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TV With Laura: The Naughty Kitchen, Episode 1

Hello. My name is Laura. You might know me from my Bachelor/Bachelorette write-ups. Perhaps not. Let me start by letting you guys know that I don’t pretend to know anything about cooking or food. For that stuff, you’ll have to look to our experts. Proper reviews are here and here.

But here’s what I do know: reality television. And you know how I knew that Ms. Beck wasn’t going to come out a winner here? The program airs on Oxygen, a channel that specializes in making women look, um.., less than great. America’s Next Top Model, Bad Girl’s Club, and Snapped–a fun 30-minute program that has but one plot: women go nuts and kill people—run almost non-stop on this channel. It makes little difference that The Naughty Kitchen apparently has the same producers as Ace of Cakes because those very producers have thrown out virtually every good thing about the relatively chill Ace. Naughty is too long (an hour), too frenetic (How many times do they need to cut away to a shot of a cocktail? We get it! Central 214 has a bar, too!), and too contrived (Fascinating that everyone in town, including Beck’s hairstylist, has intel that The Dallas Morning News has done a review before it’s even come out!) Let’s jump for more analysis.

We start with a montage that includes that terrible line that I’ve heard too many times already: “When you eat my food, you’re not being bad. You’re just being a little bit naughty.” We see the Dallas skyline; we see Beck doing an interview on FM 97.7 The Beat; we see some early press (Was that Modern Luxury?); and we see Beck ready to rule the world. “I’m on a mission for total culinary world domination,” she says in her deep, raspy voice. (Seriously, she has a one-of-a-kind voice. Like, if she ever feels compelled to prank call an ex, she shouldn’t. That person will know who it is as soon as she says, “I don’t heart you.” For a variety of reasons, I guess.)

So it’s two days before her big debut party at the Palomar’s Central 214. The restaurant is packed. Beck tells us, “The face of chefs are changing…My sexy New American cuisine is made with beer and bacon and lots of love.” And lest you think that this last ingredient isn’t just hyperbole, think again. We meet a classy couple who have just finished eating Beck’s creamed corn. “Your cream corn made us cream,” the woman opines. “Twice,” the man seconds. Later, Beck visits with another pair of happy customers. She tells the woman, “You can come back because you heart my food.” To the gentleman she says, “You can come back ’cause I heart you.”

It’s that kind of show, see? Outrageous! Bawdy! Hilarious! Hostesses are called “door whores!” (One wonders if that’s the official title used in Kimpton’s human resources department.) Sam, the cocktail waiter, asks who he has to teabag in order to get a spoon! Blythe isn’t afraid to tell us how much she hates waiters! Save for big, beautiful Calvin for whom she achieves an orgasm when he requests a soup (“extra naughty!”)! It’s way too hot in this kitchen, girlfriend!

Except it’s not. It’s as though the producers came in and said, “OMG! You guys are HILARIOUS. But television makes everything so subtle. If you could swear a lot, maybe yell, and talk more tea-bagging–less trade. And listen, Blythe, I don’t think people are getting the whole ‘naughty’ shtick. You need to use that word more. And do the whole ‘I heart’ thing more. That is gold.’”

Anyway, the plot of the episode is finally revealed: Beck is getting reviewed by the Dallas Morning News. Apparently, this happened right around her coming-out party? Seems strange, but I don’t know if that was editing or the way it actually happened. Anyway, Beck is freaking out. She talks about it to those pesky waiters at work. She laments about it while she does shots at Vickery Park (while drinking with those pesky waiters). She frets about it while getting her hair done. (Luckily, her hairdresser seems to have incredible insight into it all, including about what the reviewer ordered.)

She even presses Dallas Morning News employees about the darn review as she fulfills her wine panel duties. Okay, how weird was this thing? Is it odd that she’s serving on a wine panel for a publication even as they are reviewing her work? Maybe it’s not. And, to be fair, (spoiler alert!) it didn’t seem to help her in the long run. How camera-shy did everyone in that room look? Media training, stat! Because I don’t think the discomfort had anything to do with Beck’s language. I think that was contrived. I have a pot mouth, but I’m not going to opine that a wine tastes like “BLEEP” in front of a Master Sommelier. I suspect she was told to be over-the-top. Here’s why: Beck is a successful professional, right? She can’t act like a kid all the time.

But maybe they were all drunk. Did you notice how purple everyone’s teeth looked?

