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Review: Bama Glama

So Food Network is once again traipsing down the road of Reality TV and farther from actual Food TV.  Their new series, Bama Glama, premiered last week.  So what’s it about?  Here’s how the Network defines it:

Friday nights on Food Network are about to get a little more fabulous. From incredible food to lush floral arrangements, Alabama event designer Scot Wedgeworth creates one-of-a-kind events in Bama Glama, a six-episode original series premiering Friday, December 16 at 8p.m. Eastern/7p.m. Central. With his signature edgy flair, unfiltered sense of humor and volatile team, Scot makes every wedding, birthday party and reception an over-the-top affair.

Bama GlamaBama Glama is remarkable in that it manages to offend me on every possible level.  First and foremost this is not a show about food.  Period.  In an episode they might spend four or five minutes discussing food.  I’m offended that this type of show is on a network that is supposed to be about food.

The acting and writing are wretched.  Perhaps “acting” isn’t the right word.  The “reading” is wretched.  Many scenes of this “reality” program feature people clearly reading (poorly) from cue cards or fighting to remember their lines.  Now I’m not saying the entire show is fake but it’s apparent that certain scenes didn’t go according to plan so they had to fabricate what they had hoped would occur naturally.  I’m offended that they think I’m so stupid I wouldn’t notice that.

Another highly offensive gimmick for the show is the inclusion of a weekly Bridezilla or Mother-of-the-Bridezilla.  You know the types, they feel that a wedding is the bride’s chance to be a princess for a day; in other words raging egomaniacs.  These women never marry for love they marry so they have can be the center of attention for a day.  Well, three days – one for each of their inevitable marriages.

A tangential word of advice to my fellow men.  If at any time during your engagement your fiance says, “Our wedding day is the most important day of our lives” your marriage is doomed.  How can it be the most important day of your lives when it is the least important day of your marriage?  The most important day of your marriage is every day after the wedding.  Now back to business.

Then there is event designer Scot Wedgeworth.  Clearly he is a very creative person.  But, Scot, whenever you have one of your extravagant ideas it doesn’t matter how many times you say “that’s how we do it in the South” it won’t make it true.  They are your very original ideas, take ownership.  But trust me, the average Alabama wedding does not include ballerinas.  I mean 75% of the state’s inhabitants are Southern Baptist, they don’t believe in dancing for any reason.

Many of the things Scot says are typically Southern, aren’t.  I know this because I’ve lived in the South my entire life – seven years in Tennessee, three in Mississippi, a few months in Florida and over three decades in Alabama.  Nothing about this show is an accurate portrayal of life in the modern South.  That blatant and deliberate misrepresentation of an entire culture offends the hell out of me.

Mystery Diners is a great show and so far it’s gotten one episode and now everyone at T Group Productions has to play the waiting game to see if the Network will pick it up.  But this dribble gets a six episode deal?  That means for the next month there is no point in watching Food Network on Fridays because they will be forcing this VH1 reject down our throats.  Now if you’ll excuse me I feel like I need to take a shower or six.

7 Questions with Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen

7 Questions is a series of interviews with the culinary movers and shakers you want or ought to know better.

Hannah Hart of My Drunk KitchenHave you ever gotten so drunk that you did something extremely ridiculous?  Of course you have.  Imagine if someone had gotten that crazy stunt on video.  Now imagine if it then went viral on the YouTube.  Well, that’s what happened to Hannah Hart and the worst part is she’s the one who video taped it and she even uploaded it to the world’s most popular video site, too.

The video in question was meant as a joke.  A way of sharing a laugh with an old friend clear on the other side of the country.  That was four months and 630,000 downloads ago.  Today it is known throughout the Interwebs as Ep. 1: Butter Yo Shit.

So successful was that one drunken evening butchering a grilled cheese sandwich that eight more followed to create a web series called My Drunk Kitchen.  The series as a whole has amassed a staggering 4.6 million downloads, again in just four months.  There’s just something intoxicating about Hannah’s signature, “Hello!”

So what’s her secret?  It’s no secret really, she’s damned funny.  She also sports a nerdy sexuality that surely has fan boys throughout the country Hannah Hart My Drunk Kitchenlove-stricken.  Well cool your jets, boys, Hannah supports the penis embargo.  Or as she puts it “she’s a big ol’ homo.”  It hasn’t stopped her from receiving nearly a thousand marriage proposals, and not just from undersexed geeks and Glee fans either but also from normal people.

When she’s not charming the masses in her quirky cooking (for lack of a better word) show or it’s companion series Advice from the Hart, Hannah is a proofreader specializing in Japanese/English texts for an international translation firm.  According to her web site her free time is spent, “listening to music and doing Sudoku in cafes. She calls this writing.  She enjoys long meandering walks, impromptu dance parties, and artisanal cheeses.”

