The Food Network is about the only television channel I can watch that is mostly free of politics. The shows are entertaining and my kids watch them and get interested in eating things other than chicken nuggets and fries. However, like all other networks, the allure of reality television has taken hold and the mindless desires of television executives to recoil from new programming and to just repeat over and over and over and over what has been successful before is now the norm. This is why we take a good show like Chopped and end up with Chopped Canada, Chopped All Stars, Chopped Grill Masters. You get a brilliant show like Cutthroat Kitchen and some brainless drone from the 10th floor says “Let’s do Cutthroat Kitchen but do it in a summer camp and call it Camp Cutthroat Kitchen.”
Then there is the need to put the handful of likable chefs in every show you do. Does poor Bobby Flay or Giada De Laurentiis ever get a chance to see their families? Is Guy Fieri doomed to wander the back roads of America for our amusement until the end of time? Something must be done.
Well luckily I have been working on it and have come up with some new Food Network shows. I give my ideas just a dash of tired and true, toss in a half cup of brilliance, and add a twist of the unexpected to cook up the next great shows. (You all saw what I just did there right?)
Idea 1: America’s Top Prison Chef (or Iron Bar Chef)
Prison cooks are some of the most inventive cooks on the planet. They have to make food with low grade materials for folks that have the most discriminating of pallets and the shortest of tempers. It is time to showcase these skills in the ultimate culinary competition.
Four prison chefs compete in three rounds. Each round a prisoner is eliminated and is then served cold justice for their failure. The winner gets a pardon from the Governor.
Idea 2: I’m Not Gonna Eat That!
Chefs will compete in three challenges. A Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. They will get some of the finest ingredients from all over the world including fruits, vegetables and meats you have never heard of. These meals will then be prepared for the toughest panel of judges ever assembled. A group of five year old kids.
Will a chef be able to prepare barramundi, dragon fruit, or chard while under the watchful eyes of your typical five year old and get them to not only eat a bite but to like it? I don’t know but I want to find out.
Idea 3: Dollar Store Chef
Can you prepare a delicious dinner for two for $25 bucks using only ingredients found in a Dollar Store? How would one of the Food Networks celebrity chefs fair? Well now we can find out as we take them to the Dollar Store and set them loose. Everything for the dinner must come from there. Meat, veggies, spices, and drinks all must come from there. It is the ultimate challenge.
Idea 4: Make Me A Sammich
OK, this one is going to be a little outside the box because it combines two reality show concepts that have never been paired before; The dating show and the food competition show.
We will take one eligible bachelor who is just looking for the woman of his dreams and twelve ladies who believe that the reason they have never found true love is not their shallowness but because they haven’t tried it in on national television. Each week they will cook a meal for him and he will make his choices based solely on the food. He doesn’t even get to see them until he chooses the last one and marries her live on the air.
Is the way to a man’s heart truly through his stomach? We will find out this fall.
Idea 5: Meat The Parents
Now before you think that the last idea was a bit sexist and degrading I am not a monster. In the finest tradition of television I have a spin off for the poor lady that comes in second on Make Me A Sammich. She gets to be the one who is wooed by 12 young men who must cook for her and her parents. Since she could not win the first contest she will need someone that knows his way around a kitchen and be able to prove to mom and dad that he can take care of their princess. Oh and the contestants will be able to sabotage each other along the way.
So there you have it. Five shows that will revolutionize not only the Food Network but television itself. You are welcome America. I egerly await a phone call from the executives on the 10th floor and I will take cash up front for the ideas and a small percentage on the back end.