Are Celebrity Chefs Good for Food?Moderated by Jonathan Gold, LA Weekly Food Critic
Chefs have always had a knack for fame — from Julia Child to Napoleon’s personal chef, who published lucrative cookbooks and invented the tall white chef’s hat. But today, thanks in part to the Food Network, several seasons of "Top Chef" and "Hell’s Kitchen," and a burgeoning foodie culture, chefs are full-fledged celebrities. Besides running top restaurants across the country, they publish enough books to overwhelm the shelves — and abilities — of most any home cook. They host TV shows that rely on outsized personality as much as inventive recipes. And they lend their names and talents to chain eateries and bottled grocery-store sauces. Are celebrity chefs over exposed and over extended, and how have they transformed food? Pulitzer Prize winning LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold visits Zócalo with a panel of star chefs — including Nancy Silverton of Mozza, "Top Chef" Season Two winner Ilan Hall, and "Top Chef Masters" star Susan Feniger of Street — to find out how famous foodies shape what we cook, how we eat, and the future of high cuisine.
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