PDA

View Full Version : Long Live Celebrity Chefs!



mano
01-31-2013, 09:44 AM
Like them or hate them, whether they have legit cooking chops or not, celebrity chefs are the reason a lot of people are going to the restaurants of the BOH people here and buying the best ingredients to cook at home.

In my profession idiot celebrity therapists like Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura and Toni Grant are terrible listeners who jump to conclusions and dispense lousy advise. But they've helped make seeking mental health treatment acceptable.

When I see any therapist on television my BS antenna goes up.

knyfeknerd
01-31-2013, 10:25 AM
Good analogy Craig. See , you understand.

Seth
01-31-2013, 02:35 PM
I wonder what contribution Kenny G. makes to the world of Coltrane listeners? The dumbing down of American culture - it's difficult to see the plus side on this one. Couldn't there be a Food Coltrane that could step in for Rachael Ray and do more than just get people to go to better restaurants?

Zwiefel
01-31-2013, 02:40 PM
I watch very little of foodnetwork and similar channels. their primary function is to entertain people who are only interested in the appearance of education. There's nothing wrong with that...it's just not what I'm after.

Alton Brown's Good Eats is the only thing I have followed since about 2002ish. And in the past couple of years even that has gone downhill...I didn't realize how much until catching some older episodes recently. His Feasting on Asphault and Feasting on Waves shows were good too. Can't stand him on Iron Chef though...actually can't stand that show at all.

I also watch America's Test Kitchen on PBS...but that has lost of lot of interest for me lately, not sure why.

Anyway, I view these celebrity chefs as being primarily entertainers...and maybe education/skill/talent somewhere around priority #7.

mano
01-31-2013, 03:39 PM
I wonder what contribution Kenny G. makes to the world of Coltrane listeners? The dumbing down of American culture - it's difficult to see the plus side on this one. Couldn't there be a Food Coltrane that could step in for Rachael Ray and do more than just get people to go to better restaurants?

I don't completely get the analogy of bad jazz being a gateway to good jazz.

For me, Hendrix was. In about 1970 I transposed numbers ordering a Hendrix album from the Columbia record club and got Coltrane's My Favorite Things instead. It was great so I got Love Supreme next and on went on to Charlie Parker, Les Young and Coleman Hawkins. Good food for the soul.

Rachel Ray admits she's no chef but if she uses fresh ingredients that's a good thing. Who is that blonde tv cook with the nice figure that makes horrible concoctions from packaged food? IIRC she's married to Chris Cuomo or somebody famous.

Mike L.
01-31-2013, 04:41 PM
Some celebrity chefs are to kitchen pros as "wrasslers" are to real athletes. :eyebrow:

mr drinky
01-31-2013, 05:09 PM
I read a book a while back on the economics of a winner-take-all society. It was interesting, and I think a lot of it applies to this relatively new phenomenon of celebrity chefs. Many of the 'celebrity' markets are winner-take-all. Basically, the A-list actors, number one golfer, top celebrity chefs earn a disproportion amount over the second best alternative.

The worst things about these types of markets is the distortions that are created. If you are making a movie or (in this topic) a cooking TV show, for instance, it is better for you to get the A-list celebrity chefs over the second best chef who is really good but not known as well. It sort of covers your butt if the show fails. It is better to fail with Flay than an unknown. So there tends to be a path dependency in hiring certain personalities even if they aren't the best fit for the program, movie, etc.

On the other hand, the wildly lucrative examples (the Tiger Woods, Bobby Flays etc) cause regular Joes to invest improperly and waste time and money. People often misinvest in education, and I think you see that now with culinary schools. That's one of the downsides with these markets, a lot of people are chasing a very few high-reward positions at great personal expense.

So even though these chefs might inspire to cook, the food networks and them have also inspired tens of thousands to waste money on culinary schools. And the outrageous winner-take-all 'value' of some chefs means we are ultimately getting a more homogeneous, lower quality television product.

That's my take at least, but I don't know crap. I long for the old days of Pepin.

k.

