan 31, 2002
Kimmie,

I was afraid that this may have been covered earlier... my search was relatively ineffective, though... aparently a search term needs to be at least four letters long. So, "Food TV" produced no results and "Food Network" didn't seem to find much.

Does anyone remember some of the relevant posts?

Thanks,
P
 
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
I don't think FoodTV's purpose was ever to be a representation of what really goes on in a professional kitchen; I think it's first purpose was educational - and geared toward the home cook. In that respect, I think it has served its purpose beautifully; people who cook at home are becoming more knowledgeable about food and how to prepare it, and aren't as afraid to try new things, and also are to a great extent responsible for the supermarkets carrying more and more new and exotic ingredients.

It seems recently that with new management, the network has become more 'entertainment' oriented, a la Emeril, etc., and unfortunately, the informative shows are going down the tubes.

I still watch it, though mainly for the specials - the chocolate week shows I thought were great - the thanksgiving special at Colonial Williamsburg - the barbeque with Hal Roker; and for some of the guest chefs Sara Moulton has on her show. And I still learn things from them!

If people want to scoff at the channel,or its shows - well, we all know how to use that remote!
 
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Joined Mar 21, 2002
I'd say the two shows I like the most on the Food Network are Good Eats (Alton lives in Atlanta so...I kinda gotta support the southern boys) and Iron Chef..you have to admit that show is very funny sometimes. Plus it's interesting to see the Japanese twist on all the foods out there.

Matthew
 

pete

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Joined Oct 7, 2001
Moxie, which campus did you visit. I attended NECI from 1992-1994 in Montpelier. Went back a few years ago, and boy has it changed!! But some of my old instructors were still there. It is a great school! Very hands on and public oriented, which can mean very long class days and the stress of performing for paying costumers.
 
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1992-94 was not that long ago, Pete. How much can it have changed?

I went with the intention of seeing just the Montpelier campus, but I stuck around and visited both. I'm glad I did, as Essex seemed better for me. They seemed to have more distinct facilites, like there's a particular kitchen for each class, where in Montpelier it seemed that everything was done more or less in the same space. I don't know why this appeals to me. Both campus looked great, though. I fairly left my heart at NECI. Now to set about getting in!

cheers,
P
 

pete

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Lots have changed in just a few short years. The biggest change is the facilities on Main St. When I was there that space was a local restaurant. We had two separate restaurants a few streets over, one for first year and one for second (Called Elm St. Cafe and Tubbs respectively). they also moved most of the administrative offices downtown. They used to be up on the hill. The school is wonderful, just make sure you get in during Summer term. Though, winter is fun there, summer is a blast!!!
 
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Doh! I was going to go in December of 2002. I can't go immediately, gotta do something work-wise to offset my upcoming student loans (YiKes.) Can't wait a whole year. Ah well, I'll just have to learn to ski.

P.
 
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Joined Nov 29, 2001
When the food television network began, it was like a haven to those of us who flip through stations in the hopes of stumbling upon an overhead shot of a saucepan bubbling away. At first we reveled in it. Eventually, it went the way of everything else that starts out good...it went commercial. A few things caught on and TVFN went into overdrive to overexpose those things. This overexposure is what causes the contempt expressed toward TVFN.

To have an entire TV station dedicated to food gives us a broad canvas on which to work, but if we cover it in one, single color - it becomes boring. For instance, I contacted Food TV with ideas (none to make $, just things I'd like to see as a viewer).

Food Related Diversity in Programming

Why not run shows like Chef! from the BBC network; or foodie movies like Babette's Feast and Like Water For Chocolate?? All the better if they could be run with limited or no commercials. God knows we're interested in them! Perhaps run those during prime time when people may not be all that interested in how-to programming.

The Emeril show tanked on network for one simple reason: He's not an actor. How about commissioning a TV series exclusive to the TVFN using actors (the acting schools are FULL of them...available for cheap). Um, this actor should definitely know how to wield his or her knife. Close ups of real hands working, etc. Instead of developing another cooking show in a kitchen, how about a series profiling the life of an up and coming chef including all the abuse from senior chefs, paying dues, being a hero in the kitchen, etc.? Start it when the chef is in cooking school, looking for direction. Does no one at the Food Network have imagination? We all know that a chef's life includes more than kitchen time...It might be interesting to see what happens the other 2.5 hours (just kidding).

I do like the coverage of food events and holiday/ethnic concentrations. I believe more could be done in the vein of healthier eating. Targeting locales by highlighting their food attractions (B&B's, foods native to the area), is definitely working.

They did attempt an exercise show early on which was absolutely GOD AWFUL. Perfect example of "it worked on paper."

Emeril

Emeril started out as a modern embassador to the kitchen (much like Julia Child in the 60's and 70's), and despite his obvious talent and ability to open/run/succeed at restaurants, he has become a terrible joke. (Sort of like Martha Stewart with her parodies, etc.) He's eventually going to fall to Earth like all once shining stars. Emeril has every right to declare out loud: "The Television Food Network made me/destroyed my career." He's felt both sides of that sword. He's suffering from overkill, like a top 40 song you like the first 750 times you hear it.

As far as "cooking real or like on the food network," that sounds like sour grapes. If someone offered a show to the person who said that, they couldn't sign on the dotted line fast enough. It's human nature to want to be acknowledged for what you do well. To have that acknowledgement done right is a whole other animal.

On the positive side, Iron Chef has a cult following!

Sarah Moulton taught at Peter Kump, the school I attended. Nick Malgeri is a frequent face (and reference) on the TVFN, and he's still the Dean of Pastry @ Kump. PLENTY of extremely talented knowledgeable people cook on the TVFN. With some food-related entertainment as well as the how-to shows, maybe more people would gravitate to TVFN as a prime time option.
 
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