The world is changing and where we viewed celebrities traditionally as those people who can dribble and shoot hoops or those guys who can rhyme words into a perfect lyric, not to mention the guy who could swing a tennis racket in a perfect arch, the new age celebrity comes in the form of a trade long considered the domain of women. This is the craft that is turning a run of the mill regular dad into a world-class celebrity with a following that would rival Kim Kardashian on any day. This is the guy who stimulates emotions each time he tweets on Instagram and he is the guy who cannot go a day without being stalked on the Internet. This is the new celebrity, the television chef.
Everyone is a foodie and even those of us who have not tasted a carb in ten years still follow the good chefs. Not to eat or try cooking their food but to admire the talent that is used in making those scrumptious meals that could rock the label “priceless” in any museum. For those who spend their days on the Internet but are yet to jump onto this bandwagon, here are 10 chefs you should be following.
10. Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson, the British cook, is well known as a writer with several books on cooking like How to Eat and How to be a Domestic Goddess and others under her belt with cooking book sales that have gone far beyond 6-million copies. As a confirmation of her prowess as a writer, she was awarded the author of the year British book award in 2001. Nigella, who hosted her self-titled show Nigella Bites managed to garner over 2-million viewers in the US alone.
Her show was criticized for being too “sexy and flirtatious.” Nigella got a new lease on life when she was given a second chance by Channel 4 to host a show called Forever Summer with Nigella. The show, which was based on a cooking concept where one feels like they are on a constant vacation. Nigella is doing well for herself and has now been branded “favorite chef,” more so by the male audience who love good food made by a beautiful woman. This lady chef has made the rounds, having appeared on the Style Network, E! and even the Cooking Channel. This cook may not have attended any culinary school, but she can hold her own and is definitely worth following.
9. Graham Elliot
Graham Elliot is best known for his role as a judge on Top Chef and his culinary battles with Chef Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America. Not to mention his remarkable weight loss journey that left most of us chubby hoarders feeling ashamed to the core. Graham Elliot is not only impressive, but it is also evidence that even the foodies can be healthy amidst all the delicious meals in the kitchen. From a competitor in the first season of Top Chef Masters to a co-host and judge on Masterchef Junior and Master Chef. Graham Elliot is truly worth following.
The Chef who identifies with Chicago as his home base and who has a firm standing on the Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame, is the brains behind the sumptuous meals at Lollapalooza. His passion does not end with food alone as he is also known to be a giving person and is all about charity. He has tasted the beauty of giving after his son was born with a bilateral cleft and was assisted by Smile Train. The father of three has the kind of career that most chefs dream of and is set to scale more heights as is evidenced by his great passion in the kitchen.
8. April Bloomfield
April Bloomfield is an acclaimed British chef whose prowess in the kitchen is unparalleled. This chef seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to making meals that can best be described as “heavenly.” April, who was the chef and restaurateur to New York’s most popular joints, notably the Spotted Pig, not to mention The Breslin. She has been in the market for over a decade and seems set to break another decade in this industry. This makes her one of the most accomplished chefs of our times. The former Best New Chef in America, as well as the James Beard Award winner, has managed to pull in a massive crowd of fans who can’t get enough of her delicious meals and effortless cooking style.
This acclaimed chef does not believe in food trends, preferring to mesh traditional and modern ways of cooking with the belief that people should eat what they desire and worry less about what the “in” thing is as regards to food. Most often what is “in” may not be palatable or even appealing to most. As the owner of Tosca Cafe in San Francisco, the Hearth & Hound in Los Angeles and the chef at the Ace Hotel in New York City’s, Breslin Bar & Dining Room, and the John Dory Oyster Bar, April has her hands full and is always looking for ways to keep her meals interesting and on point.
7. Bobby Flay
Bobby Flay is known as the Iron Chef of America and is the host of the Next Food Network Star. He started his impressive career in 1994 on the Food Network. Bobby Flay owns a great restaurant called the Mesa Grill in New York City and has now branched out to cater to the middle class with his popular burger joints, Bobby’s Burger Palace.
The menu may not come at a hefty price, but it is as scrumptious as the meals the chef is known for and includes, sweet potato fries, onion rings and a crunchburger topped with pickles and potato chips. It appears that good business is not in the high-end market, as dipping one’s feet in the popular low budget businesses gives one a very healthy wallet size. Bobby Flay not only serves scrumptious meals but he has also penned dozens of cookbooks which are quite popular. The essence of a good businessman is making money and giving back to the people who make him, and Bobby Flay knows this all too well. He is a philanthropist who gives back to various worthy causes. Clearly, one going far and obviously worth a large following.
6. Tom Colicchio
Many are not aware of this phenomenal chef as he’s a newcomer into the cooking celebrity world, but for those who have visited his restaurants, he has been there for several years and has made a name for himself as a family oriented chef boasting of restaurants like the Gramercy Tavern in New York City, which was opened in 1994. Tom has gone on to grow his business by opening the Craft family restaurants that have successfully branched out to every corner of the country. The host of Bravo’s Top Chef is well known for his low drama and no-nonsense demeanor, which serves him perfectly in his cooking career.
Colicchio thrives on simplicity with recipes that maximize single ingredients, well prepared, garnished and served family style. One visit to his restaurants and Sunday lunches will never be the same again with unforgettable meals made to suit everyone’s palate. “Coleek” as his fans refer to him, believes in pepper and salt as the perfect seasoning and is well known for his prowess in roasting meat. The cool chef who is known to break into a reggae jig while making his masterpieces, makes cooking appear so effortless and frill-less.
