Wolfgang Puck And Celebrity Chefs
June 28, 2003 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Just Because They're Celebrity Chefs Doesn't Mean They Aren't Damn Fine Cooks: We're all supposed to yawn when it comes to TV Chefs, but that's just as silly as ignoring a writer or an actress because they're famous. Wolfgang Puck's website, for instance, is generously full of the most enticing recipes. On another note, my favourite TV chef, Rick Stein, has online a superb list of UK suppliers. Do you know of any other cuisine auteurs on the Web who are as generous with their savvy? Which chef wouldn't you mind having as your own private cook?
posted by MiguelCardoso (35 comments total)
Here is a good list, with links, of quite a few well known chefs.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:59 PM on June 28, 2003

"Which chef wouldn't you mind having as your own private cook?"

Either this one or this one.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:00 PM on June 28, 2003

And this one, just in!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:02 PM on June 28, 2003

Here is a good list

And Bobby Flay has a place on that site for him to answer your questions on cooking.
posted by gyc at 7:22 PM on June 28, 2003

Mine stays in the boat.
posted by squirrel at 7:57 PM on June 28, 2003

Sara Moulton for sheer down-to-earth friendliness, or Tyler Florence for mighty good cooking from the hot guy who has a loopy sense of humor. In general, Food Television has an excellent selection of recipes from celebrity chefs of all stripes. Some of them are people I might even like if I happened to just meet them somewhere.
posted by elgoose at 8:39 PM on June 28, 2003

the gods are angry tonite my fellow intellectuals. maybe it's time for something like a something.

chef?! chef?!!!! chef-boy-r-dee baby!

posted by poopy at 8:43 PM on June 28, 2003

I like Todd English who is also featured on this sweet little Boston Chefs site. I wouldn't mind having Chris Schlessinger serve as a seasonal chef at my summer house, if I had a summer house tht is. I watch tv cookery to whet my appetite, but I am a terrible cook myself, bleh. But every chef needs an appreciative patron....hmmm, a personal chef - I like the idea, Miguel!
posted by madamjujujive at 8:44 PM on June 28, 2003

I've always had an enormous amount of respect for Michel Guerard.
posted by barkingpumpkin at 8:55 PM on June 28, 2003

I'd like to have Anna Olson from Sugar. I can cook, but my baking isn't so hot, so having a personal pastry chef would be loverly.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:28 PM on June 28, 2003

I'd like to have the Barefoot Contessa, I think. Comfort food with flair.

For sheer entertainment value, I adore the Naked Chef.

I miss Two Fat Ladies.

I've been known to watch Iron Chef, just to see the ingredient d'jour. (Although I had to turn it off the other day...live octopus...Cephalopoda snuff TV....bleh!)
posted by dejah420 at 9:39 PM on June 28, 2003

He may not have his own restaurant, but I've already declared my allegiance to my favorite food-based celebrity: Alton Brown and his 'multitasking' (entertaining and informative) show. The Linus Torvalds of food geeks.
posted by wendell at 10:27 PM on June 28, 2003

Bistro SMAP is probably one of the most popular cooking shows in Japan. The five chefs are the five members of the hugely popular "boy band" SMAP, and they can all really cook.
Unfortunately, none of them can really sing.
posted by ArsncHeart at 11:30 PM on June 28, 2003

No shout outs for Nigella? I thought every man (and some women) would like to have that in their kitchen. I wouldn't mind. Or Alton. Or Tyler. Or Jamie. Or the Contessa.

I need a much bigger house. And kitchen.
posted by Dreama at 11:38 PM on June 28, 2003

Well, Nero Wolfe has Fritz Brenner employed in his West 35th Street brownstone, and I still haven't been invited to dinner. (Despite the fact that I work just around the corner.)

Actually, I'm not sure I'd hire a personal chef. I'd rather have the money (and time) to pursue whatever culinary whim strikes me, from antipasti to Texas barbecue.

However, I've wanted to eat at Thomas Keller's French Laundry in Napa ever since I read Michael Ruhlman's excellent "The Soul of a Chef."

