The last time we wrote about Rodney Henry, the pie-master in charge of Dangerously Delicious Pies, he had just announced his intentions to compete in the Food Network’s reality TV program. The show’s been on the air for about six weeks now, and Henry has managed to out-cook and out-charm his competition so far; he’s one of only five remaining contestants. And I hope he loses.
Of course, no one goes into a reality TV competition hoping to lose. And the winner of Food Network Star does get to have his or her own series produced by the channel. Now that Duff Goldman’s decamped to Los Angeles, it would be nice to have another Baltimore bakery television star. But all that said, I’m actually hoping that Henry doesn’t end up winning.
First of all, despite being in its ninth season, FNS has yet to create any bona fide stars. Most of its winners have made a handful of episodes before fading from the screen entirely. Even if he won the competition, there’s no guarantee that Henry would be rocketed to stardom.
And even if he was, is stardom so great? After all, as many before me have argued, Food Network Star is much more about developing an outsize persona than it is about, well, cooking something delicious. The show has already come precariously close to turning Henry into a tattooed, I-do-what-I-want caricature of himself.
“There’s something so inherently rotten about Food Network Star that I sometimes can’t believe it’s still on the air,” Andy Greenwald wrote on Grantland earlier this month. “In its ninth season the show has become a revelation, a gleaming machine constructed to document the precise moment when the cornball of corporate artifice hits the hot fat of vanity.” Whatever happened to just making delicious pies?