First of all, thanks for your years of smiles and serious comfort food. Thank you for your inspirational journey that got you where you are today. As a celebrity chef, you’re up there with Chef Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, and the other chefs who cook to entertain and teach us how make great comfort, amazing tasting food.I love watching them cook, but I know it’s not a part of my everyday menu. How’s about one of my favorites, Guy Fieri? There’s nothin’ healthy about his shows. But he’s an entertainer! Honestly, I think the fast-food industry has done more to promote obesity than cooking shows.
None of the chefs on T.V. have ever touted the nutritional aspects of their food (unless shows state it such as Elie Krieger), simply the goodness of their food. They have never talked about their weight, their pre-existing conditions, etc. Why? Because chefs cook! Julia Child? I’m not recalling a heart-healthy recipe that she made, she was a French Chef. Her cooking show was not designed to have people eat like that all the time, simply entertainment.
Football stars use drugs, movie stars go to shrinks, basketball stars have chronic injuries and the list of “hidden” issues with entertainers goes on and on. Chefs are no different. However, when entertainers get busted, it’s a solid opportunity to “make good” and teach, educate and hopefully motivate their followers to learn what they could have done differently to avoid their predicament. Unfortunately, Paula, you haven’t done that. For example, when an athlete or politician gets called on the carpet, they apologize, make nice and say what they would have done differently. Given your down home charm and candor, my hope was that you would have done that, though with far more sincerity. I expected something to come from your heart, not as a talking piece for a pharmaceutical company.
I wished that the chef that I’ve come to know would have been straight with the media and shared something like this, “Look ya’ll, I love to eat, it’s what I do, it’s what I know, and how I’ve made my life. My show is my profession, I’ll never stop sharing great recipes just as other chefs won’t stop sharing their variety of food. Perhaps I should’ve had a disclaimer for my viewers (insert laugh in here), but in fact, it is what it is. I’m not a big fan of exercise, and I love the foods that I make. But now I’ve realize I have to pay the piper. If I had to do it over again, I’d rather not be diabetic. Although it’s not a death sentence, if not monitored and maintained correctly via, diet and exercise, it can be fatal. I have to be on medication now, but with my changes in lifestyle, I may not have to be forever. Listen ya’ll, don’t wait to be diagnosed, nip it in the bud now so you don’t have to be on medication.”
You could have been the perfect spokesperson for changing your lifestyle. Unfortunately, it seems some talking heads got in to your head, and set you up for the possibility of losing your show. So, now you’re a spokesperson for some drug company, really? Bad call. Your audience is smarter than that, they would have understood, and perhaps that could have been your platform to inspire your viewers to be more proactive with their health. But instead, you’re touting medication over lifestyle. Watching you on the Today show made me sad. You never ONCE said, “Ya’ll I am just not a good exerciser, I need to quit smoking, but I’m gonna work on it and I’m gonna work on getting my lifestyle in check.” It shows you’re human. But you didn’t, instead you focused on the medication and praised the drug company (I refuse to give them any more attention) vs. talking about lifestyle adjustment. With all due respect, diabetes IS preventable, and you never said that. Shame.
I don’t think this would be the big deal it has become if you had only been up front, like the Paula so many have come to love. But instead, you sold out and didn’t speak the honest truth. It a shame that fame can make losing your fortune more important than losing your health.
Nicki Anderson, Health and Fitness Advocate