Frugal Gourmet Jeff Smith


What Really Happened Behind The Scenes Of The Frugal Gourmet's Kitchen
Stealing Recipes
The press began reporting that host Jeff Smith didn't write most of his recipes for the "The Frugal Gourmet" TV shows and cookbooks, accusing them of being stolen.
Without credit given to word-for-word copies of recipes in other cookbooks, Smith told Newsday, "Sure, I mooch off other cooks; every good teacher is a thief."
Hired Chef
As Smith wasn't testing his stolen recipes, he gave fans misinformation that didn't have good research. The show eventually ended up hiring a chef to pick up the slack.
Once the show hired chef Craig Wollam in its fourth season, the recipes on the show were less hit-or-miss. Wollom also co-authored two cookbooks with him, but Smith's name remains.
Paid Promotions
Smith wasn't getting paid to promote everything on his show, but his constant name-dropping of brands like Henckels, Le Creuset, and Silver-Stone was off-putting.
Knowing that he was getting paid to promote some brands cheapened his recommendations for fans. However, his level of paid product promotion is tame compared to today.
While his on-screen persona was mainly lighthearted and fun-loving, Smith bossed his assistant, Chef Craig Wollam, around on-screen.
If you asked his film crew, they'd tell you he was easily irritated; others found him plain condescending. Smith admitted to sometimes letting his emotions run high in interviews.
Ethnic Stereotyping
Smith introduced international cuisines to fans but was casual in his approach and not as politically correct as he should have been.
When asked by Newsday about making ethnic stereotypes, he said, "If I make jokes, it's because I'm having fun and because I feel that I'm part of their culture."