July 15, 2024

Recipes Celeb Chefs Wish They Had Never Made For The Food Network

Recipes Celeb Chefs Wish They Had Never Made For The Food Network

On the surface, celebrity chefs appear to lead charmed lives. Many of them travel the world to explore new cuisines, host fun cooking shows, and spend their days creating delicious recipes and eating amazing food. Additionally, modern celebrity chefs enjoy fame and fortune — they’re always in the spotlight thanks to the many cooking shows and competitions they appear in on the Food Network; however, it’s not always smooth sailing for celeb chefs. With hectic schedules and the constant demand for new material, some chefs have put out recipes that are questionable at best. Others have been accused of cultural appropriation by getting translations — or even the basics of certain cultural cuisines — completely wrong.

We’ve rounded up some of the worst recipes celebrity chefs have shared (we would argue that a store-bought cake topped with Corn Nuts is the worst offender), as well as how they responded to the backlash. Some of the chefs on this list have revamped or even issued formal letters of apology for their creations. These are the recipes celeb chefs wish they never made for the Food Network.

Read more: The Biggest Scandals To Ever Hit The Food Network

Ree Drummond’s Fried Chicken Pizza

Ree Drummond smiling

Ree Drummond smiling – Monica Schipper / Getty Images

Ree Drummond is best known as the Pioneer Woman. She has a wildly successful food blog, as well as a T.V. show on the Food Network. An Oklahoma native, some of her most popular recipes are hearty, creamy comfort food. As just one example, her Basic Pepperoni Pizza and Four Cheese Pizza recipe on the Food Network website has a perfect 5-star rating and rave reviews; however, when you have as many recipes as the Pioneer Woman, at least one of them is bound to go bad.

The one recipe that Drummond has publicly stated went terribly wrong is her Fried Chicken Pizza recipe. It has a measly five reviews on the Food Network website and has a 3-star rating. Meant to be a quick meal, the recipe calls for frozen bread dough topped with pre-made chicken tenders. The whole thing is baked and then topped with coleslaw, jalapeños, and pickle slices. Drummond later wrote in her 2020 memoir “Frontier Follies,” “My least-favorite recipe I ever filmed for the show was a chicken strip pizza.” After describing the dish, she concluded by saying, “It was absolutely awful, but because it was the end of our last shoot day, we had to move forward with it. I figured it would look better on T.V. when it aired. I was wrong” (via Showbiz Cheatsheet).

Alton Brown’s Slow Cooker Lasagna

Alton Brown smiling at event

Alton Brown smiling at event – Kelly Sullivan / Getty Images

Alton Brown first came on the food scene with a unique take: combine science and cooking, which he did in his Food Network series “Good Eats.” Brown shows his viewers not only how to cook a recipe but also why it works, and he does so in an engaging, informative way. Using sock puppets to represent how yeast rises may sound bizarre, but Brown has made it work surprisingly well across multiple seasons. Not every swing can be a home run, though, and there’s one recipe that Brown made for the Food Network that he deeply regrets. During a live show in Tampa, Florida, during which Brown answered fans’ questions and signed autographs, he explained how his Crock Pot Lasagna recipe didn’t live up to the chef’s stellar reputation.

According to CL Tampa Bay, during the show, Brown discussed how his regrettable recipe amassed 81 1-star reviews on the Food Network website. One commenter even remarked that the recipe “presented a good opportunity to eat cereal for dinner.” Today, the recipe still sits on the Food Network website with a 2½-star rating and 49 reviews, leading us to wonder if some of those original 1-star reviews have since been deleted. As of this writing, the most recent review comes from an anonymous commenter who wrote, “If only we could harness the power of all the dead Italian-Americans rolling in their grave at this recipe, we could get the world off fossil fuels.”

Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa Cake

Sandra Lee smiling at event

Sandra Lee smiling at event – lev radin / Shutterstock

Sandra Lee’s rise to fame came from her series of cookbooks, as well as her show “Semi-Homemade Cooking,” which aired on the Food Network from 2003 to 2011. Unlike other celeb chefs, Lee used pre-made ingredients with the goal of bringing easy recipes into America’s kitchens. She often followed the 70/30 rule: Use 70% store-bought food and 30% that’s from scratch. While this strategy invited derision from other celebrity chefs — Anthony Bourdain reportedly once called Lee the “frightening Hell Spawn of Kathie Lee and Betty Crocker” (via Delish) — the show was a hit.

