Letters To FNH »

What’s In Our Inbox: Letters To FNH
Posted by Jillian Madison

We get a lot of colorful, idiotic, and just plain WTF e-mails here at FNH, so every month I like to share the contents of my inbox with you guys in a segment called “LETTERS TO FNH.” This is the part where YOU guys get the floor to share the stuff you saw, and voice what YOU think about the Food Network.

This month features fan encounters with Alton Brown and Sandra Lee, Bobby Flay’s Irish twin, Paula Deen’s horsedump pie, and a few letters from TOTAL IDIOTS. Let’s do it!

Hi. My name is Paula xxxxx and I’m an old friend of Marc’s so could please forward this to him. 323 733-xxxx.

Sure. “Marc” is the very first person in my speed dial. Hold on while I ring him and let him know you’re looking to reconnect. (Seriously, honey, can’t you use Classmates.com or GOOGLE like the rest of the world? Must you resort to emailing strangers your phone number?)

Can you please write something about Sweet Genius!? It is the most RIDICULOUS show I have ever seen on food network. For one thing what the hell is Ron Ben Israels accent and why did he steal my mascara on and put on 5 coats of lashblast? The place where they film is way too big for the show, and a computer voice does most of Ron’s lines! All of his “inspirations” are the most flamboyant thing. High Heels, a masquerade mask, even when it was a turtle it was a bedazzled one! Then when he eats the food he literally says three adjectives about each part of the dish. The cake is warm, sweet, rich. THAT’S IT. Who is this person and where the hell did they find him? I literally watch it just to find out what ridiculous stuff will be on next. -Sam and Sloan

I tried to watch it. I really did. I DVR’d it and everything. Twice. But both times I was only physically able to watch it for 5 minutes. It was just that bad. I promptly deleted it from my DVR and promised to never watch again. If anyone out there reading wants to recap the show or write a bit about it for FNH, I’d be all ears. Until then, here’s a menacing little screengrab sent in by Dawn:

I came across this picture today and while the first thing that caught my attention was the crazy-eyes and pure batshit insanity that these two people represent, I unfortunately could not escape the feeling that the guy looked familiar — and that’s when I realized that he was most likely Adam Gertler’s dad.  -Ryan

And in a related story:

I don’t know about you, but I find that this Ron Ben Israel guy seems to be the horrifying lovechild of Iron Chef Michael Symon and Bravo bitch Tabatha Coffey. -Kellie


Wow – so you guys are all really loving Sweet Genius, eh? /sarcasm

I just wanted to send an anonymous note to you about Sandra Lee. I went to the Food Network Food & Wine Festival ‘Sweet’ event hosted by Sandra Lee Friday night (I only went because it was free) and I was shocked at how openly bitchy and arrogant she was! She sauntered about the event with her beau Andy Cuomo (and an entourage of security) with an air about her as though she thinks she is the 2nd Coming or Oprah. Not to mention she didn’t seem to want to stop to talk with the people who might have come there to see her. She seemed to want to just waltz about the event with this security entourage and let her white trashy ego grow (don’t even get me started on the tacky, trailer-park looking outfit she was wearing, it infuriates me that people outside of NYC saw an article that gave her a Best-Dressed award, because she does NOT in ANY way represent NYC fashion, I don’t see in what area she would be considered Best-Dressed, she is a laughing-stock!)

As if that weren’t horrendous enough, when it came time for her to speak to the crowd, she was so RUDE and bitchy. She told everyone to quiet down because she “lost my voice talking to YOU ALL and you guys need to SERIOUSLY be quiet! When the crowd didn’t seem to pay attention and quiet down for her, so she wouldn’t have to speak loudly, she got openly bitchy and said, “SERIOUSLY everyone, SERIOUSLY?!?!?! I’m not going to speak until you quiet down!!” HA! (It gave a feeling of, “How DARE you speak when I am trying to talk?! Don’t you know who I am?!”)

