Sandra Lee: Great chef or greatest chef?

There aren’t really any great chefs any more.  Everyone seems to pick a niche and stay there, be it “sustainable” seafood or “eating local,” these so-called chefs aren’t innovating, they’re just appealing to the lowest common denominator.  Not Sandra Lee, though.  Sandra Lee is a true domestic goddess.  While other “chefs” might brag about learning from another chef, or great cooking school, Sandra has no problems admitting that the only training she had was at a recreational two-week course at Ottowa’s Le Cordon Bleu.  Hell, she even tells people that she didn’t complete it:

I was scraping beef tendons and I thought, ‘I’m outta here!  […]  When you look at a recipe you want to know that at least four of the ingredients are available at your grocery store. It’s more cost-effective and less time-consuming.”

That’s the kind of raw talent that I respect.  She’s also got a very good point.  A lot of these “celebrity” chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver talk about eating locally or in season.  Who has time for that?  Sandra Lee is living off the land, so to speak.  Like early settlers before her, Sandra is using the food that is provided to her, cheaply and easily.  It doesn’t matter if that $0.49 can of corn came from China, it’s way cheaper (and easier) than going to the local Farmer’s Market, buying a cob of corn (for a dollar!!) and shucking it yourself.  Who has time for that?

The biggest issue, as I see it, is that not many other chefs seem to recognize her genius.  Many ignore her, but some, like Anthony Bourdain, make it a point to attack her.

She makes her audience feel good about themselves. You watch her on that show and you think, “I can do that. That’s not intimidating.” All you have to do is waddle into the kitchen, open a can of crap and spread it on some other crap that you bought at the supermarket. And then you’ve done something really special. The most terrifying thing I’ve seen is her making a Kwanzaa cake. Watch that clip and tell me your eyeballs don’t burst into flames. It’s a war crime on television. You’ll scream.

Seriously, that is uncalled for.  At least Sandra isn’t pretentious… her show is called Semi-Homemade.  It lays it right out there.  What the hell is “No Reservations?”  It sounds like he just barges into places without making a reservation.  Also, is he even a cook?  From what I’ve heard, on his shows other people do the cooking!  And when it comes to the Kwanzaa cake, he just doesn’t understand her special talent for turning the boring into the awesome.  See it for yourself:

You see?  He has no leg to stand on here.  That is pure skill and talent and she should be proud.  Chef Lee doesn’t need a gimmick like “farm to table” or anything like that because she knows what she’s doing in the kitchen.  She doesn’t need to try and explain the “science” behind ingredients like Alton Brown, that realm is left to those who don’t understand the true workings of food.  So here and now I’m declaring Sandra Lee the best celebrity chef and perhaps the best chef in America right now.

I will say, Sandra does have some competition in the wings, though.  With up and comer Rachael Ray waiting in the wings, I could see Sandra retiring in the next few years and letting her take over.  Perhaps they could have their own show, with Sandra showing Rachael how she could make her meals even faster if she just bought even more ready made items from the store?  I think we have a hit on our hands, people… Food Network Gold.

With all that said, I declare today, April 1st 2010, Sandra Lee Appreciation Day.  Please do your best to make at least one meal from her near endless supply.  And of course, now I must ask you… Sandra Lee: Great chef or greatest chef?


Ed. Note: April Fools!!

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9 Responses to Sandra Lee: Great chef or greatest chef?

  1. Jamie Jamie says:

    I love this post. I am off to buy linens that match my curtains and Kitchen Aid mixer. Oh and figure out tonight’s cocktail that will also match my linens, curtains, and mixer.

  2. Dallas Dallas says:

    Da ha ha ha!

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  4. Jessica Jessica says:

    Oh good God I just caught up on reading this like a week late now and about spit out my coffee on the screen! If this wasn’t an April Fools joke I think my head might have exploded.

  5. Jason Kelley Jason says:

    @Jessica – Guess it’s a good thing I added the April Fools at the bottom, huh? My brother actually called askin’ me about it (though he hadn’t read it all).

  6. I too just read this today (on the 12th of April, waaaaay late on the April fools thing) and almost had a blood vessel pop in my brain!

    I even said to the hubby “I hope this is an april fools thing… ” and I got to end and I felt better, relieved even 😀 You did a great job of freaking me (and apparently others)out. Kudos to you for being such a prankster!

  7. Bonnie Bonnie says:

    Spoof all you want, but she is indeed a great chef for moms everywhere who strive to make mealtime special for their families when the food budget and preparation times are being squeezed. Have you tried any of her recipes? It doesn’t matter which chef you visit on the site, all of them have recipes that fall flat, but it is a rare one that cooks for the typical mom like she does. And her ideas to make those rare sitdown dinners memorable with creative touches sparks my creative juices.

  8. Dragon Dragon says:

    OMG, I was writing a nasty comment in my head as I read this post. Good thing I didn’t skip the Ed Note. Pity though because it was going to be classic. I was going to start it with …..Boy, you ain’t right….. 😉

  9. Phillip Phillip says:

    This is bloody hilarious

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