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Which Celebrity TV Chef is actually the BEST CHEF ?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
So isolating cooking abilities only, forget about who you like, who you think is good looking, their tv persona, whether you like the format of their tv show etc, who is actually the best chef out of all the celebrity TV chefs ? (Gordon Ramsay, all the Iron Chefs on Iron Chef America, Jaime Oliver, the Masterchef judges etc etc)

Put it this way, who would you want to cook for you if you were having an important Anniversary dinner ?
post #2 of 33
I would pick Gordon Ramsey, I'd really enjoy tasting his cooking! He is probably the most experienced cook of the few TV-celebrity chefs I know (I don't know them all - don't watch much TV). But the guy has worked with Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon, has tons of Michelin stars ...
post #3 of 33
Anthony Bourdain for me. We would smoke and drink ourselves silly in between courses.:smoking: I would like Batali as well but NO WAY could I keep up with him!
post #4 of 33
Batali, Morimoto, or Ramsay for me. Difficult to compare, really, as they do such different things. But in terms of pure culinary skill, I pick those three.

I assume we're not including the PBS people as celebrities in the same sense.
post #5 of 33
I've eaten at most of Ramsay's places in the UK, so I vote him.
I like the type of food that Jamie Oliver cooks - slightly rustic but using the best ingredients - and I've eaten at 15 and at 15 in Cornwall.
post #6 of 33
bourdain quit smoking. but he still :beer:
post #7 of 33
Ramsay, Batali, Bourdain, Marco Pierre White, Tom Collichio, Daniel Boulud. Those are the ones with their own shows that I would like to work for. Oh, and I suppose Eric Ripert has a show... "Avec Eric"?

So Ramsay and Ripert have restaurants with 3 Michelin stars so I guess they are at the top but Daniel Boulud is supposed to be increadible to work for and everything I have seen of him and read of him makes me place him just as high. On his show, "After Hours" he cooks a chicken in a pig's bladder for some friends. It was pretty awesome.

That said, I'll likely be applying to Ramsay's place in L.A. this summer. It recieved a Michelin star a month after opening and the critic from the L.A. Times thinks that once they find their grove, they will compete for best restaurant in the city.
post #8 of 33
At least with Batali it's easy to find some of his recipes online, but the other guys don't really share as far as I can see. I can only speak for chefs who's food I eaten or made.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #9 of 33
Tom Collichio
post #10 of 33
Koukouvagia,

All of the chefs I've mentioned have published cookbooks that aren't at all hard to find. Online info is fine but the crap they publish on food network.com is exactly that, crap that's watered down for the simple minded demographic of that station. It is therefore no indication of a chef's ability or level of achievement.

Ramsay - Amazon.com: Gordon Ramsay's Three Star Chef: Gordon Ramsay: Books

Colicchio - Amazon.com: Craft of Cooking: Notes and Recipes from a Restaurant Kitchen: Tom Colicchio: Books

Ripert - Amazon.com: Le Bernardin Cookbook: Four-Star Simplicity: Maguy Le Coze, Eric Ripert: Books

Bourdain- Amazon.com: Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles" Cookbook: Classic Bistro Cooking: Anthony Bourdain: Books

White - Amazon.com: White Heat: Marco Pierre White, Bob Carlos Clarke: Books

Boulud - Amazon.com: Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine: Daniel Boulud: Books
post #11 of 33
Martin Yan, Jaques Pepin, and Rick Bayless. All of them are absolutely BRILLIANT when it comes to food and the knowledge they bring. They are all past the point in their careers where the ego is over inflated so they have humility and are humble which makes working for and learning from them MUCH more appealing.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #12 of 33
+1 Pepin is very complete when discussing techniques in his books.
post #13 of 33
I think Pepin is obviously the best teacher, and Bourdain is obviously the best to party with. ;)
post #14 of 33
I don't see anything but the PBS chef's on a regular basis. But what bit's I've seen of the main one's mentioned on commercial TV nauseates me. Of course, I don't have cable or satellite and these shows are not good advertising for me to sign up either.

I'll stick with the PBS chef's. Yan, Pepin, Lidia, Bayless, Jose Andres, Raichlen's grilling show. I like a lot of the dead ones too. Smith, Child, Urban Peasant guy whose name escapes me... Justin Wilson was a lot of fun to watch and listen to, but I have my doubts about his cooking.

