Tina Kakadelis
YA Author


Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

I Love the Food Network


Listen. I do not like cooking. It's something that I'm pretty decent at. Not to toot my own horn, but I've only internally set a microwave on fire one time. Basically, I'm a world class chef. With cooking, though, comes dishes and doing dishes is the absolute worst. Your hands get all pruney and you have to touch weird bits of food that's wet. I remember having to do dishes once as a kid in the summer and touching wet ketchup as I was cleaning. Clearly, it traumatized me. All this nonsensical backstory to say that despite not really liking to cook, I am obsessed with the Food Network.

Not all of the Food Network, though. I don't really care for the morning programming where it's relaxing women quietly baking in their homes. Weirdly enough, watching calm British people bake in a tent is something I consider the best use of my time.

When I watch the Food Network, I'm always praying that I'm going to turn on the TV and it'll be Chopped. (Notice in this dream scenario I have a TV when in reality, I do not have a TV, a bed frame, or shelves.) What's so great about Chopped is literally every single thing about it. The ridiculous ingredients, the judges, the contestants, EVERYTHING. I like the shows where it's tough, but not so tough that it's impossible like Cutthroat Kitchen.

My favorite judge on Chopped is Alex Guarneschelli. She once retweeted me on Twitter and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. She's a tough cookie on the show and then it'll cut to commercial and she'll be smiling there telling you about pecans and the pecan pie she makes. I love it. I love the dude who always has too many buttons undone on his shirt and vehemently hates red onions and the lady with the really cool accent. I don't know anyone's name except Alex Guarneschelli.

What I love most about Chopped is the anti-griddle. If you don't know, the anti-griddle is like a cold griddle. Really far jump there, wasn't it? Instead of heating things up, it cools things down very quickly. There's one in the Chopped kitchen and whenever a contestant decides to use it, the judges lose their minds and act as though they've never seen such a thing. They're always like, "THE ANTI-GRIDDLE. CAN YOU IMAGINE??"

You know y'all work for this show, right? Y'all are chefs. Is the anti-griddle really that wild?? Also, just because I feel like this truly solidifies how much I love Food Network, here's a picture of an anti-griddle that I have saved on my phone:

What a majestic picture of an anti-griddle. The lighting is just so dramatic. Clearly an anti-griddle is something that comes up often enough in my life that I need a picture of it at the ready. I have texted it to two people within the past week. Do with that information what you will.

Another thing that's lovely about Chopped is the low stakes drama of it. I know there's $10,000 at stake, but I'm not worried they're gonna die like on Survivor. I'm worried that they're going to forget a basket ingredient (IF THIS AIN'T ME) or that they're not going to be the first one to the ice cream machine. Why doesn't Food Network just buy another ice cream machine? For 👏 the 👏 drama. But also, why do people keep using the damn ice cream machine if it always melts by the presentation time?? Y'all are just basically serving lukewarm ice cream soup.

When it comes to the actual contestants, you get an interesting mix, but most of them have some tragic backstory. They'll explain how their dish relates to something truly horrific that happened to them and the second they finish their sad story, it'll cut to Ted Allen and he'll hastily say, "Thank you, chef."

That's it! There's never any more acknowledgement than that. Just a very stern, awkward "Thank you, chef." The contestant could like "I went camping with my entire family and over the course of the family camping trip, they were all killed by a bear, but I got away and this dish is inspired by the only food I had remaining at the campsite after my family died from a bear attack" and then Ted Allen will be like "Thank you, chef." That's it. Not "Sorry about the bear" or "I'm sure your family would be proud." What a wild world.

Is this the dumbest post I've ever made on this blog? I don't know. It's 1 AM and I couldn't fall asleep, so I started writing this. Basically, I just want the Food Network to notice me and hire me. I'm desperate.