Felix Salmon

Food TV chart of the day

By Felix Salmon
July 12, 2009

The latest issue of my favorite obscure periodical, Meatpaper, has just arrived in the mail, and features this wonderful chart, in an article by Chris Ying:

Meatpaper chart.jpg

Put the attractiveness of a food-TV host on a scale from 1 to 10, says Chris, and put the repulsiveness of the food that host eats on another 1-to-10 scale. Then the product of the two numbers will always equal 10 — Gianna Giada De Laurentiis, for instance, is a 10 on the attractiveness scale, and eats only beautiful food.

Ying adds, in a footnote, that TV executives could actually use this formula normatively:

If our hypothetical TV host is a 2.1 in attractiveness, and we’ve got him going around the world eating macaroons and tea sandwiches, we’ve got to bring the repulsive level of his food to 4.76 before that show gets off the ground.

Ying never quite answers his own implied question, though: why is it that repulsive food is good for ratings if the host is not attractive, but bad for ratings if the host is attractive?

7 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

1) It’s Giada De Laurentiis, not Gianna. Honest mistake.

2) Giada De Laurentiis is an 11, not a 10. Another honest mistake.

3) There is a chance that cause and effect is reversed here. That a woman can cook beautiful food MAKES her beautiful, as the happiest husbands know well. Men I don’t know so much about.

4) This post, all by itself, justifies the existence of the blogosphere. Thank you Felix.

Posted by NNM4 | Report as abusive

“why is it that repulsive food is good for ratings if the host is not attractive, but bad for ratings if the host is attractive?”

In TV and movies, villains are always ugly. Therefore, the audience probably likes to see the unattractive host suffer.

Posted by Jon Hendry | Report as abusive

Suppose the host wore an outfit that disguised their looks. Would the food have to be bland?


This ‘study’ clearly ignores Iron Chef. Mario Batali is not the most handsome man on the show, yet his food always looks excellent and he seems to win at a fairly high rate.

Also, I believe there is a show that has a reasonably attractive woman that cooks low-calorie food. At a minimum this food always sounds terrible to me.

Posted by chappy | Report as abusive

What about Bear Grylls – host of Man vs. Wild on Discovery Channel, regularly devouring scorions, bugs, raw fish, etc. – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_Grylls

Another outlier to the general relationship posited here??

Posted by arjuns | Report as abusive

Does the same graph work for how much of a douchebag that chef is (with Guy Fieri being a perfect 10)?

Posted by Truff | Report as abusive

fancyfastfood.com will tell you how to make repulsive food attractive, but don’t offer any solutions for improving the attractiveness of those doing the preparations

Posted by ac | Report as abusive

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