Egos and Icons

September 14, 2010

I received an email the other day that included a press release about a “celebrity chef” event in Charlotte.  I looked at the list of chefs participating and didn’t recognize a single one.  Now I have to admit that I don’t watch the Food Network all that much, and I couldn’t name a lot of the personalities that they on their programs, but it’s clear that television, and the Food Network in particular, has changed the public’s perception of all chefs.  No longer does a chef have to have a big TV deal, or even a cookbook, to be a celebrity.  The only requirement, it appears from this Charlotte event, is that the chef be, well, a chef.  Now I’m as caught up in chef worship as much as the next person, but we really need to remember that these chefs are just hard-working folks.  Hell, most of the chefs who are on television regularly and can truly be considered CELEBRITIES (Bayless, Batali, Keller, Pepin) are not that much different than you, me or anyone else.  And when we talk about the local chefs who might be considered “stars,” well, once again, they’re for the most part just plain folk.  Ben and Karen Barker of Durham’s Magnolia Grill have each won a James Beard Award, but they’re as humble and nice as can be.  Sure they have egos, but the manifestation of that ego is what’s on the plate.  They bust their butt to make sure that what we eat is top-notch, night after night. Read the rest of this entry »