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Should TV Chefs Be Responsible For Promoting Eco-Friendly Cooking?

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?


Join The Conversation
equestriennechic equestriennechic 7 years
I'd have to agree. I adore the Food Network, but many shows do encourage wastefulness. I also think that there need to be more vegetarian chefs on there!
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Deidre Deidre 8 years
I think this is an article with good ideas that approached it from an entirely wrong angle. Good idea - Giada could mention on her show that you want to remember to recycle your foil. But the tone is too militant to produce anything but a knee-jerk reaction. It's ultimately the consumer's responsibility for how they handle waste in their kitchen. It would be great if Food Network chefs incorporated some less wasteful aspects into their shows, but it's not their responsibility to control the habits of their viewers...
syako syako 8 years
I agree with most of yall too. In fact, as a consumer/TV viewer, if we're unhappy with the eco-habits of a host we can stop watching - the show will stop getting as much advertising, and they may learn to green it up. Scolding is not the answer.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
Guy's chili was awesome! I would never make something like that, but it looked so amazing I wanted to go make some chili right after watching him. I agree with most of the people here. Someone has been over-thinking and trying to project the blame on celebrity chefs.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that anyone who's in the public eye has a responsibility to be as mindful of the environment as possible, but to get on their case for not going out of their way to do it is really something else. think about it, a lot of americans don't have the means/time to invest to being as eco-friendly as they'd like. that doesn't mean that they don't want to - it just means that times are tough. so to get on another hosts' case about what she does is really unfair. i think that it's GREAT if someone does show ideas on how to be more responsible, but it's not a requirement i don't think.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
They are chefs! I want them to tell me how to make my food yummy, not how to live my life. If I want to recycle my aluminum foil and use organic meats, I will do that by my own free will.
Emeril has a show on the Green Planet channel, called Emeril Green.
lindssaurussss lindssaurussss 8 years
seriously? cowles was just being rude for commenting on using three meats for a chili. want the chili to be delicous or do you want it to be boring old chilli. should be smacked upside the head. i hate people who are so arrogant about some new issue like the enviroment and feel if EVERYONE isnt 100% into it they should be scolded for it. what a uptight bitch
aukdh aukdh 8 years
This is an absurd article. I will not be recycling my tin foil. Cowles should be more responsible in her article writing. She makes me consume only meat and fruit roll ups. I think she maybe responsible for global warming...
suziryder suziryder 8 years
Didn't she use the wrong "wreaks"? Shouldn't it be "reeks"?
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
That lady is a nutjob and she is why people are resistant to going green. People should be ENCOURAGED not SCOLDED with some holier than thou attitude. She makes me want to use tinfoil to just annoy her.
vohrtex vohrtex 8 years
Well, the foil is stupid. It isn't hard to wash a pan. But even using the foil, you could recycle it. As for the chili, she seems to think that chuck and ground beef come from different animals, which is just ignorant for someone writing about food. If she is counting chicken stock as part of the meat she is just crazy, especially if you use home-made stock made from bones you would otherwise have thrown out. And using the more voluminous, cheaper cuts of meat would seem to inspire a more efficient usefulness than had he used hanger steak or tenderloin. As for nutrition complaints, I don't think Fieri has ever been known for being health inspiring. Don't even get me started on Sandra Lee. But that is what people want. People want simple, easy recipes that make them feel good about cooking for their kids rather than take out and TV dinners. Hence the proliferation of Sandra and Rachel Ray. While it is nice to see more people cooking, public figures do have to accept some sort of rolemodelness, especially those trying to teach. If we, as a society, are trying to hold sports figures and hollywood folks to task as role models, we can certainly expect the same from celebrity chefs.
soapbox soapbox 8 years
I think that someone's thinking too hard.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
No, I don't think they should be responsible for promoting eco-friendly cooking. If they choose to incorporate tips into how to do that then great. But it should not be a required responsibility of all chefs. When will society learn to be responsible for themselves, and stop expecting others to shoulder all the responsibility?
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