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Sunday, April 5

Food Network Addict Review: 5 Ingredient Fix with Claire Robinson

No, those aren't the Yorkshire Puddings that Claire Robinson made in yesterday's premiere episode of 5 Ingredient Fix, but with the way FN hawked 'em (Pillsbury "Savorings") during every commercial break, I can see how you might be confused.

Seeing how it's recessionpalooza right now, it must be somewhat discombobulating to see a TV host attempt to persuade us to make doughy, puffy balls of dripping pudding from scratch one minute and then see commercial after commercial for pre-made "savorings" and the like that may or may not cost less than the needed ingredients for the host's own recipes (plus, you get all those yummy preservatives and space food-like substances in the Pillsbury kind). Obviously cooking from scratch is the smarter alternative, but when you only got a dollar to spend, those packages are mighty tempting.

I'm not sure what I'm saying here. I just have been getting a lot of mixed message from Food Network lately... like this:

I don't get... well, never mind. I don't have the energy this Sunday.

Obviously, 5 Ingredient Fix is popping up on the Food Network landscape right now to capitalize upon the vast amount of people who are cooking at home (although if you lost your job, you might be cooking Ramen) and looking to save money. Now, not only are the recipes FAST (think Rachael Ray), but you don't need an entire garbage bowl full of ingredients to make them! In case you didn't catch that, there are only 5 ingredients or fewer in each one of Claire's recipes, a point they reinforce with not-needed graphics:

... and a "ding" sound effect, for added measure. I'm hoping these graphics are just showing up in the early episodes. I think Claire herself might throw a rib roast if she had to hear that damn "ding" the hundredth time she added olive oil to a recipe.

One thing that did work for me was the set design and overall look of the show. While I do love Anne Burrell's and Sunny Anderson's over the top, colorful, rarely attainable in New York City, are we watching a rerun of Friends kitchens, Claire's set design is simple, clean and roomy. And she even has a regular refrigerator!

(I say "regular" here, as many of my friends in NYC have those tiny euro-style fridges and not some Sub Zero, clear front, so big it's almost a walk-in that have been showing up on a lot of Food Network shows lately.)

It's not excessive, which is nice to see on a new show; it's a bit more reflective of the real world.

And speaking of reflections, is someone trying to pull a Rachael?

Maybe, maybe not. But I do know that Rachael isn't getting any less busy. I haven't heard anything about new deals since her 2-year one was announced in late 2007, and I wouldn't be surprised if after the crop of 120 new 30 Minute Meals episodes she's obligated to do get shot, we won't be seeing any more cooking shows hosted by Rachael. Expect more travel shows (with voiceovers and less actual travel) and more producing credits from Ms. Ray. Just my guess.

Anyhow, that leads me to believe Food Network is trying its hardest to find a new Rachael—one that will resonate with housewives and husbands, singles and seniors alike. If that was their goal with Claire, I think the network missed the mark.

While Rachael seemed like the bubbly, friendly, kinda dorky girl next door from upstate New York when she burst onto the scene, Claire seems like the tough girl from the Bronx who could cut you with her serrated knife if you tried to cross her. I don't think she'll get the same kind of "let's be friends!" following that Rachael did.

Still, like I always say, there is hope. This is just experience #1 with Claire Robinson and 5 Ingredient Fix. The food looked good (she is trained, according to her bio) and she's pretty good on camera. But just like the small number of ingredients in each one of her recipes, Claire's got a small number of episodes to make an impact. Let's see what happens.

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At 4/05/2009 9:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually really liked this show, and the host. It was lot better than some of the new shows FN shoves down our throat (Big Daddy, Neely's, Guy having, like, 12 shows). I like this one and Ask Aida. I hope FN keeps 'em around. :)

At 4/06/2009 2:01 AM , Blogger Single Serving said...

I was worried about her show, but the way FN cut the trailer it just looked so fab! No cable since Jan (thanks Bush!) so I've missed the crop of new shows. I REALLY can't thank you enough for this review

I would LOVE if you checked out my blog, especially my sizzle reel & gave some of your input! http://singleservingblogs.blogspot.com/

At 4/06/2009 6:48 AM , Blogger JordanBaker said...

