When we recently disagreed with the assertion that cooking shows are too unrealistic, many of you seemed to share our opinion that food TV can actually be rather inspiring. Well, here's another question for you to ponder: Should TV chefs serve as role models?
In a Huffington Post article titled "Nasty Habits of Food Network Celebrities," columnist Isabel Cowles criticizes Food Network chefs like Giada De Laurentiis, Sandra Lee, and Guy Fieri for "encouraging wasteful, unhealthy behavior."
Cowles derides De Laurentiis for using (and not recycling) nearly 1,000 square inches of aluminum foil on an episode of Everyday Italian. She frowns on Sandra Lee's use of packaged foods that come in more bags, bottles, and packaging. She doesn't approve of a chili recipe by Guy Fieri that calls for four pounds of meat from three animals, which, she maintains, encourages the reckless consumption of big-agriculture meat. Cowles argues:
The image these chefs are creating of our country's food ethos and practices wreaks of wastefulness, over-indulgence, and laziness. The Food Network and its celebrity chefs should inspire Americans to savor quality food and the entire process of making a meal . . . It's a shame that these chefs don't use their popularity to truly help improve how Americans cook and eat.
I'm curious to hear what you think. Are television chefs being wasteful? Is it their responsibility to serve as an example for the rest of us? Should cooking shows lead the way in encouraging America to reduce its kitchen carbon footprint — or is society expecting a little too much?