Caught on Camera

Top 5 Food Network Flubs, From Julia Child to Rachael Ray

Chef Giada De Laurentiis nearly sliced off her finger this week while attempting to carve a turkey. From Julia Child to Rachael Ray, watch other chefs’ culinary crises play out on TV.


1. No, That’s Not Cranberry Sauce…

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis chopped off part of her index finger while attempting to carve a turkey during Thanksgiving Live, the Food Network’s annual two-hour broadcast complete with live-cooking, live-tweeting, and—this year—live-severing of human body parts. The bloody mishap occurred during a commercial break, so viewers didn’t see the sumptuous Italian chef wince or curse, though she pursed her lips afterwards, as though willing herself not to vomit, before being whisked offstage. She later posted a picture of the damage on Instagram and, in typical Food Network fashion, gave tips on how to handle a similar situation at home.

2. A Pinch of Pepper…Over the Shoulder

Love it or hate it, Rachael Ray’s no-fuss culinary style and cutesy persona has made her brand beloved by many Americans, particularly those who like the idea of getting dinner on the table in a half hour (her book 30 Minute Meals launched her career). With her laid-back approach to cooking, making mistakes in the kitchen is as much a part of her shtick as her kitschy abbreviating habits (“E.V.O.O” for extra virgin olive oil; “sammies” for sandwiches). Another Rachael Ray signature is to throw salt over her shoulder—you know, for good luck—every time she uses it. But in one segment, Ray gets her seasonings mixed up (twice), giving critics all the more reason to call her a twit.

3. Julia Child’s Potato Pancake Flop

We may not have mastered the art of French cooking, but the ebullient Julia Child still taught us many things to consider when, for example, we attempt to make bouillabaisse (one cannot be delicate while lopping off a fish’s head). Or when a sauce doesn’t taste as delicious as it should (add another stick of butter). But perhaps the most important lesson she imparted was to never “fear failure” in the kitchen, especially when facing possible failures on broadcast television in the ‘60s, when potato pancake snafus couldn’t be edited out of the show. In one of most infamous segments from The French Chef, Child fails to cleanly flip the aforementioned potato pancake (“a rather daring thing to do”). Poise and charm intact, she manages to patch it together and reassures her audience: “If you’re alone in the kitchen, who’s to see?”

4. Paula Deen’s Mixer Misstep

Remember when disgraced celebrity chef Paula Deen wasn’t so reviled? Even before she was kicked off the Food Network for making racial slurs, Deen wasn’t known for being particularly tactful or agile in the kitchen. So it wasn’t a surprise when she spazzed out on the Oprah Winfrey show while making pound cake, dropping a serving bowl—on top of two sticks of butter, three cups of sugar, and one cup of sour cream—into a standard mixer. Chaos and shrieks ensued.

5. Gordon Ramsay Nicks His ‘Claw’

It might have saved Giada from carving into her fingernail, but slicing and dicing against one’s knuckles (known as “the claw” in the food world) isn’t always a foolproof way to avoid gashes—not even for Gordon Ramsay of Hell’s Kitchen fame.