Suck It, Food Network!

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.

See?

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!

7 Responses to “Suck It, Food Network!”

  1. ChaChaHeels January 22, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    It’s pretty clear that now that the good science (i.e., isn’t funded by Big Pharma selling Fatso and Diet drugs, or the industries that promote various types of pseudo foods, like “no-fat” and diet foods) has started to prove that exercise helps very little in weight loss, and that “diets” actually create weight gain, we’re going to see a lot more of the Fat Shaming culture rise up in backlash. Why? If you start telling the truth about fat, health, and food, there will be no more billions to be had in diet plans, shows like “The Biggest Loser”, crappy processed foods marketed only to people who are told they’re too big to be healthy, and dangerous “diet” pharmaceutical drugs which actually kill.

    Remember: every time someone tells the truth that kills the golden egg-laying goose, those who stand to lose out on that gold start to lie more loudly. For the first little while, they gain a bit of ground–hence this cooking show, for example. Thing is, people eventually catch on because now they’re not only aware of the Big Lie, they know about the “truth” that’s come out, and they get the fact that the lie doesn’t get any more believable just because it’s being told more loudly.

    Just don’t give Food Network any more of your money. Cancel your subscription to their channel, don’t look at their DVDs even if you “rent” them for free at the library, stop going to their websites so they lose out on ad revenues, and stop using them as a source of recipes. Don’t watch. End of.

  2. Liz January 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I speak as one of the eeeevvvilll “bad fats” (my diet is, well, appalling*): the Food Network can go copulate vigorously with itself.

    *No lectures/concern trolling, please. I’m making a point and I’m really not interested.

  3. Twistie January 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    @ChaChaHeels: I’m going to miss Chopped. But I still have Top Chef.

    @Liz: in the words of the ever fabulous Ragen Chastain, you are the boss of your underpants. You get to eat what you choose, when you choose, how you choose, for the reasons you choose, period. Your body, your choice. Anyone failing to respect that on this blog will find their comment disapproved.

    Also, I gladly echo your sentiments. The Food Network can, indeed, go copulate most vigorously with itself… but I am not buying a ticket to the event. I have absolutely no interest in seeing Bobby Flay in the altogether.

  4. Debs January 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    So, fat people need to lose weight, they are fat because they eat fattening foods & the best way to help them lose weight is to shame them. Sort of like those kind & helpful media spots with the unhappy fat kids—although the parents should then be publicly pilloried; the children just need hurtful comments.

    I first thought of this as a way for the chefs to get publicity. (“I am tasting this delicious chocolate mousse, which is wrong, but please buy my cookbook”). But the condoning public shaming idea bothers me.

  5. Twistie January 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    @Debs: and this morning Harriet Brown had another interesting wrinkle on the Georgia campaign. Seems the kids modeling for those billboards are perfectly healthy kids. http://harrietbrown.blogspot.com/2012/01/this-makes-georgia-campaign-even-more.html

    I know that models are hired to do a job, but just imagine being a perfectly healthy eleven-year-old and having the world see you as a ticking timebomb with hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and gout and never being able to explain to anyone that it isn’t true, you were just hired as a model. Yeah, that’s going to help those kids about as much as it’s helping the fat kids who do actually have diseases and illnesses… which is to say it’s going to make things worse.

  6. Ellen W. January 23, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    This is really sad because once-upon-a-forever-ago there was a show called Calorie Commando* (stupid name yes, I know) where the chef would rework peoples’ favorite/special dishes and make them healthier, or at least, less unhealthy. Which isn’t such a revelation except that, unlike times I’ve seen that sort of thing done, the new recipes actually looked appetizing and the ones I made were pretty tasty.

    *Soooo, apparently he’s in prison now for soliciting homeless people to murder his wife. I can’t buy his cookbook then.

  7. Booklover January 24, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    I teach at a community college, and I would say that the majority of students in the culinary program range from heavy to fat. Just an observation–make of it what you will.