Chefs Are Our New Celebrities, Part II
To get some form of handle on these new demi-glace-gods, it's a rainy Monday and I'm channel surfing from the comfort of my La-Z-Boy. I'm hard at work to serve my many HubPages Fans (oops... sorry... the newly politically correct term is Followers) by reviewing the unquestioned top three cooking hosts on TV. My time could be spent more productively in cleaning out the refrigerator, organizing my sock drawer or updating my Web browser... but my duty as an armchair critic takes priority.
First up, Martha Stewart. Who else could it be? To her legions of loyal fans, she is America's domestic goddess: the woman who put elegance back into entertaining. Her critics deem her nothing less than an epicurean Evita, who spouts lifestyle tips like Fascist propaganda. Whatever you may think of her, super maven, inside trader ex con, or Stepford wife, Martha Stewart's influence on how Americans, eat, entertain and decorate their homes has made her the most successful hospitality guru the world has ever known. Martha is a captivating host moving from one project to the next with the energy of a whirling dervish. Has this woman ever heard of the words "chill out"?
Her recipes are nothing short of impressive; unfortunately, many of them are labor-intensive or require costly ingredients. She also gets extremely anal about the littlest detail and her incessant repetition of the phrase "It's a good thing!" drives me nuts, almost as much as Emeril's tiresome use of "Bam!" Martha's world is neat and void of the obligations of everyday life. Hers operates with an unlimited amount of leisure time and financial resources, and with no distraction of children. After a long day's work, I know for one, I can't wait to come home and mix up a big batch of homemade mozzarella... NOT!
Like Stewart, Emeril Lagasse has become a household name. He's so damn famous now that he doesn't even need his own show any more. He's kind of like Bill Gates of the cooking world. He has so much money that he only works for the halibut. A cross between Jacques Pepin and Monty Hall, Lagasse is food royalty. On television, Emeril is a no-frills host, and his message is simple: Anyone can cook, and food is less about following recipes and more about the love of food itself.
Emeril exhibits all the style of a frat house brother... that is, if said frat boy also happens to be a four-star chef. Emeril is at his best behind the stove. When not working his culinary magic, he tends to fall into the heavy-handed shtick that's become so integral to his celebrity. But whatever you want to say about him, the dude can cook! Whew!
Gordon Ramsay. What can possibly be said about the chef from Hell that hasn't already been covered in every gossip rag on the planet? What most people seem to overlook is that under the steely glares and temper tantrums and potty mouth lies what is possibly the greatest chef of our age. I have no idea how he got this good. He was just a soccer playing Scottish yob with nothing to keep him from a lifetime of scrounging coins outside the pub for a pint when something happened that turned him into SuperChef. Was it his time with Marco Pierre White? Was it his roaming around kitchens in France? Was it divine intervention? We may never know.
All you have to do is strip away the overbearing personality and just look at how he cooks and what he serves. If it doesn't make you drool all over your remote you must think that the French Laundry serves Happy Meals. I've been saving my pennies to get to London for no other reason but to dine at his gourmet palaces. I know he won't be cooking for me with his own hands, but anything that fits his culinary standards is... yes, I'm going to say it... manna from heaven!