SNL

SNL Takes Shot At HFCS Commercials

Since it first aired in the 1970’s Saturday Night Live has tackled issues the regular media won’t touch.  From time to time they have also been guilty of trading their ethics in order to advance their personal political agendas (especially the past four or five years).  But they still occasionally take on “the man” on controversial issues.

Recently SNL spoofed those highly unethical Sweet Surprise disinformation commercials the folks at the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) lobby put together in an attempt to confuse the general public about the ever increasing dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (aka HFCS, aka Corn Syrup).  This is not only a big deal because it is the first real attention the national media has given to the issue but also because it seems to buck at SNL’s recent trend of blindly supporting the Obama Administration regardless of its obvious failures in certain areas.

You see, Monsanto and other large agribusiness companies (the ones who profit from HFCS) were among the largest contributors to the Obama candidacy.  In return for their financial backing they were rewarded by getting to put their own people in charge of the government agencies that are charged with regulating them.  The number of agribusiness lobbyists now operating within this administration is staggering with the two most notable moles being USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and FDA Food Czar Michael Taylor.  The result is that neither department can be considered reliable anymore.

I was recently at an event with a number of food writers.  Most worked directly for large publications.  They related tales of how food writers were being harassed by Sweet Surprise anytime they wrote something unflattering about HFCS.  If they wrote an opinion column they were hit with libel suits.  If they dared to publish any of the mountains of scientific research that reveals the truth about HFCS they are getting buried with cease and desist orders and other frivolous ligation.

From a legal standpoint none of these suits have a leg to stand on.  Opinion columns (like this one) are just that, a statement of opinion and are Constitutionally protected.  And it has never been a crime to print scientific results.  That isn’t the point, CRA knows they don’t stand a chance of winning any of these suits.  The point is to harass the parent organizations into telling their food writers to just leave well enough alone.  It is litigious terrorism.

Well, chalk one up for the good guys:

Todd English Calls Off Wedding to Erica Wang

Boston’s foremost celebrity chef is still a bachelor. Todd English, of Olives and Bonfire fame, was supposed to marry Erica Wang, his girlfriend of almost two years, at the St. Regis in New York on Saturday night, but the pair canceled the wedding at the last minute.

English’s reps say the decision was mutual and that the couple’s family and friends were notified of the split a few days in advance, but some guests tell us they were already en route to New York City when they heard the wedding was off. Insiders tell us the news wasn’t a shock. Apparently, English and Wang’s relationship was a turbulent one.

According to the New York Post, Wang gathered her family and friends on Saturday night for a condolence party, making use of the food and drink that had already been purchased for the ill-fated affair. She wore all black, but kept the crowd dancing. English’s reps would only make one official comment yesterday: “No wedding took place this weekend. We appreciate your respect of Todd English’s privacy at this time.” Those reps didn’t shed light on why English and Wang’s registry on the Tiffany’s website lists their wedding date as June 1, 2009. Perhaps this isn’t the first time the party was canceled? (For the record, the couple had registered for some clocks, frames, and $475 salt and pepper shakers.)

It seems the weekend wasn’t ruined for English’s friends, who wound up in New York City with nothing to do. John Henry’s wife Linda Pizzuti Henry and Boston nightclub owner Ed Kane, who are pals of English, said on Twitter that they were spending Saturday night at NBC watching Ryan Reynolds and Lady Gaga on “Saturday Night Live.” Not a bad Plan B, right?

UPDATE: Erica Wang was ultimately charged with with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon after she allegedly attacked Chef English prior to the wedding.  The attack prompted him to call off the relationship.  Purportedly English tried to keep the matter quiet but Wang chose to play out the dispute in the media.  Wang’s publicity-mongering only lends credence to the psycho-bride opinion that swarms this whole affair.  Neither does the fact that Wang through a $150,000 bash at the St. Regis and danced the night away at what was supposed to be the couple’s reception.

with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon

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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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