Because it’s way cheaper and healthier than the alternative, I’m pretty fond of cooking for myself, a fact that seems to take a lot of people by surprise for some reason. Many of them have even jokingly suggested that I should have my own cooking show, which is of course ridiculous: I have no culinary background or restaurant experience, my exposure to unique ingredients is incredibly limited, and most nights I’m too lazy to even cook so I rely on leftovers.
That said, you know what the easiest job in the entire world is? (Well, besides Antonio Cromartie’s alimony lawyer or Jay Leno’s joke writer.) Hosting a show on the Food Network. I know they want you to think it’s a tense and dramatic ordeal – hello, Next Food Network Star! – but in actuality you really only need the creativity of a desk lamp and charisma of a slightly charismatic desk lamp.
Join me, if you wish, as I teach you all there is to know about becoming a celebrity chef.
First Impression: First thing’s first: You need a gimmick.
Guy Fieri is the Charlie Sheen of cooking (that’s not a compliment). Alton Brown is a food science nerd and borderline racist. Giada de Laurentiis has amazing tits and the fakest smile in the world. Paula Deen cooks like her sole mission in life is to cause heart disease. Nadia B is like the female Guy Fieri (that’s not a compliment). Sandra Lee and Bobby Flay are both pretty much alcoholics. See what I’m getting at here? You can’t succeed by being ordinary, so don’t bother applying unless you have a gimmicky personality.
Show Premise: This one’s a little bit more lenient than the last. Realistically, it’s a binary system: do you want to host a show where you cook, or one where you eat other people’s cooking? I mean, besides competitive TV shows (like the amazing Cupcake Wars), there’s really only so much you can do here. A few suggestions for each format:
- If you’re cooking: Putting your own personal spin on a classic recipe is the name of the game here. I don’t care if the recipe comes from your mom, your grandma or your meth-addicted sister – if you aren’t adding at least one unique twist, you aren’t trying. Also, make sure you accentuate how simple it is to cook on your own, even if each step is insanely complicated for the average person. Does your recipe call for Chinese five spice and whole pink peppercorns? WHO THE FUCK CARES – one trip to an expensive grocery store and $200 later and hey, you too can make this at home!
- If you’re eating out: You don’t have a lot of choices in terms of customizing recipes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t preempt the chef and interject with your own comments as many times as possible. Is he using cinnamon as part of a dry rub? “Well THAT’S new.” Does the place use a lot of a specific ingredient? “LOVE that ingredient.” Is someone gonna roast something? Try to guess the time and temperature before they can tell you. The trick is to imply as much knowledge as possible, even when it’s not your kitchen.
And no matter which option you pick? There’s only one logical next step.
Reaction to First Bite of Food: In case it wasn’t clear what food should do to you when the camera is on, let this slideshow be your guide:
Ridiculous, right? Maybe even a little disturbing? Like they’re pandering to the camera in a way that even idiots would find insulting? GOOD – remember this tactic, since you will need to employ it regularly. Michael Symon is probably my favorite example here, with his faux-whimsical smile and shoulder slump. It’s perfect – the more exaggerated you act, the better.
Describing Food: This is the part where people tend to mention I should have my own show. It’s really not that impressive, though – describing food is something you could do based on a flowchart. Oh hey, guess who just made one of those?
Following this thing exactly will guarantee your success in every possible circumstance. If you feel the need to deviate from the flowchart, please remember to do so cautiously – we don’t want just anyone thinking they could do this job, do we?
So there you are: the definitive guide on how to get your own food-themed TV show. Before you go thinking I’ve overly simplified things or that I’m glossing over some base level of charisma, go take another look at that picture of Guy Fieri up above. Yeah, exactly.