For reasons that baffle me, this condescending, hectoring, supremely unsavory person has been given at least two of her own shows -- one of which is apparently still on the air (who would watch her? I'd rather eat a plate full of undercooked chicken smothered in raw eggs and possibly poisonous mushrooms than subject myself to watching her make that scowling face that somehow acts as her "smile" while she tells me about her favorite breakfast in bed moment for 30 minutes) -- and she regularly appears as a "judge" on the alleged cooking competition "Chopped." Someone at Food Network has a Chef Guarnaschelli fetish that is as mystifying as Spam wrapped in Fugu.
The only thing that's even remotely remarkable about her is unfathomable ability to get herself on television.
I've often thought that I must be missing something -- she can't possibly be as bad as I think she is, and moreover there can't possibly be some grand conspiracy to force her upon us. But now that Ms. Guarnaschelli is a contestant on the newest season of "The Next Iron Chef," (which is laughably subtitled "Super Chefs" -- what exactly is so "super" about Ms. Guarnaschelli?) I have irrefutable proof that Ms. Guarnaschelli is just as irritating, unpleasant, hateful, vituperative, nasty, and repellent as I've always thought. And that there is a conspiracy to force her upon us, no matter what.
On the episode that aired tonight, November 27, Ms. Guarnaschelli served the judges burned peanut shells in a bag. Literally. That is literally what she served the judges. She told them they were inedible. And she served them. Burned peanut shells in a brown paper bag. I am not exaggerating that.
And she didn't even land in the bottom two.
No, please do not ask me to explain the premise of this ridiculous show. It's bad enough that I actually watch, and it's bad enough that I'm actually blogging about it now. The remaining chefs had to create dishes inspired by New York City landmarks, and then tell stories about their food (shouldn't the food itself tell the story?). Ms. Guarnaschelli's landmark was the Empire State Building, for which she concocted some cockamamie story about smelling burned peanut shells -- it's street food! -- every time she walked past the Empire State Building to get to her first job in a restaurant.
Moreover, as for the edible portion of her dish, at least one of the judges -- Simon Majumdar -- complained that her potatoes were as rancid and hard to take as her personality (I'm paraphrasing). But no, it was Chef Elizabeth Falkner who landed in the bottom two because she allegedly didn't "sell" the story behind her Brooklyn Bridge inspired schnitzel, or something.
Maybe Chef Marcus Samuelsson deserved to land in the bottom two (the whole enterprise is dubious!), but there is no way that either he nor Chef Falkner should have gone home before Ms. Guarnaschelli because you know what? Neither of them served the judges in an Iron Chef "Super" Chefs competition a bag full of burned peanut shells.
A bag full of burned peanut shells!
During the final cook-off between the Chefs Falkner and Samuelsson, the Chef Anne Burrell (who is a cool refreshing drink of Mojito on a hot summer day next to Ms. Guarnaschelli) turned to her and said something to effect of, "I'm worried about that schmear on the bottom of Chef Falkner's pan. But I hope it tastes good." To which the backbiting scold Ms. Guarnaschelli replied, "No you don't."
Ms. Guarnaschelli, you see, wishes villification upon others, and she projects that unpleasant calumny that comes so naturally to her onto everyone else.
And I'm not even going to mention -- I'm too irritated! -- the incident in which she dropped her potatoes into the water and she overstated "There was nowhere in the universe I'd rather not be than in that kitchen at that moment." This woman has absolutely no perspective. Would she have rather been in Iraq at that moment? How about on the other side of Pluto?
Okay, I get it. Reality shows are supposed to have villains. But in a cooking competition, shouldn't the contestants -- even the villains -- actually serve, you know, edible food to the judges? Otherwise we might start to get suspicious.
She thinks that smug, condescending scowl is a smile.
Bonus: You can read my Food Network and Hunger Games belittling book, The Hungry Game, here.