I was shocked how openly rude and bitchy she was, not only 1st within the crowd, but 2nd during a speech. Doesn’t she have a PR person telling her that bitchiness doesn’t sell?!?! All the other personalities there seemed to engage and interact with the people who came to see them-except for Sandra Lee-whom was the main Host! (Anne Burrell was there as well as Bobby Flay and others- and both seemed very down to earth and had no ego or airs about them, they were walking around without, gasp, security or an entourage!?)

Just thought you’d like to hear this and wondering if anyone else was there and saw the same thing.

I’ve never met Sandra Lee, but for what it’s worth, I’ve heard a thousand stories like this. You are not alone, anonymous!

Did you happen to catch any of Paula Deen’s appearance on the Dr. Oz show on 10/11/11? I am watching it now on dvr and it is quite interesting. First off, she explains that she is gassy from some grapes she ate and feels as though she may need to run off to the bathroom at any moment (this is before they begin talking about her food) and that she is a “regular pooper”. Then she explains that she “holds” a pack and a half of cigarettes a day! I just thought I would bring this compelling interview to your attention as I am finding it very revealing and hilarious. -Melissa

Wow. Talk about way TMI. But honestly, very typical. These days, if Paula Deen did an interview without talking about shit, I’d be worried. And speaking about Paula Deen and shit…

Hi Jillian,
I came across this on the food network web site for Paula Deen’s apple pie and when I saw the picture I just about lost my lunch. Looks like a huge pile of horse shit. Words just cant describe it. Nothing like two cups of crisco to get the blood flowing. -Michael

How do you even slice through that thing? With a chainsaw?

You don’t suppose the new Mazda 3, with its oversized smile-shaped grille, was inspired by Giada De Laurentiis? -Dan

That would scare the hell out of me if I saw it in my rear view mirror.

Hi Jillian, I frequent your blog and know that, if there is anyone on Food Network that you even remotely like and respect, it’s Alton Brown. He’s definitely number one in my book, and I was SUPER starstruck when I saw him in Austin last weekend. I saw him walking towards me on South Congress Street and sheepishly said, “Hi…Would you mind if I took a moment of your time? I don’t want to bother you, but I’m a big fan!” He and his friend smiled and assured me that I wasn’t a bother. Here’s the kicker… before I could gush anymore about how much I love this man, Alton stuck out his hand, smiled, and said “Hi, I’m Alton Brown.” HAHAHA Yes, sir, I know. He was sweet, charming, and casual-the Alton Brown we know and LOVE (…I do, anyway. could you tell??) I saw him again after we had parted ways initially, and I was texting furiously. “I’m telling everyone I know that I just met you!” He laughed and asked, “How many of them even know who I am?!” ..um, all of them! It’s a prerequisite for being my friend. Needless to say, this made my life! And yes, if he asked, I would marry him ( please don’t ruin my deliciously delusional state with the bothersome fact that he already has a wife. DETAILS!) Thanks again for the blog and hope you enjoyed my little story of pure, unadulterated joy! -Ashley

Great story Ashley! Thanks for sharing. Alton is, in fact, THE MAN.

I don’t know if the new Food Network show Crave is brand new or not, but I didn’t see it mentioned on your site. Good god is it awful! The host is some alleged “food critic” and “food journalist” named Troy Johnson and he is an unsufferable douchebag of epic proportions. I cannot go into any more details or I may have a stroke. Just watch the show (if you can stand it) and I will look forward to this asshole getting skewered on your site soon. -Kirk

I agree. I tried watching it once but the host made me want to jump off a bridge. He talks 900 mph and makes jokes that, well, aren’t funny. Plus… another show with a random guy driving around eating things? Come on. Make it stop.

Hey Jill, love your site. I was just going through pictures from when I was abroad last year, and I found a picture of a political poster for someone running for a representative position in Ireland. AKA the Irish clone of Bobby Flay. My friend and I were so sick of seeing his smug clone face. His name is Ruadhán Mac Aodháin and this is just the picture I had taken of the poster. -Laura

The resemblance is uncanny!

