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BTW, Susie, I was wondering the reaction of you and other FN honchos to last weekend's NY TImes Magazine piece? Two points in Michael Pollan's thoughtful piece stood out for me: (1) The observation that the explosive popularity of FN and shows like TNFNS coincide paradoxically with the rise of fast food, home-meal replacements and shortcuts, and the decline and, yes, fall of everyday home cooking. (2) Today's "cooking" shows are not about cooking at all. They are food entertainment, with the implicit message of "don't try this at home." (Iron Chef, Diners. Dives, and Drive-Ins, Throwdown -- you get the drift.) Both observations are quite valid, IMHO. There is a marked difference between FN's daytime programming and prime time shows. I'd be most interested in your comments, Susie, as well as Bob's.
Dear Susie: Did the final challenge really have anything to do with culinary skills, or was it all about presentation? Both finalists, it seems to me, took the easy road. Jeffrey is such a skilled chef and he makes -- a steak sandwich (albeit with an unusual condiment)? And Melissa's pan fry/deglaze/reduction/butter thickening belies her claim of originality. That's a technique from cooking kindergarten. I definitely think there was something missing here.
I have to confess that I did not like Melissa at all at first. I find her ego outsized, but that may be her just her trying to project confidence.I also have to agree that Melissa's mention of the suicide was totally inappropriate. That being said, she has grown on me. She could handle herself in front of a camera, but I wonder if her food is still a little too one-note. Jeffrey could do it, but I think he lacks judgment. As soon as I saw he was doing risotto for the Julia dinner, I knew disaster was on the horizon. Anybody who has ever made it knows that it will get gummy if you do not serve it immediately and it is consumed immediately. Why didn't he? That causes me to question his culinary chops. Debbie? Good riddance. One note "Seoul to Soul" got tired pretty quickly. And, like others, her ethical lapses are extremely troubling.