The Food Network, which launched twenty years ago this week, was the Starbucks of TV networks. To wit: It has been argued there have been three waves of American coffee consumption: (1) Supermarket brands like Maxwell House and Folgers. (2) Chains of decent quality, like Starbucks, that taught consumers that there is something better out there. (3) Increasingly discriminating and artisanal coffee vendors like Stumptown who treat beans as proper ingredients, not commodities, subsequently attracting more discriminating consumers.
Much in the same way, Food Network was Wave No. 2 for cooking: It took an American public that largely didn't know or care about cooking and turned them into foodies — which gave them the knowledge and skills to eventually turn their noses up at the network and move on. I was one of these viewers, my culinary obsession shaped from studying Mario Batali and Bobby Flay in middle school, and »
- Jesse David Fox