I am trying to find your Holiday Magazine. The one with the bunk cake and, also the chicken. Thank you

Ohhhhh. The one with the bunk cake and the chicken. Hold on while I laugh myself into a coma. BRB.

So I was watching the Frightfully Good episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate, and noticed when they were talking about the Lamb Face salad (serious ick, by the way), they flashed the salad across the screen, and there very clearly was a hair hanging down. So gross. Do they never catch crap like that – don’t they have editors? -Kristi

Ewwwwwwwww! Do not want!

Thanks for all the great letters and pics, guys! Keep them coming. Without you, there wouldn’t be a FNH!



Other posts on Food Network Humor:

---What’s In Our Inbox: Letters To FNH
---What’s In Our Inbox: Letters To FNH
---What’s In Our Inbox: Letters To FNH
---Letters To FNH
---Letters To FNH: Paula Deen Spotted In Optical Shop

    79 Responses

  1. Jeremy says:

    I met Alton Brown a few months back when he came out to do a presentation nearby. Didn’t get to talk to him very long since there were a lot of people in line but he was just as advertised: smart, witty, and nice.

    Also, isn’t Alton the only one who donated to your site a while back out of all the Food Network personalities?

  2. Ferd Berfle says:

    That’s not an apple pie, it’s an anthill of the type one usually sees in Africa.

  3. Eurodancemix says:

    I try to be open-minded about other people’s food preferences (since blood sausage is one of my favorite foods, I can relate to liking odd-looking food)) but, honestly, that apple pie looks like a giant pile of chunky diarrhea.

  4. nonamesue says:

    On that last pic, I can’t tell for sure but that looks like a celery string to me, not a hair. (Maybe – the picture ain’t great. I’m not sure that is celery)

    • Foffee says:

      I agree with the celery string assessment. This is most likely the lamb face salad from from Xi’an Famous Foods and it has a ton of herbs and celery leaves in it. Despite the name, it really is freakishly good (not my favorite of their dishes, but still delicious). Nevertheless, is Food Network trying to tell us that they couldn’t do a single re-take in order to not show something that tenuously looks like it could possibly be a strand of human hair?

  5. Melina says:

    Alton is AWESOME. He was in Oklahoma City a few days back and I was so pissed I couldn’t go and meet him. My friend did, though and said he was hilarious and really friendly with the fans. I wish all “celebrities” could be like that.

    As far as Sandra Lee – is that all that surprising? The woman just LOOKS like a bitch, then she opens her mouth and then any trace of doubt you may have had is instantly erased.

  6. Boke1 says:

    That pie looks like what Chet got turned into at the end of Wierd Science.

  7. Jersey Girl says:

    SL must have been a bitch b/c she was sober and with the Gov…I met her once at a Food Festival and she was actually very cool. I even felt a little mean for all the times I made fun of her here.

    But she was kinda drunk and with her sister. She did shots with us.

    Some people shouldn’t NOT drink.

    • Bobby's Manboobs says:

      Alcohol withdrawal is not a pretty sight. Cuomo probably forbids her to get drunk when she’s with him in public. No wonder they’re rarely seen together.

    • george says:

      that person who wrote that long email about Sandra was obviously a huge fan facing reality.

  8. Lana says:

    Ashley, you’re stunningly beautiful! Who’s the awkward-looking guy standing next to you?
    j/k
    Fun story. Thanks for sending it in. :-)

  9. Bobby's Manboobs says:

    As far as Irish Bobby Flay goes, Sinn Fein is the political wing of the Irish Republican Army. Your correspondent apparently didn’t realize that, or surely some joke like “I wondered if he’d make me an Irish Car Bomb?” would have accompanied it.