There's another crusty outdoors cook who shows up of PBS now and then, Cee Dub Butch Welch. Not high end food but surprising considering his equipment.

Daisy Martinez is crossing over from PBS to a short run show with Rachel Ray. Similar personalities, but Daisy can actually cook--was an assistant cook for Lidia's show for a while as I recall.
post #15 of 33
Jamie - because he makes cooking so easy!
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Visit my site on home-cooked Asian recipes!

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post #16 of 33
I've eaten at Frontera, and even though I'm not a huge fan of Mexican food unless I'm completely drunk, it was amazing. However, I would definitely say Marco Pierre White. I love him, have read both of his cookbooks, (the new one is fantastic), and think that all around, he is probably the best chef who has ever had a televison show. Has anyone seen his line of cookware?
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post #17 of 33
His gastropub is certainly worth a visit!
Marco Pierre White - The Yew Tree - Our Menus
post #18 of 33
I would echo your statement exactly!


Even when I had cable I didn't watch their channels that much. Most times I was was taping a cooking (or gardening) show on various PBS channels. It didn't take me too long, after noticing my viewing habits, that I ditched the cable to go to Over The Air HD/D broadcast.

I'll stick with the PBS group (mentioned above) as well. Of those...I would say Pepin is my favorite to pay attention to. While I really enjoying relaxing watching Rick Bayless. But I always absolutely drool during Jose Andres cooking show.

dan
post #19 of 33
I've watched cooking on PBS for decades, starting with Julia befiore I realized I was a foodie.

I don't seem to see the high-fashion chefs very much. I find I'm most interested in Michael Chiarello; his manner and recipes are fun and very tasty. If that makes me a lowbrow, so be it. :rolleyes:

Note about Justin Wilson: I picked up a book on Cajun Humor eight or nine years ago and found that Wilson - noted as a Cajun Humorist - was absolutely despised by the entire Cajun community. He built his reputation by telling an endless repertoire of jokes about how stupid Cajuns were. When I was young, and before political correctness took hold, such jokes about stupidity were generically referred to as Polish Jokes, since that group was generally the butt of these.

This was bad enough, but adding fuel to the fire was the fact that Wilson was only half Cajun. One parent was, one wasn't. So he was a semi-outsider, pokling endless derision at that group. Not a recipe for popularity.

Also, an important part of his schtick was his fractured English and syntax. Sometimes funny, but in fact he had a college degree and at least one graduate degree in Industrial Engineering. He worked up north during WW II as an industrial engineer before discovering his true calling.

I watched him for a while, but got tired of his food, as well as his humor. :(

Mike
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post #20 of 33
Well, if the PBS crew count, I'd say Pepin and Ming Tsai. I just don't think of them as "celebrity TV chefs" in the same way. On the whole, I find that the PBS people can actually cook, albeit not always as well or as interestingly as they might. The commercial TV (Food Network, etc.) celebrities are a lot of flash, and some of them cook well and some of them really don't at all.

In passing, someone said something about Boulud being "incredible" to work for. A dear friend of mine did just that -- worked at Daniel, as a prep chef. According to her, he is indeed "incredible," as in "incredible as-----le." Day 1, he assigned her to an unlit basement to sort splinters out of a container of iced crabmeat. Upon discovering that she was wearing food safety gloves to do this, he screamed expletives and threatened physical abuse. He had a special washing sink as required by some sort of ServSafe thing (I don't know the details), and insisted that it be detached and removed from the main premises unless his spies heard that an inspector was coming. He could be counted on to be screaming expletives and in some cases handing out physical abuse during most of the hour before service, and more or less throughout service itself. He also treated female cooks very poorly, singling them out (not just my friend) for the most undesirable jobs; this was sufficiently extreme that he would sometimes assign a job and then, when he left to do something else, one of the other senior chefs would reassign the job just so that a given woman didn't spend all day every day doing the worst jobs.

His food may be good, to be sure, but I'm not voting for Boulud.
post #21 of 33
I would say Batali.