Despite her success, there is one recipe over which Lee has expressed regrets. Her infamous Kwanzaa Cake debacle began when she made the dessert for her December 2003 holiday special. The recipe used store-bought cake, frosting, canned pie filling, and Corn Nuts, and it garnered a lot of attention — mostly negative. Years later, the recipe’s true creator penned a scathing piece for HuffPost, wherein they disowned the Kwanzaa cake recipe and asserted that Lee had terrible taste in food.

Lee also regrets the recipe, although she never addressed the questionable culinary decision of putting Corn Nuts on a cake. According to New York Magazine, it was “the only [backlash] she has taken to heart, and that she changed how she does what she does because of it, not, mind you, because it missed the culinary mark but because of its racial implications.”

Jamie Oliver’s Empire Roast Chicken

Jamie Oliver on cooking show

Jamie Oliver on cooking show – Mr Pics / Shutterstock

British chef Jamie Oliver first made his way into American kitchens when his show “The Naked Chef” debuted on the Food Network in 1999. Since then, Oliver has hosted other shows and written numerous cookbooks. He has also led a campaign to improve the nutrition in British school lunches. A sometimes controversial figure, Oliver has offered up a few recipes that have been condemned for cultural appropriation, including his Jollof Rice and Punchy Jerk Rice recipes.

The recipe Oliver most regrets, however, is his recipe for Empire Roast Chicken, the name of which seemed to celebrate England’s rule over India from 1858 to 1947. The recipe contains spices such as turmeric, cumin, and garam masala. Oliver later told The Sunday Times that his recipe would not be appropriate today, and to avoid further mishaps, the chef hired cultural appropriation specialists to advise on his cookbooks. You can still find Oliver’s Empire Roast Chicken recipe on his website, though it has since been renamed Spiced Roast Chicken.

Nigella Lawson’s Slut Spaghetti

Nigella Lawson smiling

Nigella Lawson smiling – Dave Benett / Getty Images

Nigella Lawson is a British cookbook author and T.V. host who has created many well-rated recipes for the Food Network. She’s known for using simple ingredients and making uncomplicated dishes. Though she’s not a trained chef, she did teach herself to cook and began her career by writing as a freelance food journalist. Lawson doesn’t call herself a chef, nor does she want to be considered one. Instead, she’s proud of being a home cook. “Real cooking is what happens in the home,” she explained in an essay for Lenny Letter.

Despite her success, Lawson does have one recipe regret, but it’s not about the recipe itself — it’s about the name. Lawson created a version of pasta alla puttanesca that she dubbed “Slut’s Spaghetti,” which is a direct translation from the Italian version. Lawson eventually changed the name to “Slattern’s Spaghetti,” writing on her website, “This is the sort of dish cooked by slatterns who don’t go to market to get their ingredients fresh, but are happy to use stuff out of cans and jars.”

Lawson explained further distaste for using the word “slut” in a recipe when she changed the name of her beloved “Slut Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly” recipe to “Ruby Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly.” In 2021, Lawson tweeted, “I feel that the word has taken on a coarser, more cruel connotation and I’m not happy with that.”

Geoffrey Zakarian’s Adobo-Style Chicken

Geoffrey Zakarian smiling at event

Geoffrey Zakarian smiling at event – lev radin / Shutterstock

American chef Geoffrey Zakarian is a cookbook author, the executive chef of several restaurants, and a celebrity host on the Food Network. Known for his fine dining establishments, he’s been a Food Network regular since 2011 when he first appeared on the show “Iron Chef.” Some of his best-rated recipes for the Food Network include Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Loin and a Lemon Tart (both of which have perfect 5-star ratings).

Zakarian has, however, been the subject of controversy. Not only did his employees sue him for labor violations, but he’s also been accused of culturally appropriating recipes. As just one example, his Adobo-Style Chicken was ripped apart on Reddit in 2022. Commenters were horrified at his inclusion of parsley and the lack of garlic and vinegar. As one Redditor wrote, “He should have titled it ‘Filipino-inspired adobo’ and had no problem.”