Zwiefel
01-31-2013, 05:37 PM
:goodpost:

Well-observed K. Penn & Tell did an interesting episode about our need to "have the best"...and treating it like it's a 1-dimensional metric. I think that's one of the dynamics at work in what you describe.

keithsaltydog
01-31-2013, 06:19 PM
:lol2:I like stuff that makes me laugh,Sanford and Son,I Love Lucy.Same at work,pressure of putting out multible parties,busting your butt,like to work wt, guys that are funny,lets off steam.

I kinda like the Barefoot Contessa,Have you seen that waihini wt, tons of makeup,tatoos,enough jewlery to sink a ship,wt. a fake Italian accent,quality stuff would not miss it:hungry:

WildBoar
01-31-2013, 06:28 PM
Not sure how people seeing celeb chefs on TV and wanting to be like them differs from people seeing pro athletes, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, etc. As with everything else, the top positions are available only to a very small minority of the people vying for those types of jobs. As far as people rushing to culinary school, at least a lot more people will have a clue about cooking then my generation has (or the next one or two generations after mine). I would not consider that a total loss.

Seth
01-31-2013, 06:32 PM
I don't completely get the analogy of bad jazz being a gateway to good jazz.

For me, Hendrix was. In about 1970 I transposed numbers ordering a Hendrix album from the Columbia record club and got Coltrane's My Favorite Things instead. It was great so I got Love Supreme next and on went on to Charlie Parker, Les Young and Coleman Hawkins. Good food for the soul.

Rachel Ray admits she's no chef but if she uses fresh ingredients that's a good thing. Who is that blonde tv cook with the nice figure that makes horrible concoctions from packaged food? IIRC she's married to Chris Cuomo or somebody famous.

Craig,
I am commenting on the thought that the 'gateway people' seem often to be of lesser quality than the real thing, not advocating - and asking why this should be the case. Clearly this is marketing, popularity, etc that helps pull people into whatever art or learning they are attracted to. The Rachael Rays of the world serve a function I suppose, as you point out. But why could it not be that 'gateways' are both popular and excellent? (Occasionally they are.) The low expectations placed on the lowest common denominator, the general public, is a sad state of affairs. Wouldn't it be nice if Charlie Parker had been more of the draw in the first place into the art form rather than Kenny G.

There was a youtube of Joshua Bell playing violin in the NY subway with his case open for donations. Almost everyone just walked by - a musician you probably would have paid $200 to see the night before a Carnegie Hall. This was just a little experiment and I guess illustrates that the general public likes what it is told to like (marketing again) and, out of context not able to perceive the difference between a student performance and an inspired performance. Where was the person who would stop to listen to Bell and say 'Holy sh%t, that is an amazing violinist'

I am not naive about this; just remarking on the average ability to distinguish between crap and quality - a social/education system topic.

mano
01-31-2013, 06:40 PM
Drinky,
Never thought about it that way, and you're right. Kind of like inner city kids sacrificing an education for the possibility of being a pro athlete.

My take is that these celebrities created an industry that resulted in better restaurants that hire people and led to an overall positive food culture.

Both POV are true.

As far as the tv value is concerned, IMO the best probably went out with Child and Pepin, who actually showed good technique. A. Brown does that but often he's just a silly man. The tv execs wouldn't allow a real cooking show. Too boring.

Good you tube instructional videos like Theory and Salty's are golden.


Seth, you're right on all accounts. The short answer is when it comes to culinary and music appreciation most people are average or below and that's what they aspire to. Nothing wrong with that, it's a bell curve.

When it comes to athletics, put me on the left side of the curve.

keithsaltydog
01-31-2013, 08:47 PM
All in all PBS puts out quality programing.Alot of the lowest common denominator stuff that floods the airways started wt. Rupert Murdock,streaming out of Anglo Saxson tradition at it's best,Australia,England,USA.Give it to em bawdy & simple minded play to the lower emotions of dem Monkies.

Lucretia
02-01-2013, 12:17 AM
Seems like the Joshua Bell thing was done during morning rush hour (and in a Washington DC subway station). I have to wonder if they would have had the same results if he played in a park where people were walking by at their leisure and not rushing to catch the next train on their way to work.

