Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





Celebrity Chef's reaching new levels of… well, celebrity

Posted 25 July, 2008 at 12:18pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food)

It was just a few years ago that celebrity chefs were rare and usually only popular in the small community of food enthusiasts. These days, for better or worse, Food Network has really expanded the food lexicon and awareness of the general public. I might not always agree with the direction their shows take and what aspects of food and cooking they promote, but I have to say they've really made food and food celebrities main stream. Here's Mario Batali making a celebrity cameo in a music video (!) by the Blood Sugars. Do you guys think this is a positive trend or is the popularization of food culture negatively affecting the food community?

4 comments to Celebrity Chef's reaching new levels of… well, celebrity

Anonymous, July 25th, 2008 at 12:22 pm:

  • You know, I think it's pretty stupid to have chef's in the spotlight so much. I mean, they're chefs! We can't tell if they are good at what they do unless we eat their food - so why are they prancing around outside like they're royalty? Hell, most of these so called celebrity chefs don't even cook anymore. It's just a bunch of random line cooks and a chef de cuisine that they appoint. Those guys should be in the spotlight!

Michael Chu, July 25th, 2008 at 12:59 pm:

  • Wow, that was kind of a fast response. (Usually no one responds for a while!)

    I can see where you're coming from on this one, but isn't it okay for chef's who have become famous to promote their personality, character, and persona?

    His celebrity as well as other chef's means more people are interested in food and it probably over all raises the level of food quality and awareness of people in general…

Shog9, July 25th, 2008 at 6:06 pm:

  • > isn’t it okay for chef’s who have become famous to promote their personality, character, and persona?

    I first read that as "… personality, character, and aroma?". Heh… Not sure i'd really want to smell Batali.

    However… Surely, if we could actually taste… or at least *smell* what the chefs were cookin' up on the TV… then such celebrity would be more deserved. Bring back Smell-O-Vision!

Chris, August 26th, 2008 at 1:50 pm:

  • In Britain the celebrity status of chefs has, in the last decade or so, become massive. Lots of people, including lots of chefs, think this is a bad thing, but it's not at all obvious that it is. People do at least aspire to cooking well nowadays, whereas it's not that many years ago that an enthusiasm for cooking might be viewed as socially suspect (in something like the way that an enthusiasm for gentleman's grooming products might be.)

    One result of the boom in the celebrity of chefs is that it has become obvious that these chefs can't possibly have time to actually do very much cooking for themselves at home, or in the restaurants that bear their names, despite which fact they still keep opening such restaurants, and publishing books that purport to tell us what they cook when they're at home. Nobody is fooled by this and its all terribly postmodern.

    The celebrity chef culture in the US isn't the same - or, at least, the TV companies have a different way of handling celebrity chefs in the US. Compare the US and UK editions of "Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares" for examples. (Hurrah for YouTube.)