Sure having a cooking show where the chef gets a little tipsy isn’t new (see Julia Child, Justin Wilson) but one where the host gets three sheets to the wind and the food is iffy?  Yeah, that’s new.  Hannah Hart is the coolest, hippest thing on “the online” right now and that’s why she’s appearing at VidCon 2011 this week in LA.  But she’s neither too cool nor too busy to answer 7 Questions:

1. Have you ever cooked anything on your show that turned out surprisingly well?

Yes! The “America Day Pie Cakes” that I made for the 4th of July episode were edible! Not only that, they were actually tasty. I was shocked.

Hannah Hart My Drunk Kitchen2. What would you say is the sexiest cheese?

Definitely Swiss. Such a tease.

3. The phrase “overnight sensation” is usually a misnomer but not in your case.  How crazy have the past few months been?

The past four months since the first episode launched have been a bit crazy! I was just goofing off and sent my friend a “parody of a YouTube cooking show” and now…this! I’ve been really surprised and really flattered by the positive response.

4. What creates the best cooking drunk – wine, beer or hard liquor?

Champagne! Easily. The most giddy episodes are the ones where I’m bubblin’ on bubbly.

5. Any plans for a spin-off like My Stoned Auto Shop or My Tweeked Chiropractic Clinic?

Ha! All those and more are brilliant ideas. I definitely want to expand the kitchen concept into more comedy. But hopefully people will accept me as just “a girl who likes to make you laugh” instead of “the sloshed chick with the internet thing.” We shall see. Here’s hoping!

6. What can you tell me about My Drunk Iron Kitchen Chef?

It’s going to be FUNDERFUL. If you can get to SF in August, you should. Dates and info to come! The best way to find out about appearances/events is to sign up for the mailing list on the website. I promise no spam! Only monthly e-mails with info.

7. Do you think My Drunk Kitchen could translate well to the big screen a la Julie & Julia?

The real question is: Is America ready to handle such TRUTH? I’d like to think so.

 

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If you haven’t witnessed Hannah’s magic yet enjoy this playlist of her work:

ICA: Cora vs. Grieveson

There was no new Iron Chef this past Sunday so we’re stuck with a rerun this week.  It is Battle: Butter between Iron Chef Cat Cora and challenger Koren Grieveson.

Koren Grieveson on WannabeTVchef.comThe judges for the episode were Isaac Mizrahi, Clint Arthur and Elizabeth Blau a group that was labeled by one poster at ChowHound as the “Worst Panel of Judges Ever.”  It appears many ICA fans had issues with this episode suggesting it was fixed, declaring a secret ingredient like “butter” lame and calling it Battle Lesbian because both competitors are gay.  I find this distasteful.  The sexual orientation of the competitors is not at all important.

However, at least one site, Velvet Park (subtitled Dyke Culture in Bloom) celebrated the episode solely because of the contestants’ sexual orientation.  Tell me, how is that any different than those who discriminate against people for the same reason?  I can tell you; it isn’t any different.  In fact it’s worse; it’s hypocritical.  Bigotry is bigotry.  Between a bigot and a hypocrite give me the bigot, at least you can count on them to tell the truth.

Any way Koren Grieveson is the chef de cuisine at avec in Chicago and according to the restaurant’s web site she, “developed her singular style and meticulous palate during a five-year partnership with Executive Chef Paul Kahan at Blackbird restaurant, where she served as Sous Chef from 1998 until 2003. Working with the collaborative chef, Grieveson was part of the team that launched Blackbird onto the world stage, earning the restaurant accolades for its extraordinary cuisine.”

And the winner is . . .

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a tie.

Fresh Fish: Pumpkinseed

The past few weeks I have taken to hiking the woods behind the house. About a half-mile deep I have found a creek roughly 15 feet across and 3 to 4 feet deep.  I have made it my halfway point.

Today I packed a light weight collapsible rod-n-reel called an ultralight into my backpack and on it was a small lure. When I got to the creek I first checked the trees for moccasins (they like to hang on limbs and drop onto their prey) and then I pulled out the ultralight. To my surprise I had several aggressive hits. The largest looked to be a descent size bream according to the brief flash I got as it shook my hook. As sometimes happens when fishing I hung the lure leaving me no choice but to cut the line.

I had no other artificial lures so I tied on a small hook, shot weight and a cork. Next to the creek was a leaf pile that had been building with each successive autumn creating a natural compost. I raked the leaves until I got to the rich soil beneath. I used my hunting knife to dig up the dirt and sure enough I spotted of few small wigglers (earthworms).  Before long one was impaled on the brass hook and the cork was drifting with the current.

It didn’t take long for the cork to submerge and start heading opposite the current.  I was treated to 10 to 15 seconds of fight before pulling my prey from the stream.

The Pumpkinseed was about three and a half inches in length with a fat belly, not quite big enough to eat, but close. As I removed the hook it pissed on me. Who could blame it, right? The memories of how I had learned to manipulate nature into food came rushing back only after the skills had done their job. Hopefully, I won’t ever need to use these talents but it is nice to know I can still put food on the table should civilization ever take a powder.

pumpkinseedThanks, dad.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

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

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
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
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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