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Are Celebrity Chefs No Longer Flavour Of The Month?

Local networks will be hoping that Ros Reines from the Sunday Telegraph is wrong when she wrote that celebrity chefs have gone off the boil and their time as celebrities are over.

Networks are relying heavily on food reality TV shows next year, with Masterchef, My Kitchen Rules being joined by Masterchef Professionals, The Great Australian Bake Off, Recipe To Riches, and possibly The Taste, see previous blog post on these shows coming up in 2013.

This is not the year they will want to see food shows tanking. As usual when their is a glut like this some will be hits and others will tank.

Ros Reines write:

CELEBRITY chefs, get back to your stoves because your time on the red carpet is just about up.

The cult of the A-list chef has lost its sizzle. With most cooking shows shedding viewers almost as rapidly as those devoted to the kilo challenged, it’s time to find a new subgroup to deify.

The exception to the TV ratings slide is My Kitchen Rules, but on MKR the emphasis is on the contestants who are from the ‘burbs and make the sort of mistakes in the kitchen we can all relate to; some of them are just hopeless.

The star chefs have only themselves to blame for losing their sheen because they have treated us with more than a soupcon of pretension along with their exotic ingredients of foraged seaweed, red quinoa and that old favourite – ras el hanout.

Pardon? These are the sort of foods usually not stocked in your local Woolies and Coles – the supermarket chains that the stellar chefs spruik for big bucks.

The problem with our kitchen gods is they love to preen and pose next to mainstream celebrities and sell the stories of their life events to magazines. You’d think they were Academy Award-winning actors, literary divas or rock stars. (I don’t mean you, Matt Moran, you’re a peach.)

From Pete Evans’s now famous activated almonds to Manu Feildel’s OTT Inspector Clouseau accent and the way George Calombaris relentlessly bounces on the soles of his feet, just like Gordon Ramsay – it’s all a bit much.

I’m frankly fed up with seeing star chefs on the screen who grimly taste a dish as if it was a life or death situation.

Yes, we know you are all great artists and what you produce is pure poetry on a plate but guess what, it is demolished in minutes and then you’re only looking at a pile of washing up for your kitchen hands.

The cult of the celebrity chefs reached epic proportions in the Birdcage enclosure during the recent spring racing season where the newest kitchen “tyro” on these shores and in front of the TV cameras was Marco Pierre White (yes the same bloke who is on the small screen spruiking Continental Stock Pot), who was doing the marquee hop with the Mouth from the South Matt Preston.

White, who was once known as the chef with possibly the shortest fuse in London, has pleaded in the press that he is mild mannered.

Still he appeared barely able to bring himself to shake the hands of anyone he deemed not worthy enough to embrace his chilly flesh. Even when a well-known identity who was responsible for his invitation to one of the better marquees, proffered her hand, he seemed very late to reciprocate.

Next year White will host MasterChef: The Professionals, where 18 qualified chefs will vie to see who is the most talented and we can no doubt expect lots of sweat and tears along the way. Then a brand-new celebrity chef will hit our stellar firmament. Oh joy.

I’m not advocating a return to the bad old days when a meal out meant standing around the BBQ pit at the pub and cooking our own steaks.

I don’t think that stellar chefs are a waste of space, I just wish they would get on with their jobs and stop trying to make us care about the latest culinary fad.

Call me a bogan but I think it’s time for someone else to step up to the red carpet.

Of course I’m aware of the repercussions of this column: I’ll never be able to eat out in this town again. Don’t suppose anyone wants a job as my official food taster?

Do you think people are getting bored of celebrity chefs? But if there were no celebrity chefs who would they be replaced by?

5 comments

1 A.P { 11.26.12 at 9:12 am }

I couldn’t agree more with the above article, the celebrity chefs are getting above themselves, its not like they are brain or heart surgeons competing on who can perform the best operations!
In Masterchef in particular, some of the ingredients used are just not practical for the average cook and the equipment used is not avilable to most either.
I can never understand Manu’s accent most of the time and Marco Pierre White is just plain scary!
I understand there has to be a bit of variety and drama but I think it could be done in a more relatable way to the audience instead of the chefs being so pretentious.

2 Stacey { 11.26.12 at 1:51 pm }

So agree with you AP, they do act like surgeons! Unbelievably pretentious! Maybe they’re sick of having a ‘behind the scenes’ type job, I honestly can’t remember a famous chef before Gordon Ramsay, and now they’re all trying to out-do him?
Also, I remember that Mexican cactus challenge from this years Masterchef, and let me tell you that cactus is sure as shit not at my local Coles.

3 A.P { 11.26.12 at 6:37 pm }

Exactly Stacey, how many people would have tried that cactus dish or the masterpieces Heston would have whipped up, not to mention George’s deconstructured greek salad?
They need to get back down to earth.
Jamie Oliver was probably an earlier famous chef but at least his food is honest and simple.

4 Culinary Boner { 11.26.12 at 8:32 pm }

Notwithstanding the sensible observations of A.P. and Stacey my comment on this is:-
Yeah right Ros.
Let’s bring back Peter Russell Clarke, Iain Hewitson, Gabriele Gate and Ian Parmenter. That’ll get the TV juices flowing.

5 marshall somervell { 08.08.13 at 8:18 am }

Im a chef myself in the real world and i cringe at the expectations and cliche’s that are used in these cooking shows. the realitiy of what these ordinary people are producing is not real, the technique of some of this food is beyond amateurs and they must be getting schooling before the show is aired.I believe that cooking as amateurs should stand on its own merits so that home cooks can relate and feel more involved as veiwers. i have watch alot of these shows and i can relate as a professional but what is produced is not real for me ,as i know the work involved and what is expected for all of these dishes and 1 hour just doesnt cut it for an amateure .. im sorry to say. I Myself have got bored with this type of cooking show as it blankets our TV screens almost daily with no real let up and no reality to it.