The Great Hall
By patrick ingravallo on Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 08:32 pm: Edit

As someone who spent his youth behind a hot stove (in my dad's restaurant/pizzeria. He's 62 and can still kick my butt with his knife skills!), I have an idea of what kitchen work is like - and it's the reason why I chose engineering instead of culinary school. My hat's off to all of you.

Having said that, I've read some things in magazines from chefs on the subject of "Celebrity"
chefs like Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Ming Sai etc. Why all the hostility? Is it jealousy or do more "serious" chefs feel that these guys' antics make a mockery of your profession? I would think that these guys would draw attention to your profession and cast a positive light on it - even making it "hip". I can't help but think that these guys are getting people interested in different foods and food products - new stuff they can try when they eat out.

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 08:11 am: Edit

I definately agree with you! I think they do alot to promote our profession and educate people. We have much to gain from a more informed and educated customer.

But there are a couple of the "celebrity" chefs that don't make our profession look good. These are the people we knock. It's frustrating when they sell the public garbage like "blackened" fish or foamed ****. Which we all know is "burnt" fish. I've also bought cookbooks published by these "famous" chefs and discovered that the recipes are tasteless sawdust...Dessert Circus.

We have truely brilliant chefs who are in front of the camera and have published very good books. Julia Child (and others) have brought this industry into a profession, where people even admire those who cook. The best aren't always the loudest. I wish the "less then" chefs would take to the back seat and quiet down abit, (does that make me a jealous siblings?).

By Yankee on Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 12:42 pm: Edit

You have to take the good with the bad. Martha Stewart, for example. Many people don't understand that she has an army of people making all of her stuff behind the scenes. On the other hand, she is pushing the edge of creativity and her stuff is a great resource for ideas. You just have to be able to separate fact from fiction.

Martin Yan did a demo at the CIA many years ago. He deboned a chicken in 60 seconds. The older chefs behind me were debating about what the purpose of it was. Conclusion: a great entertainer, but not a great chef. Martin Yan is great person who has brought a lot to our business. On the other hand, there are people like Bobby Flay.

By Yankee on Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 12:47 pm: Edit

As for Mr. Desser Circus, we just plunked down $85 bucks each to sit through his one day professional seminar next month.

Methinks we are getting taken to the cleaners. If we can't get reimbursed from work, I think I'm going to skip it and spend the money on some foi gras and a nice pomerol instead.


By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 01:10 pm: Edit

I'm not a Chef but once played one on TV.

Celebrity Chefs are creations of the media for entertainment purposes. Even those that actually work/worked in the business (food business not Hollywood) are characterizations of chefs. Cooking shows are meant to entertain.

Compare an Emeral show to some of the Great Chef episodes. In the Great Chefs series the editor had to work to get usable footage and then a commentary was needed to paste things together.

Great Chefs provided more and higher quality information on the actual processes of cooking than Emeral but for entertainment value Emearl wins hands down.

Cooking shows are one industry and Cooking is another.

Next I will explain why Wiel E. Coyote can fall from a cliff and not be hurt.

By Jonnyboy on Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 01:10 pm: Edit

Sure these guys are out hyping our profession which i respect(usually with the exception of flay on iron chef)But it doesen't mean they deserve credit for their cooking skills.The majority of them get shows because of personality and nothing to do with culinary abilities.And yes quite franky i used to actually enjoy emeril and fund some of his recipes were great, now he is so obnoxious his show is unbearable. These shows are generally geared towards housewives not other chefs.
Just my opinion

By Mofo1 (Mofo1) on Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 01:23 pm: Edit

Has anyone noticed that when he forgets that he's "the Elvis of chefdom" and actually focuses on what he's doing, Lagasse is actually informative. Unfortunately he always remembers and starts "BAMMING" stuff around again. I change the channel.

By momoreg on Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 03:30 pm: Edit

You know who's quite good, and isn't really a chef per se, is David Rosengarten. He is eloquent and knowledgeable, and gets his oint across without gimmicks, in a way that home cooks and pros can appreciate.

By Mrsfaz (Mrsfaz) on Thursday, July 20, 2000 - 02:00 am: Edit

I hated Emeril before, but now I actually think some of his stuff is good. I'm not a chef, but I do work in the food service industry. Although I sometimes mock Martha, i've used some of her creativity in doing my buffet tables. It's not just one person out there that's better than anyone of us ( I think I can include me in this because I can cook)...we can all learn from each other.
I'm also in Martial Arts and having trained with my own father, he taught me that we can all learn from other teachers. We just have to decide what is good for us and what it is that we can own.
I have a double BS in Home Ec (Food Service Management) and Business. I have an AS in Dietetics. I've worked in restaurants and hotels and am now in the healthcare field. I enjoy watching the food network and I subscribe to Marhta Stewart Living Magazine. I get useful ideas from all of you...and to be modest about it, i think because I've been open to all of what the food industry can offer, I've become a well-rounded person. I am currently taking my Master's in HRM at Eastern Michigan University. Because my passion is food, I am capable of using what I've learned and what I'm learning from all of you chefs in to what I'm doing now. I work in a retirement community of independent residents that are wonderfully eccentric. My menu is very simple but could also be as challenging as trying to make terrine. I love what I'm doing.
As I ramble on, I want to thank all the chef's and food service managers out there for keeping my career alive.
thanks, Melissa

By chris on Thursday, July 20, 2000 - 01:00 pm: Edit

The celebrity chef shows are pretty decent and entertaining but "Great chefs" Rules!! The people aren't flashy or cocky just professionals. The one that blew me away the most was Alfred Portale. I could barley hear him speak but his presentations and preparations were so detailed that I could smell and taste what he was cooking and really learned a few things. The bams and flash are neat and really do bring the mass public something interesting about our field, but great chefs is truly that, great chefs that we can all learn from.

