The biggest names in cooking
From France and Italy to New York and Los Angeles, there have been elite chefs as long as there have been restaurants in business. Initially, the best chefs gained prominence through word of mouth. Rumors and food reviews spread through the population, and this fostered demand. After all, it only makes sense that you would want to dine on food prepared by a chef who’s considered to be a master of his or her craft.
Traditionally, the term celebrity chef" has been used to describe someone who became famous for his or her cooking, like the elite chefs mentioned below. However, this term went through a transition in the 1990s, with the celebrity aspect becoming much more important than the chef aspect. Today, celebrity chefs have taken their fame to a whole new level. They now inhabit the same territory as rocks stars.
During the 1990s, widespread media attention was given to this new type of "elite chef". The Food Network began broadcasting in 1993 and this led to a rapid expansion of public interest in cooking shows. Soon, this interest translated into a number of high-profile stories in prominent print publications that featured the new breed of charismatic, creative chefs who were selected to host these new cooking shows. Top chefs began receiving invitations to be guests on talk shows and to speak at public events. Subsequently, the exposure these chefs received vaulted them to celebrity status.
Today’s Top Celebrity Chefs
Today’s most famous chefs lead interesting lives. From their upbringing to their study of the culinary arts, as well as the restaurants that they own and their current philosophy towards cooking, food is their lives! With the popularity of the latest food and cooking shows, as well as their media presence, including the television shows they have starred in and the books they have authored, their celebrity has become widespread. Some of the most famous celebrity chefs include:
Cooking celebrity also goes beyond individual chefs and can be witnessed in the popularity of one of the most fashionable shows in the history culinary culture – the Iron Chef competition.
There are some in the culinary industry who use the term celebrity chef in a derogatory way. Sometimes, celebrity chefs are considered to be "sell outs," or people who care more about fame and fortune than food.
Sometimes the term "TV chef" is used to refer to someone who has gained fame in the culinary industry without earning it by paying his or her dues in a restaurant. For example, Rachael Ray is considered by some to be a "TV chef," but not a true chef.