Monday, October 10, 2011

Top 5 Coolest Celebrity Chefs

Fact: one-third of all shows on television are food shows.  (Not a true fact.)  Really though, there are a lot of cooking shows out there, giving rise to the phenomenon of the celebrity chef.  There are hundreds from Julia Child to the Wok with Yan guy--here are the coolest ones:

5: Mario Batali - Iron Chef, host of a handful of cooking shows, and holder of a Michelin Star, no question that Batali is a stud in the kitchen.  He also pops up on a ton of different shows, seems to know everybody in the culinary world, and is just a well-liked, cool guy (with one notable exception--see below).  Plus, though he seems to have a wholesome, nice image, he is really a man's man that Maxim magazine would be proud of.

4: Gordon Ramsey - He has no less than seven current food-themed reality t.v. shows in two continents, all running at once.  It's a wonder he ever has time to oversee his vast empire of Michelin Star restaurants.  His shows are incredibly formulaic, and they serve primarily as a platform for Ramsay to pimp himself, but he deserves the accolades he gives himself.  He's a culinary superstar, a former pro-soccer player, and is apparently feuding with Batali, which only makes them both a little cooler.  He's also terrific about finding new ways to belittle other chefs.  Mitchell and Webb did a great take (though not by name) on one of his shows here.

3: Masaharu Morimoto - This guy was the badass of the Iron Chefs in the original Japanese Iron Chef.  He went on to be the only original Iron Chef to cross over to Iron Chef America.  He also (metaphorically) kicked Bobby Flay's ass twice (once officially, and the other time Bobby Flay was given the win, which was bullshit).  He's also a world-renowned sushi chef.

2: Tom Colicchio - Colicchio is the head judge on the best cooking reality show on television--Top Chef.  What's cool about him is that he's honest.  He doesn't pull punches, but he's also not a dick simply to create a persona (I'm looking at you, Gordon).  You get the sense that the guy you see is who he is, and the guy you see is a cool guy.

1: Anthony Bourdain - Probably the worst actual chef on the list (in fact, he styles himself a "cook" rather than a "chef"), but it doesn't matter--he's by far the coolest celebrity chef in the world.  He's one of the only people with a cooking show travelling the world eating weird stuff who is actually honest about the gross meals ("Worst.  Iguana.  Ever.").  While in these various places, he is constantly drinking the local liquor to excess (and often, hilarity).  He also ate a still-beating cobra heart, which is the best thing ever.  Oh yeah, he's an amazingly gifted writer (unlike Ramsay, who "wrote" a "with" book, which was pretty mediocre).  Everyone should read Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.

I've been to Colicchio's and Bourdain's restaurants; both were pretty good, but neither blew me away.  Doesn't matter--their star status is beyond reproach and is not dependent upon their cooking.  Have you tasted anything from these chefs?  If so, tell us how it was.  What about other chefs--anyone missing from this list?  Make your argument below.  And don't forget to share this on Facebook and G+, or tweet it using the links below.

(Dig the most annoying celebrity chefs too!)

1 comment:

  1. Trying out a new comment system too--let me know if this makes it easier or harder to comment, thanks.