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Random Thoughts From the Chefography Marathon
Monday, March 26, 2007 | posted by Mike

Saturday was spent preparing the new TVFF HQ building for our big move, but Sunday was spent on the couch. Left alone and without a car (courtesy of the idiotic SUV driver who dinged my passenger side door outside the grocery store a few weeks back), I was able to kick back a bit and watch some culinary programming on Food Network (and PBS) in between loads of laundry.

As you probably know from having tuned in yourself over the past week or so, FN is busy getting its money's worth from the series Chefography. This week featured the debut of the second batch, and I was a little surprised that they didn't go back and recut the older episodes to include some of the new events in the lives of folks like Giada (there was no mention of Weekend Getaways). Having been sucked into marathons of other shows like Top Chef and various shows on MTV (which has been notorious for marathons of Real World and others), it was pretty easy to open up a bag of pretzels kick back and knock off a bunch of Chefographies.

Just a few comments...

Where's Alton? - Round 2 and still no Mr. Brown. We've heard that Alton is, in fact, a pretty private person when it comes to his personal life, so that might be why. I can't imagine why FN would skip over one of their most likable stars.

Giada - I don't think there is an episode as watchable as the Giada bio. I had seen it during the first run, but had no problem sitting through it again. It's probably because it's light on the manufactured drama that shows like that often rely upon. The only time it "goes serious" is when it talks about the illness and death of her brother. Still, it's a fun show, and you're left with the impression that her development into the celebrity we know today is complete and total chance. Although you might think that she was destined for television with her looks, it's a minor miracle that she has a show today. Those demo reels are bad...B-A-D. Hats off to Giada for letting them use the tapes.

And I would completely hang out with the couple she cooked for as a personal chef. They seem like a blast.

Tyler - I had a little bit of "inside info" when it comes to the Tyler episode, as I have a friend who used to work at one of the restaurants with Tyler. It's one of the spots shown in a montage illustrating the various places Tyler worked once he went to NYC. We talked about the episode and she recounted a couple of stories about the place (not about Tyler himself, but about that kitchen in general). She even recognized an ex-boyfriend in one of the pictures. He's now known as "Satan," so I'm guessing that she doesn't think back fondly on her time there.

Mario - Probably my favorite new episode for two reasons:

  1. Mario, as a teenager, looked completely deranged.
  2. They spent a solid three minutes on Stuff Yer Face, the New Brunswick stromboli place that has hosted a number of TVFF happy hours. One of the reasons that I love Mario is that he always says something good about his time at Stuff. When you think of a "respected" chef, you picture the kind of person who wouldn't want to talk about his or her time slumming in a pizza joint. But that's not Mario. He embraces it and the experience that he gained from it. Great stuff. Plus, they showed them making the chicken and broccoli boli, which is my favorite.

Sandra - Wow. I don't even know what to say. I could probably devote a whole post to it, dissecting it and analyzing it shot-by-shot, like I would if I were writing a paper about it back in one of my communications classes in school. I could do that...but I would probably shoot myself in the head.

This is about all I can muster:

What the hell was going on with those curtains?

Mary Hart and Florence Henderson?

At one point or another, she says something like criticism of her style of cooking (the semi-homemade thing) as being a slap in the face of women who work hard to put food on the table. Excuse me...there's a difference between cutting corners and using prepared ingredients and what is often shown on her show. Two words: Kwanzaa Cake.

I've taken a few shots at Sandra now and then, but I've never been as critical as some. But hiding behind working women to deflect criticism of goofy ideas is not cool.

Sandy, you just talked your way on to TVFF's Crap List.

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