Chef sizes

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the celebrity TV cook show chefs. Oh, be warned, this is a gossipy entry with my personal opinions. Don’t take it too seriously :-)

In the last post I praised Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe. Her show Everyday Italian is a very entertaining show. Her techniques are sound (she went to culinary school) and she has a well-meaning approach to introducing each dish. And all the food looks very very tasty. But I just have one problem with her – she looks so pretty, and she is very skinny. I know I should not be one to judge, me being very thin on a very fat diet after all. But I just can’t help but suspect that she might have food issues. I wonder if she just doesn’t eat very much.

Another skinny chick is Sandra Lee, whose show is just god-awful. Crab bisque with canned crab meat? Chili made with boxed chili mix dumped into a crock pot? This woman is a hack! The name is terrible too – semi-homemade. Why not just call it Mostly Industrialized Crap Slapped Together? She must also have some eating issues. Watching her is like seeing a car crash that I can’t turn my head from. Yuck!

On the other side of the scale, you have Rachel Ray, who is becoming the hottest ticket in the mass media. She now even has her own magazine! I don’t like her show that much, because a lot of food simply takes more than 30 minutes to taste good. But with all of those 30-minute meals she ate, she has really ballooned up in the last year or so. Maybe she should cook them a little slower. I remember seeing her in some men’s magazine (don’t ask me why I even bothered flipping through such inane material), in which she was dressed somewhat revealingly while cooking. She still looked good then. Now, try as she might, with her haircuts, waist-accentuating jackets, or black tops, she can’t hide the fact that she is a bigger girl.

I don’t have as much problem with more hefty female chefs. Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) has probably the best show on Food Network, and she is one big huggable mama. Paula Deen’s new show is miserably produced, but I have liked her since I started watching her old show. She is also unapologetically downing butter and cream. Gale Gand looks so sweet and nice, oh, and plump. Even Nigella Lawson, whose concept of the show consists of selling sex appeal in addition to food, is a sexy mama with big curves. Lidia Bastianich cooks up the most wonderful family-style Italian food on the PBS, and she is one large well-endowed woman. The beloved Julia Child isn’t exactly thin either, though she was mighty tall.

I have less tolerance for fat male chefs. Maybe it’s just because I hate most of their shows. Anyone saw the old episode of Julia Child with Master Chefs in which Emeril was still a handsome young man with a waist and one chin? Tyler Florence used to be somewhat cute, but now he’s also chubby, probably from all the terrible food he had as the Applebee’s spokesperson (why? WHY?). Bobby Flay is developing a double chin too and please watch out for those moobs. The only chubby chef I like is Mario Batali. Isn’t he just adorable with his big belly above those comical shorts?


Charles said…
Don't forget that train wreck show (a.k.a. $40 A Day) hosted by that liar (a.k.a. Rachael Ray). She and Kelly Ripa are the reasons why I have no incentive to own a TV anytime soon.

What do you think of America's Test Kitchen? I love that show! They approach cooking like science -- the way it should be!

Oh, I love Nigella. She's the one on E! instead of Food Network, right?

Bobby Flay is an arrogant dick. What about Ming Tsai? Does he have his own show? What's the scoop on him?
erica said…
My guy friend told me he and his friends call Rachel Ray $40 whore, and when I told him she also host a show called 30-minute meals, he said damn, she is one expensive whore. :)

I think Mario Batali is the only chef who can really cook. He was the reason him and Rachel won vs Bobby and Giada. I have Giada's cookbook, I like her stuff, but I ask suspects she spits out everything she pretends to eat on TV.

I love Cafeteria when Tyler first opened it, but since he left, it's gone downhill.

Have you tried Mario's Del Posto yet? Is it worth the money?
Albertitto said…
I get enough of RR from just one show. Don't know what RR is? RR=Rachel Ray, just like in her show EVOO=extra virgin olive oil and GB=Garbage bowl...##$%$#@

America's Test Kitchen is great! It's produced by the same people behind the magazine Cook's Illustrate! They use quite scientific methods to perfect a recipe. However, I do have a little problem with their approach to find the "perfect" recipe -- they conduct blind taste studies and use the more popular choice. Now this might result in a recipe with too much mass-appeal. Don't know if that always leads to good eats.

Nigella was good for a season or 2. But she is sort of a one-trick pony. I now dread the ending of her shows, which always features her creeping out of bed in her PJs and sneaking food from the fridge. I still watch it though, because of her crispy accent and her nonchalant way of cooking. However, I wince every time when the camera does a close-up on her knife work.

Ming Tsai is a little too Californian-jocky for me in terms of his mannerisms -- strangely he grew up in the Northeast. I was not impressed with his restaurant (Blue Ginger in Wellesley). He seems to be a great cook on the show, but I don't feel the desire to replicate his dishes. His shows always feel hurried.
Albertitto said…
Erica: Wow, we posted at the same time! A whore is a bit strong...She definitely cooks fast...but man, her mouth is like a machine gun. It just never stops!

I didn't know Tyler opened Cafeteria! You mean the restaurant in Chelsea? I ate there maybe 3 years ago. It was okay, not too bad, with a somewhat reasonable price tag.

I haven't tried any of Mario's restaurants. Mike has gone to Babbo (with the strategy of calling at 3pm and securing a canceled 5:30 reservation) and couldn't stop raving about it. We have tried to go there since then without success.
charles said…
The one thing that I truly look forward to next summer is sampling various upscale restaurants in the city on the firm's dime.

Too bad that the firm I picked is not known for running a lavish summer program. Some firms take their summer associates to Jean Georges. Others let summer associates open multiple bottles of expensive wine just for lunch. I can care less about all the other events (e.g. Broadway shows, sports games, museum tours, Shakespeare in the Park, whatever), but please take me to nice restaurants!
Albertitto said…
Hey, I can always accompany you as a potential client!
erica said…
I think we are going to try the tapas at The Stanton Social, and also just going to go to Asia de Cuba since it'll remind us of Miami (long story).

I actually like Rachel Ray cause she looks like she actually eats her food. Just have to put her on mute when you watch the show.
charles said…
I'm sure there'll be a few formal and luxurious events during the course of the summer in which the firm would allow summer associates to bring their spouses/significant-others. If those events take place at any worthy 4-star restaurants, you can tag along as my "domestic partner" ;) (as long as Mike doesn't mind).
Albertitto said…
Erica: I think I went to Asia de Cuba. I waited for a long time...their mojito was good. I have made a couple things from Rachel Ray's show. They were not too good. I think you just have to be very choosy with her recipes. Things that normally take a short time anyway, like baby lamb steaks, will be good. But other things that she takes shortcuts on won't be as good.

Charles: Don't worry. I'll be happy to ditch Mike for a night of free food. Heehee!
geline said…
bobby flay's moobs!!! :D
erica said…
Did I mention I am a firm believer Sandra Lee is definitely an alcoholic? She made a cocktail Christmas tree for god's sake! You ever notice she can't have a show without making a drink loaded with vodka and always can't wait to drink the sucker down?

I worry about her and her children...haha
Albertitto said…
Haha, I guess she could be one. She always reminds me of a has-been homecoming queen or a sorority girl who doesn't really have much talent for anything. The blonde hair and fair complexion doesn't do her any good.

I don't think she has children. Here's a funny title of one of her magazines: "Semi-Homemade Weddings." Who wants a semi-homemade wedding???
Charles said…
Are you back from Taiwan yet?

Let me know when you get back. I'll be in NYC til the 7th.

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