JamieOliverPA_450x300Jamie Oliver has always been known for taking up causes close to his heart. As we start a new year, he is making the headlines yet again. The cause? Childhood obesity.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but children these days are leaning towards the big size. It could be because of the amount of food they’re consuming. It could also be due to the quality of the food. Then again, there could be other factors such as the level of physical activity that children engage in nowadays. I am quite sure, however, that all these play a role in the tendency to be unhealthy.

Some non-profit groups in the United Kingdom have banded together, and Jamie Oliver is taking part in their activities as well. He actually recently won $100,000 from TED due to his efforts. The money is intended to fund the celebrity chef’s campaign to improve school lunches in the United Kingdom in terms of their nutritional value. Dubbed “Feed Me Better,” this campaign has been going on for quite some time and has gained a lot of interest.

I wonder if other celebrity chefs will be interested in undertaking similar projects? Take a look around you, in the United States – children are even in more need of help in terms of eating healthily and avoiding all the complications that childhood obesity can bring about. Maybe the change does not need to stem from someone like Jamie Oliver. Maybe you and I can do something about it, even in our own little ways.

michelle_obama_kitchen2The much celebrated cooking show, Iron Chef America, is making history – it just filmed an episode at the White House, no less! The news is that First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed the cast and crew with open arms. She was even the one who introduced the secret ingredient at the beginning of the show, sidelining the Chairman. Another important aspect of the episode is that the food that the chefs prepared came from the vegetable garden of the White House. In addition to this, this is the first time ever that a First Lady is going to appear on a TV show. Talk about breaking new grounds!

CNN tells us more about the show, which is going to air in January:

The episode will feature White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford as well as celebrity chefs Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse.
Cook-off judges include British chef Nigella Lawson, actress Jane Seymour and U.S. Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin.

During her appearance, Obama spoke about the influence that cooking shows like “Iron Chef” have on the American perception of healthy foods. “It’s going a long way to help change the way this country thinks about food,” she told the chefs.

So is this just a stunt for the TV show? I think it’s also more of an attempt on the part of the First Lady to get the word out about her efforts to promote healthy eating in the country. I say it’s a great way to attract the attention of people!

Photo courtesy of Diet Food Pyramid

dessertsBut nothing is sweeter than having a plethora of desserts piled in front of you, is there? My uber sweet tooth got the best of me when I heard that Top Chef is going to have a spin off dubbed Top Chef: Just Desserts. The show is supposed to be aired some time next year.

No other details have really been released as of yet. We do not have an idea as to who the judges will be. We do not know who the contestants will be. The people behind the show are not sitting idle, though. As early as now, they are starting to get people together for casting. They say that over the next few weeks, screenings for cast members will be held all over the country. For sure, we will be meeting a lot of new pastry chefs when the show starts airing.

I, for one, will be a big fan of this show. Top Chef has already caught the attention of so many people and while the idea of focusing on desserts is not that novel, the format of Top Chef is certain to create a buzz. I am already starting to imagine all the concoctions that they will whip up in the show – and I am telling you that my mouth is watering! Another plus that I can see is that having this spin off will assure Top Chef fans of a year-round dose of the show. Now can you think of anything sweeter than that?

gordon_ramsay-730834Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has always been a favorite of critics. Who can blame them? The chef does not seem to have public relations on his priority list anyway. He has never masked his foul mouth – on air or off air. He slammed an Australian TV personality and likened her to a pig. Why should anyone wonder when reservations at his restaurants have spiraled downward? Why should anyone wonder when exposes have been done about his dishes being pre-prepared at a location separate from the restaurants?

We are only starting the second half of the year and the critics do not seem to be done with Chef Gordon Ramsay yet. The latest issue? His restaurants are overpriced and disappointing.

Several newspapers have already published these “findings,” as reported in the most recent edition of Harden’s London Restaurants. According to the magazine, even Ramsay’s main restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, has gone down the drain. This is quite surprising as, only last year, the restaurant was hailed as the best foodie experience in all of London!