  10. Obvious troll says:

    It’s amzing how you can run a wonderful site like this yet never watch any of FN shows

    • This site has been online for 3 years. I used to watch all the shows. I did for years. Then, Food Network started sucking worse than it ever had, and the shows became intolerable. So I stopped watching. Now, I watch just enough to keep this site alive. I hate it, honestly. I dread thinking about it, and coming up with things to post about. But I do it for the people who get laughs out of it and enjoy it.

      So take that to your troll bank and sit on it.

      • Erica says:

        And we appreciate your suffering :)

      • Jersey Girl says:

        We thank you…but it leads to very circular logic. The more you blog the more those who realize FN jumped the shark somewhere around 2006 watch. Its a never ending cycle. lol

        With VERY few exceptions….Secrets, Alton, and NIC….many of us (aka me) only watch FN to appreciate FNH.

      • Morganza says:

        Just please never stop blogging the Next Food Network Star! I only watch the show to guess and then read what you’ll write about it. You’re so great at it!

      • Kira says:

        lol I actually AVOID watching shows just because I read how horrible they are on your blog. Keep up the good work. Your suffering shall save us all!

      • Banker says:

        So stop if you hate it so much. Nobody will miss it for long. Unlike if you stopped your Really Ghetto site.

      • Former Reader, Occasional Pop-Byer Now says:

        This site used to be kinda funny. But “kinda funny” mixed with the now painfully obvious fact that you don’t watch the channel anymore, Jillian, made me unbookmark it. I still keep checking it to see if you’ll stop mailing it in and get involved again.

        But, face it. You’ve lost interest in criticizing the Network and are just existing off of mailed-in, generic half-assery at this point.

        Lame.

      • Mark H88 says:

        It’s definitely hard to make fun of something that you no longer love. It’s like the comedy roasts. They say you only roast the ones you love and the more you love something, the funnier the ball-busting jokes are. But once you start hating something, it’s so hard to laugh at it because it comes off as just anger and meanness.

        Jillian, I hope you can keep up with more of the humor. I do love the goofiness, but I understand that it’s probably hard to come up with stuff now that the network just pisses you off constantly.

      • Boke1 says:

        Jillian – I agree. I am ashamed to say that I remember making it an actual point to watch certain FN shows but would now rather pull out my own eyeballs with a shrimp fork. Please keep the site going. You have way more fans than detractors.

      • Amber says:

        Just know that we, your fans, appreciate the time and effort that you put into FNH. I find myself checking daily to see what’s new here, and rarely do I NOT laugh myself stupid, but if there ever comes a time when you DO decide to move on, I’d understand, of course. Thanks for the LOLs… Your hard work is much appreciated.

      • Kate says:

        Jillian, I also stopped watching the FN a long time ago. But I still come here to read your hilarious commentary. It’s one of the few websites I keep coming back to, over and over again.
        I love you.
        I don’t want to encourage you to keep doing something you’ve lost enjoyment in doing.. but I love what you do!

  11. Ellie says:

    I know it’s pretty played to complain about the amount nutritional values (or lack thereof) in Paula’s recipes, but this one is over the top – I calculated, because I do indeed have that much time in my hands. There are approximately 16,500 calories and 750 grams of fat in that pie. Even if you cut it into sixteenths you’re looking at over 1000 calories per slice. I get everything in moderation, but come on. There’s nothing moderate about any of that.

  12. Xploder says:

    If Ron Ben Israel is the bald guy, ( I can’t keep up with all the different “personalities” anymore) then he looks like a bastard child of at LEAST Telly Savalas. Mixed with who else is open to conjecture I suppose…

  13. Jenn says:

    I want to meet Alton so much!!! I have noticed that he seems bored and frustrated anymore when he is hosting shows out of Kitchen Stadium. It must be tough to work with a bunch of a**hats with an over inflated sense of self worth. BTW, Jillian, we appreciate your sites so much. Keep making us happy =)

  14. Mariah says:

    I think the pie looks like it belongs in a port-a-potty at the state fair, just sayin. Alton is indeed the man, my aunt has seen him in Atlanta (at whole foods) and she was totally starstruck, as most of us would be! Thanks for making my day with this post!

