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Where have all the Celebrity Chefs come from?

Not content with working away in their kitchens directing staff as they busy away at big commercial ranges like the Lincat LMR9 6 burner gas oven for example, take a look at that here https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/catering-appliances/commercial-ovens-and-ranges/commercial-ranges/lincat-lmr9-medium-duty-6-burner-gas-range-oven for an idea of the size and scale, Chefs of the world have also been prominent on television. The rise of the Celebrity Chef is not that new. Television, Radio and the internet have just given them an outlet to show off their skills and also further some good causes that they support and even initiate.  Let’s see how these new personalities came about.

The first celebrity chef dates back as far as the sixteenth century. Pope Pius the fifth’s exclusive chef wrote a recipe book that was widely printed and sold throughout Europe. Someone with such a high ranking job had a lot of inside knowledge and was used to producing fine cuisine. In Britain our first Celebrity Chef was the French born Alexis Soyer. He created dishes still served at the Reform Club today and was also head chef at Queen Victoria’s coronation breakfast. You could have a tour around his kitchen if you wanted. Like certain modern chefs he was concerned about social problems around food. Unlike the worry about obesity he was concerned about famine. Soyer created special soup served free to the poor during the Irish Famine of 1847 when no else was helping the situation. He wrote recipe books special designed for people on modest incomes that only had the basic utensils and ingredients for cooking. The other early celebrity chef was Mrs Beeton. She created a manual for the housewife and provided several wholesome recipes, although it’s understood she took them from other people.

Television allowed the TV Chef to show what the food actually looked like as opposed to illustrations. The first person on British television to really be considered a Celebrity Chef is Phyllis Nan Sortain Pechey or Fanny Craddock as she was known. Cradock, with her husband Johnnie doing the wine, started out in 1955 on the BBC. She came to dominate the 60’s and 70’s offering easy to do British standards of meat and two veg. She would perform to large audiences at the National Home exhibition. Her downfall came when she condescendingly criticised a Devon House wife’s menu choices.

If Cradock set the mood then Robert Carrier carried it on into the 1980’s. An American chef with his camp style and over egged vowels he tried to introduce newer cuisines and cooking methods. In the late eighties the real celebrity Chef boom began. Desperate to fill up daytime TV Executives created shows like “Hot Chefs”, “Can’t Cook Wont Cook”, “Ready Steady Cook” and also large portions of This Morning were devoted to it.

With Youtube and the increased number of TV channels, some only about food, the celebrity chef is definitely here to stay.

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