by Gina Serpe | Mon., May. 17, 2010 11:54 AM
UPDATE: The chef formally pleaded not guilty to the felony charges, and his bail has been lowered, per the prosecutor's request, to $2 million. He's due back in court June 23 for a preliminary hearing.
Take one embattled former Food Network chef. Allow to simmer for several days in police custody. Finish off with a big dollop of disassociation. Serve alongside a sizable portion of public judgment.
That, apparently, is the network's latest recipe for damage control.
So while former Calorie Commando and Weighing In host Juan-Carlos Cruz has just been officially charged with attempted murder and solicitation of murder, the cable-based foodie fanatics are working overtime to set the record straight on the current nature of their relationship with the chef.
Namely, that it's nonexistent.
Cruz today was slapped with the dual charges after allegedly soliciting two homeless men to murder his wife and is scheduled to be arraigned on both this afternoon.
The 48-year-old was first arrested on suspicion of the heinous offense on Thursday and is currently in police custody in lieu of posting $5 million bail. (Rachael Ray's bank account he doesn't have.) However, prosecutors are expected to request his bail be lowered to a much more palatable $2 million at this afternoon's hearing.
Needless to say, alleged murder plots are not the sorts of things the Food Network wants their chefs—current or former—to be cooking up.
"Juan-Carlos Cruz has not been under contract or associated with Food Network for a number of years," the network told E! News. "The network has no current relationship with Cruz and therefore has no comment on the allegations."
Well, other than that one.
—Reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum