Review: Cupcake Wars

Although my distaste for any reality cooking competition that doesn’t include the words “Iron Chef” remains steadfast I watched with folks across the land as the Food Network rolled out it’s latest, Cupcake Wars.

Here’s the gist from a previous post:

Apparently cupcake bakers (cupcakesters?) are very territorial as the original concept for Cupcake Wars was a documentary about their often heated turf wars.  Now the idea of cupcakesters rumbling like the kids in an S.E. Hinton novel has a certain appeal – provided they do battle with rolling pins and not piping bags filled with icing.  But after some discussion, Super Delicious (the production company responsible for Cupcake Wars as well as Manswers and The Assistant) morphed it into a weekly no-holds-barred, loser-leave-town cupcake battle royal.

In the very first challenge this show lost any chance of my becoming a fan when contestants had to make cupcakes that contain ingredients like smoked salmon, capers and similar un-cupcakey flavors.  I am so over challenges like this.  I thought they wanted to know who made the best cupcakes but apparently it was about “let’s take some talented people and do everything we can to make them look like idiots.”

I am not alone in believing that this kind of stupidity needs to run it course.  Chef John of the highly popular Internet-based cooking show Food Wishes said this via Twitter, “Sorry, Cupcake Wars, I just can’t do it.”  Chef John is not just a celebrity chef but also an accomplished culinary instructor.

Here’s what Food Network had to say on their premiere episode, “In this episode, 4 cupcake makers vie to have their treats presented at the Alma Awards. Based off of taste and presentation, only one will win the gig. We are about to put on our helmet, pick up our frosting gun and go to battle. The war is on!”

Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, Chopped, Next Food Network Star – they all have these “challenges to test the chefs metal.”  They are more about contrived drama than actual cooking.  However, Cupcake Wars takes that practice to asinine levels that quite simply are offensive.   I highly doubt I watch the show again, not when I have more interesting pursuits like watching paint dry or repeatedly hitting myself with a phone book.

That being said, I predict a hit.

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
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2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
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2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
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