I haven't seen this; haven't even seen a commercial for it. But because I'm a shallow, horrible person, I already hate her because of her teeth.

At 4/06/2009 9:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any change from Sunny Anderson is a welcome change.

At 4/06/2009 10:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked this show. She seems much more of a cook than a personality, and that's a good thing.

At 4/06/2009 11:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I think Rach is trying to get away from FN. It's not a bad thing. It's just that she has her burger joint opening next year.... I also think she wants to get away from that girl next door crap. She likes to party, likes music, and sex, and all that fun stuff that her brand doesn't show.

At 4/06/2009 11:32 AM , Blogger el chef carlitos said...

What a sad day.

Day in and day out the FN it`s treating his audience with less and less respect.

This sorry excuse for a cook it`s just pathetic ,5 ingredients? my ass!!!

They deserve what they will get, it may take some time but now it`s all down hill from here, crap saturation it`s at work here.

At 4/06/2009 2:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried those pillsbury things (the spinach one) and it was awful. And I like pillsbury products.

At 4/06/2009 6:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

with the wretched hosts lately on fn (sunny anderson and her two dolla wig, guy and anything he does, the ridiculous neelys and their trying to hard with everything they say or do) i actually connected more with claire. she's a little rough around the edges and reminded me of a cross between miley cyrus and sarah silverman but i think with a little more polish she could be something. i wish they would stop with the gimmicks though. the five ingredient thing...meh. just cook good attainable food that we can all cook, that tastes good (sorry sandy), is affordable and real.

At 4/06/2009 7:03 PM , Blogger Charles said...

Cool! I didn't know Rachael was opening her own burger chain? Is that true? Fierce! Anyways, I caught a little bit of this new show. It was aiight. I think FN should hire Bethenny from "Housewives of NYC" because she is a personal chef and caterer, cooks healthy, loves a good cocktail, and is easy on the eyes yet speaks her mind and keeps it real. Plus she'll already be comfortable being behind the camera. Heeellloo FN r u listening?

At 4/07/2009 12:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Five ingredients is too much for me. I'm starting my own show that I hope to pitch to the FN, it's the one ingredient show.
Episode 1: Cheese

You can melt it onto....itself!

Episode 2: Soup

Open the can! Mmmm mmm good.

Episode 3: Strawberries

Buy, wash, and eat.

I think it will be a big hit.

At 4/07/2009 3:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chuck. I agree with you for once. Bethany. She would rock on FN.

LOL Anon 12:06. FN dumbing us down again. I know.

At 4/07/2009 3:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry - I just don't get this. Why should I watch this girl - because of her teeth? Because she's pretty? Personally, I don't care if my meals have five ingredients or six - so it's unneccesarily gimmicky to start with. As a host, she just grates on my nerves. I'll pass on this one.

At 4/07/2009 8:27 PM , Blogger Charles said...

Thanks Anon @ 3:13pm! She would be awesome on FN.

At 4/15/2009 4:44 PM , Blogger CJ Carter said...

Claire is hideous, the show is horrible. FN has been pulling out some real winners lately. Very disappointing indeed!

At 4/25/2009 10:28 AM , Blogger Debra said...


At 6/02/2009 11:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is boring and speaks down to viewers. Her 5 ingredient show is about as stupid as Sandra Lee's new show telling you how much money you can save on each meal. Next they will be telling you how cool it is to not wear underwear while you cook.

At 6/20/2009 8:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is horrible! It's like Raytard and Sandra Lee had a child! She talks down to her audience and half the time she has no idea what she is saying......No thanks.....

At 11/13/2011 7:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like she can give us some great ideas. But she needs to be hereself and not try to sound like and be like Rachael Ray. Listening to her sometimes I have to turn around to see that it's not Rachael. I might watch her if she wasn't trying to be like someone else. Too annoying the way she is and I love Rachael, but I don't want a copy cat. Come on food Network!


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