Next thursday, January 26, Food Network is premiering a new show called Fat Chef. Is it the adventures of a chef who happens to be fat? No. It’s a new Biggest Loseresque fat-shaming extravaganza.
Each week we’ll see two fat working chefs who fear that they’re going to die because they’re fat and work around food. Said chefs are put through a sixteen-week course of diet, exercise, and exorcism of their horrible food issues, whereupon we see them all much thinner, more active, and promising they’ll never be unhealthy fatsos again.
Read this blurb taken from the Food Network site:
For overweight chefs, working in the food industry is a double-edged sword. While indulging their love of food has brought them success, money and respect, it’s also killing them.
That’s right. Eating is killing them. Because they’re fat. And fat people are all automatically dying. Right now.
I saw an ad for the show on saturday while enjoying an episode of Chopped. One of the fat chefs admitted shamefully that she tastes her dishes. Well stop the damn presses for that one! Chef tastes dishes! Clearly that’s why she’s fat! Except that Giada DeLaurentiis does that, too.
And Anthony Bourdain does it, too, as well as eating all kinds of indulgent foods while globe-trotting for the Travel Network and being a sometime guest judge on Top Chef.
In fact, chefs who don’t taste the food don’t stay in business long. No matter what the dish, no matter how many times you’ve made it, tasting remains an important part of cooking. This could well be the night when the dish needs more salt, or less tarragon, or it just isn’t working and you need to start over again from scratch.
At least five times a season on Top Chef you’ll see Tom Colicchio fix a contestant with his laser beam eyes and ask incredulously: “Did you taste this?” He doesn’t tell the fat contestants that they get a pass because it might kill them to eat one tiny dab of food to see if it’s seasoned properly.
But no, the Food Network knows better! Fat chefs are chefs who have a toxic relationship to food and it’s killing them now! No exceptions! But thin chefs apparently all have perfectly healthy relationships with food and you can tell this by their – wait for it! – healthy weight.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… and again… and again until more people actually hear this: you cannot tell by looking at a person how they eat. You cannot tell by looking at whether a person is fat or thin what the state of their health may be. There is no such thing as a single ‘healthy weight’ that works for everyone. And you cannot shame people healthy.
So no, I have no intention of watching a show that takes people in a highly active line of work (Seriously, have you ever seen a professional kitchen during a busy service? It’s beyond any aerobic workout!) and tells them they’re eating too much, not moving enough, and have serious mental/emotional problems all based on the fact that they aren’t thin.
Suck it, Food Network!