Posted by: Joan Spiller | December 28, 2011

My (dis) honours list – for TV chefs

It’s no secret that I am an avid watcher of the food network. And it’s also no secret that I’m a reasonably intolerant person.. so when you take those 2 things into consideration – I think I’ve done well to contain myself this long!

Cos this post is dedicated to all the chefs on the food channel that I simply cannot bear to watch ..

Top of the slops pops is the only woman I know who can make cooking seem dirty:

1. Nigella Lawson

Do you boys really imagine she wears those pink twin sets in the kitchen whilst “whipping up a roast dinner with all the trimmings for 10 people”? Let me assure you she does not. And nor does she ever pop downstairs in her manky dressing gown to make herself a huge sandwich and scoff some dessert, in the middle of the night. Trust me, she doesn’t.

2. Ainsley Harriot

Or good ol’ “Ains mate” to his chums. The way he prances and over-acts his way around the kitchen .. and those shirts. Why the shirts? He’s dreadful..

3. Emeril Lagasse 

If I had the power to get one person removed off our screens for ever I cannot decide between this one and #9. Sod it, this is my blog – they’re both gone! BAM.. Why does he say BAM all the time anyway? Where does BAM fit into a kitchen?

4. Giada de Laurentiis

Other than the fact her head is way too big for her way-too-small body, she over pronounces things in the most irritating way “parmesan” becomes something quite unrecognisable when spouted from her overly large mouth. She gives me a headache.

5. Paula Dean 

Speaking of headaches. Maybe she can cook I really don’t know because any time her voice is on screen the channel changes (it’s magic) .. She sounds like a gaggle of rabid birds attacking something. And did you know that when she laughs, angels die ya’ll.

6. The Hairy bikers 

Yobbos on bikes who eat their way around the globe. Their somewhat awkward jesting with people makes me uncomfortable (and I’m safely in my living room watching). On yer bikes lads .. please!

7. Delia Smith

If I ever wanted to die from boredom whilst in a kitchen? I’d have her playing on the telly to ensure it happened. She has the personality and appeal of cold over cooked broadbeans.

8. Gino D’Acampo

Speaking of unappealing. Gino sleazes his way around the kitchen and his accent well, if it isn’t fake then sure he can’t help it but even so – someone should tell him to just shut up and cook.. Ciao

9. Mario Batali 

He is ungainly, doesn’t explain what he’s doing and generally prepares food that has very little appeal. Even guests on his show look awkward as tho they’re wishing they’d opted to go see the infomercials in the next studio and not this ghastly scene they have before them. And the hair. Greasy .. and waving around as he cooks. And the crocs! Really, he is quite vile.

So I could probably come up with a few others but that’ll do for now.. However it’s not all doom and gloom! There are some fabulous, entertaining and enjoyable chefs on the telly too. Phew!

Again, unranked but posted as I think of them we have a real sweetie up first:

1. Rick Stein

Charming. So so charming. And seems to like ‘real’ food, not fussy food. It is also possible he says “lovely” more than I do 😉

2. Gordon Ramsay

The chef everyone just loves to hate. And I get it, in some ways but you know what? If I EVER need a sure-fire recipe I go for one of Gordon’s. Never ever has he let me down. Sure he seems like a potty mouth jerk, but he can cook! And I kinda like his no nonsense approach actually..

3. Ann Burrell

A little kooky but again – She can cook! I love her cooking style and the fact she is honest in her tips when so many chefs leave you a little mystified as they speak..
Anne Burrell

4. Jamie Oliver

I wanted to put him in my dislikes list but I have to admit he’s grown on me over the years. I loathed him with a passion initially and when he talks I still cringe. Pukka Geezer, oight? (Alright) He creeps me out but he’s a great cook.

5. Heston Blumenthal

Oh Heston. So sexy and slightly crazy. There would be al-chemistry I am sure ..

6. 2 fat ladies

Blasting around Britain on a motorcycle these two are (or were, I should say) amusing and pragmatic cooks. I loved their show and the wicked way they turned out their food! The little tales of their lives were always fascinating. Wish the show was back on!

7. Keith Floyd

I will never forget watching him make what he called “pissed fish” I laughed til I cried, seriously.. He was smashed out of his tiny mind and gosh it was funny to watch.

8. Hugh F-W

Another one I want to dislike but struggle to.  He’s just so JOLLY NICE. Good cook too.

10. Angela Hartnett

A quietly (nicely cynical) understated woman who survived working for Gordon, this woman is awesome. I’d like to do drinks with her sometime.

11. Michael Symon

Just cos I think he’s hot. OK OK and he’s a good cook too 😉

Michael Symon

12. Duff Goldman

I like his: “I want to do things my way” and the fact he hires friends to work for him. And his drive to do things right.  I’d give anything to shave that landing strip off tho.
Duff Goldman

13. Alton  Brown

Crazy science guy in the kitchen. I always learn something when watching his shows for example: I no longer embarass myself when saying kneewah (quinoa) thanks to Alton.
Alton Brown

14. Ina Garten

If you want something more than a bit deliciously wicked she’ll be able to help you out. I do find her husband “Jeffrey” references a little over-done, throughout the show but she knows her stuff.

Ina Garten

And there you have it, the list of chefs (the good, the bad and the ugly) as far as Joan is concerned!



  1. Fabulous. I agree.


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