Unfortunately it's not just the food shows that have gone downhill. Most TV is drek. How much news is on the "news" channels these days? They'll have a big long segment on "johnny sees sister sue for the first time in 5 years" (I don't freaking CARE!), then a teaser "local gas farm ablaze! Will you have to evacuate? We'll tell you when we come back from commercial."

Drumjockey
02-01-2013, 02:06 AM
I feel like there has been a steady devolution in the (actual) skill levels of the most prominent individuals in many artistic media, specifically cooking and music. TV plays a large role in this it would seem; celebrity chefs don't necessarily have to be great chefs, but they DO have to have great on-camera personalities! Yes of course there are still amazing artists and chefs out there and more rise every day, but the quantity of crap one has to wade through to find the golden nugget has increased dramatically. An example from the music side: four hundred years ago, we had Bach. Now we have Britney?! Seems like a few steps backwards if you ask me;)

Vertigo
02-01-2013, 11:58 AM
http://www.souppilgrim.com/orglif/nigella.jpg

Not sure I'd actually trust her to boil water in my kitchen. But I'd let her.

I'd let her do anything she wanted.

Zwiefel
02-01-2013, 12:40 PM
I feel like there has been a steady devolution in the (actual) skill levels of the most prominent individuals in many artistic media, specifically cooking and music. TV plays a large role in this it would seem; celebrity chefs don't necessarily have to be great chefs, but they DO have to have great on-camera personalities! Yes of course there are still amazing artists and chefs out there and more rise every day, but the quantity of crap one has to wade through to find the golden nugget has increased dramatically. An example from the music side: four hundred years ago, we had Bach. Now we have Britney?! Seems like a few steps backwards if you ask me;)

Agreed...but that's a simple function of the exponential increase in the total size of media...which has given rise to many many niche forms of media...which allows things like this forum to exist. upside: lots of narrowly targeted communities of common interest creating historically aberrant numbers of people with high skill levels in obscure disciplines. downside: even more dreck to wade through to find the special ones.

Mike9
02-01-2013, 01:02 PM
When I was young it was Graham Kerr - "the galloping gourmet". Then along came Julia and Jacques Pepin followed along with Martin Yan & a little Justin Wilson too for good meassure. Those were the people that sparked my interest in being a better cook. Oh I cooked in the Boy Scouts and hung around in my grandmother's kitchens and worked in a carry out BBQ joint in my teens, but those were the core influences. I still watch Pepin's two shows on PBS as well as Ming and a couple of others. I'm always learning something from them. The Food Network on the other hand I don't miss.

mr drinky
02-01-2013, 02:21 PM
For a while I had a strange obsession with the cooking show: New Scandinavian Cooking on PBS. There were at least a couple versions. One was with Andreas Viestad and the other Tina Nordstrom. They both would speak in halted English with Scandinavian accents and mispronounced words. It was pretty corny at times, but I enjoyed it -- or maybe I just thought Tina was hot. Nothing like watching a blonde Swede track wild boar in the woods.

I'm can't imagine what our Scandinavian members think of the show, but for a while I enjoyed watching it.

Here is an episode (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGphBChML2Y).

k.

keithsaltydog
02-01-2013, 03:04 PM
Mr Drinky,enjoyed that pretty blond going after wild bore alright.

One thing about this media is you better watch what you say on air.Scott Caan who plays Danno on Hawaii 5 O.(watched 1 episode that was it).On some talkshow Chelsea,never heard of her until splashed all over Hawaii News Scott talking stink about Hawaii.People move too slow,Food sucks,Surf is better in California.He gets big bucks acting in a show in Hawaii,obviously has not surfed much here.He will be lucky to paddle out in any break now.We have crusine fr. all cultures,made wt. fresh ingredients.Now if you act Dumb wt. camera's you pay.His apology was prob. writ. by someone else.

Seth
02-01-2013, 03:07 PM
Blonde babes with pigtails and rifles. Does it get any better?

Lucretia
02-01-2013, 04:35 PM
Blonde babes with pigtails and rifles. Does it get any better?

Yes, it gets much better. Short stumpy greying brunettes with ponytails & knives! :rasberry: