Category Archives: Food Network

I Got Canceled by Food Network for Threatening to Kill Duff Goldman’s Cat

“Why did Food Network cancel your show?”

“I threatened to shoot Duff Goldman‘s cat.”

That’s my response and I’m sticking to it.

Six episodes of Crave had already aired. The ratings started strong. Then Dancing With the Stars, Monday Night Football, Neil Patrick Harris and Two and a Half Men all returned to the airwaves during our time slot, rendering us Nielson non grata. Still, the feedback was cool:

“A whole new way of talking about food!”

“The funniest show on Food Network!”

“Someone please tell Bobby Flay to punch Troy Johnson in the throat!”

I was working three jobs as the senior editor for Riviera Magazine, writer-host of Crave and new dad to my daughter. At 1AM I was on the couch solo con boxer briefs, as the Spanish don’t say. I’d just mainlined another coffee. I had to finish writing our episode on SPICY FOOD. The production company was rightly screaming at me. I also had to finish a restaurant review for the magazine.

Over-caffeinated and needing a distraction, I saw this Tweet from Food Network biggie Duff Goldman:

A LEOPARD? BENGAL CAT? I’m not a cat person. So I read this as, “While small, a jungle predator with sharp teeth can and will disembowel some unsuspecting bro in Venice Beach tonight. If you see it, Tweet me.”

I responded thusly:

I expected he and I would share a ROFL and bond over my feline confusion. He’d naturally want to cameo in my SPICY FOOD episode. Then we would ride motorcycles together, with cupcakes and beer in our saddlebags.

Hilarity did not ensue. This did:

Then, silence. Duff went looking for his cat.

The next morning, I received a call from The Network. They were moving the show to a less conspicuous time slot. And canceling it thereafter.

The timing was impeccable. My unintentional cat-whacking threat had been made no less than eight hours prior. Coincidence?

I imagine Duff sitting across from the executive, having just minutes ago stormed into his office yelling, “This psycho threatened to pop a cap in my kitty!”

Late-night dementia notwithstanding, I can’t say I didn’t.

RIP
Crave
2011-2011 1/2
“A cap was popped in its ass before it could do the same to Duff’s cat.”

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Spicy Food Episode of Crave: The Ghost Pepper is a Government Conspiracy

The ghost pepper. I wouldn't eat these things with YOUR mouth.

CRAVE: “Spicy Food: Taste the Pain” airs tonight, 11:30EST/8:30PST on Food Network.

For tonight’s episode, we visited Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap in Chicago. They’re famous for their Triple X wings. Main ingredient? The ghost pepper. Known by chile heads as bhut jolokia, it’s like the mutant food spawn of Wolverine and that kid in high school who spent his free time exploding the nasal cavities of nerds.

The Triple X wings are double-dog-dare food. You could either buy a really big truck with metal testes hanging below the rear bumper. Or eat these things in front of people. Both atone for all sorts of petite manhoods. When you order them, you even get a little plastic fireman’s hat.

It’s food spectacle. It’s the bearded lady of their restaurant. The attraction. As we were cutting the peppers in Jake Melnicks’ kitchen—a big, wide-open space with quality ventilation—our entire camera crew began to cough, wheeze, sneeze. We had to stop filming for 15 minutes to regain composure.

As if the ghost pepper wasn’t scary enough. Now it’s airborn??? It’s like you’ve pissed off Charles Bronson. He’s in his Camaro coming after you with a vengeance. He wants to turn your spleen into charcuterie. Oh, and did we mention he can fly?

Jesus.

There are YouTube videos of mentally deranged dudes eating these things and nearly dying.

The chef, a sarcastic lovable badass named Bob Andrea, told us this little story.

Two years ago, he couldn’t find ghost peppers anywhere on the open market. They had simply vanished. “Turns out, the government bought them all to use as weapons,” he explained.

Sounds like a conspiracy story. Like the one about Area 51, where the CIA holds elaborate swingers parties with extra terrestrials. Bullocks, right?

But it makes sense. It’s like pepper spray on steroids. Plus, the Indian government is apparently already turning ghosties into weapons of mass irritation.

So if you show up to Jake Melnicks and they’re out of the Triple X wings, don’t be disappointed. You’re in the middle of a gigantic government conspiracy. So, at least you have that going for you.

(Note: The ghost pepper was long the hottest chile pepper in the world. That title has since been stolen by the Naga Viper, which is hot enough to strip paint. I wouldn’t eat that thing with your mouth.)

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Spicy Food: My Abusive Relationship

Security detail at Avery Island. Home of Tabasco. On scene for the “Spicy Food: Taste the Pain” episode of CRAVE. This little guy literally jumped out of the water trying to eat our boom mic. I wet myself a little.

I don’t advocate violence against children. But as a kid, I was punchable. I commend my father for not dropping me off somewhere. Like, say, deep in Mexico. And then growing a mustache and changing his name.

Forbidden by laws and morals to do harm to our kids, parents find other ways. Piano lessons. Brussels sprouts. Falcon’s Crest.

My dad, cunningly, used pizza. At a pie joint in Big Bear City, he pointed to a bottle of red and yellow flakes. He dared me to take one of them—just one—and put it on the end of my tongue.

I scoffed. They were tiny! Wussfood! Not wanting to back down and lacking the mental acuity to sense a good trap when I saw one… I did exactly that.

I sat there, tongue out, that little red dot perched on the tip. Five seconds. Nothing. Ten seconds. Nothing.

Ha! I scoffed in his general direction.

Fool! My tongue was obviously a bad-ass. A callous appendage that may have a teardrop tattoo that I’m unaware of. If I stuck a spoon in my mouth, it would come out a shank.

Then it started to creep. A little buzz at first. Then it got a little hotter. My neener-neener-neener smile started to weaken. And hotter. My lips quivered a bit. Then it started to BURN. Like I’ve heard peeing does when you’ve been indiscriminate with your affections in the wrong part of town.

Then, ohholyjesustractorpullyeeeeeowwww… it felt like the time my sister told me it was cool and fun to pour hot candlewax on my face because it would make an awesome mask.

I spit it out. I held the dainty, wet little flake in my hand. I looked at it with an expression of pain and confusion. Painfusion. I felt like I’d just had the crap kicked out of me by Tinkerbell.

Gone from my mouth, I figured the pain would stop. Nope. Got worse. How does that work?! I felt like I’d been carjacked, managed to throw the jacker out of my car, only to realize he’d cut the brakes and passed some truly offensive gas.

I grabbed water, started gulping it. Relief? No. It just spread the pain to my entire piehole. My dad was crying from the laughter. He was on the floor. Revenge was his.

Nose running, eyes watering, my tongue waving in the air like it’s having a seizure… I looked my dad straight in the eye, squinted so he could really understand the gravity of what I was about to tell him… and said,

“Dude. That. Was. Awesome.”

I’ve loved spicy food ever since. Maybe I like to hurt myself. Not a lot. I’m not gonna carve an ex-girlfriend’s name into my thigh. But spice? Yes, please.

The next episode of Crave is my journey across America to find the perfect spicy food. And my effort to comprehend why, when I was 10, I had my a** kicked by a tiny little red flake of wussfood. And liked it.

Crave airs Friday, 11:30PM EST/8:30PM PST on Food Network.

TWITTER: @T_R0Y (that’s a zero, not an ‘oh’)

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/cravetroy

FOOD NETWORK PAGE: foodnetwork.com/crave

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