Famous chefs criticize competition cooking showsJanuary 17, 2017 by Darcie
For many years, chef competition programs like Bravo TV’s ‘Top Chef’ and the Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ have been highly popular with food lovers. Some food media experts credit this show and others like it for reinvigorating interest in home cooking. But a few people don’t think that the program is doing cooking any favors. Culinary icons Alice Waters and Jacques Pépin recently critized some of these shows at a Television Critics Association press tour stop.
The chefs feels that the shows promote the worst of the U.S. “fast food culture”. Says Pépin, “It’s a disservice very often because this is not what’s cooking is all about. That kind of confrontation that you have there is not really how you learn to cook. Or how you understand food.” Waters agrees, saying that cooking is “never about competition. It’s about the pleasure of dealing with real food.”
Waters admits, however, that the country is in the midst of a food revolution, and the public is ready to “start learning how to cook.” One could argue that part of this readiness is due to the popularity of cooking shows like Top Chef and Chopped. But on the flip side, some studies show that people who watch reality cooking programs actually cook less, and are less healthy.
What’s your take on these competition shows? Do they encourage interest in cooking, make us hungry and therefore eat too much, or a little of both?
Update: Pepin clarified his remarks in a Facebook post to Tom Colicchio:
“A couple of articles that came out recently that were not quite accurate. Below is the note I wrote to Tom Colicchio and I trust this settles the matter. -JP
I was at a PBS convention in Pasadena over the weekend and was quoted as criticizing the reality food shows and they mentioned Top Chef. I criticized shows where the chef insults and yells at the cooks and the cooks are fighting between themselves as not being conducive to learning and good cooking and I still stand by that. That certainly did not include Top Chef. I have been privileged to be part of it several times, I enjoyed it and I have great respect for you as a chef. I am writing a clarification on my Facebook Page.
Hope all is well with you and your family. See you soon.
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