  15. Alek says:

    Jill,

    I am curious which FN shows got cancelled fast? I think it “have cake will travel”

    Also I am curious that did FN tell you to remove some posts and what their reactions to the ridicilous recipes? I love that feature.

    Keep up the good job!!!!!!!

  16. cloverleaf says:

    “Bunk” cake? Bwahahahahahahaaaaaa!

  17. Amy says:

    Yep, Alton rules. I find him incredibly, irrepressibly dreamy. Although I cannot blame him for wanting to pose with such a lovely, sweet, and gorgeous fan!!

  18. Alexandrite says:

    Ashley in Austin, I am envying you big time! I had planned to go to Houston (I live in San Antonio) to see him on 10/20 since the venue was in my cousin’s neighborhood, but she got a bladder infection and had to be hospitalized, so I wouldn’t have had a place to spend the night after the 7:30m p.m. book signing and Q&A (Driving back to SA 3 hours in the dark, even on I-10, at 10 or 11 p.m. isn’t my idea of fun.) Then I was going to try the Book Festival in Austin but I found out my car needs $1K in repairs and could break down if I got on the road; by that time I didn’t have enough $ for a rental. Then, to finish off those 10 days of hell, I had to have my cat put down because she had cancer. So I’ll keep trying. Lucky you, Ashley! At least I know how he would have looked if I’d gotten to meet him that weekend.

  19. Alton needs to get off FN and go to a real station. FN is a horrible place for his personality and his skills.

  20. Teague says:

    I also met Alton a few years ago he could not have been nicer.

    And what’s the deal with that ‘pie’?

  21. VZG says:

    Does it really still count as a pie if you have to scoop it instead of slice it? I can’t imagine that thing holding together if it was cut into.

  22. Jenn says:

    I met Alton Brown at the NYC Food & Wine Festival. He was perfectly gracious and fun to talk with. He did the very same intro, stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Alton Brown” which cracked me up – like I had no idea. His demonstrations were funny and entertaining. Of course, I have a crush, so I may be biased…

  23. Troy Johnson says:

    I blame the producers. I asked “What’s my motivation?” and they replied, “We want some hyperactive ADD s*** up in this joint. Oh, and if you can muster it, please try to inspire some bridge jumpers.”

    Nailed it!

    Troy Johnson
    That Crave D****bag

  24. Megan Mac says:

    Regarding the second email about Sweet Genius:

    Can someone PLEASE talk about the butterfly episode? A man dunked his mixer’s whisk into meringue and put it in a glass…

    and thought he would make it!

    if it’s not the host it’s the contestants…

    • Brown Sugar says:

      I keep hoping there will be a post about the one with Morimoto’s pastry chef! There were so many language issues. At one point the guy was trying to express that he didn’t want to come in second, but what he said was something like, “I no like number 2, I like number 1.” Then Ron was asking him about another dish, and he said (via the voice-over guy), “It represents a rock.” Ron was like, “A lock?” Pastry guy: “Rock! Rock!” Ron: “Lock? Oh, a ROCK?” We were dying. Maybe you had to be there.

      • Mark H88 says:

        LMAO! I actually posted a screen grab on my Facebook about that. He actually said “Most important is be #1!” – I posted the pic then wrote: “I rove Engrish!! ♥ ”

        I also posted another screen grab of him saying “I have so much idea.” LOL

        I posted that pic with the comment: “This guy crack me up like super happy fun time wish show, awwww??”

  25. Marc says:

    Hi Jill, it’s Marc. Do you still have Paula’s number? Thanks.

  26. Deaner says:

    Is it me, or does Michael Symon look a bit Kojak-ish in that pic?

    (Who loves you, baby?)

