When is a Chef on TV Not a Real Chef Anymore?

This weekend I noticed a promo for an upcoming show called America’s Next Great Restaurant. It’s a “reality” show with contestants competing for backing to open a chain of three restaurants. Yawn.

However, what caught my attention was the fact that Bobby Flay is one of the judges. WTF? I don’t know how many shows this guy is on, but I think the fact that he is on more than one (or two) doesn’t make him a chef anymore. Like, he shouldn’t be considered for national awards unless it is for best TV chef. Am I wrong?

14 comments on “When is a Chef on TV Not a Real Chef Anymore?

  1. Have you been to any of his restaurants? As long as they’re still putting out good food, he still gets to be a chef in my book. I have been to the Mesa Grill in Vegas a couple of times, and it was EXCELLENT.

  2. There is nothing about appearing on television, no matter how often, that inhibits Flay’s ability to cook great food, inspire great menus for his restaurants, and lead his team. Maybe he’s a chef-at-large, but he’s still a chef.

    (Slow news day, huh?)

  3. By that logic, every pro athlete who goes on Dancing with the Stars or hosts Saturday Night Live or runs a foundation shouldn’t be considered a pro athlete anymore.

    This reminds me of an Anthony Bourdain rant about how people get all in a tizzy if they go to a “celebrity chef’s” restaurant and the guy/gal isn’t actually there.

    As far as Bobby Flay goes…Bar Americain has my favorite duck entree on Earth. Love it. Guy can do whatever he wants as long as he doesn’t muck with that dish, IMO.

  4. I’ve seen the likes of folks like Eric Ripert and John Besh on their own shows…as guests & judges on shows like Top Chef. As far as I can tell, they’re all still cooking (and doing it well). So, they’re still chefs.

  5. I think you are wrong. Did you watch the show? All of the judges know something about opening a restaurant and thats why they are on the show. The first episode was pretty good. I’ll keep watching it.

  6. Nancy is right on the money here! Most people do not understand the real meaning of chef anyways, trust me ’cause I’m a chef. The point she’s bringing here is the fact that this dude no longer cooks unless there’s a camera in front of him. The fact that he owns restaurants does make him a successful entrepreneur, yes, but can you still consider him a current working chef? ah, NO.
    The correct meaning of chef, a French word meaning “Chief” is given to the professional cook that leads a brigade of cooks inside a kitchen. It’s not about cooking a great meal or writing recipes, that won’t make you a chef.
    Julia Child was a great recipe writer and connoisseur, but she was a “Gourmand” not a chef. A chef is a position of leadership, so if you’re not leading troops then you must not be in charge. But yes, call him a chef if you must, after all he was one at one point. I personally have known him, and quite frankly wouldn’t put my hand in the fire for him.

  7. The dude can cook regardless of how much he is on TV. He’s still a chef in my book and for the record I really enjoyed THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN RESTERAUNT.

    I think you may be nit picking.

  8. Javier, your argument is full of contradictions. B Flay puts in 12-16 hours a day “leading” the people he employs in his restaurant/media empire. So yes, he is a “chief”. Just because he has restaurants in multiple countries and stars in multiple TV shows (which many take only a few weeks to shoot) doesn’t prevent him from participating in daily creative & decision making processes. Eric Ripert has only one restaurant, but seldom if ever cooks. Jean George Vongerichten also has restaurants around the globe. He does spend time at his places but Jean George no longer “leads” a kitchen brigade. thats what “chef’s de cuisine” are for. Does that make them not a chef? I think not. They are just higher up the “food chain”. If anything, they are at the top of their game in organization, efficiency, leadership, & decision making. None of these examples of “Chefs” would have gotten to where they are today unless they excelled at being a “Chef”. As far as your personal experience with him, that is your own opinion, and probably based on a very limited exposer. That being said I do not suggest putting your hand in the fire for anyone. How are you going to cook one handed???

  9. Contradictions! Hehehehe, ok “yelper” so you know your celebrity chefs pretty well! Whatever floats your boat, if it makes you happy to call everyone that cooks a chef then by all means do it! scream chef to the top of your lungs LOL. I’m one and also teach culinary arts in college so I couldn’t care less.

    BTW, I can get you Mr. Flay’s phone number so you can call him and tell him how great he is!!!!! hehehehehe

  10. Those who strive and attain great success at their field are not limited by confines of mediocre imagination. Sadly those who are have reached their limit and must tear at those who are more successful to justify to themselves why they cannot get more recognition of their greatness. The Peter Principle is more quickly attained when the focus is on ego versus ones craft.