The slow decline of the Food Network

The slow decline of the Food Network

It’s an end of an era. Emeril Lagasse, the chef who made The Food Network what it is today, is ending his long-running live show, Emeril Live. (They will still produce new episodes of Essence of Emeril.)

I didn’t watch it regularly, but Essence was one of the first Food Network shows I watched. For the first time, cooking on TV wasn’t just a couple hours on PBS here and there, but it was a dedicated channel all its own.

Even though he’s technically not leaving the network it still feels like the end of an era. Over the past few years, Food Network has been changing, becoming less about cooking and more about “food lifestyle,” whatever that is. There seems to be more attention to Giada di Laurentis sensuously tasting her recipe and less on honest cooking. It’s become more E! and less Julia Child, and that’s a shame.

At least there’s still some good shows on PBS, like Lydia’s Table and America’s Test Kitchen. And while Alton Brown can still be found on Food Network, I’ll still be watching.