LOS ANGELES – More and more celebrities—Tiffani Thiessen, Valerie Bertinelli and Haylie Duff—are turning to the kitchen when it comes to show off their cooking skills. But are the celebrities just another pretty face on the television, or are they actually good cooks?
Allen Salkin author of “From Scratch: The Uncensored History of The Food Network,” explained to FOX411, celebrities have these cooking shows to boost their careers.
“Almost everyone in the world, who spends time in the kitchen, wishes they could have a cooking show,” he said. “Because of their celebrity, these people are able to actually get them. They all have teams of agents, managers, entourages who are trying to monetize them every way possible. The new way to monetize a celebrity is to get them a cooking show which is easy to make and hopefully will lead to having a product line. “
“Saved by the Bell” star Tiffani Thiessen began her career at The Cooking Channel this past year with “Dinner at Tiffani’s” in which she prepared dinner along with some of her closest celebrity friends such as Jason Priestly and Elizabeth Berkley.
Thiessen told People, her cooking show is unlike the other cooking shows on television.
“It’s not a typical cooking show in that you’re able to see these celebrities in a very organic fashion. You’re sitting literally at a table feeding your face — you can’t get more natural than that!”
Thiessen’s show was picked up for a second season, but Salkin argued that it doesn’t matter whether or not a celeb like Thiessen can actually cook.
“It doesn’t matter whether they can cook because nowadays there are hundreds of production companies that know very well how to turn out a cooking show,” he said. “For every steak that you see a starlet make on screen, there are five steaks being made in the prep cook kitchen behind the scenes to swap out in case they screw the one up on camera. It’s more important to be good at television than to be good at cooking.”
Valerie Bertinelli, launched “Valerie’s Home Cooking” on The Food Network, showing a glimpse into her home recipes. Bertinelli admitted that she has a passion for cooking, is a huge fan of Giada de Laurentiis and even approached the network on her own for a show.
A few bloggers online don’t necessarily love these celebrities and their cooking shows. One food network viewer, summertooth writes, “I hate those pretenders. I'd rather watch re-runs of real chefs than spend a minute with these posers. Who are they trying to fool?” Another user writes, “I think these celebrities are just washed up actors that need another career and want to show off their rich lifestyles.”
Ultimately, it may not matter what fans think, because Salkin is confident the Food Network knows what they are doing.
“The food network figured out how to make chefs into stars, and now they are figuring out how to make stars into chefs.”
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.