Bon Appétit | An Ode to the Food Network

Recently I have started watching what has arguably been the highlight network of my childhood once again: The Food Network. I have felt that I have lost touch from the thing that sparked my inspiration for a love of food. The passion did not stem from the “wonderful” cooking of my mother, as the only thing she has been able to show me how to make was her baked ziti, (Bon Appétit | Recipe for Baked Ziti aka Edible Heaven). While my friends in elementary and middle school were watching Nick at Night, Disney Channel, or Cartoon Network, I watched the Food Network, and I truly miss it. Here are some reasons why:

1.) Ina Garten

I like to tell people that Ina and I have a complicated relationship. There’s something about her that I can’t stand but it’s that same quality that won’t let me take my eyes off of her. Her most popular show, The Barefoot Contessa, is a perfect reflection of her personality, as it painfully addicting. It all takes place in Ina’s favorite place on Earth, the Hamptons. For every neighbor that moves in within a 5-mile radius, for every person that has a kid, or for whoever gets married, Ina is ready with “planning the dinner party!” In my mind, Ina is the personal chef of the Hamptons, and no matter who she serves food to, even her husband Jeffery, they always, I mean always love it. I do not know what would happen if someone did not like what Ina has cooked for them, but I’m sure it would start World War III. Keep using that good vanilla extract Ina!–I’ll be watching.

2.) Giada De Laurentiis 

Although people criticize this ball of Italian sunshine for her abnormally large head, I will eat whatever cheese, piece of bread, or pasta dish she puts in front of me with a smile on my face. I have always had a love for Giada, and I like her kitchen. All white countertops overlooking a beach? Not bad. Everything Giada does just looks perfect, and I feel like if I eat whatever she makes, I’ll be as perfect as her someday. She even got to cook for the Queen of England! What a woman.

3.) Alton Brown

Alton, in my mind, is arguably the pioneer for the new age in food television. Alton’s breakthrough show, Good Eats, brought the concept of a cooking show into the entertainment business. Since the countless seasons of Good Eats, all of which I’ve seen numerous times, he has hosted some of the most entertaining shows on Food Network–from Iron Chef America to Cutthroat Kitchen, which is basically a twisted version of the show Chopped that I’m sure most people are familiar with, and I cannot get enough of it.

4.)  The Next Food Network Show

This show has been around for about a decade now, and it follows contestants on their “journey to stardom” in the Food Network world. The winner of each season gets to host a show on Food Network, and some incredible stars have been born through it. Ever hear of Guy Fieri, the guy who is still eating his way through the world on Diners, Drive Ins and dives?  I bet you didn’t know he got his start on The Next Food Network Star,  winning season 2 in 2006. The show is also my version of *insert any show on E! or Bravo*, but better because there is food involved. There is always drama between the contestants, and the show is usually hosted by Giada, and Bobby Flay, (another Food Network heartthrob) and even Alton occasionally, so you better believe I have seen every season.

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