The Food Network “Revolution”: A Wasteful Charade

Joe Nilsen
4 min readNov 19, 2022

Behind The Scenes of Your Favorite Cooking Shows

If you found a way to make millions of dollars cooking spin-offs of chicken parmesan while recording terrible punchlines, all power to you; however, I still need to expose the truth on the Food Network. Far too many people watch 30-minute staged cooking shows and form beliefs based on them. These beliefs are rooted in a lie.

The shows you see on the Food Network are a façade, and the “chefs” who lead these shows are hacks.

Before the mainstream media experienced a culinary revolution, most people learned their beliefs about cooking from their families. They saw their mother gardening outside for days, their grandmother in the kitchen for countless hours cooking a dish no one ever had a recipe for, and the collective cleaning efforts after meals were finished. This is the reality of cooking: time, effort, and passion.

Food Network Misleads Home Cooks

Today, we can tune in to the Food Network and see Rachael Ray make her “30 Minute Meals." Rachael Ray is a sweetheart. I’ve met her more than once, and I assure you that her real-life personality is identical to her television personality. With that said, do you know what type of culinary ninja she would have to be to crank out these meals in 30 minutes? Chefs have far superior knife skills, much more kitchen experience, and much more overall speed than Rachael Ray, and no chef could ever cook these 30-minute miracles. How could the average home cook pull these dishes off if a professional chef can't?

They can’t. Still, millions of people who watch Rachael Ray on the Food Network go about the rest of their day thinking they can. They are ultimately being set up for failure and have a negative outlook on what they believe to be real cooking. The Food Network certainly does not want you to know this—their rebuttal is, “You may have learned certain techniques from the show, but you need to purchase the book to get a full grasp of just how to do what Rachael does.”

The TV show and book have taught you everything you need to know to cook like Rachael... in theory.

Congratulations. You are now ready to execute these dishes, just like her. Your pots and pans are far too inferior, though. Now that you have learned all that is needed to be learned, it is time to acquire the tools needed to cook like Rachael.

“We recommend this Rachael Ray 12-Piece Set.”

Perhaps the orange handles are good luck? Why is Rachael Ray’s 4-quart bowl better than the 4-quart bowl I bought from Target? It doesn’t hold more quarts than mine does. Is it the color? The shape? Is there some cutting-edge design that allows a person to whisk mixtures in it with only one hand? No.

The Truth About Celebrity Chefs

Millions of people are paying $40 for Rachael Ray cookware. Why? Not because it’s superior—they're paying for the story behind it.

I worked at the Food Network when I was 19. Everything you see is smoke and mirrors. When filming Anne Burrell’s “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef,” it would take from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to film a single 30-minute episode. Replicas of the same dish Anne was “cooking” were shuffled from the test kitchens to the studio repeatedly. The Food Network tries to get the best shots by putting fresh samples into each dish.

After a long day of shooting the same “scenes” multiple times, repeating the same punchlines more times than I would ever want to hear them again, and shuffling through endless versions of that “one dish” viewers would see, everything was thrown out. There was no respect for the food they wasted or the audience they were misleading.

Sometimes, others on the set would ask if they could have the leftovers for a “family meal.” Nobody from the Food Network ever had a problem with that, as long as somebody took a cut in the middle to check if the protein was cooked through first. I believe that speaks volumes about their intentions.



Joe Nilsen

Tried & true chef forged in the fires of the best restaurants in NYC. 🔥 Smartened up. Began writing and selling. 👨‍💻