By now you have probably at least heard about the brouhaha over the owners of a restaurant/bakery that appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares show (U.S. version). If not, you can read about it here  and many, many other places.
There was a big to-do surrounding a TV food show here in France too. The show in question: Top Chef. (Yes there’s one of those in France.) The winner, a 29 year old sous chef called Naoëlle d’Hainaut, was declared the winner of this year’s contest, but she got there by enraging most of the viewing public…by stealing some shrimp from fellow contestant Yoni Saada in the last cook-off before the finals.
Here’s a video of the segment where she commits the dirty deed.
Of course, the outraged French public went to Twitter and Facebook and so forth to express their anger. There’s even a Facebook page, Anti-Naoëlle 2013  with 81K+ likes, which seems to want to have her crown taken away from her. After she won the title and the €100,000 prize, she was in a public voting situation versus the winner of last year’s Top Chef. The voting public gleefully said “non” to her, giving 3/4th of their votes to the other guy, even though she’s spent most of of the time since her win apologizing profusely (although recently she’s started accusing her detractors of being racist because she has Arabic roots). French gossip sites and tabloids still haven’t stopped talking about it.
What’s struck me most about both situations is how absolutely awful and rude people can be towards these temporary TV celebrities. Sure, the couple from Amy’s Bakery Company don’t seem to be very nice people, and Naoëlle did basically cheat to win. But does that mean they deserve to be pilloried by hate by strangers? Does the fact that they went on reality TV shows mean they’re fair game? Maybe. But for crying out loud, why do people waste their time and energy hating on strangers? I really don’t get that part at all.
It’s also a reminder that the successful shows on TV about food these days are less and less about food, and more and more about the reality shenanigans.
Gosh, I miss Julia.