All time top 5 TV chefs

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I was watching a TV cookery programme this evening here in Ireland which was particularly bad and i was thinking about what makes a great TV chef and thought it might be worth listing my all time favourite top 5. I came to the conclusion that it was not just to do with cooking ability but that personality had a huge amount to do with it. When reading this list make sure to remember that it is not an indication of who is actually the best chef but rather the best TV chef....

5. Marco Pierre white
Had a distinguished career as a chef and retired at the height of his fame and returned his 3 michelin stars in a blaze of publicity. Came out of retirement to host the recent series of Hell's kitchen stepping into the rather large shoes of Gordon Ramsey.
4. Rick Stein
A a man with a huge passion for the sea. At home on any sort of boat and his programmes often turn into travel shows rather than following a traditional format. HIs passion for food is unquestioned.
3. Bobby Flay
I only discovered Flay when i was in America last year but he has a natural talent without trying too hard. His recipes are relaxed, functional and easy to follow.

2.Jamie Oliver
He is not a popular choice with other professional chefs but at the end of the day he gets more people cooking and that has to be a good thing. Took the world by storm and is still going strong.
1.Gordon Ramsey
There could only be one winner! A genius with a razor sharp wit. Watch him in action below in one of his best moments!

What are your thoughts and who would you like to have seen in the top 5?

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John J. Goddard said...

Nice blog, Niall, and thanks for the invite to

As for TV chefs, you're absolutely right about personality. I don't really watch cookery programmes because I get enough of the swirling miasma of kitchen personalities at work, and watching Gordo is a little frustrating. I believe there are many ways to bring the best out in people - some of which are truly ugly - and his methods are definitely not mine.

But, of course, there are multitudes who'll gladly volunteer that sort of crazy-making. One reason for that is getting to appear on television. Another is a lack of confidence in their abilities.

You've surely seen footage of the would-be bungee jumper who stalls and stalls while everyone's yelling at him to jump. "Just do it!" He then squats down and timidly totters off the platform, arms flailing as he screams for his mama on the way down. There are plenty of people who cook like that. We call this doing a thing "half-assed" where I'm from.

I've been cooking (and eating) for a long time. I do both to survive. Both are natural processes, and I believe that natural processes should be tolerable if not pleasant. I suppose I see what's compelling about watching someone scream at other cooks in the kitchen, but honestly, I don't think I'd want to eat anything that came out of such a kitchen.

Then again, I don't eat out much. I'd rather cook for myself.

Bully for Gordo's success. I wonder if he'd rise to the challenge of getting the same results from a crew without the abuse.


Articles of Mastication
John J. Goddard

Deborah said...

Agree 100% on Gordon. People get upset by his abrupt tactics, but frankly I think a lot of that is played up for the camera. The people who have worked from him in his real kitchens adore him. They follow him all over the world. He must be doing something right!

Jamie Oliver should be on the list too... the rest I'm not so sure about. Bobby Flay I just find arrogant and abrupt. Marco is to new to the game and someone who advocates using Knorr bouillon and ketchup just makes me wary.

Rick Stein maybe... he's very British, but I suppose that's ok! ;-)

Anthony Bourdain would be one I feel should be on the list. He's a renowned chef, but probably the most passionate and unpretentious foodie you'd ever meet! The Les Halles cookbook should be a requirement in every home!

Abulafia said...

Keith Floyd. Passionate, erudite, explosive, and well before his time. Floyd on Spain - a tour through Basque cookery, tapas, the Gastronomic clubs of San Sebastian, Galician seafood - predated the current popular fascination with Spanish cuisine by over a decade.

Flawed enough to come across as human on the screen.

Definitely high on my list. Not a fan of Oliver, I have to admit. But spot on to include him.

Mario Batali?

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