In spite of all the bad reviews and publicity about his restaurants, however, Ramsay still has staunch supporters. There is Fox TV, which has renewed his contract for the TV series Hell’s Kitchen. It is running its 8th season. A special is also in the works, titled Gordon Ramsay: Cookalong Live. The chef also seems undaunted by the setbacks as he is opening restaurants in London and Italy.

Time will tell, along with the food and service that the chef continues to offer discerning gastronomists.

jamies_italian_250x300Jamie Oliver has gone a long way, and is now one of the most popular celebrity chefs all over the world. He is not one to sit on his laurels, though. Although he has had much success with regards to cookbooks and TV shows, he wants to expand his reach. The news is that he is going to Asia to introduce his line of Italian restaurants. He will be starting in Hong Kong.

Jamie is no stranger to the restaurant business. He has, in fact, a chain of restaurants well established in the UK. Hong Kong and Singapore are the target countries, with six restaurants in total. Dubbed Jamie’s Italian, the restaurant line’s strength is in its quality of food and fair prices. In fact, the press release for the line says “At Jamie’s restaurants, you will often find a blue-collar worker, a student, and the chairman of a blue-chip company side by side having a meal.”

I am not sure about what is “fair,” though. From what I hear, you would have to shell out about HK$300 for an average 3-course meal. That is not something that a blue-collar worker or a student can pay (unless he’s got rich parents)! What do you think – would you pay this much for a meal at Jamie’s Italian?

In any case, the restaurants are not going to be ready for business till next year. If you really want to eat at Jamie’s Italian, I guess you better start saving now.


GoldsmithNext time someone approaches you and says they have connections to Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey, or any other celebrity chef, think twice. Especially if the person is named Kenneth Goldsmith.

Actually, you do not have to worry much about Goldsmith anytime soon. He has been convicted of his crimes and has been jailed, where he will stay for the next 3 ½ years. Goldsmith hails from Norton Disney, Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom. He has conned a lot of people into thinking that he was a trained chef and that he is good friends with renowned celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey. His modus operandi was to convince entrepreneurs to invest in his “business.” Using his supposed connections with the other REAL celebrity chefs, he was able to persuade a lot of people. The result? He was able to live an extravagant lifestyle, which he enjoyed with his girlfriend Kirsty Emmans.

Naturally, the scam came to light, as most other scams normally do. The couple were caught, tried, and sentenced. In the meantime, the celebrity chefs in question walk away smelling like roses.

I find it quite funny how Goldsmith made up stories about his relationship with the chefs, though. There is this one story about how, when they were much younger, Goldsmith flushed Jamie’s head down the toilet. Now why would anyone want to do that?

And what do Oliver and Ramsay have to say about this? Nothing, I guess. They have not released statements, and perhaps they should just keep it that way.

DavidBurke_PortraitCelebrity chefs may be the best cooks on earth but that does not mean that they are the most behaved as well. Being celebrities, they are also not exempt from problems and rumors and all that kind of stuff. Usually it is Jamie Oliver who is in this kind of pickle. This time, though, it is David Burke that is the target.

The name not familiar? David Burke is the owner of several restaurants, one of which is David Burke Townhouse in New York. Burke has also appeared in some shows like Iron Chef America.

Anyhow, chauffeur Thomas Heiser, 28 years old, has filed a lawsuit against the chef. In a Fort Lee Municipal Court, he claimed that the chef punched him in the face when he asked for a day off because it was his wife’s birthday. According to a UPI report Heiser explained:

“He called me a piece of (expletive), (expletive), lazy mother (expletive), which wasn’t unusual. “He said, ‘Give me the keys. You walk home.'”

More than being merely punched in the face, Heiser also says that Burke slammed his head on a car trunk.

So what has the chef got to say about this? Burke says that he did insult the chauffeur but he that he never did lay a hand on him.