By W.DeBord on Friday, July 21, 2000 - 08:26 am: Edit

"the bams and flash are neat....,but great chefs is truly that.." Chris and Mofo1, Emeril was on great chefs (earily 80s' I believe). He was inspired and truely intense with his love of food and as I recall not loud at all. He's published in "Cooking with Master Chefs" by Julia Child.

Apparently "Bams" are what it takes to interest the public. I doubt "Great Chefs" (which I loved!!!!) ever could draw the non-professional audience like the chefs shows are doing now. I have great respect for Emerils' knowledge and abilities even though I can't watch him looking like an idiot.

It must be what the public wants?:)

P.S. Yankee I'd love to hear about the dessert circus...I can't believe how bad the recipes taste from his book and yet he's so popular? He's cute but not that cute...

By Yankee on Friday, July 21, 2000 - 09:03 pm: Edit

Eighty-five bucks cute? Doubt it.

I have only tried one thing from the Dessert Circus book. A warm raspberry souffle. I also saw the demo on TV with all those annoying cartoons and cheesy reaction shots of famous people laughing at his stupid jokes. (What's the point? Let's here it for The Great Chefs series. Just cook and cut the crap.)

Anyways, the souffle sucked big time. It was basically egg whites, sugar and raspberry puree. The thing tasted like plastic. Ack. oops, BAM!

By miken on Monday, July 31, 2000 - 02:25 pm: Edit

I think a point that is easilly missed with this whole "Celebrity Chefs" thing is that most of these guys on TVFN still own and operate highly successful restaurants. Don't get me wrong, I would rather watch 6 straight hours of Diff'rent Strokes reruns than sit through 5 minutes of Emeril Live, but Emeril wasn't exactly lacking for people to eat at his restaurant before he was on TVFN every 30 seconds if you know what I mean. I think a certain amount of industry hostility toward these celebrity chefs is due to jelousy to one degree or another, I am guilty of it. However, I am also sure Emeril Lagasse has worked is butt off to get where he is.

By miken on Monday, July 31, 2000 - 02:26 pm: Edit

Remember that TVFN is first and foremost meant as entertainment. I think celebrity chefs would be a bit more digestible if we realized that to a certain degree, we as chefs, are entertainers as well. When people come to eat at the restaurant where I work, by and large they aren't just looking for nourishment, they are looking for an experience, to be entertained. I don't know about the rest of you, but when I get called out to a table and a guest tells me that something I prepared was one of the best things they have ever tasted, suddenly the fact that I am not making as much $$$$$ as Emeril doesn't seem to matter.

By RDB on Monday, July 31, 2000 - 04:42 pm: Edit

miken, that last statement was on the mark, but I still remember watching a show about comanders palace where the owner said that emeril couldn't cook very well,but had the personality & flair to reach the star status he has now. suround yourself with people that add to your strengths and hide your weakness'and there is no limit to what can be acomplished.

By Mfitzca (Mfitzca) on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 05:29 am: Edit

Can't stand most of the shows on the food network, and I find the personalities grating at best, but I do try to take time out of my day to watch michael smith, an the Inn chef.

By junior on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 12:10 pm: Edit

i occassionaly watch the food network. i'm also not suprised by the reaction to flay's behavior.bye the way, if you haven't already figured it out, THE BEST OF program featured on the food network is a clearinghouse for restaurants that are loosing money and need your patronage! see my posting under 'does anybody come here anymore?'

By junior on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 12:25 pm: Edit

cookery shows i find annoying: emeril live, for obvious reasons. i'm not sure this guy can cook. mario batalia,clogs,revolutionary war pants,prattling on in american accented italian.bobby flay,(any of his shows,sigh,rolling of eyes) martha stewart(mommy dearest cooking)

By Rc_fleming (Rc_fleming) on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 08:47 pm: Edit

Hey hands off Mario. I think that Batali is one of the more honest people on the food network. The fact that he has a business degree puts him head and shoulders above other "chefs."
Personally I like his shows because he is one of the few stars on the network that doesn't plop down a plate of truffles, cream fraich sp?, and cavier at least once a week.

How about Alton Brown's show "Good Eats"?

By Rc_fleming (Rc_fleming) on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 08:53 pm: Edit

I've also noticed alot of hostility directed at FLay in particular, more then the usual animosity directed at all tv chefs. What makes him such a bad guy?

By Junior (Junior) on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 09:56 pm: Edit

r.c, i'll concede batali. you do learn things on his show. and after all he isn't hosting the ted mack amateur hour on nbc, so i guess he can't be high and tight with a suit on. also get his first book on italian food. ya wanna learn pasta this is it. flay?...ehhhhh? well,i don't know him personally,but he comes across as rather arrogant on the show and his earlier efforts at 'Food Nation' left something to be desired. don't forget flay didn't invent the niche cooking that he is known for. see the book 't.v chefs' for a complete bio. also he trained with waxman,who kinda started this southwestern thing,and kretchmer is backing him on mesa.he's not bocuse so he needs to project that. i think he has toned down a little. cheers. alton brown is excellent.i learned how to wasted a lobster and steam it inno time flat.split the head,body,yank feet and your done.

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