Food-driven chat fest ‘The Chew’ is patronizing, offers nothing new
BY LORI RACKL TV Criticfirstname.lastname@example.org September 26, 2011 5:54PM
On “The Chew,” Carla Hall (from left), Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Daphne Oz and Clinton Kelly offer up food demonstrations along with food-related “news” and topics.
‘THE CHEW’ ★½
Noon to 1 p.m. weekdays on WLS-Channel 7
Updated: November 11, 2011 2:23PM
This is what “All My Children” died for?
That’s the question soap fans must have been asking after Monday’s premiere of “The Chew,” a new show “about food, family and fun” that ABC slid into “AMC’s” long-held time slot.
Problem is, nothing feels very new about “The Chew,” which is trying to be “The View” but with food.
“The Chew’s” team of five enthusiastic hosts (most of whom seemed jacked up on Red Bull) includes a trio of celebrity chefs: “Iron Chef America” competitors Mario Batali and Michael Symon and “Top Chef” finalist Carla Hall. All three hail from food shows far better than this one.
Joining them in attempting to whip the studio audience into Oprah-like hysteria — but with free pizza instead of iPads and VW Beetles — are Clinton Kelly (“What Not to Wear”) and Daphne Oz. Oz’s regular “Chew” segment, “Things My Dad Taught Me,” is hardly tantalizing TV, since viewers can fill up on Dr. Oz wisdom by cutting out the middleman and watching his show.
“The Chew” has your standard dump-and-stir cooking demos, tips on entertaining and a mundane rehashing of food-related “news.” (A study says cooking at home is cheaper than eating fast food!) Attempts to make food accessible to the masses often came off as patronizing, like when Symon explained that a sommelier is “a big fancy wine person” and demonstrated how to grate cheese with a microplane.
“The Chew” acts as if America has never seen a food show, when the reality is that TV is more crowded than Grant Achatz’ inbox when it comes to culinary content. But instead of filling that “AMC” slot with something fresh and new, all we get are stale leftovers.