Food Network Host Battle

Earlier this year, NBC launched Feast, a site which takes restaurant reviews from all over the web and distills them into a single 0-to-100 score for each venue. I wondered: could you apply a similar algorithmic approach to rating individual chefs?

The most obvious source of numeric ratings for individual chefs is online recipe reviews. I collected a list of Food Network hosts from foodnetwork.com. For each of these hosts, I gathered all of his or her recipes published on the site, as well as the average user rating for each recipe. This data was used to generate the table below.

How to Read the Table

Hosts are listed from highest weighted average recipe rating to lowest. The vertical spacing between two rows is proportional to the difference in average recipe ratings. The hosts who had fewer than 10 recipes available — Ted Allen, Jeff Corwin, and Duff Goldman — are hidden by default. Both of these settings can be changed using the checkboxes below. You can also hover over any bar to read its specific numeric value.

 HostRating
Recipe Ratings Breakdown
1 star
2 stars
3 stars
4 stars
5 stars
Recipes
Brian Boitano4.997
0%
0%
0%
5%
95%
21
Melissa d'Arabian4.842
0%
0%
2%
36%
62%
45
Daisy Martinez4.819
0%
0%
0%
19%
81%
37
Aaron McCargo, Jr.4.781
0%
1%
2%
21%
76%
157
Ina Garten4.755
0%
0%
2%
28.999999999999996%
69%
655
Alton Brown4.686
0%
0%
4%
35%
62%
597
Emeril Lagasse4.684
1%
1%
6%
28.999999999999996%
63%
4221
Giada De Laurentiis4.676
0%
0%
3%
39%
57.99999999999999%
892
Anne Burrell4.662
0%
0%
2%
27%
72%
116
Dave Lieberman4.652
0%
1%
5%
33%
60%
221
Tyler Florence4.643
0%
1%
6%
37%
56.00000000000001%
966
Ellie Krieger4.594
0%
0%
3%
40%
56.00000000000001%
305
Bobby Flay4.583
0%
1%
5%
33%
60%
1037
Sunny Anderson4.582
1%
0%
7.000000000000001%
33%
59%
179
Nigella Lawson4.556
0%
0%
0%
48%
52%
71
Guy Fieri4.542
0%
1%
5%
37%
56.99999999999999%
292
Jamie Oliver4.512
0%
1%
7.000000000000001%
35%
57.99999999999999%
113
Michael Symon4.492
1%
0%
9%
38%
51%
68
Patrick and Gina Neely4.477
0%
0%
9%
27%
64%
11
Michael Chiarello4.47
0%
1%
8%
41%
50%
522
Danny Boome4.453
0%
1%
14.000000000000002%
35%
50%
84
Food Network Kitchens4.448
1%
1%
10%
40%
48%
1314
Paula Deen4.366
0%
1%
6%
45%
48%
141
Aida Mollenkamp4.359
0%
2%
7.000000000000001%
33%
59%
133
George Duran4.356
1%
1%
11%
31%
55.00000000000001%
83
Cat Cora4.352
2%
0%
12%
42%
44%
84
Mario Batali4.347
3%
2%
10%
30%
55.00000000000001%
761
Robert Irvine4.319
4%
5%
8%
28.000000000000004%
55.00000000000001%
309
Claire Robinson4.307
0%
1%
6%
46%
48%
101
EatingWell4.297
3%
4%
11%
32%
49%
426
Alexandra Guarnaschelli4.225
1%
3%
7.000000000000001%
40%
49%
68
Warren Brown4.08
0%
0%
18%
27%
55.00000000000001%
11
Ingrid Hoffmann4.059
1%
6%
21%
31%
41%
136
Robin Miller 3.982
0%
3%
16%
55.00000000000001%
26%
397
Sandra Lee3.573
1%
8%
35%
43%
13%
107

Commentary

To be honest, I didn't even know Brian Boitano had a show on Food Network, but What Would Brian Boitano Make? seems to be very popular among viewers. And poor Sandra Lee can't seem to catch a break. Her boyfriend's mothervery vocally dissed her lasagna recipe, and she ended up dead last among Food Network talent. Perhaps that's because her recipes draw comments like these from reviewers:

On Sandra's Halibut Tacos with Fish Salsa

"I must admit I would never have thought of serving fish with allspice and taco seasoning and salsa and cole slaw and peaches. But there's a good reason for that: this is disgusting."
— Anonymous

On Sandra's Oriental Pork Wrappers

These look like entrails from a gutted and drained goat. Great for forecasting coming events — bad for dinner."
— Anonymous

See Food Network Humor for more review gems.

A Note on the Visualization

To my knowledge, this type of “stacked-and-spaced bar chart” is a novel type of visualization. There were three types of information I most wanted to convey through its design:

  1. The absolute rank of each member of the group, from highest to lowest — This is illustrated from the simple top-to-bottom ordering/numbering scheme
  2. The distribution of average ratings, i.e. any clustering of scores and the size of gaps between the scores of different people — With the "space rows vertically by average rating" option selected, gaps and clustering are highlighted
  3. The distribution of each person's ratings across the 1-to-5 star scale — Each row of the bar chart is segmented into five sections corresponding to rating scale, and each bar is colored to make comparison of individual star segments easier between people

Methodology

The list of chefs and their respective recipes was collected from foodnetwork.com on February 20, 2010.