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House of Food
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that House of Food features a series-long cooking competition, but contains all the reality drama one expects from an MTV show. There's lots of catty behavior (some of which leads to screaming and throwing things), bleeped cursing, blurred rude gestures, and some sexual innuendo. Drinking is also part of the lifestyle of the contestants. Older tweens might be able to handle it, but it's really meant for teens and up.
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What's the story?
HOUSE OF FOOD is an MTV reality series featuring a group of young, aspiring chefs with limited experience competing for a chance to launch their culinary career. Eight contestants from across the country live together in a swanky LA house, where they get advice by their host, Chris Nirschel, and mentored by their executive chef judges, Casey Lane, Brendan Collins, and Brooke Williamson. Each episode features the group getting a culinary lesson from one chef and then competing with each other to see who executes the best dish. They also get a chance to work in some professional kitchens. The winner of the competition wins an apprenticeship with a top Los Angeles chef.
Is it any good?
It's a cooking competition, but the focus on food is overshadowed by the Real World-like drama that takes place between the contestants. Some of the cast members, who range from arrogant divas to confused rock-and roll types, seem more like recognizable caricatures than real people and seem designed to create contrived voyeuristic moments.
Despite the conflict, the only real edginess to the show comes from the chefs, whose critiquing style makes them appear as unapproachable and unlikable as some of the contestants. Meanwhile, they only offer some limited teachable moments. Foodies tuning in will be sorely disappointed, and folks looking for a new reality fare recipe will find little new on the menu.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cooking competitions. Are these competitions designed to highlight the culinary arts, or is it really about the reality drama between contestants? Is it realistic to think that inexperienced contestants can learn how to cook dishes (and cook them well) quickly?
Why are cooking shows so popular? Do you think they inspire people to cook?