Posts Tagged ‘Food Network’


I know who I want to be for Halloween, and his name is Ron Ben-Israel. For those of you who do not know who Ron Ben-Israel is, he’s the secret love child of Dr. Evil and Willy Wonka. He’s also the host of a new show on Food Network called Sweet Genius.

Food Network describes the show as a “sugar-packed competition series that challenges America’s premier pastry chefs to create magical and inventive desserts given inspiration, surprise ingredients and a finite amount of time. The chefs must compete in three unique pastry challenges judged by Ron Ben-Israel — the Sweet Genius himself — who will critique their work and determine who will receive the $10,000 cash prize.”

But the real genius in the show is in the marketing. (Need proof? Watch this promo for the show NOW. You’ll thank me later.) Sweet Genius dares to ask the question: “Are you a sweet genius?” Inevitably, your answer will be – how did this man get his own television show?

And the answer to that, dear readers, is the real sweet genius of the show. Ron Ben-Israel’s gift is in simultaneously combining Uncle Fester creepy with Liberace flamboyance in a way that is simply mesmerizing.

Take the show’s set. Ron Ben-Israel stands on a platform looking down upon his chef-testants like a pastry god among mere mortals. A conveyor belt brings forward the “inspiration” (a tiny carousel? a Mardi Gras mask? the entire cast of Broadway’s The Lion King?) and the “secret ingredients” (squid ink? candied apples? the entire cast of Broadway’s The Lion King?) all while a robotic female voice that sounds like Hal 2000’s evil stepsister describes the many uses of said items to the audience.

After the contestants have whipped up their dessert concoctions, the Sweet Genius will judge their work and intone solemnly, “One of you will be like me – a SWEET GENIUS.”

If, like me, you can’t get enough of this show, then you’ll understand why I have decided that I will be a sweet genius. You’ll understand why I’ve decided to dress as Ron Ben-Israel this Halloween. And you’ll forgive me when I’m still dressed this way when November 1 rolls around.


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What could be better than Halloween or Food Network competitions? How about Halloween AND Food Network competitions! This week, I discovered the Food Network’s Challenge: Outrageous Pumpkins. I think I’ve found a new calling in life.

An artist named Ray Villafane dominated these competitions with pumpkin carvings that blew my mind. Carvings like this:

"Shattered" by Ray Villafane

And this:

"Medusa" by Ray Villafane

And this:

"Jackhyde" by Ray Villafane

Inspired, Gilly and I held our own Outrageous Pumpkins competition. Here are the results:

Who will win this battle of Outrageous Pumpkins? You decide!

We’ll be expecting that call from you soon, Food Network.

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