Though Zakarian himself hasn’t commented on this failed dish, changes have been made to the original Food Network recipe. As the network’s website states, “This recipe has been updated to more accurately recognize its origin or to add cultural context. It may differ from what was originally published or broadcast.”

Chef John Creger’s Deadly Raw Eel

close up of eels at the fish market

close up of eels at the fish market – Tulla / Getty Images

John Creger was the executive chef and owner of the now-closed Baltimore, Maryland restaurant Fuisine. Thanks to his extensive background in the food industry, Creger became a contestant on the Food Network show “Chopped,” wherein four chefs compete against one another for victory. Unfortunately, when Creger appeared on the show’s special Halloween episode, he committed perhaps the biggest possible cooking faux pas by offering the judges a deadly ingredient.

Creger took the episode’s spooky Halloween theme a bit too far when he served the judges a potentially poisonous appetizer. Host Ted Allen warned the chefs about one of the required ingredients, eel blood. As Allen explained, raw eel blood is toxic to humans and must be fully cooked in order to be edible. In a decision he most surely regretted later on, Cregar told the camera that he doesn’t like to play it safe and that he wanted to give the judges a new experience.

Understandably, the judges weren’t interested in this new experience; according to an archived article from Boston.com, even a small amount of raw eel blood can make your heart cramp up, which is never a good thing. None of the judges tried Creger’s dangerous eel, and the chef was “chopped” in the appetizer round.

Bobby’s Flay’s Chocolate Blackout Wedding Cake With Coconut Buttercream

Bobby Flay at cooking demo

Bobby Flay at cooking demo – Alexander Tamargo / Getty Images

Bobby Flay is admittedly not a pastry chef. The celebrity chef, cookbook author, restaurateur, and T.V. personality is known for his bold, spicy recipes, and he’s been on the Food Network since 1994. Flay has published numerous popular recipes through the network, such as his Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze, which has garnered 5 stars and over 400 reviews.

Flay has filmed countless episodes of his various T.V. shows, but one of his few fails came during an episode of “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” in which he competed against New York-based pastry chef Michelle Doll. As Flay later admitted, he was out of his element. He told Delish in 2016, “Anything with butter, flour, sugar, and eggs. I’m the most impatient pastry chef ever.” While Doll made a beautiful wedding cake, Flay described his as “country-style.”

Doll won the challenge with a gorgeous Cinnamon Vanilla Wedding Cake with Mexican Hot Chocolate Buttercream. While Flay’s Chocolate Blackout Wedding Cake with Coconut Buttercream may not have been as aesthetically pleasing as Doll’s dessert, the recipe has received stellar reviews.

Food Blogger Tieghan Gerard’s Weeknight Ginger Pho Ga

Tieghan Gerard with microphone

Tieghan Gerard with microphone – John Lamparski / Getty Images

Tieghan Gerard’s claim to fame came from her popular food blog, Half Baked Harvest. She has also published many recipes through the Food Network, which also hosts her cooking show, Tieghan’s Harvest Table. Gerard is a self-taught cook with no formal training and is known for her everyday recipes made with fresh ingredients.

Gerard has, however, received criticism for a handful of her recipes. As just one example, her Weeknight Ginger Pho Ga has been accused of culturally appropriating Vietnamese cuisine and being incorrectly labeled. As Vietnamese American recipe developer Suzanne Nuyen explained to Today, “The only thing that made it [Gerard’s recipe] even close to pho was that it was noodles in a broth.” In response to the backlash, Gerard changed the recipe’s title to “Easy sesame chicken and noodles in spicy broth.”

In a statement that a spokesperson sent to Today, Gerard shared, “It was never my intention to offend or hurt anyone or the culture. I will make sure [to] be much more conscious when deciding on recipe titles in the future and be sure to do more research.” Since this misstep, however, Gerard has come under fire for another recipe: her 25 Minute Ginger Sesame Banh Mi Rice Bowls. The food influencer has yet to respond to criticism about the Banh Mi rice bowls, despite the fact “Banh Mi” translates to “bread” in English and has nothing to do with rice.

Read the original article on Mashed