I also really want to eat at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago sometime, and I've been tempted to hop a train to Philly so I can check out Morimoto.

Some favorite places of mine, and ones that I'd definitely haunt if I had the time, money, and airfare:

--Ben and Karen Barker's Magnolia Grill;
--Clifford Harrison and Anne Quatrano's Bacchanalia;
--Gaetano Trovato's Ristorante Arnolfo;
--Scott Howell's Nana's;
--the restaurant that taught me (at a very young age) what food could be, Chateau Neercanne;
--Marcel Desaulniers' The Trellis;
--and the absolute best meal I've had in the past few years, at Christophe Dufau's Auberge de Tourettes.

Suddenly, the vanilla yogurt I'm spooning at the moment doesn't look quite as appetizing...
posted by Vidiot at 12:01 AM on June 29, 2003

oh, and I shouldn't forget this guy.
posted by Vidiot at 1:56 AM on June 29, 2003

jacques pepin is one of my heroes, but I would never presume to keep him to myself as my private cook. I mean, I know how to follow a recipe.
posted by crunchland at 5:03 AM on June 29, 2003

I'm wearing my Masaharu Morimoto t-shirt even as I type!
posted by JanetLand at 5:21 AM on June 29, 2003

Keith Floyd, who can turn out the most delicious dishes in impossible locations, even when half-way plastered.
Tom Vernon (Fat Man in the Kitchen) - love all of his books, plus the fact that he used to let his cat sit and watch him cooking and was unrepentant when critics had a go at him for letting an animal near the food.
posted by tabbycat at 5:34 AM on June 29, 2003

I'm an Alton Brown fan, too, but for chefs who have their own restaurants, I go for Mario Batali. He has a couple shows on the Food Network (my husband watches Molto Mario every weekday) and a few restaurants in NYC. One day I'll get to Babbo, but for now I'm satisfied eating at his new Pizza Place, Otto (on 8th St. -- great wine selection, btw. This is my favorite Sunday brunch place.)
posted by meep at 6:33 AM on June 29, 2003

re Nigella Lawson, Oliver et al:

when we talk about chefs, we should be careful to make the distinction between actual chefs who cook in actual kitchens for actual people who go to actual restaurants and people who cook something on tv

for example ms Lawson is a very smart, very well-read and very beautiful woman who cooks on tv.
Roger Vergé, on the other hand, is an actual chef, like, say, Aimo Moroni or Gianfranco Vissani or Valentino Marcattilii
posted by matteo at 9:19 AM on June 29, 2003

It's been said (by dejah420 and dreama both), but I'm still going "ditto" for the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. Not only have I've learned from her the perfect Margarita recipe but I've had continually reaffirmed my belief that eating stuff that's bad for you but that tastes fabulous is not such a bad thing if you do it in moderation... (Sidenote: was TiVo made for food TV or what?!)
posted by JollyWanker at 9:26 AM on June 29, 2003


I beg to differ about the margarita recipe, JollyWanker. Not only does she use a blender (why?) and tell is to purée the liquids (what?), before using a cocktail shaker, her proportions of tequila to Cointreau, being 1 to 1, make a drink that's far too sweet and has no tequila bite. As for the straining, it's effete. The correct proportions, imo, are 2-1-1 or even 3-1-1.

She's right to add some lemon juice to the lime juice, though - what used to be called an Imperial Margarita.


Otherwise, I'm very impressed.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:48 AM on June 29, 2003

Dreama is absolutely right...Nigella can come into my kitchen any day (or night).

However, if I'm not thinking with my lower anatomy (which is rare), then I'd love to have Delia Smith come and proof my bread...errrr, so to speak.

For Friday evenings, I'd bring in the Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr...of course, this would be the original, constantly drinking, scatological, add a ton of cream to everything Kerr...not the sobered up, found-God, let's cook healthily version.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 10:25 AM on June 29, 2003

Hear hear, Miguel. (I also see that the Contessa wants you to use Triple Sec. It has its place, but in a good Margarita, Cointreau is the way to go.)