Anyway, it’s time for the big party. Beck confesses that she’s about to rub shoulders with the big-time locals. “It’s the Highland Park crowd,” she says. “The who’s who. And I’m pushing the envelope with them.” She’s cooking with—wait for it—malt liquor. She says she can’t wait until someone asks if she used such-and-such liquor, and she can say, “No, bitch. It’s malt liquor.” What Beck doesn’t know is that most Parkies sampled malt liquor at the SAE theme party back in the day.

Moving on, Beck is still a nervous wreck about the upcoming review, so she and general manager Megan decide to get some treatments at Exhale The Spa at the Stoneleigh. Please explain.

Finally, the review comes out, and it’s not good. Beck gets two stars and hurt feelings. Apparently, the reviewer doesn’t get—nor dig—her shtick.

And at this point, I feel the same way about this show. I don’t know her, but one can’t imagine that this is the program that Beck—or her bosses at Kimpton, for that matter—thought she signed on for. I want to heart her. I hope for her sake —and ours—things get better.

32 comments on “TV With Laura: The Naughty Kitchen, Episode 1

  1. My eloquent Laura, you have once again hit the head! I almost didn’t watch it, but my DVR recorded it somehow. So I watched it. And was bored. I felt embarrassed for Kimpton. The door whores? I mean really, your job is to answer the phone. Do you really not know how to do that?? I want to try Central 214 sometime, but after a few episodes of this “reality” show, I may just stick with ramen noodles and hot dogs.

  2. “hit the nail on the head!”

    Don’t know where the nail went to in that last post. Damn internet!

  3. Your last graf summed it up.

    BTY…it’s KiMpton, and I can’t believe they approved the show. The economy must suck worse than I thought.

  4. Hotel Palomar is SO much better than this. The whole show is embarrassing and unprofessional. Is Blythe’s treatment of Calvin considered sexual harassment? And the door whores should never be bored. It’s a restaurant for goodness sake, do some side work. I’ve worked in kitchens and yes, the language is salty but never show that to the customer and never on TV. I could go on and on but Laura, your review was dead on and who am I to say more?

  5. You summed that up perfectly (particularly the imagined coaching from the producers). It’s a shame, because the hotel, bar and restaurant are all so likable. But the show is turning me off the whole thing.

  6. I watched 5 minutes of it. That was all I could stand! The host and hostess were so bored that they had to play spelling games! Then she started crying over the Dallas Morning News review! What was this, ” First Grade Kitchen”? I think this was all a PR project to get more people to come into 214. Check out her FaceBook page. It reads like a PR person is writing it for her.

  7. I couldn’t agree with you LESS Laura!

    Not only did I find Chef Blythe’s sassy attitude and restaurant antics fun and HI-larious but I’ll watch this show OVER AND OVER! And I can’t wait to see what happens next week!

  8. Ohhh my gosh, Laura, you are so on target! As a PR gal, I was dying over this – she needs a new publicist STAT. Loved that you pointed out the part when they went to the Stoneleigh instead of Exhale! Total lack of communication. And it seemed way too forced and over the top. Kind of made me NOT want to go back to Central 214… too bad, because I actually like the food.

  9. Gee, the funny thing is that I first met Blythe at Vickery Park a few years ago…over beers. Then a couple weeks later, I popped by Hector’s at her invitation. Hector greets me and tells Blythe that a “hot Asian guy” is asking for her. Apparently that was me. Then over wine, creme brulee and one of her amuse bouche, we bonded as friends.

    No matter how the show portrays her, I’ll still be a fan of Blythe.

  10. I have met her and find myself clutching for my invisible pearls whenever she speaks but I think she is unique. I’ve seen her show up at an event in pajama bottoms and bed head, and thought ‘well..ok’. But she must be doing something right because she has her own show, despite other female reality chefs that came from this ‘locality’. If she survived being in the kitchens with a bunch of males and walked out with a few salty words in her vocab, then she got off easy. I would like to see her succeed as a female, and a chef.

  11. First of all D-always gets in everyone’s way. They have been doing this, since the beginning of time. For over 30 years, D is always out to take someone down, and report stories that hurt people.

    I think Blythe is darling, and who she is. Why rain on her parade.

    You all are taking this way too serious, you have to see the rain before the rainbow. Don’t you all think, we have a lot of serious issues in this country, and to take it out on Blythe is just going a little too far! There are so many people that want to cancel taking D, for they are mean to people in this city, look at what they wrote about Mico.

  12. Laura, you obviously don’t listen to rap music. It’s 97.9 The Beat, not 97.7. Just .2 off though, not bad.

    When I was in NYC a little over a week ago, ads for this show were everywhere. She was staring at me my whole vacation. I try to get away from Dallas for a minute and every time I turn a corner, there’s Blythe Beck watching me.

