The Public Eye

printed 04/12/2019

Maybe no one has noticed, but it appears the era of television celebrity chefs is fried.

Gone are the days of TV’s “Iron Chef,” where the pot-rattling royalty of the nation’s restaurants scrambled for glory by whipping up a 45-course meal out of a basket of rutabagas, potted weasel and a single-serving box of corn flakes.

All this while a commentator pestered each chef: “‘Rutabaga,’ is that a funny name or what? Rutabaga-rutabaga-rutabaga. Sounds like a village in India or something. Or maybe a 1960s Italian actress, Ruta Baga.”

And finally, the chefs went before a panel of judges, one of whom was guaranteed to say, “It’s a little oily.”

Also departed is “Restaurant: Impossible,” in which celebrity chef Robert Irvine took his Switzerland-sized biceps into failing establishments and suggested to their owners that he’d squeeze more than their lemons if they didn’t do what he said.

Although many cooking shows remain — “America’s Test Kitchen” is a good one, if you can find it — the latest reality television trend is … “Celebrity Veterinarians!” Yes, it still involves animals. First we cook ‘em, and now we fix ‘em.

Don’t get me wrong, the only occupants in my household who don’t care for veterinarians are my two dogs, both of which shoot sparks from their toenails as we drag them across the parking lot into the clinic.

I’ll admit that the “Incredible Dr. Pol,” one of the first vet shows, is entertaining.

“So, Dr. Pol,” someone asks as he artificially inseminates a cow, “what are you up to at this point?”

“My shoulder,” he replies.

Now, though, we have frontier vets, exotic animal vets, cool vets, western vets, designer vets and the list goes on. Never let it be said that television execs don’t recognize a good thing when they see it, again and again and again.

Here’s my idea to take the veterinarian genre to its peak, before it loses its dazzle and is replaced by “Leaf Blower Takedown” or something equally exciting.

Introducing “Iron Vets America.”

Here’s the concept: three veterinarians are given an hour to fix (no, not that way) a mystery basket of animals, all while being pestered by a commentator who says, “‘Sloth,’ now there’s a funny name. Sloth-sloth-sloth ...

“By the way, if there’s a Great Dane, shouldn’t there also be a Just-Okay Dane or a Plain Dane?”

Even though celebrity vets have pushed TVchefs to the back burner, I still have a question about the latter’s real-life work: when the kitchen staff at a high-end restaurant has its wages garnished, does that mean dropping a sprig of parsley in the pay envelope for a splash of color?

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