Now who to believe? I don’t know. We don’t have that information. But we do know that if the chef is convicted, he will be facing up to six months in jail.

anthony_worrell_thompson_gallery_01-gt_full_width_landscapeYou would think so! After all, these celebrity chefs are excellent in their field and anything that they would endorse should be up to par with their standards, right? Apparently not!

Which?, a consumer magazine, recently conducted a test on various kitchen tools and gadgets that celebrity chefs endorse. And what did they find out? Many of these gadgets do not measure up to the reputation of their celebrity chef endorsers!

The Herald ran a story on this and named some of the high profile chefs and their kitchen appliances and tools. While many of them did not really exceed the performance of non-celebrity chef gadgets, not all of them were “fails.” In fact, there was only one that was marked as a “Don’t Buy” – Rosemary Conley’s EnerGi HG6 Health Grill. This scored a mere 34 out of 100. The reason for this pitiful mark? The grill heated slowly, produced “awful vegetables and pallid chicken” and was difficult to set up and clean.

Other celebrity chefs whose products were scrutinized include:

-Worrall Thompson, said to be the most licensed celebrity chef in Europe, with sales of £60m in 2008 from products ranging from barbeque cleaners to cookers. Note: the judges said that his products were more of a hit and miss thing.

– James Martin, host of BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, were awarded the highest ratings. His hand-mixer and mini-chopper (68% and 67%) triumphed over those of his rivals, but neither rated in the Best Buy category.

So should you buy celebrity chef-endorsed products? Up to you!

tyler-florence-fork6Yes, it is a fork, literally. Celebrity chef Tyler Florence has been operating a cookware store for about a year now in Mill Valley. Dubbed the Tyler Florence Shop (no mistaking who owns this store!), the shop has had a signature fork as its storefront symbol. There is nothing ordinary about this fixture – it weighs a hefty 50 pounds!

Early this month, the police received a report that the 50-pound fork was missing. This was on the 10th of June, although the employees already noticed that it was missing about two days prior to the report. (Well it would be kinda hard NOT to notice a missing fork that big, don’t you think?) Anyhow, they thought that it might have been a school prank so they didn’t think much of it in the beginning.

Now, the missing fork is causing quite a stir, with celebrity chef Tyler Florence himself appealing to people over Twitter. He even offered a reward to whoever finds it and returns it!

The celebrity chef, as much as he might be missing his fork, is not so dense as not to see the humor in the situation, though. Together with his wife, Tyler continues his search for his fork but also welcomes the laughter that it occasionally brings. Indeed, where else have you heard about such an online buzz about a missing fork?

So, if any of you have heard about or seen this fork, let the chef know. You’ll make him happy AND get a reward for it too!

Photo courtesy of Food Network

gordon-ramsayGordon Ramsay is perhaps one of the most controversial celebrity chefs today. His foul mouth and raging temper is known all over the world, and is always seen in his TV shows. For the Australian audience at the Good Food and Wine Show, Chef Ramsay has gone too far.

This time, Ramsay had TV personality Tracy Grimshaw in his targets. He pulled out a picture of a naked woman on her hands and knees. The woman was in the likeness of a pig, with multiple breasts. To the dismay and shock of the audience, he went on to say that that woman was Tracy Grimshaw. He didn’t stop there, though, and proceeded to make jokes about the journalist’s activities and sexual preferences.

With lots of women and children in the audience, it is but expected that they all got huffy about the incident.

LG, a major sponsor of the event, has not commented on the incident. Ramsay’s spokesperson, however, says that it was merely a stunt – a joke – and should be taken as such. She said that “He really respects her as a journalist, it was just a joke. She interviews him every time he comes to Australia; they have a great relationship.”

I have to say, Ramsay does have a tendency to be a little rough on people. You only have to watch one of his shows to realize that. Joke or not, I have to agree with the audience in saying that it was tasteless and inappropriate. How about you?