|By JULIETTE ROSSANT |
What has changed in the eight years since the first Forbes' Celebrity Chefs list came out?
Super Chef knows how tough it is doing research on the wealthiest chefs -- having launched and written the Celebrity Chef section (1999-2001) and written the book, so to speak...
Well, the list is back up to five (5) chefs, for one thing. The five chefs on the first list in 1999 were:
This year's list has only one foreigner, the reliable master, Wolf: the rest are American, born and raised. Emeril, like Wolf, remains the only constant through the years.
This year does mark the first uniformity in the list ever: all five celebrities star on the TV Food Network. Come on! Count them off on one hand:
Forbes seems to have fallen prey to unresearched news gathering:
How can Forbes call all five of these people "chefs"???!!!To understand, let's picture a current newsroom scene.
The editor for the publication's "Celebrity 100" issue this year screams out for some chefs, so the lucky journalist who gets the assignment (and who may know nothing about Food) makes the fastest, most obvious -- even local -- call he or she can: to the Food Network! Hey, that's the Rach and Emeril channel, right? Wouldn't the Food Network know which chefs should go on our list this year?
And, of course, the Food Network does know who "should" go on -- all their own "chefs"! So they send a list over: did Forbes ever notice that all five "chefs" on the Celebrity 100 list this year came from the same source?
Furthermore, is this the best list of chefs Forbes could muster?
To the reading-challenged, TV-raised reporter who assembled that list: ever hear of a little Food Network rival called Bravo TV and a hot little show called Top Chef? Ever see Tom Colicchio -- hey, third season only premiered last Wednesday night! What, is Tom not rich enough for Forbes?
Well, then, how about channel surfing a little more? Ever hear of Hell's Kitchen with that impeccably well spoken chef, Gordon Ramsay? Might have run across that on a little, niche channel -- called Fox TV!
How about just doing a simple, methodical job -- which should start by reading through past Celebrity 100 issues to review some more respectable, non-TV chefs like Charlie Palmer or Alaine Ducasse? Super Chef has been tracking their doings for years: nothing has brought those empires down! Or has Forbes decided entrepreneurship is no longer part of the Celebrity 100 equation? (But then how did they net the kind of income to get them on the list in the first place...?) When it comes to business savvy, Charlie Palmer has a far more interesting story than someone who managed to land a big backer like Oprah...
The introduction to this year's Celebrity Chefs section may prove just how rarely reporters (and their editors) ever read their own copy these days:
The recipe for stardom calls for more than just culinary expertise. These chefs parlayed their celebrity into full-fledged media empires.Did anyone actually read this before publication? "Culinary expertise"? "Chefs"? Do those qualifications match Rach and Paula?
Let's hope next year's list is a bit more balanced, insightful, and professional.
Meanwhile, congratulations to the Food Network: must feel like heaven on this year's Celebrity 100 list.
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