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Nasty Habits of Food Network Celebrities

Nasty Habits of Food Network Celebrities

Guy Fieri (photo taken by flickr user Phil Romans)

Isabel Cowles Murphy | Chef's Blade

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post on April 15, 2009.

Put away your tin foil, Giada de Laurentiis enthusiasts; lay down your many meats, Guy Ferari fans; and please, Sandra Lee watchers, resist buying all of the pre-packaged ingredients you can easily make on your own. Food Network viewers be warned: your favorite celebrity chef is encouraging wasteful, unhealthy behavior from the grocery store to the plate.

The burgeoning home-cooking trend is a wonderful thing and the Food Network empire (cooking shows, cookbooks, online recipes, magazines, cooking ware, etc.) is a valuable resource for people who want endless options and culinary inspiration. Unfortunately, many of the network’s beloved faces are cooking up a hailstorm of garbage, from wasted packaging to edible trash. As an emerging icon in American eating, the Food Network needs to re-examine the message it sends to consumers.

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Take Giada De Laurentiis, who manages to add nearly 1,000 square inches of aluminum foil to her Los Angeles landfill while preparing to tickle her friends’ taste buds during the “Wine Tasting Party” episode of her show “Everyday Italian.” In the process of making Parmesan Tortilla Crisps and Salami Crisps, De Laurentiis recommends using 4 heavy, large baking sheets (14″ × 16″) each lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. She suggests using yet another foil-lined pan for marinating swordfish.

Instead of washing her bake ware, De Laurentiis simply balls up her greasy foil and tosses it away—an ingenious process that brings her great delight. What De Laurentiis doesn’t recognize is that the aftermath of her soiree will leave an indelible mark on the planet, since aluminum foil does not decompose: imagine the ramifications if thousands of Food Network fans were to routinely mimic such an extravagance.

Guy Fieri is an environmental and nutritional nightmare. His “Dragon’s Breath Chili” is enough to set Michael Pollen’s entire body of work into flames. Let’s look at what he encourages his audience to consume during an episode of “Guy’s Big Bite.” To make eight servings of Chili, Fieri calls for 2 tbsp butter; 3 tbsp bacon grease; 1 lb boneless chuck; 2 lb ground beef; 1 pound bulk Italian sausage; 12 oz lager beer; doubled-fried French fries; 1 c cheddar. This single dish calls for 4 pounds of meat from three animals, if you include the chicken stock.