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Celebrity Chef's Products That Don't Deliver


Jay Francis
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I have a new soapbox and it has to do with Celebrity Chefs who market products that don't deliver.

Rachael Ray. I can't begin to tell you what a good feeling I had when I saw Rachael Ray's high price EVOO (god, I hate that stupid acronym) go into the clearance mark-down section at xxx.

While we're on Rachael Ray, I bought the Furi knife sharpener that she endorses. A few weeks into owning it, and not really being very happy with its performance, I read a review of manual sharpeners that confirmed what I had suspected, that it wasn't the best for the money.

And, her silly oval pan that she developed to cook long pasta and fish better. Seems more like a stove-top inconvenience to me. And I must qualify that statement by acknowledging that, for non-sticks, I am a huge fan of Anolon that markets it for her. If the Italians had felt a need for this, they would have invented it already I'm sure.

Rick Bayless, who is a hero of mine, is working in conjunction with Copco and has come out with a product line for casseroles (cazuelas), cast iron enamelled fry pans, queso fundido warmers, etc. I got to try several of these recently when I assisted in a cooking class featuring his products and recipes. These products are beautiful to look at, But they aren't Le Creuset. There was burning on the bottoms, and I was the person responsible for doing the clean-up so I wasn't too happy. The queso fundido warmer, well, there just wasn't a way to keep the bottom layer of the cheese from burning. Pretty to look at but not very kitchen friendly, my opinion. Slightly off topic, has anyone seen the Enchiladas Suizas, How to Make video by him at the Sur La Table website? Enchiladas Suizas with roasted tomatoes instead of tomatillos? What's that all about?

Alton Brown, another hero. Here's a guy whose endorsement means something. I own his set of measures, his salt cellar and they both are great additions to my kitchen.

I've never been a big fan of Emeril's cookware, preferring plain old Lodge (or garage sale finds) cast iron, and Anolon for my non-stick. I am intrigued by his cast iron smoker though. I own the Cameron smoker and it works wonderfully, so I haven't had a need to try Emeril's. I'm curious about it though. It is thicker, being cast iron, than the stainless steel Cameron. I wonder how the extra energy to heat it up affects its serviceability?

Edited by Jay Francis (log)
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Wolfgang Puck products sold on HSN and in warehouse stores. I love this man for some reason. I have mixed reviews on his products though. I know I abused the pans and that's why his stainless steel products are pitting (I think). But his small appliance line stinks. I bought a food processor (all plastic junk) his rotisserie oven (worked beautifully for the first several months and then kaput) and his panini maker (which is superior to the Foreman as it has deep, narrow grill marks that prevent food from steaming unlike the Foreman. And the panini maker and some lesser used pans are what I still have and still use, along with his santoku set which I throw in the dishwasher, re-hone and their still pretty decent knives.

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Re: Shun Knives

Well, when you volunteer to assist at Sur La Table cooking classes you get to try a lot of good stuff. The Shun Knife is superb. In my kitchen, though, day to day, I default to a Dexter Russell Chinese Cleaver for just about everything ( I think Alton would be proud of the fact that it is a multi-tasker). I got it many years ago for about $30 in a Chinese restaurant supply and it's available through Amazon. When I am teaching a cooking class in my home, I bring out my Global Chef's knife for the ooh, ahh factor. Also, my Kevlar hand protecting glove.

When I returned my Rachael Ray endorsed Furi knife sharpener, I went up to the Chef's Choice electric sharpener and use that to do my sharpening.

I am a big fan of using cast iron for all high heat applications.

In respect to attractiveness, I really like the look of the Mario Batalli product line, but it also is made by Copco and I am suspicious of it. Anyone have any experience with the Batalli endorsed product line?

Edited by Jay Francis (log)
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Alton Brown, another hero. Here's a guy whose endorsement means something.  I own his set of measures, his salt cellar and they both are great additions to my kitchen.

I have both the salt cellar and the measuring cups. Love the salt cellar.

The measuring cup not so much. It's great to have the options for all those different measures, including metric, but the cylinder shape makes them a PITA to use for items like flour and sugar. I've recently shelved them and went back to using regular measuring cups that are wider across the top and easier to use without making a mess.

Edited by kalypso (log)
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I find it odd that I see some of these endorsed products at a few of those bargain stores weeks after they hit the shelvs. I was at one the other day (they have some great stuff for good prices most of the time). I have used a couple of the napa style/ Michael Ciralli(sp) enameled pans (his grill pan is the bomb!) and his stuff is generally pretty rugged and takes a beating.

As far as knives go, those Shun knives look very intriguing. I held a couple of them and they feel great. Right now I'm wearing out a set of Forschners which I'd hate to part with.

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I am much more likely to buy and use a product that is actually used by someone I respect than to buy a product with some celebrity's name endorsement on the actual product. Though certainly not a universal truth, it is rare that the name endorsed products are anywhere near as good as products made to sell strictly on their inherent merits.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The only endorsed product I own is the George Foreman Rotisserie Oven. While I never would have bought it on my own, I won it about 4 years ago as a door prize at a work holiday party.

I love this thing! It makes the best roast chicken I have ever had (also wings in the rectangular attachment), plus it has this neat rotating basket thingy that makes awesome oven roasted veggies with no turning. I actually use it quite a lot, and it has held up over the years.

It was quite a nice surprise, as usually I am quite wary of these types of things.

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When I need something, I generally stay away from celebrity-branded items because I don't trust how they're made. I have no reason for believing this. That said ...

