All those kitchen reality shows are driving me CRAZY! I get why they are so popular. People love to be entertained. They can’t get enough conflict, backstabbing and I am just going to say it– schadenfreude. People just love to watch other people feel miserable. Well, as long as it does not involve THEM!

They call them reality shows, when in fact, reality has nothing to do with it. No one will EVER ask a chef to combine bizarre ingredients together such as pigs’ intestines and chocolate, or in one episode of a show that I saw, rig it so that a few contestants could only use one hand to chop ingredients while the other hand had a glove shaped like a lobster claw. Oh, yeah, this situation is so like the real world– NOT!

I have worked in restaurants where the executive chef is screaming at everyone while the veins in his neck are sticking out and throbbing. Not a calm environment to work in to be sure. Perhaps that is why so many people have high blood pressure! A high stress work environment is not only difficult to work in, but it is hard to maintain. Again, my point being that these “real life “shows are anything but. I have also worked in restaurants where everyone works together as a team, and you leave at the end of the day knowing that the customers really appreciate your food.

In a real working kitchen, where all is well, everyone is usually doing their jobs with the occasional banter. Most chefs are focused and passionate about what they do. There is none of this “in your face” drama that is staged on TV. But, alas, quiet and calm does not create high ratings.

I can’t watch these shows. I think they take away from the true talents of these young chefs and force them to degrade themselves, all for their fifteen minutes of fame. I remember Julia Child and her wonderful way of teaching. I even wrote to her as a teenager AND she answered me. Her show wasn’t fraught with screaming and melodramatic episodes, just great teaching and a warm personality to match.

Where’s Julia when we need her?

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail