Has Our Cooking Obsession Gone Too Far?

One of the things that surprises me these days is that no one is willing to be seen to be middle of the road. I feel like every good or service I see is marketed as either budget or premium. And I don’t think the quality of the product or service really matches the label it has half the time.


The context I really want to talk about this in is cooking. Food. Foodies. Shows. Chefs.


First things first: I don’t watch reality cooking shows. I’ve seen the odd episode at the gym, caught segments as I’ve waited for other shows to start and seen long advertisements for them. So yes, when I mention reality cooking shows in this post, I am talking about them from limited experience.


My first inkling that I wanted to write about this actually happened last year. Via The Cook’s Notebook, I won a cooking class at the Brisbane Food and Wine Show. I wrote about my experience here.


But what I omitted from that blog post was how annoying I found the people I shared my table in the cooking class with.

Has our cooking obsession gone too far?

The most annoying person was an arrogant apprentice chef. Honestly, what the fuck does an apprentice chef need a public cooking class for? Oh wait, I can tell you. He liked to tell everyone that they were doing everything wrong and spent half the class sucking up to the chef. He also complained we didn’t have the same set up and tools as a professional kitchen. Here’s a clue, moron: it wasn’t a fucking professional kitchen!!! I think he was looking for a new job. However, the know it all attitude wasn’t the most annoying part.


There’s usually one in every class and while it sucked being on the same bench as him, I could deal with it by not talking to him. The worst part was when I said I don’t enjoy eating out much. Long story, but in the end he ended up lecturing me about how the food shouldn’t cost much to buy or prepare, but I should be grateful that I get to pay a lot for it. And apparently, food isn’t the reason I eat out. I eat out for an experience only, so it doesn’t matter if the food is only medium quality.


Well excuse me, Mr Apprentice Chef. I don’t think YOU get to decide why I eat out! To be fair, I’m sure some people do eat out for the experience. But you don’t get to say that all people do, nor to tell me how it’s ok if my food isn’t great. I could lead this into a discussion rant about educational systems that teach you only to regurgitate rather than think, but I won’t.


Now we’ll get to the other two people I shared the bench with. They were nice enough. Polite. Utterly bland as hell. They were a husband and wife couple. The wife was a home economics teacher. Once again, why does a home ec teacher need a public cooking class on fish and a tart? Honestly?


I feel like I need to say it again: they were a nice couple. I just didn’t like them.┬áThe home ec teacher wanted the “boys” to do the “icky fish part” so that us delicate females wouldn’t smell like fish. Because soap works better on male hands than female hands? That’s the only conclusion I can think of.


Us two delicate females had to do the tart part. Because females are either a tart or sweet? I don’t know, it just felt like there was a lot of symbolism in everything she said.


Her husband did nothing the entire time apart from smile vaguely and take photos of his wife cooking. He was so utterly disinterested and so clearly there as a the packhorse and photographer. Why bother coming along, really? Why couldn’t he just tell his wife that he wishes her to have a good day, and see her off? Heck, if he’s as much of a door mat as he seemed, he could have dropped her off and picked her up from the show.


You may notice that I questioned why the people I shared a bench with were even paying to take a cooking class. Maybe they just wanted to, I hear you saying. Maybe. But the reason I question it is that none of them seemed particularly happy to be there. They didn’t seem all that interested in learning. They didn’t look overly happy. It felt like they were there because they sort of thought they had to be. Is this all a part of the foodie phenomenon?


Sure, I like food. I like to cook my own food and know where that food has come from. Talk to me about sugar (especially being a household with a diabetic in it, don’t fuck with me on sugar knowledge), clean eating (I could write an entire blog post on this) or any other diet crap/scam and I’ll wish you a small, temporary throat issue, just long and severe enough that you stop talking around me and I can escape.


It’s great that people are engaging with their food. It would be better if people engaged with food on a health level and stopped worrying about what their food looks like “plated”. Your life is not a competition. If my food on Instagram looks ‘bad’, that’s because they haven’t invented a way to share taste and smell yet. Reality over superficial needs, baby.


Are you a foodie? What do you think of the way we’ve all become ‘experts’ in food topics? Has our obsession with food gone too far?


Vanessa Smith


  1. I think you’ve raised some good points here. Yes we seem to be going along the lines where everything has to be perfect and rosy, especially if instagram is anything to go by. But I think this foodie culture has done wonders for the general population’s understanding towards food production, the delivery of it and the consumption. And whilst it may take a little longer for it to trickle down to a more health-wise approach as compared to how it looks “plated” (though equally as important if we are to find what we are eating visually pleasing), it’s still a far cry from a horribly unhealthy culture in where meat and three veg was the standard norm of a good meal. As far as foodies are concerned, you’re always going to come across the arrogant types and the timid types (home ec teacher probably wanted to mix with equally interested people in a social setting that you were in and taking the husband as support). The key probably is in viewing each person as having their own interests and ideals regardless of a misconstrued and wrongly perceived desire to do something.

    • Yeah that’s true, it takes a long time for things to filter down. It was just something that bugged me so much!

  2. Interesting post. I am in no way a foodie, in fact I hardly ever cook, I leave all of that to my husband. Basically the only time I cook is when he is at work and I need to feed the girls and it’s usually only something as simple as a veggie omellette or if I’m feeling really lazy, toast! But for some weird reason, I love watching cooking shows! Can’t get enough of the reality-type ones especially. They are my guilty pleasure viewing option. But when it comes to the food I eat, I am not in to fancy-schmancy, If I go to a restaurant I want what I order, not some “deconstructed” piece of abstract art on a plate. Which is why you’ll usually find me eating a steak or whatever lamb dish is on the menu at chain restaurants, or going to some of the local restaurants here that do yummy food without the pretension!

  3. Bleeeurgh. Food knowledge schmood knowledge. I have a repertoire of about 16 meals unprompted, and a further 10 meals I still need the recipe for, of healthy meals that my family will eat without complaining. They rotate, and we’re all happy. This is enough for me to consider myself a food genius – but not of the share it around look down my nose at others variety!

    • I don’t really “do” recipes, so that may be part of my issue! I just…cook…I dunno! Food genius for the family is no easy feat!

  4. Oh good GRIEF. I was cringing just reading the descriptions of those people, I can’t imagine how annoying it must’ve been to be in a class – something that was intended to be FUN, and not at all super seriously – with them!

    • Yep!! I think lesson learned is to go with my husband or friends next time!

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