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Old 12-06-2006, 10:30 PM   #1
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TV Food Chef Products

****DISCLAIMER: This thread is NOT a bash, nor do I wish it to become one!!!!!!****

I was just wondering what you all think about all the "products" TV chefs are currently producing &/or are promoting/associating themselves with. It seems like once Paul Newman (ok, granted, not a "tv chef") got his feet wet, everyone else followed.

For instance, all of a sudden Rachel Ray has now apparently joined hands with Kraft. Her face & recipes now appear on Triscuit boxes et al, & she's touting both Triscuit & Ritz crackers in tv commercials. Emeril is now doing toothpaste commercials.

I also nearly fell over when, perusing my supermarket's frozen food aisle, I came across bags of "Emeril's" frozen shrimp. Nothing special - just plain frozen shrimp. But with Emeril's name emblazoned across the bag. And, of course, Emeril has his "essence" & other sauces available at uber-prices as well.

Personally, I can't help but wonder - when is enough enough? I mean - both Rachel Ray & Emeril have tons of money-making shows on their plates. Why start in on products that aren't something that they'd normally be using or promoting except for the money. Rachel Ray has NEVER used any of the crackers on her shows or in her cookbooks that she's now heavily promoting commercially.

And does Emeril really NEED to be doing toothpaste commercials?

Anyone else have feelings about this one way or the other? Frankly, it really has the opposite effect it's supposed to have as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather not buy the products these folks are touting. I find it too greedy & obnoxious.

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Old 12-06-2006, 11:21 PM   #2
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It's all about the money and the fame and stroking the egol. TV chefs become popular and do their best to capitalize on that fame as it is often short-lived.

I don't know that RR improves the taste of a Nabisco Ritz cracker. I have seen the Emeril shrimp and noticed the promote the fact that it's a product of the USA. Some of Emeril's food products have actually received favorable reviews from unbiased sources.

I don't begrudge them their taking advantage of the opportunity to make money.

I bought some Paul Newman's cereal at Costco today.
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Old 12-07-2006, 12:02 AM   #3
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+1, I agree with Andy.

I have, and do, doubt alot of the credibility of these tv chefs, but money talks and well....we know what walks..............................



I only wish I had a product to endorse besides malt liquor and whiskey...


Bottom line is, if you are in the spotlight and now that being a "chef" is "cool", I guess that the offers will pour in. It is ultimately up to the "Chef" to make the call....that call will directly effect the opinion of those that do know the industry though, but then again, that is just my opinion.
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Old 12-07-2006, 12:30 AM   #4
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Emeril, Rachael, Paula Deen (silly breakfast toaster/thingy), whomever. I'm one of those strange people who are not influenced by advertising. If I were interviewed by someone on television about the ads I watch, I would have to excuse myself from the interview. I just don't watch the ads. I have never been interested in which person is selling what product. I'm pretty much a "meat and potatoes" kind of consumer. I read labels, research products and purchase things based on my needs/desires, etc.

For heaven's sake, I still have my blender from 1968 and my crockpot from the early '70s. Plus, I USE them. And they perform just like new.

And, yes, I have to agree that money talks. It just doesn't talk my language.
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Old 12-07-2006, 01:13 AM   #5
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I love watching the food shows, and I HAVE learned a thing or two from these chefs. I don't blame them for wanting to have an income. All I ask is that if you're going to endorse something, at least research it first, and if YOU would use and use it frequently, then go ahead and endorse.

As someone else said, Rachael doesn't even use the crackers on her show.

Emeril DOES use his essence products, but a plain bag of shrimp, give me a break.

When I start seeing these products come out, I start to lose respect for the chef's that endorse these products.
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:46 AM   #6
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It's a two way street: Emerill, RR, or whomever it may be gets paid, and the company hopefully gets an increase in sales and/or better name recognition. It's pretty obvious that any Marketing/PR department with ANY semblance of intelligence will use a personality that brings as much name recognition as the company can afford.