  13. Madison you need to lighten up. When Blythe goes on TV she is fair game to be talked about. And you talk about Mico? Hell even Mico said on Frontburner that the article was right. That guy was a terror to work for (I did briefly) and he stold money. He is lucky he isn’t in jail. Hell he’ll probably get his own reality show too. I thoght the show made Dallas look silly.

  14. I love trashy reality TV. Didn’t like this show. I’d still eat Beck’s chicken fried steak morning, noon, and night though.

  15. the naughty thing was way overplayed and she is obviously branding herself. shes not a likable character yet and they should provide better back story about her life til now. why do we even care about her gettin good or bad reviews? we dont know her and whats been seen so far doesnt endear us to her.

  16. I think the show is hilarious and judg. Critics (loosely used) such as Laura pass off their derisive comments as a critique and then, in some pathetic attempt to seem unbiasd, end it with some halfhearted “I want to heart her”. Any time anything is different or doesn’t fit into their myopic view of “good” they cast aspersions with the same old trite excuse of “I don’t get it”, maybe that is your failing, not the show nor Blythe’s.

  17. Speaking of PR, sounds like some comments here are spin (read: friends of Blythe or those who are employed at Central 214) not necessarily opinions. Some of these people are shocked by the snarkiness of this review? Seriously, snark is what makes D blogs so good.

    When I was watching the show, my husband kept on looking at me and asking “Why do you have that look on your face?” Laura DID hit the nail on the head. Perhaps they’re going for the Roseanne Barr of the culinary world but, in my opinion, that direction fell short. I’m sure Blythe is a great person but the way she was portrayed was horrible. I think that you can be “naughty” or “down and dirty” and still be a successful professionally but this was just over the top.

  18. Laura and friends at D Magazine…it is simply amazing that you all still have jobs. After all, you work for a wipe of a magazine that is dying on the vine with readership, just like every other magazine of its kind. Most of the Dallasites I know find your magazine and its contents far more laughable than a reality show. It must be nice to sit behind your desk, (rather, in your bed), and write snide little reviews like this. It’s television lady! Give Blythe Beck a rest, and go do something productive for once. What have you done today to try to improve someones mood, or give the world a smile? Probably nothing. Certainly not with food. Blythes energy must intimidate a person like you. At the end of the day, we all have choices. You should have made the choice to change the channel. Take yourself (and your editors) to the State Fair and gnaw your angst out on a turkey leg, and I bet, if you are lucky, you will spot Chef Blythe as the opening chef…and I bet she would be happy to serve you something naughty.

  19. East Dallas Calling: You don’t know anything about Laura, and if you did, you would know she makes all of us smile, all day long, every day. (Also–you think this review was snide? Um.) I’m sorry Laura didn’t rave about your friend’s show, but it’s television, and it’s local, so we are going to report on it (not just “change the channel,” as you suggest). Hopefully, you feel better after insulting the magazine and insinuating that we should all lose our jobs, which is an extremely insensitive comment to make in this economy.
    Madison: We are a city magazine. Not everything that happens in our city is happy and positive, and we have to report on it. End of story.

  20. The only reason Casey Thompson never got this type of immediate bad reaction to her reality stint is because she’s not overweight and she has breast augmentations. Unfortunately, however, she and Blythe deserve to sit in the same boat. Tit for tat.

  21. East Dallas–I heart you! Sarah E, not so much. If you (Sarah) are going to stand up for your employer, at least do so in a way that makes us feel that you are older than 16 years of age. “UM.”
    I can forsee the downfall of D when I have it in my hands, and they have gone to paper this month that is only slightly better then newsprint. Sarah, I am glad that Laura makes you smile all day. However, I cannot bring myself to your level of naivete, so go on and keep doing what you are doing… it is amusing to those of us who know what we are doing.

  22. Laura – I think you should stick to criticizing reality dating competition shows – clearly this isn’t your area of expertise – especially when you start getting your coworkers to defend you. If you can’t stand the heat – stay out of the naughty kitchen!

  23. Naughty Love, there is no difference in dating or cooking reality shows–they are all stupid an contrived bullshark. If Blythe Beck put herself out there she had better get ready for criticism from anyone. What a bore that show is. I like her food but the show is just stupid.

  24. The only professional on the show is Eric. He seems to maintain focus on his job as a chef and is determined to put out fine dining cuisine in spite of Blyth’s attempts to slut up the menu