From an exceedingly young age, chefs and food folk were my rock stars and celebrity idols. In fact, if the Bubble Yum-colored pages of Tiger Beat and Teen Bop had catered to culinary crushes, I would have had torn-out pages of Jacques Pepin all over my walls, instead of impressively coifed and collared photos of Edward Furlong and Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
But after years of geeking out over the same dog-eared copies of Gourmet magazine (where my ultimate idol, Sara Moulton, worked for 25 years), and soothing, single camera PBS shows (remember Yan Can Cook)?! I was stunned to find chefs all of a sudden thrust into the global spotlight, with the advent of a certain game-changing Goliath called The Food Network.
At a steady and seemingly unstoppable pace, a rash of culinary-focused programming hit the airwaves in force, from Top Chef on Bravo to everything on the Cooking Channel, to CBS show The Chew (an all-food morning talk show? Who would have thunk it)? Factor in the ever-growing number of similarly obsessed websites, blogs, vlogs, books, magazines, festivals, podcasts and what have you, no wonder it’s become common place for chefs to stroll the red carpet, and enrollment in cooking schools has gone up tenfold!
That’s why I’m beyond excited to be able to examine the culinary celebrity phenomenon with chefs that have truly lived it, who’ll help explore how it started, why it’s persevered, and where the heck it’s going. So without further ado, I present to you our illustrious panelists…
Sara Moulton: A protégée of Julia Child, founder of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, executive chef of Gourmet magazine, Food Editor of ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, author of several cookbooks and host of several popular shows on both PBS and the Food Network during the channel’s first decade, I’m going to do my best to ask Moulton adult, well-considered questions, instead of begging her to sign my battered VHS recordings of Cooking Live.
Alex Guarnaschelli: Executive chef at both NYC’s Butter and award-winning The Darby, Guarnaschelli also hosts Alex’s Day Off and The Cooking Loft on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. In 2012, she was crowned America’s Next Iron Chef on Iron Chef America, and is currently the only woman with that distinction and only the second female ever to obtain that TV honor. And you best come CORRECT if she ends up as one of your formidable judges on Chopped!
Dale Talde: The executive chef and co-owner of Talde, Pork Slope and Thistle Hill Tavern, Dale rose to TV fame on Bravo’s very best season of Top Chef (the Chicago one). He subsequently cemented his position as a true fan favorite, appearing on Top Chef: All Stars and Top Chef: Duels.
Justin Warner: His Next Food Network Star win merely ensured that the world now knows what Brooklyn already did—that this chef/owner of Bed Stuy’s constantly creative Do or Dine is a true culinary force!
For tickets, visit here.
Taste Talks Food & Drink returns to Brooklyn September 12-14, 2014. See the full schedule and buy tickets here.