Saturday, February 13, 2016

So you think you're a celebrity chef?

You are not, writes Dan Myers of The Daily Meal.

So you think you're a celebrity chef?

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Chefs Michael Solomonov (left) and Kevin Sbraga at the 2013 Taste of the Nation.
Chefs Michael Solomonov (left) and Kevin Sbraga at the 2013 Taste of the Nation. MICHAEL KLEIN / Philly.com

"There are plenty of chefs that may have earned a bit of local renown, either by talent, a good publicist, or some combination of the two," writes Dan Myers, an editor of The Daily Meal.

"But I think there’s a good rule of thumb in here: if you feel the need to call yourself a celebrity chef, you aren’t one."

Myers seems both bemused and amused with the practice.

In a piece posted on The Daily Meal, Myers lists 10 criteria that define "celebrity chef," opining that a chef must fall into three of them to qualify:

1) You host/have hosted a nationally televised cooking/food-related show, preferably on Food Network, Cooking Channel, or the Travel Channel.

2) You made it to the finale of a season of Top Chef.

3) You’re the chef–owner of two or more popular (possibly eponymous) restaurants in big cities.

4) You’re occasionally recognized on the street (even if it’s just “Do I know you from somewhere?”).

5) You’re a paid spokesperson for a major company.

6) You’ve ever wondered if you’re “selling out.”

7) You’ve been featured/profiled in a major national food magazine.

8) You’re the star attraction at an event at either the New York, Aspen, or South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

9) You appear regularly as a guest on national morning or late-night talk shows.

10) You don’t refer to yourself as a celebrity chef.

By that definition, Philly has a few celebrity chefs, e.g.:

Kevin Sbraga is a Top Chef (#2), owns two restaurants in a big city (#3), is recognized on the street (#4), has headlined Aspen (#8), and (God bless him) does not refer to himself as a "celebrity chef" (#10).

Marc Vetri qualifies for #3, #4, #5 (he posed naked with a Vita-Prep blender in 2001), #7, and #10.

Michael Solomonov has #3, #4, #8, and #10.

Jose Garces has #1, #2 (I'd venture that Iron Chef is at least as prestigious), #3, #7, #8, and #10.

Nicholas Elmi is just about there as he has #2, #4 and (soon) #7 and #8.

(I have no idea if #6 would apply to any of these guys. That's between them and their therapists or accountants.)

                                            *

Since I'm letting Myers lay down the law against puffery, let me add my own beef:

That photo that you posted on Instagram? Where you hashtagged it #foodporn? It's not.

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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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