Tag Archives: Food Network

Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 1, Anne Burrell

1 Jun

Today marks the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month.  June is traditionally Pride month because it commemorates the Stonewall Riots, the catalyst for the LGBTQ civil rights movement.

Today I would like to honor and celebrate Anne Burrell, who recently came out publicly, but never kept her sexual orientation a secret. Despite the large LGBT demographic for the Food Network, Burrell, Iron Chef Cat Cora, and Chopped host Ted Allen are the only regular stars who are out.

Burrell is a phenomenal chef and a woman who does not suffer fools easily. A representative of a restaurant where she was recently filming a show said, “She was gracious, fun-loving and every bit the personality that has made her a favorite.” I wish we would see more of her on Chopped, although she certainly appears on a number of interesting shows.

She is also a great example of just how truly versatile a BA in English really is. She received her initial culinary training in New York before going to Italy where she trained and worked. Burell has demonstrated a charitable side as well, most recently when competing for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation on Chopped All Stars.

Thanks to Sarah Motsenbocker for helping update this article with information about Cat Cora, who has been out since the beginning of her televised career and has featured her wife and family on Best Thing I Ever Ate. Stay tuned as we celebrate the LGBTQ community this month.

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Chopped

14 Jan

Interesting Cure for Depression

During December I was suffering from yet another depressive episode.  What better way to treat depression than to self-medicate?  My drug of choice for December was to watch the television.  TV has an amazing ability to put one into a fugue like state, thus allowing a slight decrease in anxiety.

Much of the tv I watched was on a channel called the Food Network–two drugs in one, food and tv!  Two shows I became addicted to were, Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten (all my friends are gay–in my my best Edina Monsoon voice) and Chopped.  Chopped is strangely annoying and compelling.  The often blatant misogyny of the usually all male judges causes me to scream at the tv, as does the absolutely bizarre concept of the show.  Contestants receive a mystery basket of “foods” that they have to prepare to  satisfy the judges (chefs) in a limited time frame.

Here is where it gets really bizarre.  An example of the mystery basket of ingredients would be: Ketchup, Cat Urine, and Yellow Marshmallow Peeps.  After 20 minutes alloted time to “transform” these ingredients into a culinary triumph the judges give feedback and then eliminate a contestant before the next round.

Judges feedback: this is where I have to laugh and what compels me to keep watching (probably diagnostic on my part).  Exceedingly arrogant Chef Geoffrey Zakarian (the one with just a bit too much eye mascara) will usually give feedback along the lines of: “While you really made the Ketchup and Marshmallow Peeps come alive in this lovely red/yellow coulis, I’m not sure I’m getting the Cat Urine.”  Then the equally arrogant and misogynistic Chef Scott Conant will counter with his feedback: “I’m getting too much Cat Urine in my dish–that is just not acceptable. And the Ketchup/Peeps coulis just doesn’t work for me.”  The third judge, Chef Alex Guarnaschelli (one of the only female judges) will offer: “I feel like you really tried with this dish.”

While I continue not to be a fan of reality tv, I am compelled to continue to watch Chopped, despite the misogyny  and awful display of white hetero privilege from most of the judges.  The bizarre mystery baskets combined with the laughable and inconsistent feedback serve up a dish that helps to put my depression at bay.

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