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Andy Lynes

"Celebrity" chefs

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What did you think of celebrity chefs before you became one yourself. What do you think about them in general now?

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There has always been a powerful element of hustler in chefs. The restaurant business-particularly at the top end--has always been to one degree or another, "show business". If you've ever watched a dining room being set up for dinner, you know this...Or watched a chef walk from the kitchen into the dining room, his posture, his whole bearing transformed into a cheerier, more important more acceptable version of

himself. The phenomanon good or bad? I don't know. It's annoying, sure. And few of us really understand why its happening...but it's probably a good thing. Even the evil spuds with the happy shows are probably a force (however unwittingly) for good in that anything that gets people more interested in better food--cooking more and better--eating out in restaurants more--and giving people like me money--is a good thing, right? I mean who better to have a nice score waiting for them at the end of the rainbow than chefs? Even the guys who sell their names and open joints in airports probably deserve a few bucks after all those years in the kitchen. I may no be able to watch the excrutiating Wolfgang Puck--and I may not eat in his joints--but he's a significant guy..with an amazing career behind him--a man of real accomplishments (as is, I suppose, is Emeril).  For whatever reason, cooking has become a "glamor" profession--a job with an actual future in it--for a lot of people who'd probably otherwise be sticking up liquor stores. There has never been a better time to be eating in America--and there has certainly never been a better time to be cooking in America. If that's partly a result--or a byproduct of the celebrity chef thing--then it's worth enduring.


abourdain

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Charles Shere of Chez Panisse has summed it up neatly:

The art form of our time, the final thirty years of the twentieth century, has been the preparation of food. What the sonnet was to Elizabeth’s London, the Lied to Schubert’s Vienna, the easel painting to Impressionist Pontoise, the movie to the Nineteen-Thirties; that, to many of us, is the meal.


John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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I think the suits at NBC missed a trick when they tried making a sit-com around Emeril. If they'd had an ounce of nerve among them, they would've made a show about Bourdain.

Of course, if there HAD been such a show, it would've had to have been on Showtime, or HBO. The networks would never have touched it--too risky, too edgy, too frequent use of the work "fuck," etc. etc. But it would've been an altogether better premise for a show. Think of "The Sopranos" with a toque, or "Oz" with fewer knife fights. Imagine a cross between Dennis Leary and Jim Morrison, as a chef. I wonder what they would've titled it?

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