Although I dislike Rachel Ray as a cook (she ain't no chef), I did purchase her 3-piece Furi Knife set which had a portion of the proceeds go to S.O.S. for home use.
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:27 AM   #7
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I don't think enough is ever enough.....but I can slow it down. I never buy signature products. I didn't buy Jordache jeans and I won't buy Emeril's shrimp. (by the way, I read a review in the Philly Inquirer about those shrimp, and they didn't fare well at all)

The good thing about the food network is that it/they give people the confidence to try new food and cook a new way. Nothing wrong with that, at all. But raising their television personalities to demi-god status is unethical, I believe. People are like sponges and will absorb everything they see. Playing into their wallets just isn't right.

My own, personal cooking gods were Julia and Graham. I don't ever recall seeing them hawk anything. Talent, charm, and good taste.
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:29 AM   #8
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Seems to me to be very cyclical (sp?) - early on Sarah Moulton was the apple of everyone's eye at Food Network, altho she did not get into hawking products - course she had her other job at Gourmet.

Then she was phased out and replaced by Emeril, followed by Rachel and to an extent Paula. Personally, I think they are just making hay while the sun shines and before the sun shines on the next 'stars' - more power to them, but they certainly don't influence my buying habits.
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:19 AM   #9
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Vera - I totally agree with you about Julia & Graham. They were both so very popular, & STILL are today, yet neither one (as far as I know) ever felt the need to hawk or endorse anything. It was always just about the cooking. Same with Sara Moulton. I loved her show on Food Network. But, I guess she wouldn't "play the game".

As far as Paul Newman goes, at least all his profits go to charity, so one can't really find fault with that. He's just having fun. But when I go thru the market & see Emeril's sauces at twice the price of other unendorsed brands, it gives me a shiver. And they must sell, because the markets around here have been carrying them for quite some time - something they don't do with other things that haven't "caught on".

What did actually trigger this thread for me was seeing the Rachel Ray commercials for both Triscuits & Ritz crackers on tv. Since I've never EVER seen her use either one on her cooking show or mention them in her cookbooks, it just seems both wrong & greedy. Again, not a bash against her - while I don't care for her personality, I do have a couple of her books & do enjoy her show when she's making something interesting. I just can't figure out why/how she thinks endorsing something she probably never even eats is a "good thing" (to quote a another cooking diva - LOL!!!).

Same with Emeril & "his" frozen shrimp. Really now. In this day & age, markets are now required to tell you where the shrimp came from & whether it was farmed or harvested wild. I really can't beleive that Emeril's frozen shrimp is any different than the shrimp I buy at the seafood counter - except, of course, for the exhorbitant price.
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Old 12-07-2006, 11:01 AM   #10
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BC:

I agree with your sentiments. I do know that in one case, the frozen shrimp, US grown shrimp is losing market share to farmed shrimp from Asia. I believe Emeril's push for US shrimp is motivated by his desire to help rebuild the Louisiana economy while making money. Then again, maybe I'm being naive.
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Old 12-07-2006, 11:34 AM   #11
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got no problem with the promos. Emeril's cajun chicken sausage is quite fine and if looking for a tasty non-red meat casserole item...that's a good one!

What I find hard to swallow is good cooks and chefs putting their names to less than great kitchen items. Unfortunately for them, great pots and pans already existed, so their lines are made abroad with cheap labor and are not the quality of All Clad, Le Creuset, etc. However, many companies wanted a second line or a foot in the door and got a name to go with their product.
If it gets more people cooking better...fine, job done. Still buyer beware.
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Old 12-07-2006, 11:53 AM   #12
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Robo410, you hit the nail on the head with the cookware lines. I love my All Clad collection, some pieces I've had for 15 years. I add a piece about every year and was told by the company that the Emerilware line, although its All Clad, is not as durable or high quality as the original line. And I have nothing against Emeril. Unfortunately, often, seeing a celebrity chef on a piece of cookware means its inferior to the original.

The other marketing that they do is harmless I believe. Let them make their $$. Its the same as putting an athlete on a box of Wheaties. I don't think the product is any better or worse than other similar prepared products. This goes back to the 70's and 80's at least with Paul Prudhomme's rubs and sauces and Wolfgang Puck's frozen pizzas.
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Old 12-07-2006, 12:07 PM   #13
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Ah - forgot about those two. To be honest, I don't mind Prudhomme's stuff, because it's basically just a few spice mixes - at least around here.

