Fellow network star Anthony Bourdain, for example, tweeted, "Thinking of getting into the leg breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later." Salkin reports that Deen and her agent, Barry Walter, didn't consult Food Network on any of this — and that was when some higher ups first suggested the network start distancing itself from her. "Food Network executives were so upset at having been blindsided [by her diabetes announcement] that Paula's Best Dishes was put on hiatus and no new episodes were shot for about a year," Salkin notes.
But whereas the hypocrisy of butter slinging chef marketing diabetes medicine wasn't enough to topple her empire, her use of the n-word and her so-called fantasy slave-themed wedding were. According to Salkin, between the deposition and the diabetes announcement, she was already on thin ice. Executives debated whether to give her the axe immediately or eventually. Salkin wrote:
A debate raged within the company about what to do and when to do it. Some wanted her gone immediately. Her contract was up. She had two major strikes against her. Why wait for a third strike? Others counseled patience. Even if they were going to let her go, why do it in the heat of the moment? Better to investigate for a few weeks, see how it played out and do whatever they were going to do calmly, in their own time.
In the end, "in their own time" meant firing her just moments after she released a series of amateurish apology videos.
Salkin won't admit it, but Bobby Flay really is a jerk
Despite Bobby Flay's not-very-stellar reputation, From Scratch is pretty nice to him. Actually, really nice. As in, there's a "grace and humility of Bobby Flay" section in the index, nice. As in, maybe Flay and Salkin are best friends, nice. This is an actual description of Flay in From Scratch: "Bobby, although somewhat shy, was a natural leader. He always seemed to have something up his sleeve, his tight blue eyes and shock of curly dark red hair projecting a cross of boyish carelessness and and calculating coldness." In general Salkin's book is generous towards its subjects, without any of the snark or contempt we'd hope for in a behind-the-scenes look, but his fondness for Flay is rather egregious, as is his willingness to forgive him. We have two points to make about Flay, of whom we are not great fans:
Bobby Flay on Throwdown, the show on which he challenges chefs to cook-offs of their signature dishes: "Let me put it this way. We gave everybody who we challenged every possibility to beat me. Didn't happen all the time." This is from one of the "grace and humility" sections.
Masaharu Morimoto after their Iron chef showdown, and Flay's victory lap on the counter: "He's no chef...He stood on the cutting board. In Japan the cutting board is sacred." When Flay faced Morimoto again, he threw the cutting board on the floor instead.