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The Guy Fieri-fication of the Food Network

Today, while I pretend to be an adult capable of doing a job, I’m watching Cake Wars on demand, and thinking back to one of my favorite shows of yore, Food Network Challenge. Before Triple-D, before Cupcake fucking everything, there was Food Network Challenge. As I recall, it was mostly a decorating competition - cakes, chocolate sculptures, sugar sculptures. Competitors weren’t always just the people who had combined the best pastel colors in a bakery to sell cupcakes in their town*, but were really serious people. The host was that guy who looked kind of like a muppet, and I’m pretty sure the judges couldn’t have been convinced to a Ryan Seacrest style “I hate to tell you..... I love this” if their lives depended on it. Usually when it was a cake challenge Duff Goldman would show up and try to light the whole place on fire with real lava or some shit, and Bronywyn Webber would make something so beautiful you wanted to cry. The contestants all knew each other, the way professionals in a field do, and would joke with each other in a way that felt real.

Everything is different now. It’s all slick, the host is shouting even though he’s miked, they’re in a carefully constructed studio instead of a real competition kitchen. The judges seem less knowledgable (minus the ones that are on theme) and more phony. It’s a reality competition that happens to be about cake, as opposed to a cake decorating show that happens to be a competition. I blame all this on Guy Fieri, obviously.


Idk, basically I want the kids to take their cupcakes and get off my lawn and cooking shows. Whine with me, GT.

*I know I sound bitchy there, but I just feel like opening a cupcake store is something everyone who can follow the directions on a Betty Crocker box and make some pastel frosting wants to do. Some of them are incredible, but it feels like a lot of succeeding in that is having the startup money to make the cutest bakery which, meh. I’m just grouchy.

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