You may have thought the Food Network hit an all-time low with Semi-Homemade (yes, we all love learning to cook with Campbell’s canned products while chugging pitchers of Kool-Aid cocktails), but we’ve got news for you: There are a slew of cooking shows still on the air that fall even further down the rabbit hole of terrible broadcasting. Ice renegades, candy store dribble, Iron Chef wannabes… yes, the Food Network has apparently run out of caviar and is on to Spam. We had a hard time narrowing it down, but after much diligence (and beating our heads against the wall), we came up with the top five shows that suck. Hide your old issues of Gourmet magazine, bust out the bag of Twinkies, and join the rest of the audience that’s just apparently given up on real food.
Quick Fix with Robin Miller
The concept of this convenience-based cooking show sounds well enough: Show the audience how to make multiple meals from a single ingredient, cutting back on your prep and cooking time in the kitchen. But the delivery is really quite terrible. Typically, cook Robin Miller uses just one ingredient as a theme for making three or four really different meals. Yes, cooking chicken breast on Monday can obviously go into baked chicken breasts for Monday night and chicken pasta for Tuesday night… but did we really need a show to tell us that? To make matters worse, Miller cuts back on presentation, technique and overall yum factor of her dishes by cutting so many corners that the dishes end up looking like the stir-fries or slow-cooker casseroles I used to make in college. This show might be better off as a Home Economics guidebook for middle school teachers.
Kid in a Candy Store
In this terribly boring show, host Adam Gertler travels coast-to-coast to check out the nation’s sweet treats. Do we really need to travel 3,000 miles to see Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips or wacky candy sculptures? There can only be so many variations of deep-fried crap, cupcake trends and stuff so gross that people will only eat it because it’s loaded with sugar. But I guess that’s the point in the show: People will eat anything if it’s sweet enough. We haven’t had a candy show this lame since Unwrapped.
Here we follow ice “renegade” artists on their adventures to make badass ice sculptures. Yes, because, as we all know, ice sculptures are a badass business. At least that’s what the show wants you to think. Armed with chainsaws and sledge hammers, the “renegade” crew goes around satisfying outlandish ice sculpture missions. The show is not only a bit (cough) lame; it’s also not about food. Still scratching our heads over this one.
This show may as well be called Survivor Chef. In the adventure-based show, chefs “test their wits, adaptability and artistry as they must adapt to extreme conditions and unpredictable factors.” Swinging from jungle ropes, swimming across a lake, constructing a makeshift stove—these are all examples of what terrible feats these apparently “extreme” contestants must overcome in each episode… but one recent episode, “Wedding Crashers,” really just involves the crew shopping at the 99 Cent Store in Los Angeles. Oooh, scary. Somehow this show seems to exude neither “extreme” nor “chef.”
Another cooking competition show? Okay, you think, this one’s probably not at all like Iron Chef, at least. There must be a different twist in the plot. Well, there isn’t. In fact, it’s so similar to Iron Chef that you wonder why they aren’t just playing reruns of Iron Chef instead of this drip. Apparently the only real thing to set Chopped apart from the others is the lack of skill and culture in the show’s chefs. Using coconuts for dessert is a challenge? Using green beans and ground pork in the same dish? Or making an appetizer out of macaroni and cheese? These sound like culinary challenges for the same Home Economics class Robin Miller should be teaching.