HOLLYWOOD—I have always been a fan of The Food Network. This cable channel really helped me become the cook that I am today and allowed me not to be afraid to try new things in the kitchen. You learn to cook through experimentation people. However, I have seen such a trend on the network in recent years that has completely turned me off.

I mean for the first time in years, we did not have a new season of “Food Network Star” this year, where contestants compete for an opportunity to have their own series on The Food Network. I will be honest I don’t miss the series because I cannot recall the last time the winner of the show actually got their own series that stayed on the air more than a few episodes. However, that is beyond the point.

When I watch this culinary staple, I want to see people actually cook. In the past few years, a show that was all about people being invited into the homes of chefs or people who cooked drastically became a competition series network and I hate it. I do not want to watch a bunch of shows where EVERYONE is always competing; there is NOTHING fun about that America. I mean I heard someone talking about the mystery box challenge on the FOX series “Master Chef” and I immediately paused.

I’m like it’s called the mystery basket people and that was something that The Food Network first created on the series “Chopped” which I actually enjoy. I mean “Chopped” is where it’s at, if you want to see actual creativity from chefs with crazy ingredients that should not mesh, but they find a way to make it happen. I mean I recall the good ole days where I could watch shows like Brunch with Bobby, Alex’s Day Off, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Everyday Italian; the list goes on and on. These were shows that helped perfect me as a cook. You don’t see this as much anymore on the network, at least not with new series.

The only days where you see this is on the weekends, particularly Saturdays and Sundays, but its only for like a 4-5 hour block and then we’re back to all the competition like series, except for “Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins” which is a must see. I mean I love “Iron Chef America,” but I can’t even recall the last time I saw a new episode, and the “Next Iron Chef” is not what it used to be.

Back then it was fun, frenetic and just genius, now it seems like an afterthought. Sorry, but Alton Brown is great, but I don’t want to see him judging food and determining which chef or chefs advance and who don’t, let that be accomplished by the panel of judges people. How can I best say it? The Food Network used to be my staple when it came to TV watching, that is not the case anymore.

The fun, vibrancy and educational tool that it once was is not as entertaining as it used to be. What made this network so much fun has drastically changed, which I understand happens as time evolves, but man would I kill for this culinary staple to return to its roots, if only for a week or month, the nostalgia would be worth it. I miss the old Food Network, please bring it back, bring the people who teach us recipes and show us step by step how to create a dish or prepare a culinary feast America.

Written By Zoe Mitchell