Nearly-canceled chef Alison Roman is returning to mainstream media, this time with a cooking show at CNN+.
Roman rose to prominence a few years ago as her simple, flavorful, and commentary-laden recipes like “The Stew” and a caramelized shallot pasta became ubiquitous in the kitchens of novice cooks — at least those who live in Brooklyn and spend a lot of time on social media. But the beloved cook became widely reviled after some questionable comments in an interview for The New Consumer in the spring of 2020.
In case you’ve forgotten, spliced in with recipe development tips and a professed disdain for personal branding, Roman derided Marie Kondo and Chrissy Teigen for their rampant consumerism in creating branded cookware lines, notably comparing Teigen to a one-woman content farm.
Some critics believed that Roman’s commentary was racist, as she blasted two Asian women for doing what many white women — Roman herself, included — do all the time: leverage their personalities for money via branded content. That, in combination with the criticism that Roman’s recipes dabbled in cultural appropriation, was enough to land her her very own 15 minutes in the Twitter doghouse.
Roman’s then-employer, the New York Times, did not forget the skirmish. After putting her column on a temporary hold, Roman was permanently removed as a contributor in December of 2020. Though the Paper of Record never specified the reason behind Roman’s hold and eventual dismissal, it’s widely speculated that it was due to l’affaire Teigen.
Roman likely learned her lesson: After Teigen heard tell of the derisive comments, she pulled out from a deal to executive produce the show that Roman was promoting in her interview. If anything will make a content creator stop running their mouth about other content creators, it’s the richer content creator pulling the plug. Such is capitalism, baby!
Roman released a notes app apology and took the usual “time offline to reflect on her actions.” She retired from public life for several months, and then dusted herself off and got back to work. She started the cheekily titled “A Newsletter” and began a YouTube cooking series called “Home Movies.”
After a recent profile in the New Yorker, it became apparent that Roman was positioning for a return to the spotlight — to be back back, not just creating-your-own-content-on-Substack back. This week, CNN announced that she will be hosting her own cooking show on their new streaming platform, CNN+.
Though they have not announced a name for the show, CNN+ stated that the show will be “brand new, highly opinionated, and never finicky.” Episodes will feature Roman in the kitchen as well as Roman elsewhere, presumably doing Roman-y things like shopping for tinned fish or hanging out at her newly-purchased private upstate supper club. Likely in response to the criticism of cultural appropriation, the show will also feature Roman “learning the stories behind the dishes,” per Adweek.
Roman stated: “I could not be more thrilled to be partnering with CNN+ on this project. I’ve been dreaming about bringing a new sort of cooking and food show to life for years and I can’t think of any place better to make it a reality.” Her show is set to launch in the spring.
Though not everyone has forgiven Roman for her transgressions, I’m willing to bet that she herself no longer cares about individual critics on social media, now that she has re-secured the big-name endorsements that will enable her to have a steady income. What more could a recipe creator-turned social media star ask for?