At what point in our culture did chefs become as famous and watched as tv and movie stars? I guess its pretty obvious, the starting point is the day Food Network hit the air and Mario was trundling around in his orange clogs, Emeril was shouting bam, and, well, Rachel Ray was making a fool of herself (then again, its very hard to even mention her name amongst those of 2 excellent chefs).
The New York Times recently examined the phenomenon of chefs and reality tv. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what the article is saying, while also being thankful that this "trend" is unlikely to ever hit China, where I doubt it could ever take hold. The strange thing is these chefs seem to be making these tv appearances just to make them, for their (extended) 15 minutes of fame. In reality, while they are getting their name out (and their restaurant's name as well), those who have the serious cash to eat at their establishments will have already heard of them, while Joe Public isn't dropping $100 per person and up to eat at the restaurants of these "celebrity" chefs. Further, the more concerned they are with their growing empire and public persona, the less time they spend doing what they are most famous for, feeding people. Beyond that, where does public interest come from? The reality shows these chefs are appearing on are only vaguely about cooking and none will improve your own skills in the kitchen? What is with the interest in what goes on beyond those swinging double doors that lead to a restaurant's kitchen?