Celebrity chefs overcooked? - Insights

Celebrity chefs overcooked?

Kitchen chefsTen years ago, I was somewhat entertained and charmed by the likes of Ramsey, Oliver and Harriot. Their cooking shows were a step up in culinary entertainment. I was a fan. Our culinary profession was getting the recognition it deserved.  But so advanced now is my displeasure that I cannot bring myself to watch another episode of MasterChef, Iron Chef or The Great British Bake Off. I find them tedious, fake, and systematised.

If I hear Jamie saying “Lubbly Jubbly”, or Gordon spewing up another concocted soundbite like “This lamb is so undercooked, it’s following Mary to school!” I will plan my escape to a yurt somewhere in the Kalahari.

The lip-smacking, pompous, pie-faced scowls radiating from a cravat stuffed culinary judge. The 5-second exaggerated pause before a verdict on a taste test. It’s naff and done to death.

Fake challenges, fake personalities. Crocodile tears, YOU magazine style backstories. Cursing, red faced, self-righteous Shleb-chefs barking over teams of Chef-testants. Give me a break and switch the channel to Downton Abbey or The Office! There is less fiction in one episode of Game of Thrones than a whole series of MasterChef Australia.

Ask any real chef: cooking is tough, challenging, and hot and sweaty most days. The hours are long, and your feet hurt most days. But, most days, we love it.

I admit to rather enjoying wearing a Chef Jacket out in public. I guess people like Chefs thanks to TV. Let’s face it there is no sexier or more useful job in this world. The traditional chef jacket is one stylish piece of couture. Even Pierre Cardin and Gucci have a range of Chef gear. Oh, a side issue I have; go easy on the gongs and the branding it makes one look like a Russian General, which is a bad move these days!

Am I the only person who thinks that some of the presenters on Great British Bake off – the professionals are bizarre? It makes what could be a good programme silly. Inane jokes with equally absurd scripts. Just let the contestant cook please!

I fear that we are breeding an expectation of fame and fortune in our young chefs. To be successful you must graft and sometimes smell like Surströmming (Young, newly caught Baltic Sea herring soaked in brine in a barrel. After a couple of days, the heads and innards of the fish are removed, and the rest is returned to the briny solution. Then they are left to “cook” in the summer sun for two to three months.) Of course, if you are Swedish the aroma of Surströmming will drive you wild with desire I suspect.

I admit there are three Celebrity Chefs that can do no wrong in my eyes: Prue Leith for her grace, knowledge, and inspiration. I have a man crush on Jan-Hendrick van der Westhuizen and love his style and take on South African classics. Nigella Lawson for reasons I cannot reveal, but I still love her first book “How to be a domestic Goddess”, although many of the recipes don’t work.

As Gordon Ramsey once said “Chefs are nutters. They’re all self-obsessed, delicate, dainty, insecure little souls, and absolute psychopaths. Every last one of them.” Well, that’s why we love them, isn’t it?








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Stephen Hickmore
Hospitality professional

Stephen is well known as a hospitality professional, owner/ leader at The Swiss Hotel School South Africa. Hickmore Recruitment, established over 25 years ago, is the go to company for executive and senior level recruitment in hospitality. As well as c…

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