Food Network’s answer to the demand for cheaper, edgier programming: Canadians

Food Network’s answer to the demand for cheaper, edgier programming: Canadians

American kids don’t seem to connect with Paula Deen and Emeril, so the owners of the U.S. Food Network is getting hip with the young ’uns by launching an all-new cooking channel—creatively titled the Cooking Channel—on May 31. What’s interesting here is that in an effort to find “grittier” and more “low-key” programming, the Cooking Channel is importing a wok-load of Canadians.

Food Jammers, the Toronto-based show on which the three hosts make insanely complicated machines to perform simple cooking tasks, is on the schedule, as well as Laura Calder’s French Food at Home. Other Torontonians given a slot are David Rocco (David Rocco’s Dolce Vita) and Roger Mooking (Everyday Exotic). Tattooed Montrealer Chuck Hughes’s Chuck’s Day Off will also be aired.

(We’d also like to point out that the channel’s general manager shares a name with the host of Chef at Home and Chef at Large, but that’s pretty much where the resemblance ends. Chef Michael Smith looks nothing like the Cooking Channel’s Michael Smith.)

The New York Times interviewed Nobu Adilman, one of the Food Jammers hosts, about the amount of CanCon on the new channel. “The question is whether a show about three guys who are happy to be hosers in a very Canadian way will work in America,” he tells Times. “We feel there are a lot of hosers in the U.S. waiting to find themselves on television.”

The Village Voice’s restaurant critic also calls the influx of imported programming a “desperate” move on the Food Network’s part and says that it should have been packaged as an international food channel.

Great idea. We have the perfect name: Food Network Canada.

• Newcomer to Food Television Tries for a Little Grit [New York Times]