Don't tangle with Migsella when it comes to cocktails....
posted by Vidiot at 11:04 AM on June 29, 2003

I also see that the Contessa wants you to use Triple Sec. It has its place, but in a good Margarita, Cointreau is the way to go.

Cointreau is triple sec is curacao. It all tastes the same.
posted by password at 12:21 PM on June 29, 2003

Alton Brown, baby. His show is the most informative, entertaining cooking show that I've ever seen. And all of his recipes work. I've tried a bunch of them, with no trouble at all. Where some of the other celebrity chefs (Martha, Emeril) have recipes that make no sense, not to mention the annoying automaton and BAM! factor.

Alton is a geek after my own heart, he actually explains why things cook they way they do. I have his first book and can't wait for the next two, which are due out this fall.
posted by SuzySmith at 1:06 PM on June 29, 2003

I'll throw my hat in the ring for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who as well as being a classic English eccentric with a good sense for recipes, is an active supporter of local producers and an outspoken anti-GMO campaigner. The site is especially strong on editorials on seasonality, regaining respect for meat, feeding kids and growing your own produce. His 'what's good now' page is a great re-education project for those (like myself) who had been brainwashed by supermarkets into thinking that strawberries in January are a good thing.
posted by riviera at 1:08 PM on June 29, 2003

Cointreau is triple sec is curacao. It all tastes the same.

Au contraire. Cointreau and Curacao are triple secs, but they're way better than generic Triple Sec. I'd say that in order of preference, I'd go for Cointreau first, then Curacao, then a generic triple sec. (Grand Marnier is another very good triple sec, but I happen to like Cointreau better for most purposes.)

posted by Vidiot at 1:57 PM on June 29, 2003

First off, I am an Anti-Altonist. A lot of guys I know love him, but I find his show irritating and very rarely do his recipes leave me salivating.

In terms of sheer warmth and congeniality, Sarah Moulton is welcome in my kitchen any day. In fact, I recently e-mailed her through her website and she took the time to write me back! How cool is that?

I'm also a huge fan of The Barefoot Contessa (though her personality, I think, is a little grating---what's with that laugh?); and the Two Fat Ladies, surely not for the food, but for the laughs.

But, in the interest of full disclosure, I must say that my real secret celebrity chef most-desirable is---(organ music plays): Martha Stewart...

Look, here's what I'm thinking. Yes, she's a bit frigid and a bit bitchy, but she knows an awful lot, she cooks really well, using the best ingredients, and if she becomes my indentured servant I can smack her around if she steps out of line. ("I asked for MEEERLOTTTT!" Whack!)

Oh, but in terms of kitchen company, I'd like no one better than Calvin Trillin to chomp along with me. I'm just about to finish his new book ("Feeding A Yen") right now. Bon Apetit!
posted by adrober at 5:17 PM on June 29, 2003

Right on, adrober. Calvin Trillin is the MAN. (Have you read the rest of the "Tummy Trilogy"?) Ever since moving to New York a year ago, I've had to restrain my desire to send him a letter in which I would offer to make a donation to the charity of his choice in exchange for his leading me on an eating tour of Chinatown.
posted by Vidiot at 6:36 PM on June 29, 2003

Vidiot! You totally missed your opportunity! Calvin Trillin led a tour last year at The New Yorker Festival! Aw, well, maybe he'll do it again next year.
posted by adrober at 11:10 PM on June 29, 2003

Blast. I was out of town that weekend last year, and I just realized (d'oh!) that I'll be out of town that weekend this year as well. (the ONE time I actually plan something more than a month ahead, it ends up coinciding with the other thing I want to do more than a month from now. Sigh.)
posted by Vidiot at 2:09 AM on June 30, 2003

Martha Stewart couldn't cook her way out of a paper bag. Without her army of stylists and cooks, she'd be nowhere.

Plus, she's responsible for a wealth of misinformation.

Shameless self-promoter? Yes. Good businesswoman? Undoubtedly. Good chef? Forget it.
posted by crunchland at 2:18 AM on June 30, 2003

I'm so glad there are other Alton Brown fans out there.
posted by Witty at 7:59 AM on June 30, 2003

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