I absolutely love my Graham Kerr bash'n'chop. :wub:

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I have an set of Nigella Lawson's over-sized measuring spoons that hangs from my pot holder and I love it.

Casey,

Many of us love Nigella for her over-sized.... I can't continue, it is just too easy!

Tim

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Has anyone tasted Rachel Rays EVOO? Is it at least as good as say Vigo or Bertolli? I just saw it in the store and the price was significantly more than average brands common in the grocery store. I found the idea of her picture on the EVOO bottle humorous yet disturbing.

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Jaimie Oliver's butane stove is no better nor worse than the near identical alternatives, just pricier. And the case it comes in is crap.

I use the George Foreman grill for the few things it does well: chicken with skin, grilled cheese sandwiches and salmon trimmings.

I had a Martha Stewart non-stick pot that had a lifetime guarantee. It lasted two years.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Has anyone tasted Rachel Rays EVOO?  Is it at least as good as say Vigo or Bertolli?  I just saw it in the store and the price was significantly more than average brands common in the grocery store.  I found the idea of her picture on the EVOO bottle humorous yet disturbing.

Ridiculous. I wonder if she's in the olive groves pressing the olives by foot on her weekends off in upstate New York.

It's probably rebottled brine from jars of Unico olives.

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I was kind of surprised, but I searched my kitchen and the only endorsed item I have is the Foreman grill? :blink:

I have bought Emeril's Marinara on sale, and it was pretty good, (at 50% off anyway), but I honestly can't think of anything else.

SB (does have quite a few Celebrity Chef books though :wink: )

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I was kind of surprised, but I searched my kitchen and the only endorsed item I have is the Foreman grill? :blink:

I have bought Emeril's Marinara on sale, and it was pretty good, (at 50% off anyway), but I honestly can't think of anything else.

SB (does have quite a few Celebrity Chef books though :wink: )

Oh .... and I did have an Iron Chef T-Shirt but my Sister ripped it off! :angry:

SB (may replace it with an IC Sakai T :biggrin: )

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Alton Brown, another hero. Here's a guy whose endorsement means something.  I own his set of measures, his salt cellar and they both are great additions to my kitchen.

I have both the salt cellar and the measuring cups. Love the salt cellar.

The measuring cup not so much. It's great to have the options for all those different measures, including metric, but the cylinder shape makes them a PITA to use for items like flour and sugar. I've recently shelved them and went back to using regular measuring cups that are wider across the top and easier to use without making a mess.

Oddly, the measuring cup isn't quite the multi-tasking tool it should be for an Alton Brown product. :hmmm: That being said, it's really intended for use in measuring wet and/or sticky ingredients that don't easily come out of a measuring cup. Peanut butter, mayo, honey, etc, (all are what I use it for) come out quite easily due to the design of the measuring cup. I don't use it for regular ingredients like sugar or flour for the reason you noted.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Oddly, the measuring cup isn't quite the multi-tasking tool it should be for an Alton Brown product.  :hmmm: That being said, it's really intended for use in measuring wet and/or sticky ingredients that don't easily come out of a measuring cup. Peanut butter, mayo, honey, etc, (all are what I use it for) come out quite easily due to the design of the measuring cup. I don't use it for regular ingredients like sugar or flour for the reason you noted.

I agree, they do work for the thick,sticky and ooey-gooey stuff. But...since AB yammers on about tools that multi-task, you would think that he'd back up his words with his products. The two measuring cups aren't the worlds best multi-taskers, and when space in the kitchen is limited, why should I have 2 measuring cups that are hard to use, a set of standard dry measures and at least 1 liquid measure. I was hoping that AB's measuring units would work for dry and liquid (which the do) so that I could eliminate the cupbard clutter (which they don't). Sadly, :sad: that was not the case for me.

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If a celebrity chef has his/her name on then you know most of the money u pay goes in marketing.

If the product was good enough they would not need to pay someone a small fortune to promote it.

Generally if it is a branded item with the chef's name and even worse a story about how they came up with the idea then it’s not worth getting.

I proud to say I have never brought a Celebrity chef's product, I buy things on need, value for money, quality and operational effectiveness, not which fool has his face on the NON-environmentally friendly packaging

Better spend u cash on good quality knifes, pots or some good quality copper than some junk you don't need, that doesn't general work or last more than a week.

http://www.flavourshaker.co.uk/invention/

There is some real junk out there the latest one I saw was the flavour shaker.

So one day he tells u to use a blender, the next the mortar and pestle, now how the flavour shaker is the only way to make a dressing or marinade and some stupid story about how it has changed his life in the kitchen, hahahaha :biggrin: what a joke, I can't believe anyone would buy rubbish like this.

Oh well that’s what TV chef's are for entertainment

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I picked up the Mario Batali prep bowls on impulse at Christmas (I think--in any event, they were a "present" for Mr. Care!)

I love using them--someone wrote that they make him feel like a chef--but they have not held up well. The melamine is cracking on several of the rims, and the color has faded unevenly.

Still, they're fun, and I'll keep my eyes open for another set at Ross or TJMaxx, but just won't expect much durability.

Life is short. Eat the roasted cauliflower first.

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I tend to stay away from celebrity products, but I received a set of Emeril cookware as a gift and I was really surprised at the quality. They are made by All-Clad and have a lifetime warranty. I also have a few Martha Stewart/K-Mart kitchen items (measuring cups - bowls).

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