Monday, October 02, 2006

how is rachel ray still on?

This has been bothering me for some time. There was a short spell during which I could almost watch her cooking show; brand new cable will make you watch anything. And it's true I tried on occasion to watch her "travel show," which has it's problems outside of her cooking show.

I could give two shits about formal chef training, one common anti-Rachel Ray argument. Formal chef training is for people who can't learn how to cook by cooking or for people who think they need a piece of paper to prove they can cook. Believe me, anything you learn at Johnson and Wales I can figure out. I too have a copy of Escoffier's ponderous old sack of right and wrong, and I have enough Julia Child to field a team with substitutes.

Is my problem with Rachel her perkiness? I don't think so. I love Paula Dean, sometimes, and she's perky enough for a truck full of belles, but Paula, in addition to the accent, has history and some credibility that Rachel doesn't seem to have. I've worked with perky people, but they're usually servers and don't belong in the kitchen anyway. She obviously doesn't belong in a professional kitchen, which is fine. Her show is about home cooking. I don't especially care for perkiness, but I can look past most afflictions to the person underneath.

I hate that she can't just say olive oil, but instead she calls it E.V.O.O. Pointing out the "extra virgin" all the time is just pointless. I mean, who the hell buys anything else? If you don't want extra virgin olive oil, then use butter, but no, dumbass Rachel Ray has to call it E.V.O.O. If I hear somebody say E.V.O.O. I'm going to hit them with a saute pan.

The main issue that I have with her is her tipping. She doesn't go anywhere without a camera crew, as we see on her shows, and she makes every single restaurant go through this painful pretense that they like her. No restaurant is going to turn down free publicity, even if it is Rachel Ray, because it really isn't hard to slap a decent meal in front of anyone and make them happy for the viewing audience, and what looks better than happy people in your dining room? Perhaps some customers might be afraid that Rachel will come back and might avoid the restaurant due to that fear, but overall, she has to be at least not bad for business.

But I can guarantee that the staff hates the sight of her. The kitchen knows that she's coming back to peak at them if they so much as meet her hungry gaze from the kitchen, and no one wants Rachel Q. Public rambling around tasting the sauces. The servers all know that they are going to be screwed if they get her table. She's going to grill you about the menu, knowing that her budget is ten bucks and that the only thing she can have today is in the very middle of the menu, but she just has to know about everything. . .oh, and can you hurry? The dollar tour at Fort Knuckleworth is about to start and she needs this segment filmed quickly so that she can go film that segment. So all the servers run like hell to be peeing or smoking or anywhere out of site of management, except for that one perky bitch that no one likes anyway, or the head waiter if he/she actually gives a shit about the restaurant itself. And for all that trouble, they are lucky to walk away with any sort of reasonable tip

And now she has an actual network television show. Who thought this was a good idea? Who has enough clout and little enough sense to . . . uh . . . oh yeah, network t.v. I guess that answers that. So, yeah, she has a "real" show now. I don't watch a lot of morning t.v. so it isn't really anything that'll bother me. But sometimes I do happen to check out the lower number channels, and it's traumatic to jump from Martha Stewart to Rachel. Martha, even before her stint in the pokey could have stomped Rachel into a bulb and planted her ass.

So there it is. Because she's a poor tipper, Rachel Ray doesn't deserve to have a television show. All the other strikes against her are really small in comparison to her blatant insistence on tipping poorly.

I will admit that one of the greatest lines I have ever heard came from an episode of her show, though I forget the name of the program, Three Piss Poor Tips Across America in a Day or something like that. The point being that she was in Chattanooga TN and was boarding the Chattanooga ChooChoo. An employee opened the door for her and asked where she was visiting from. Rachel replies, "New York City," to which the man answers, "Welcome to America."