The Worst of the Worst…Shows on Food Network

Okay, I can’t stay mum on this topic.  I’ve got a platform, I’m going to use.

I’m offended by the show Worst Cooks in America on Food Network.  I get that there are people who don’t know how to cook, who don’t know what a reduction is, or who can’t pick Anne Burrell out of a line up.  (Hint: she’s blonde.)  I’m cool with that.  I suck at a lot of stuff, too.

What I can’t stomach is how Chef Anne Burrell and Chef Beau MacMillian treat the competitors.  The first 20 minutes of pilot episode are an unsightly display of the two chefs mocking 24 poor people who just don’t understand basic food principles and aren’t hiding their lack of understanding very well.  There’s no teaching.  There’s no compassion.  (Edit: teaching came later, compassion still lacking.)  There’s no recognition that the 24 competitors are human beings who deserve an ounce of dignity.

You know chefs?  Mock the dish.  That’s fine, but not in front of the person who cooked it. 

And yes, I realize they are on a show whose entry criteria is that they can’t cook.  But seriously, could the two chefs act a little less like bullies and a little more like professionals?  Isn’t the role of a head chef to train his or her brigade?  Chefs Burrell and MacMillian, did it make you feel big to make fun of people who can’t do what you can do?

And I get why the competitors take the abuse.  Some of them want $25k, but some of the really want to know how to cook.  Rebecca, in particular, was in tears because she felt like a bad mother on account of her lack of cooking skills.  These are people who have some real self-confidence issues because of their lack of cooking skills.

And God bless them.  Get in there.  Learn to cook.  If that will make you feel better about yourself, go for it.  I wish you nothing but the best.

But I have an alternative…

The Blog Well Done Promise

So, I’m pretty upset by this show.  I’m even more upset that someone could feel so bad about themselves that they would go on this show.

Listen, I’m not a classically trained chef, but if you can’t cook or if you know someone who can’t cook and it’s bothering you or them as much as it bothered some of the people on the show, go click on my contact form.  I will teach you to cook over Skype or UStream or the phone or carrier pigeon.  I’m serious.  10 days, 10 months, 10 years.  Whatever it takes.

Everyone should learn how to cook.  No one should have to put up with the bull those 12 people had to go through.

On the other hand, I can’t offer $25,000.  Just dignity.


  1. Hey!

    I’ll take you up on those lessons! I’m not so bad anymore, but I’d love to learn as much as I can. Specifically recipies or tricks for bringing down calories and fat content. I’ve lost about 40 lbs since the show doing my own revamping of recipies, but I know don’t know it all. If you have any tips I would love to get then;)

    Whether you liked it or not, thanks for at least checking out the show.

    -Sophia Ayala Gettys

  2. Thanks for speaking up! Although I never considered myself a bad cook, I was certainly a timid and intimidated one, convinced that my skills were adequate but limited. But I love cooking and it’s so sad to see it used in such a way. These contestants would be better off logging on like I did and finding teachers who are truly interested in spreading the joys of cooking!

  3. Sophia,

    I am now following you on Twitter. DM me your email and let’s set something up! Plus, I hope it was clear from the writing my objection was how you all were treated. The show really makes Chef Anne and Chef Beau out to be bullies. Not good for you. Not good forhow we treat each other as people.

    But I’m glad we connected! Shoot me your email!

  4. Ms. Noodle 😉

    I hope the contestants learned something, but more importantly, overall, I hope that people in a similiar situation don’t get intimidated because they think all chefs and knowledgeable foodies will laugh at them.

    And yes, it was exactly like the American idol trials. 🙁

  5. I have to say I completely agree with you. Like Chef Rhulman said in his recent post it is uncool to perpetuate the myth that cooking is hard. It is a skill like any other with the reward of eating after you are done. Julia Child often said in her original cooking shows that all you needed was the courage of your convictions. I commend you for your wonderful offer and hope that it helps more inexperienced people get into the kitchen and away from the reliance of prepared, expensive and unhealthy foods. Bravo, Chef!

  6. Bravo! Well said. The Food Network has long been devoid of any soul, but when I saw the ads for this show, I knew they had hit an all time low. The irony is that they already HAD a show about the worst cooks in America. It’s called “The Next Food Network Star”.

  7. Agreed! This is the worst. The contestants are just sad, and clearly lack confidence in more than just cooking. Why subject yourself to the humiliation these hosts put you through? “Cruella” and Beau lack the charisma, kindness, encouragement, and teaching skills you would want and expect from supposed “experts”. What is the point here anyway? To be the best of the worst? Sadly, there is no winner here. This is Food Network’s very ill-conceived version of Bravo’s Chef Academy, which has it’s challenges as well, but is certainly more interesting and instructional than this.

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