Friday, September 25, 2009

The Naughty Chef- Episode 1- Better Bring Your Stretchy Pants

And no. I did not think of this title. It was on the info screen on my DVR.

The Naughty Chef is a new show on the Oxygen network featuring "celebrity" chef Blythe Beck, a larger than life, loud mouthed chef who is the executive chef of Central 214 restaurant in the Hotel Palomar in Dallas, TX. And when I say larger than life, I mean it- Blythe is a plus size lady who says she cooks "sexy new American cuisine" which is made with beer, bacon, cheese. And her "I'm not a skinny bitch" attitude is a snub in the face to the wave of "healthy" reality shows that have been hitting the tube. It's just a little ironic that Oxygen just finished the controversial reality show Dance Your Ass Off, which was called many things, none of which was particularly positive by the critics (I loved it, but then, I love almost anything that has dancing and weight loss in it), and now they are serving up this show.

And I am trying to figure out EXACTLY the message of The Naughty Chef.

It is from the producers of The Ace of Cakes, a reality show that follows a bakery of crazy folks in Maryland and the exotic confections that they create. So, is this show about the restaurant industry? Maybe. The opening montage shows a bustling kitchen and lots of praise from customer and co-workers alike for the over the top Beck, who uses phrases like a heart this and monkey and naughty this naughty that. She seems well loved by all that come into contact with her gregarious personality.

But then one customer says that Beck likes food and she is not a size 2 and she doesn't care. And Beck is large. After watching so many shows, I would say that Beck is at least 250 pounds, at least. Probably closer to 300 pounds. And with a menu that includes such healthful treats as Iceburg Babies (their number 1 best selling salad) and Chicken Fried Kobe, how couldn't she be? We see trays of steaming gravy laden dishes, mountains of cobbler, bowls of cheddar mac and cheese (and yes, I will admit my mouth is watering as I type this- I am not made out of lettuce). She is the foul mouthed Paula Dean who drinks and trash talks. Is the show abut her weight?

I think so. This show is not just about the restaurant and it's kooky staff of Door Whores and hated waiters. This show is about a female chef who hates being thin, calls her food naughty, and encourages all to accept the naughty with her. Now the show will lead you to think that this show is covering the trials and tribulations of a struggling new chef making her way in the world, and how bright she is, and how confident she is. But when I watch I see someone who isn't naughty- she is, well, mean. She berates most everyone she comes into contact with, and seems to despise the fact that anyone could be heathy and thin. When she gets 2 stars from a critic, I don't feel bad for her. I feel like she should suck it instead.

I am from Oklahoma, and I know first hand about the weight issues that plague the folks of the southern midwest. Texas does not need chicken fried Kobes, people. But the people LOVE it. They love someone that says "F you, steamed vegies!" and ladles up another side of mashed potatoes. They want someone to tell them that it's okay to eat this way. To tell them they are a skinny bitch that needs a chicken fried sandwich.

And every other show out there is the opposite message. I am so confused! What is Oxygen trying to establish with it's viewers when they preach eat what you want and then show ads for the Hollywood cookie diet and Slimquick diet pills?

The ironic thing is that everyone on the show keeps telling Beck that she is so full of life, and she looks as if she could die of a heart attack and not give a flip at any moment. And if she wants to live her life like that, she can live out loud. But I don't know why when obesity is so high in this country and people are dying from it, why we need a show that glorifies the naughty- and naughty means fat. The jury is out- I would like to say that it is okay to be anyway you want to be as long as you are happy. But if you are going to rub butter in America's face, don't expect everyone to want a taste.

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