Wolfgang Pucks stuff, however, just makes me laugh. The frozen food, the canned soups, sauces, etc., - all at outrageous prices. Again, I really don't believe that anyone with a saucepan & a spoon can't duplicate this stuff for at least half the price. And poor "Puck" is really reaching these days - touting all his stuff (cookware included) on tv home shopping networks. What a sad end to someone who really started out so well.
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Old 12-07-2006, 01:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
BC:

I agree with your sentiments. I do know that in one case, the frozen shrimp, US grown shrimp is losing market share to farmed shrimp from Asia. I believe Emeril's push for US shrimp is motivated by his desire to help rebuild the Louisiana economy while making money. Then again, maybe I'm being naive.
I love dining at any of Emeril's restaurants. My boyfriend and I were on Emeril Live a year ago, and I even got to sit on the stage at one of the bars, getting the food as he made it. My girlfriend interviewed him several times as a food writer for the New Orleans Picayune. I'm quite sure he's made monetary donations to NOLA since Katrina. However, it was what he did initially after the storm that kind of turned me off to him. He fired each and every employee of his two NOLA restaurants a week after the storm. I find it hard to believe that with all his vast epicureal empire he couldn't afford to keep those people on the payroll.
Paul Prudhomme, New Orleans' true son, not only kept his people on the payroll, he housed them in the restaurant if they needed it.

It's also my understanding that Emeril is not getting those shrimp NOLA local.

Sorry to drift from the originial topic.

Yea, I hate when celebrities hawk wares.
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:49 PM   #15
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Don't you just miss the Frugal Gourmet? You always know when they are finished; when they start cooking really weird stuff. One of the last shows I viewed, he was cooking the feet of chickens, nails and all.
RR has been giving out some "untried" advice on her show. "making a bbq pit in your oven". I see some legal pies in her future.
Martha Stewart keeps it real. She will be around for some time. Her new show is a bit different but she's still making apple pies. I'd really like to see her make some instant mashed potatoes. Take on the challenges we people have to deal with. I wonder if she's tried any of that Paul Newman dog food.
I call it "cooking with personality".
RONCO infomericals are fun to watch. Cook and close the sale...close the sale...close the sale. I've actually found some interesting ideas for cooking on those shows.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:08 PM   #16
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Like them or dislike them the TV chefs are feathering their nests..More power to them. Just remember that we are adults, have minds of our own and can pick and choose for ourselves. I'd feel rather foolish if asked why I was using a certain thing and then saying oh I use it cuz so and so does.In other words I need so and so to think for me! NOT I enjoy watching some of the food shows, gives me ideas for things I'd like to try, but try in a different way..I feel I can do this myself, I don't need to be lead around by the nose...So blame the chefs, laugh at them, scorn them, but they are doing what THEY want to get the best for themselves...How about you and me, do we follow like lambs to the slaughter or do we pick and choose for ourselves?
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:11 PM   #17
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Something to keep in mind is that this is being posted on a food board. That means that most, if not all the people here are interested and have some knowledge about food.

I would venture to say that a majority of the people out there (at least in the US) are pretty clueless about food in general. It is getting better, but it is a slow process. For those clueless people, they know who Emeril or RR is and can use their face on a package to say "hey maybe this product my be a good one to try". Think of it like food training wheels.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:26 PM   #18
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StirBlue - you're a person after my own heart - lol!!!!

I LOVED "The Frugal Gourmet" & have all of his cookbooks. His demise was very sad, & to be honest, no one will ever know if the allegations were true or not. I know that even though he settled, to spare his family he said, he claimed his innocence to the end.

And while Martha does "try" to keep it "real" (I have ALL of her early cookbooks before she became a media diva), you do have to pre-test her recipes. Many aren't up to snuff as far as measurements & cooking times, something that was brought up in one of the biographies done on her. Unfortunately, it's true.
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Old 12-07-2006, 06:57 PM   #19
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GB - I definitely see your point. And I've really really enjoyed the replies to my originial post.

Thanks guys!!!!

Like I said, I wasn't looking for bashings, just opinions as to the commercial items out there now produced/endorsed by tv "chefs". They just seem to be popping up everywhere, & the folks promoting them don't even seem to be using them.
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
the folks promoting them don't even seem to be using them.
Just curious, how did you come to that conclusions?
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