RELEVANT Roundtable is when we ask our slate of culture writers a question and compile their responses. This week’s question: Which piece of food media makes you the hungriest?
Tyler Daswick: When it comes to stirring up pure excitement for food and cooking, nothing beats Chopped. The premise is simple: Competing chefs open a basket and must use all the contents in one dish under a time limit. Other food shows might be more beautiful or informative or prestigious, but Chopped’s on-the-fly creativity and breakneck pace make me think about actually making food more than any other show. But even if I’m not feeling like donning an apron myself, the petty disputes between competitors and vicious feedback from the judges make it a shameless backdrop for snacking on the couch.
Matt Conner: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy’s Big Bite, Guy’s Grocery Games … even Minute to Win It. The show itself doesn’t matter as long as it features the walking Americana folk-art installation known as Guy Fieri. More than a five-blend mac and cheese, Fieri himself is my comfort food, a relaxing presence when I can’t sleep at night. Plus his tips, both frosted and cooking, are always on point. As the urban planner of Flavortown, Fieri is always cooking up something exciting, and I’m always game to watch.
Lesley Crews: It’s Cake Wars, hands down. Nothing ticks me off more than when they drop a PERFECTLY GOOD CAKE on the ground and then just THROW IT IN THE TRASH like they didn’t spend three hours on it! By the way, the host of this show is Jonathan Bennett, otherwise known as AARON FREAKING SAMUELS in Mean Girls. Just between us, considering Bennett’s whole career, Cake Wars is his peak (but don’t worry, his hair still looks sexy pushed back, just like Regina said).
Joy Netanya Thompson: Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix is the most delightful surprise of my TV-watching life. Phil Rosenthal, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond (don’t hold that against him), travels the world and eats delicious food with friends. It’s been done, yet somehow, this show is anything but stale. Rosenthal has the personality of your favorite quirky uncle, he truly knows and loves food and more than that—he loves people. Every episode, whether he’s in Vietnam or South Africa or Tuscany, turns out to be about friendship and family as much as food. The emotions it evokes for me are what I imagine it feels like to come home for a holiday meal with a functional family. It’s cozy, lighthearted and, sometimes, quite touching. Does Somebody Feed Phil make me hungry? Let’s put it this way: By the end of the New Orleans episode, I was literally Googling flights. I can’t wait to eat my way through NOLA come November.
Seth Tower Hurd: Bar Rescue might be an odd choice, but I was born with life-threatening food allergies. If I accidentally consume nuts and don’t get medical attention within three hours, you’ll see a brief RIP about me on the RELEVANT homepage (if I was a good enough contributor). Plus, a bevy of other foods, from artichoke to salmon, will make me sick enough to miss a day of work. That being said, Bar Rescue is all about new spins on the basics—burgers, fries, tacos and other things with obvious ingredients. The show kicks up my salivary glands without reminding me I’m one wrong meal away from an online obit by Das. (Das’ note: The headline will be ‘Towering, Heard.’ You’re welcome, Seth.)