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How much of greatness of a chef is in the publicist?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Working with ChefTalk over the past two years I have learned a lot of how successful you are depends greatly on who you know and how good your marketing is. That being said, how many of the chefs today are the products of good marketing? I think more than a few are. Obviously you can't get to a level of greatness without knowing what you are doing, but I think many of the chefs that are so popular today are simply the product of a great publicist. What I have a hard time with is that it really comes down to money. If you have the money to pay a "good" publicist $10,000 a month then you will be in every newspaper and magazine as the hottest chef since Escoffier. How many of us know incredible chefs that very few people will ever hear of?

There are no doubt (IMHO) more than a couple chefs out there that would be nowhere today without their publicist.

So to all the chefs who are in a restaurant, a corporate setting, educational facility (lunchroom), B&B's, old folks home, or wherever that strives for excellence everyday, but will never be heard of in Art Culinarie I say three cheers to you.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #2 of 9
I always felt that Raymond Oliver of Le Grand Vefour in Paris was a great although understated chef. His cooking was in the "old style" of French cuisine: very rich. Almost a whole cube of butter went into a small souffle. He fell out of favor around the early 80's, however.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #3 of 9
Greatness is one thing, Popularity and Celebrity quite another. I think the publicist has a great deal to do with how much a chef becomes known. However, I've learned that just hiring a publicist does not always get your name known. There are plenty of publicists who put together expensive press packets (at the expense of their clients) only to fail in the follow through. They might be stressing an "innovation" that has been written about 6 months ago or has an intern making follww-up calls, not knowing much about the client. Most food editors, writers and media professionals prefer being approached about a new chef or restaurant in a more personal way that is sensitive to the market and their needs. I learned this recently by attending a round-table discussion of food editors and writers including Florence Fabricant, Arthur Schwartz, Rozanne Gold and a few others. Most agreed they preferred a one page letter and a phone call from the chef that quickly explains his/her style and approach than a 12 page press packet or boxes of perishable food samples.
Yes, the unsung heroes of the food world are those that grind out beauty on a plate day after day to the overwhelming enjoyment of a few.
Thanks for recognizing them Nicko.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
I totally agree with you foodnfoto. In thinking about greatness as opposed to popularity many chefs are simply very popular due to a slick publicist. I think that it should also be stated that really great chefs do not need a publicist, the word gets out all by itself.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #5 of 9
A lot comes down to what you want out of this career. If you want the fame and fotune then you need to hire a PR person. Do you think that Food and Wine mag. discovered the chefs for their Best New Chefs article every year? No, they learned about these chefs from the chefs PR person, same goes for many of the national awards. But for every "Best New Chefs" there are 100 chefs out there as good as or better than these people. Maybe they can't afford to hire a PR person (most PR people go for around $2500-$4000 a month plus all expenses) or maybe they just don't want the pressure and stress that comes with fame. Or maybe they would just rather keep a low profile so that they can stay in their kitchens where they feel most comfortable, and don't have to deal with all the social and "poltical" **** that comes with being a "famous" chef.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #6 of 9
Interesting topic....recently one of our local chefs went on an eating junket to see what Beard winners were cooking, his firm wants the award....
Or to see the schedule of Rick Bayless, his time card is pretty full.
Or just what it takes for traveling chefs to represent themselves (the way they want) in a new environment with unknowns handling your supplies.
There are so many more unknown variables when you venture out...
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
It is so true, if you want the fame then that is what you get, providing you have the money to invest. I have learned through ChefTalk that getting known takes time, but if you send out a press kit and have a great service then it will get published.

I guess what I was trying to get at with this topic is more the guys who have the T.V. shows and are the top chefs in the public's eye. However, if you asked any chef they would say "No not that guy, you should check out Freddy Giradet, or Mark Vera". People that most of the American public has never heard of because they don't have a prime time cooking show.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #8 of 9
There's a price to pay for celebrity if you haven't achieved GREATNESS first.

Just check out different forums on this site for instance, where a lot of us are totally sick of Emeril Lagasse and Todd English for instance! There may be more but these two just stick out!

There's a lot of chefs around who do CHOOSE to remain in their kitchens to focus on what's really important i.e. striving for excellence. I call that GREATNESS!
I cook'n bake with passion...
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I cook'n bake with passion...
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post #9 of 9
I know this topic is over a month old, but I found it interesting. I think the whole chef as a star thing is a double edged sword. On one hand you are exposing a larger group of people to the culinary world. For example, I have two older sisters who hateto cook and who I would not consider "foodies" but they love watching food tv and have learned more about food. On the other hand, having a hit show and a catch phrase(kick it up a notch, BAM!) does make the chef seem a little fake.
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