Consider the irony:
- The recent rumor/truth that Food Network star Paula Deen has diabetes
- The recent Food Network announcement of new show Fat Chef, premiering on January 26
News of Paula’s illness is sad, especially to her family and fans. It is perhaps not unexpected to those who watch her show and the copious amounts of fat with which she cooks.
As for Fat Chef, here is the pitch from FN’s website: Fat Chef follows the weight loss story of a pastry chef and a soul food chef:
Their weight is putting their lives in serious danger. Now they are doing something about it – following them over sixteen weeks, Michael and Melba attempt to reassess their relationships to food. With the help of Robert Brace working with Michael and Christine Avanti working with Melba, these chefs will try to lose 25% of their body weight and regain control of their lives.
It’s the Biggest Loser with chefs.
Chefs do face particularly difficult challenges losing weight: witness the struggle of White House staff: see White House Staff Loses Weight
Will the next contestant be one of the stars of the network – Paula herself?
What role do chefs have in America’s weight problems, and more specifically, what role do celebrity TV food hosts have? Many have taken a vocal and strong lead in tackling obesity and health related issues, especially among children.
Do TV chefs like Paula Deen have a responsibility, both to themselves and their TV audiences, to introduce healthy food that does not lead to obesity? Does the FN have a responsibility to only show healthy food?
But the truth is Paula Deen is an entertainer, not a cooking instructor. The Food Network is about entertainment, not good eating habits. The core of the network’s lineup are shows like Ace of Cakes, which is not about how to cook a cake – it’s about relationships of the cast and cake design.
Is the answer with Paula herself and how she changes her cooking style now that she has diabetes? Her son Bobby is launching a new show this season as well. Looks like he’s gotten the message (according to the FN website):
Bobby Deen takes his mother’s classic recipes and makes them leaner on his new show, Not My Mama’s Meals.