  27. FatCat says:

    Jillian, I was actually thinking re-capping Sweet Genius because it is one of the most ridiculous things ever to be seen on TV. Period. On the other hand, I do watch sometimes it just to see how ridiculous it is gonna be next time. Ron Ben-Hur or whatever, has the craziest inspirations for the desserts that it’s unbelievable. Like one time, it was a cat. One time, it was air. AIR!! How can a desert be inspired by air??!! And I totally agree about him wearing too mascara.

    However, it might be too ridiculous to recap.

    I don’t think FN jumped the shark on this show. I think they caught the shark and severed it into a million different pieces with chocolate curls.

    Okay that made no sense. But what does on this channel anymore?

  28. Shell says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Ron Ben Israel looks like a naked mole rat? The resemblance is startling.

  29. Cortney says:

    The Irish dude actually looks like the bizarre lovechild of Bobby Flay and Christopher Walken…

  30. stoup says:

    Sweet Genius is BIZARRE! I’m still trying to figure out Ron Ben-Israel’s nationality, too. There isn’t a whole lot about him on the ‘net…

  31. Rich says:

    The guy from Sweet Genius looks like the creature from Splice. That is all :)

  32. TD says:

    My friend and I agree that Ron Ben-Isreal has this creepy resemblance to Voldemort.

  33. Steph says:

    Paula Dean’s pie: Seriously??? Is that meant to be food??? For PEOPLE?

    Alton Brown…he is just as nice as everyone says. We met him at a food event in Charlotte a couple of years ago, greeted him with the usual fan small talk.

    Then later my hubby went around the corner of the building and Alton was sneaking a smoke…they had a funny exchange, and hubby loves him more than ever.

    It also doesn’t hurt that he is probably the only chef on FN who doesn’t resort to spouting nonsense during his shows. (If I hear “sear in the juices one more time…)

  34. jwm says:

    Sweet Genius is one the most annoying shows ever!!!
    “START A CLOCK!” Really??? Can someone please tell Ron to give Colonel Klink back his looK? YUCK!!!

  35. wasn’t ron ben israel the guy booby challenged to the doughnut throwdown a couple years ago? if so, man he was a drama queen. i remember him throwing a hissy fit because he was caught off-guard by it or whatever. give me a break.

    and that pie is disgusting. though at that point it’s really no longer pie and just…i don’t even know. it’s like a pie factory had the conveyor belt going adding the filling, and the belt got stuck. there’s just no point in using TWENTY-FOUR FUCKING APPLES in one pie.

    and i love ashley, she sounds awesome.

    • Your Name AladdinSane says:

      That was Mark Israel of the donut plant. Allegedly there is no relation but that strains credulity, frankly. He was recently douche-y on Top Chef:Just Desserts as a guest idiot for a quick fire challenge.

  36. Theresa says:

    I sorta kinda met Alton during the Southern Food and Wine Festival a few years ago. He was doing a meet and greet downstairs in a kitchen I was working in. I asked the security guard if after the event was over I could say hello to Alton seeing how he seemed so awesome on tv. I was told that I didn’t pay $50 to meet him and he was a busy man. I shrugged it off and went back to work. About five minutes later security asked for my name and then came back with an autograph for him.

  37. QueenKitty83 says:

    I tried watching the Sweet Genius for 5 minutes. Then I lost all faith in humanity. Whoever gave that douchebag a show should be taken out back and shot.

  38. BurgerTime says:

    No, no, no – the bald guy who hosts “Sweet Genius” is the male version of the judge lady on the cake shows. If she would shave her head, she’d look exactly like him.

    I think the bald judge on “Sweet Genius” is creepy and strange.

  39. TheIrishHalfBlood says:

    I think this picture with the three people…they look so Mister Bean-ish

  40. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone else think Adam Gertler’s kinda attractive? Or just me?
    (singing voice) If you’re 13 and you read this, type back w00t!

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