Tune in to “The Food Network” or its hipper spinoff “The Cooking Channel” and you might think you’re watching Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, or E! The Entertainment Channel. That’s because today, entertainers—movie and television stars, supermodels, and pop singers—trump trained chefs on these popular cable networks. (Speaking of Trump, how is it possible that he doesn’t yet have his own cooking show?)

Just look at the “chefs” listed on The Food Network’s website. There’s . . .

?   80’s sitcom star and weight loss spokeswoman Valerie Bertinelli

?   Supermodel and annoying Twitter personality Chrissy Teigen (she’s allowed to eat?)

?   Country singer Trisha Yearwood (just watching her knife skills gives me a panic attack)

?   Hollywood actress (and Madonna bestie) Debi Mazar (to be fair, her husband, Gabriele Corcos, is a grandmother-taught Tuscan cook . . . so let’s give them a pass. Plus, they’re adorable)

?   Olympic gold medal winning figure skater Brian Boitano (also adorable, but seriously?)

?   Actress (and sister to the more famous actress/singer Hilary) Haylie Duff

?   Sitcom mom Patricia Heaton

?   Conservationist and reality television host Jeff Corwin

?   Boy band singer Joey Fatone

?   Former child actress Tia Mowry (of the saccharine 90’s sitcom Sister/Sister)

?   R&B singer Patti Labelle

?   Giada De Laurentiis (oops, she’s actually a trained chef who just happens to show up regularly in the gossip columns).

Speaking of Giada, she’s a good example of the evolution of the network itself and what it likes to call its “talent.” During its first decade, The Food Network, which launched in 1993, hired admittedly good looking and somewhat camera-ready, culinary school-trained chefs and some well-known restaurateurs to host their own shows. Those chefs naturally gained a certain level of celebrity status; and with that limelight came the book deals, more shows and spinoffs, product endorsement deals, and more book deals. Recently, Food Network stars have truly entered the realm of celebrity with their paparazzi photos and messy divorces. This seems to be Giada’s trajectory and Bobby Flay’s fate, at least.

But it wasn’t always so Hollywood Babylon among the baking dishes. At first, the chefs came off a little awkward and stilted as they nervously got down to the cooking (Mario Batali’s first shows were agonizing to watch, but dang, did you learn something!). In these early days, shows didn’t feature the constant chatter and babbling we see today. Silent moments happened as the audience watched and learned how to chop an onion properly (yes, there’s a proper way to chop an onion), or the importance of deglazing a pan, or how to chiffonade basil leaves, or easily removing fresh thyme leaves from their stems.

Eventually, many of these chefs warmed to the camera and became more comfortable in front of it and their audience. Their personalities began to show through and the sets became more showy and colorful. Emeril delivered his trademark “bams!” and Giada revealed her downright gorgeous, toothy smile (watch her first episode. Oddly, she hardly smiles). Rachel Ray adorably, and eventually a little annoyingly, started shortening the names of common ingredients (EVOO for extra virgin olive oil) and the Barefoot Contessa started introducing us to more and more of her well-heeled and extremely well-mannered (even in the face of Ina’s many uncomfortable gatherings) friends around the Hamptons. As their personalities and quirks emerged, their stars ascended. They became famous not only for their talents in the kitchen but because they made cooking fun and accessible and desirable—a talent everyone wanted to possess; a lifestyle to emulate.

For some time, these trained chefs and restaurant owners were the stars, yet their antics rarely outshined the food. Teaching about food and cooking was still paramount in those early days of the network. The audience was entertained by Emeril and Mario, they wanted to have a heart-to-heart with Paula Deen, and they always forgave Rachel when she lied night after night that we would be done cooking in 30 minutes while failing to mention we also needed her high level of energy and that cleanup would take you another 45 minutes after eating. Yet these chefs did a lot to educate viewers about the food they were preparing.

Now, things are different. Hollywood stars with minimal professional training seem to outnumber the actual chefs on the network and Food Network executives have transformed the prime-time lineup to game show-type programs like Chopped, Guy’s Grocery Games, The Great Food Truck Race, Rewrapped, Camp Cutthroat, Worst Cooks in America, and many, many more.

The popularity of these shows says something about our current cultural moment and its insatiable hunger for celebrity ogling. US Weekly—a gossip and entertainment magazine—has a popular feature called “Stars: They’re Just Like Us.” It highlights A-listers doing normal, mundane things—pumping gas, grocery shopping, getting coffee, paying for parking, picking up kids from school. That’s what comes to mind when I’m watching Trisha Yearwood prepare a casserole. The draw isn’t the meal; it’s watching a famous person in a natural environment, doing normal, everyday chores (and in Yearwood’s case, it’s the tightrope-watching possibility that you might get to see her slice off a digit).

Frankly, I’m shocked the Kardashians haven’t been offered a show (Warning: it will probably happen. Khloe Kardashian recently gave us a video tour of her refrigerator.  To Food Network executives, this is Hollywood’s version of a degree from the Culinary Institute of America).

Maybe that’s why some of the best and most legendary television chefs have left The Food Network for PBS. There you can find a variety of cooking shows that offer something The Food Network never will: Silence while cooking.

I’ve had PBS cooking shows on in the background while making dinner at home and have actually looked up at the screen thinking something happened to the cable connection because no one was talking on the show. It seems so odd to have silence on a cooking show. Shouldn’t they be talking? Laughing? Joking? Making fun of themselves? Why is no one running around? Why is no one screaming? Shouldn’t people be bumping into each other or telling stories about how they plan to spend their contest winnings on social justice causes?

Nope. They’re just cooking.

I look forward to the pendulum swinging back. I’m sure some enterprising, young Food Network executive will soon suggest a new, fresh show featuring actual instruction and demonstration and technique. Perhaps a Food Network executive will stumble across an old copy of Larousse Gastronomique or Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire in a used bookstore and be inspired by the description of the mother sauces or some other basic covered in these old classic cookbooks.

Of course, that’s probably a fantasy. Like a relentless sausage factory, the Food Network will continue its transformation into the Game Show Network, churning out more and more unwatchable, frenetic cooking shows featuring movie, television and pop stars who, in their real lives, probably have personal chefs on their payrolls.