Read this article on the 10 Things Celebrity Chefs Won’t Tell You. It’s funny — but you get the feeling the author isn’t entirely kidding. An interesting commentary / criticism of the phenomenon of celebrity chefs — and why it’s becoming less about food, and more about merchandising.
Fans of celebrity chefs should get a copy of The Soul of a Chef by Ruhlman.
The book looks at a chef’s struggle for perfection, from an insider’s look at the Certified Master Chef exam at the Culinary Institute of America, to a play-by-play description of their kitchen dramas.
Today’s celebrity chef’s aren’t just hamming up for the camera. They’re also keeping up blogs, as this article in the Times observes.
The author is pleasantly surprised that some chefs are as adept at writing as they are in the kitchen, though is cynical that anyone who’s running 10 restaurants and a show could possibly be maintaining a regular blog without the help of a spin doctor.
True fans of celebrity chefs will love these Wikipedia compiled cookbook sets that contain the best recipes from Paula Deen, Tyler Florence, Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, Alton Brown and Emerill Lagasse. Now you can get a “taste” of your favorite celebrity chef, on the go.
The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine tackles a well-known case of a three-star French chef commiting suicide in 2003, just after finishing the daily lunch service.
This elegy to Bernard Loiseau of La Cote d’Or was capably written by food journalist Chelminski. It chronicles Loiseau’s total lack of social skills, his bipolar personality, and his obsession with the Michelin Red Guide. It also talks about the intense competition and politics in the culinary world.
Michael Rulman’s book The Reach of a Chef is an interesting commentary on the rise of the “celebrity chef.” He talks about how the industry has changed since the chef became a brand, and cooking has become as much about “entertainment value” and “celebrity pull” as it is about flavor.
Ruhlman also discusses how the great celebrity chefs — including Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse and Anthony Bourdain — are so successful that they no longer have time to do what has made them successful in the first place.
The book also includes profiles some of the biggest influences on American cooking.
This is what Gordon Ramsay had to say after reading a press release that a Scotland hotel was making a deep fried sandwich of Nutella.
“I’m horrified. I mean, Christ! Seventy-five per cent of my staff are French. They look at me like I’m some sort of twat that my Scottish brothers are launching two slices of bread with a fucking inch of Nutella between them, battered and deep fat fried.
“Now what the fuck is this country coming to? What are we doing to ourselves? That has to be abolished. Here we are, progressing tenfold, buying the right bread, real croissants, we’re making fresh muesli and we understand what a great cup of coffee is. And then some idiot brings out a deep-fried chocolate sandwich.
“I want to find the bastard that put that idea together. I’ve got the most amazing charcoal grill in my new kitchen. I’m going to sit his butt on it and criss-cross my name on his bloody arse cheeks to remind him. Every time he wakes up in the morning he can gawp at his arse.
“Is he fucking stupid? When these things hit France, the French just have a field day laughing at us. So I’m looking for that scumbag. I’m going to fucking grill his arse. Brand him with a hot iron like a little calf or a lamb. I’m going to put Ramsayfied on his butt, so every time he wakes up in the morning, he thinks ‘Fuck! I shouldn’t have done that!”
Which chefs are most respected by members of their industry? The site Chef2Chef invites culinary students and professionals to vote for their favorite chefs. The top 5 are:
1. Jamie Oliver
2. Christian J. Fischer
3. Bobby Flay
4. John E. Clark
5. Bobo Bergstrom
Strange list. Where is Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay? Do you agree with the list?
A sugar rush by any other name is just as sweet.
Well, maybe not. According to Steve Ettlinger’s book, Twinkie, Deconstructed there’s more to this snack than a toothache. The author combines humor and thorough reseach on this American icon. He conveniently avoids talking about health benefits (we all know there is none) but, like the Twinkie itself, sometimes we just need a lot of fun, useless reading.
If your New Year’s resolutions include “learn how to cook” then invest in Jamie Oliver’s book,
“Cook with Jamie: My guide to Making You a Better Cook.”
One of the few chefs who have a real desire to mentor other people (his Fifteen program teaches underpriveleged children important restaurant skills) Jamie has a friendly, conversational approach that steers clear from the snobby, condescending tone sometimes adapted by other greats like Gordon Ramsey.
For starters — literally — Jamie’s first chapter discusses the different dressings and ingredients you can use for salads, with little-known tidbits on mayonnaise and delicious recipes, like the perfect Fifteen Salad.