5. Curtis Stone
The most impressive chef and one we definitely need to follow is Curtis Stone. No chef is more endearing than one who acknowledges his grandmother as his greatest inspiration. This Australian chef learned how to cook at a very young age at the feet of his grandmother. To honor her, he gave his restaurant the name “Maude.” His is a family of good cooks with his inspiration for seasonal food coming from his mother.
The chef who hosts Around the World in 80 Plates, confesses that he loves farmers markets and that it is a great place to get fresh produce. Having competed on the Iron Chef of America and was even a judge in the finale battle of Rachael vs Guy Kids Cook-Off. He also hosted the Kitchen Inferno. This Chef has truly been around the world and has the badges to prove it. Curtis has a restaurant that is based on a tasting menu in California that he says is a beautiful way of eating. The chef dictates what to cook for the client and the client has faith in the chef’s ability to make the best dishes. Even when he makes a simple meal like lasagna, it comes out looking like a party meal with scrumptious toppings and to die for flavors.
4. Mario Batali
Despite recent accusations and legal trouble, Mario Batali’s culinary skills can not be denied. The chef who cooks in shorts, clogs, and an ever-present ponytail, Mario Batali had never dreamed of being a chef. He aspired to be a banker and has even attended Rutgers University, where he majored in Spanish, theater and business management. Like every other struggling graduate, he got a job in a New Jersey restaurant where he worked as a dishwasher before moving up the ranks to be a pizza maker. It was during this time that his passion for cooking was born and he decided to become the best.
Batali went on to learn his trade at the Cordon Bleu in London and later moved to a remote town in Italy where he spent three years cooking and perfecting his cooking skills for Italian dishes. From that experience, Batali carved for himself a cooking style that fuses traditional Italian recipes with local recipes, creating masterpieces that are quite unique. His amazing cooking prowess has seen Babbo, his flagship restaurant in Greenwich Village attain stardom status. This success has culminated on television where he has made appearances and a line of cookware and acclaimed cookbooks. Clearly, a man meant for cooking with meals that never disappoint.
3. Aaron Sanchez
The Mexican–American chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, television personality, as well as philanthropist, is one of the chefs in the market worth following. With an inspiring career in almost every quarter of the cooking world, he is also executive chef and co-owner of the Mexican restaurant Johnny Sánchez, located in New Orleans. His scrumptious meals are the envy of many and so are his roles on the Food Network’s hit shows Chopped and Chopped Jr. This chef is also the host of the Emmy nominated Cooking Channel Taco Trip. This Chef is quite the superstar and has also appeared on Iron Chef America and contested in the The Next Iron Chef.
Aaron is not all about the cooking; he is also a celebrated author of two cookbooks with impressive sales. Most people do not delve in the world of philanthropy as wholeheartedly as Aaron Sanchez has. The beloved philanthropist launched the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund, which is an initiative aimed at empowering upcoming chefs from the Latin community to go after their dreams and enroll in culinary school. Aaron is also the co-host and judge of the hit show Masterchef. Clearly a man after our stomachs, Aaron Sanchez makes food look like masterpieces and works of art.
2. Michael Symon
For most, Michael Symon, the chef, restaurateur, host, and author, is a household name. The chef is an alumnus of The Culinary Institute of America, where many acclaimed chefs, notably Anthony Bourdain graduated from. Michael grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, looking up to his friend’s dad who owned Geppetto’s Pizza and Ribs. When he was only 14-years old, he dipped his feet in the food industry by getting a job as a rib cook where the bug to cook bit him and wouldn’t let go.
He has gone on to open several restaurants like Lola and Mabel’s BBQ, The B-Spot and Bar Symon outposts in the Quicken Loans Arena, which is home to the Cleveland Cavaliers where people can watch the game as they down burgers by one of their own. On the Food Network, Michael has been a staple on Burgers, Brew & ‘Que, as well as appearances on Melting Pot, Food Nation with Bobby Flay, Iron Chef America, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Michael Symon is also an acclaimed author with cookbooks like, Playing with Fire and Live to Cook. To prove that he is the best, Michael has won several awards like Best Burger, a Daytime Emmy and a James Beard Foundation Award.
1. Jamie Oliver
His nickname the “Naked Chef” is what first piqued peoples interest with most expecting to see a naked chef. We were later impressed to see that what he was into was good cooking, which was done fully dressed. He may have had trepidation about the title of the show, but it is through it that people come to see his prowess and appreciate it, giving him an undying following. After the success of that show, he has been in other self-titled shows like Jamie’s Kitchen, Jamie’s School Dinners, Jamie’s Kitchen Australia, among others.
Jamie is doing quite well as a television personality with various cooking shows that have won several awards like Jamie’s Food Revolution, which airs on ABC. His TV career seems to be on the right track and he is also known for specials like Eat to Save and Jamie’s Fowl Dinners, all of which have a worldwide audience. Jamie is not just a chef, he is also an author and his fame has had his cooking books translated into 30 languages with his recent cookbook, Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, selling over a million copies in the UK alone. Jamie boasts of an Emmy, a TED prize, IACAP cookbook award and the Observer Food Monthly Food Personality of the Year award.