When we think of celebrities, who do we think of? Movie stars, musicians, comedians, models, Broadways stars, professional athletes and many others. The past decades saw us being entertained in different ways – through their acting, singing, playing musical instruments, competing in sports games, and theatrical performances. But these days, a fresh breed of personalities is gaining ground in the celebrity world. They seldom sing or act, nor do they play baseball on TV, but they sure cook great-tasting food and concoct wonderful recipes. Yes, we’re talking about celebrity chefs.
By definition, celebrity chefs are kitchen chefs who have become well-known by imparting instructions, advices and demonstrations about cooking through mass media. To be very specific, the type of medium is television, it being the most effective channel in reaching the largest number of audience. There are a number of famous chefs (Eric Ripert, for example) in the past which long-time food enthusiasts know and remember, but the general public does not. These chefs are unknown to many primarily because they never had their own TV shows. It has been an ongoing debate whether to call them celebrity chefs or not — the fact that they don’t have TV shows somehow does not qualify them in being called famous celebrity chefs.
For purposes of delineation, then, the celebrity chefs we shall feature here are those who, other than being experts and successful in their own kitchens, have appeared in movies and television, has product lines, book deals, and even magazines with their very own names as the title.
5. Tom Colicchio
Tom Colicchio from Elizabeth, New Jersey, became vastly popular when he hosted and acted as head judge in Bravo’s reality show Top Chef. His other television stints include a feature on Great Chefs Television, appearing in an episode of HBO’s television series Treme and being consulting producer of Top Chef’s spin-off Top Chef Masters. He has published four books entitled Think Like a Chef, Craft of Cooking: Notes and Recipes from a Restaurant Kitchen, ‘Wichcraft: Craft A Sandwich Into A Meal—And A Meal Into A Sandwich and Top Chef The Cookbook. He also shares joint-ownership of the website eatdrinkordie.com, which hosts interesting instructional food videos contributed by food experts and site users.
4. Paula Deen
Paula Deen from Savannah, Georgia, started getting famous through her cookbooks, The Lady & sons Savannah Country Cooking (1st and 2nd Edition), which she started publishing in 1997. Her fame shot up into the mainstream when the online shopping show QVC sold 70,000 copies of her cookbook all in one day. From then on she began her television career by appearing in The Oprah Winfrey Show, QVC, and minor stints at Food Network starting 1999. By 2002, she already had her own show, Paula’s Home Cooking, which was well-received by viewers and spun-off to two more shows in 2006 and 2008, Paula’s Party and Paula’s Best Dishes.
What furthered Paula Deen’s celebrity status is her inspiring journey to success. When she lost both her parents at an early age, she was diagnosed with agoraphobia, a severe anxiety disorder, and refused to leave her home for any reason. She coped with this disease by donning a cook’s shirt and started cooking, and eventually made a good living out of it with the help of her sons. Her motivating story has been featured in several books, memoirs and TV shows. Some of these are Extraordinary Comebacks: 201 Inspiring Stories of Courage, Triumph and Success and It Ain’t All About the Cookin’. She also has a widely-circulated lifestyle magazine entitled Cooking with Paula Deen, as well as an online store, Paula Deen Store.com, which features gourmet gifts, pantry items, food stuff and recipe books.
3. Mario Batali
Mario Batali, from Seattle Washington, has had a colorful professional cooking career long before he entered television. His first TV show, Molto Mario, aired in Food Network, started in 1997 and gained him wide-spread recognition in America. People remember him well as Molto Mario, with his signature outfit of short pants, orange clogs and ponytail. Over the years he has been well-loved for his kind TV persona and sumptuous Italian recipes. His other TV shows include Mediterranean Mario, Mario Eats Italy, Ciao America and Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters. He has a lot of books published, among them Mario Batali Simple Italian Food: Recipes from My Two Villages; Mario Batali Holiday Food: Family Recipes for the Most Festive Time of the Year; The Babbo Cookbook; Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home; Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style and Spain…A Culinary Road Trip.
2. Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse from Fall River, Massachusetts, has become a household name and a certified star. He became enormously popular with his numerous TV shows, cookbooks, multiple restaurants and a charitable foundation. He first became visible on television on the program Great Chefs. His first own show was The Essence of Emeril, where the title alludes to his own specially-concocted spice blend, Emeril’s Essence. This was succeeded by many others, including Emeril Live, From Emeril’s Kitchen, Emeril Green and The Emeril Lagasse Show. The first cookbook he wrote was Emeril’s New Orleans Cooking, which was published in 1993. He has then published a whole lot of others, among them Emeril’s There’s a Chef in My Soup!: Recipes for the Kid in Everyone, Emeril’s Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude and Farm to Fork Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh.
1. Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck is an Austrian-American who is famous for being chef to the stars. People love his slogan, “live, love, eat!” and supports his endeavors, may it be in television shows, movies, books, restaurants, a cookware line, packaged goods and a whole lot of others. He has appeared in a lot of movies and television shows over the years. Among them are Wolfgang Puck Series, Celebrity Cooking Showdown and Top Chef and AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes. Among the books he has published are Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen, The Wolfgang Puck Cookbook, Adventures in the Kitchen with Wolfgang Puck , Pizza, Pasta, and More , Live, Love, Eat and Wolfgang Puck Makes it Easy.