I agree many of the food network shows rely on a lot of flash but that is what keeps my attention. My favorite show is still Alton Brown. I wish more shows had the informative aspect which he does well.
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Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool opotamous? - Mitch Hedburg
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post #22 of 33
I'm partial to Rick Bayless, Mario Batalli, and Jacques Pepin. Also for healthy cooking I like Ellie Krieger's recipes.
post #23 of 33
I agree with that. I also think I would enjoy Fieri or Flays cooking. My tastes are pretty simple.
post #24 of 33
I don't I've gotten one of his cookbooks years ago and cooked some of them. and I for one love that style for family cooking.plus his stories were so funny.
BTW his cookbooks are written in the same dialect that he talked so it was also amusing to read.."you got to did that for sur!"
post #25 of 33
Another vote for the PBS crowd, with Jacques Pepin as #1.


And here's a list of the Top Ten celebrity chefs, as measured by their annual income, courtesy of Forbes: :eek:

1. Rachael Ray $18 Million
2. Wolfgang Puck $ 16 million
3. Gordon Ramsay $7.5 million
4. Nobuyuki Matsuhisa $5 million
5. Alain Ducasse $5 million
6. Paula Deen $4.5 million
7. Mario Batali $3 million
8. Tom Colicchio $2 million
9. Bobby Flay $1.5 million
10. Anthony Bourdain $1.5 million


Ten Top-Earning Celebrity Chefs - Forbes.com
post #26 of 33
As far as best? Each in their own right. As far as working next to in a real volume production kitchen, Battali and Emeril. Who I think the worst Big Daddy.\, It amazes me how a food network could even consider him.
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post #27 of 33
Jacques Pepin, not truly a celebrity in the modern food TV era, is hands down the best of all. I say that as a matter of opinion and also blind loyalty. That man can butcher a hog in 10 minutes.
post #28 of 33
While I sortof agree with you, I would say in response that Rachel Ray and Paula Dean are not Chefs, just celebrities.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #29 of 33
Anyone wondering about Pepin's abilities as a line chef ought to read his memoir, The Apprentice, which is wonderfullly written and delightfully uninterested in self-promotion. Quite apart from working as personal chef to two French presidents, including De Gaulle, he did long stints at the Palace Athenee and a number of other really high-end places, in France and in New York. He gave it up because (a) he found teaching a lot of fun, and (b) he was in a horrendous car crash which left him unable to do the really heavy labor as often as it needs to get done in a high-volume kitchen. By the time the new culinary revolution hit -- something in which he and Julia Child were prime contributors and motivators -- he was hardly young, and had been trained in the very haute cuisine that nobody now wanted. He now teaches at the French Culinary Institute in New York and at Boston University, does TV shows, and generally works amazingly hard for a guy who got drafted in the Algerian war: I don't have the book with me, but based on when that war was, he must be in his 70s.

This is why I think the "best chef" thing sort of mixes apples and oranges. Batali and so on are young hotshots, and Pepin is at least one generation back. Who's the best? When, at their prime, or now? I mean, would we agree by that measure that Careme is a truly awful chef? -- he's been dead for more than a century, after all, and isn't keeping up with the times.

I think the only way to compare reasonably is to compare people in their prime right now, in which case I'd go with Batali and Tsai, assuming we don't count the little passing bits with Ripert as "TV celebrity chef"-dom. If we do count that, Ripert is the best, and has the stars to prove it.

If we're looking at the world, of course, the best TV celebrity chef is Murata Yoshihiro, who appears regularly here on Japanese TV and is one of the top three kaiseki chefs. If they ever do an Iron Chef Japan-America, and get a bunch of judges who actually know what they're talking about with both Japanese and American food -- not just some sushi idiot but really knowing Japanese food -- I'd love to see Tanigawa or Murata on it. God help the poor "Iron Chef" who'll be crushed like a bug by these guys. Tanigawa slaughtered Morimoto on the original show, and Murata has a much better range for international cuisine.

So there are my votes, depending on how we're counting:

Pepin, if it has to be regular TV shows, not occasional appearances, and we consider one's prime rather than current ability.

Batali, if it has to be current ability and regular TV show.

Ripert, if it's current ability and semi-regular American TV counts.

Murata, if it's current ability and semi-regular TV anywhere counts.
post #30 of 33
agree about Rachel Ray and Paula but do love some of Paula's recipes.
Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool opotamous? - Mitch Hedburg
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Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool opotamous? - Mitch Hedburg
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