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Spoofs & Satire

Food Network Kicks Its Programming Up a Notch

An adventurous new show proves you can’t boost your ratings without breaking a few eggs.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY RAMON Q. DUTERTE III

From: Food Network Program Director

To: All Chefs

Dear Chefs,

I’ve received email from many of you regarding our newest celebrity chef, Chef Kenny, and his hit show, Steal That Meal. We hired Chef Kenny for his innovative cooking methods—and, so far, we’ve been thrilled at his ratings. Unfortunately, I’ve learned his success has ruffled some feathers. In the interest of full transparency, I’d like to address each of your concerns here.

 

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From: Rachael Ray

I think what baffles us is that Steal That Meal has nothing to do with cooking. For instance, my 30 Minute Meal staff works hard to uncover luxurious meals that can be crafted in half an hour. Chef Kenny’s show consists of him and his film crew barging into the taping of one of our shows, brandishing a weapon, stealing the food we’re cooking, then eating it in front of our audiences.

From: Program Director

All celebrity chefs have their own shtick, Ms. Ray. You show your viewers how to save time with the 30-minute meal. Chef Kenny shows viewers how to save a few bucks by stealing all his meals. We’ve found that a large demographic of our viewers has been hit hard by the economic recession. In these uncertain times, viewers cannot afford the ingredients you celebrity chefs use in your recipes. As such, they are more inspired watching Chef Kenny steal all his meals and gloating about it later.




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From: Robert Irvine

Perhaps we’d be more receptive to Steal That Meal if Chef Kenny would stop inflicting physical harm on myself and the other celebrity chefs while he steals our culinary creations. On my last episode of Dinner Impossible, Chef Kenny knocked me to the ground and stood on my back while eating my deviled eggs with apple compote, all the while explaining to my audience how to subdue a victim during a robbery. Dinner Impossible? Absolutely. It was impossible to breathe, impossible to finish my show, and quite impossible to face my film crew again.

From: Program Director

I feel where you’re coming from, Chef Irvine—especially after what happened to Chef Fieri during the episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives that involved the drive-by shooting. I don’t think Chef Kenny entirely understood the concept of that program. However, telling Chef Kenny, a master thief, how to steal dinner is like telling you, a master chef, how to make an omelet.




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From: Bobby Flay

My problem is that the Food Network previews upcoming Steal That Meal episodes throughout the week. I’ve seen the previews for Grill It!, which hasn’t even premiered yet, and already I know Chef Kenny plans to steal my grilled scrod with chimichurri sauce. But the previews end with Chef Kenny lobbing a grenade toward a grill, then an off-screen bang, then an ambulance arriving at the Food Network kitchens. Is this lunatic planning to detonate a grenade near me or my grill over a piece of scrod?

From: Program Director

Tell you one thing—Grill It! is going to blow up this summer! I don’t want to spoil the ending, Chef Flay, but Food Network won’t be canceling your contract any time soon—wink, wink! We may have to air a few re-runs to fill that time slot, but that’s up to the doctors.




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From: Tyler Florence

Tyler’s Ultimate teaches ordinary people how to make their favorite meals—it’s educational, responsible, and informative. Many of us don’t believe Steal That Meal is the type of programming Food Network should endorse.

From: Program Director:

I’m afraid 16.5 million viewers disagree, Chef Florence. Along with American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, and Cops, Steal That Meal is a staple of good, old-fashioned American programming. Not all Americans appreciate remoulade, or pan-seared sea bass. But they all appreciate a free meal. As the world population increases, the international food supply will decrease. And we here at Food Network believe viewers will be less interested in crab cake recipes, or 30-minute meals that actually take 90 minutes to assemble and cost $50 in ingredients. Instead, they’ll want a recipe for how to siphon a neighbor’s gasoline while he sleeps, or how to eat like the neighbors without investing any of the time or money that the neighbors invest.




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From: Giada De Laurentiis

Is Chef Kenny a real chef?

From: Program Director

He told me he did his training in Attica, N.Y. I have no reason to dispute that.




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From: Paula Deen

Did you know he’s also stealing the silverware?

From: Program Director

Did I mention he’s been booked on Oprah and The View?




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From: Rachael Ray

I think it only fair to warn you that I’ll be arming the 30 Minute Meals staff.

From: Program Director

I smell what you’re cooking, Ms. Ray—but I’m also smelling an Emmy.
 

Jon Methven is the author of This Is Your Captain Speaking, which was published by Simon & Schuster in June 2012. More by Jon Methven