Even Paula Deen Got A Nod At Food Network’s 20th Birthday Party

Guy Fieri at the Food Network's
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Food Network built a shrine to itself Thursday night by taking a party space at New York’s Pier 92 and turning it into a museum.

Thirty-six portraits of the cable network’s hosts, past and present, lined the walls, from Guy Fieri to Emeril Laggase. Even Paula Deen, the Southern cooking doyenne who has separated from the Scripps Networks cabler in the wake of some controversy, got some recognition. The network presented a portrait of her sitting with her two sons, also popular chefs.

Fieri, the host of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” was overheard touting the value of having plenty of cold champagne on hand, while Willie “Jack” Degel, the noodge-y steakhouse host who eggs on small restaurant owners to improve their service in “Restaurant Stakeout,” was spotted giving wait staff tips on handing out warmed-up sandwiches, rather than let food cool on display trays.

Food Network managed to give nearly every genre of programming its due, whether through a bank of TV sets showing clips from the net’s earliest days or an ersatz road-food stand handing out local specialties like pulled pork sandwiches or lobster rolls. In another area, pickled foods were the tidbit of choice, with pickled beets, cauliflower and string beans put out to accompany fried chicken.

As in any good museum, facts were presented to support the exhibits. Did you know Food Network chefs have used enough flour in their time to make a sheet cake the size of a football field? Luckily, that’s as far as the education bit went. For those not inclined to fill their brain, there was plenty on hand to fill the stomach.

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  1. David Bradley says:

    20 seconds and a flash of a picture or 2 is barely a nod, but at least she was mentioned. I guess that’s the least they could do considering she’s truly the one that soared Food Network to the top and made them millions upon millions. I bet they miss the money now, especially all the viewers who have since left since her departure. I love Food Network and their shows, but I totally disagree with how they handled this entire thing. I can see having taken Paula off the network for a while, but to add to the disgrace of Paula when she was already down just really left a bad taste in my mouth. Here’s to hoping they make amends with Paula and that maybe she can return to television someday, even if it’s just reruns.

  2. Becky drews says:

    I enjoyed watching the 20 year birthday special and really enjoyed it. Being a fellow cook and foodie, I’ve been watching since day one. I’m writing because I wanted to see how you were going to treat the whole Paula Dean thing, I was pleasantly surprised that you included her. To be honest I would have sworn off food tv forever if you had not included her. I’m still on the fence about how everything went down. It is what it is

    • Sheryl Driesenga says:

      I also am disappointed with Food Network over the Paula Deen incident. Give her another chance, we all miss her!!! She is the down to earth cook making things for people who are just starting to cook. A big loss for Food Network.

  3. Gwynne Redman says:

    Like a picture is going to get everyone watching Food Network again. I think not.

  4. What Food Network? It is not any good anymore without Paula Deen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  5. Char Slavensky says:

    No thank you!!! I think you can guess why? To Paula!!! I don not watch Food Network anymore…

  6. Barbara Evans says:

    I have a total boycot on food network after the way they treated Paula
    i will never buy another piece of cook wear or bakewear that is trademarked by them
    i infact tossed all mine in the trash

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