Food Network chefs are an interesting kind of celebrity. The shows they appear on, star in, and host are reality shows, and yet they’re much more compelling than Snooki or whoever’s on The Real World these days because they have actual creative talent.
Before I go further, I should mention that those who shrug off the Food Network as a fluff channel without any shows worth watching frankly don’t know a goddamn thing about food and the pure joys of eating and anticipating eating. Okay. Moving on.
It’s foodporn, yes, but it’s presented to us through chefs who (with a few exceptions) actually know what they’re talking about. Chefs who’ve been there, eaten that, and know how to accent their skills with a certain style. Foodies (to use the parlance of our times) and casual TV viewers alike can easily appreciate the obvious love these people have for their craft, and that love comes out in a variety of intriguing ways.
What I’m really trying to say is that Food Network chefs have interesting enough personalities that established actors could portray them in movies about their recent lives and it would make for compelling entertainment. Some of them are dicks, some of them are endearing, and some of them are just completely full of shit. They’re ripe characters, and this is who needs to don their masks:
Jason Statham as Robert Irvine
Jason Statham loves working out. He’s dying for a role where he can bulk up, so let’s see him gain 40 pounds of muscle to play Robert Irvine in the story of Irvine’s blatant lies about working as a chef for three American presidents and subsequent return to Food Network glory as a hardass embarrassing middle American restaurant owners on the regular.
John Slattery as Geoffrey Zakarian
Aside from Slattery’s full head of white hair, he’s perfect for the Zakarian storyline of filing for personal bankruptcy after his former co-workers sued him for grossly violating labor laws. This has Roger Sterling-esque snark written all over it.
Michael Rapaport as Bobby Flay
This is just too good. Ideally Flay is actually like he was in Entourage and Michael Rapaport can just play him the same way he plays every character: angry.
Olivia Wilde as Giada De Laurentiis
Laurentiis is pretty universally liked: she’s talented, she’s successful, and she annoyingly but endearingly over-enunciates Italian words in English sentences. What’s not to like? Olivia Wilde is a little young, but the ideal Laurentiis because who in the hell could ever hate her either? No one.
Matt LeBlanc as Emeril Lagasse
Straightforward acting: all that’s required is saying “BAM!” a lot, gaining 50 pounds, and chuckling merrily. Joey Tribbiani’s your guy.
Meryl Streep as Paula Deen
Who could expertly portray the sensitive story of Deen’s history of flagrant racism and the resulting disgrace of losing her deal with the Food Network (plus any hope of a positive public image for the remaining years of her life)? Only the greatest film actress of all time.
Joey Fatone as Guy Fieri (and vice versa)
This is fun because it’s debatable which would be better: Guy Fieri plays Joey Fatone, former famous-but-not-that-famous *NSYNC baritone singer, or Joey Fatone plays Guy Fieri, a pretty B-list Food Network chef himself. Fatone is nine years younger than Fieri but says Fieri is the one who looks like him, so let’s see the chef slim down and take voice lessons for the role of his life.
Louis C.K. as Mario Batali
Be real, who wouldn’t want to see Louis C.K. sporting a ponytail, shorts, and Batali’s signature orange crocs?
Mandy Moore as Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray hasn’t done anything publicly controversial in her entire life besides pose in the men’s magazine FHM but that wasn’t really controversial at all until others decided it should be. Moore would be perfect for the role of a perfect person as a perfect person herself.
Ed Helms as Ted Allen
Ed Helms would kill it as the host of Chopped who just wishes he could sit at the table and try the food too. It’s pure comedy every time.