Wouldn’t the world be a better place if the celebrity chefs were able to go on television and, well, not act like television chefs? What if you could keep the talent and lose the irritating egomaniacal omnipotence and line of poorly made cookware?
The vivacious spirits that haunt FoodTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and the like are usually born of some skill that landed them a TV gig. Foodies, cooks, kitchen leaders. Somewhere, though, many go awry. The talent that landed them under the hot lights and in front of the camera drifts away and we are left with marketing kitsch and fluff. What if the savvy that landed them the gig were still intact? Enter the pre-celebrity chef whom you have never heard of.
Why do these kitchen personalities matter? They bring heaping talent that is fame-worthy but has not yet been corrupted by the camera. They also bring to life the kitchen prowess that makes them great at what they do: perfection in pastry, detail-loaded dishes, culinary clout. There is a legion of cooking champions that deftly focus on the craft while the spotlight has yet a counterproductive shadow on their paths.
Let’s shine a light on 10 of America’s best non-celebrity celebrity chefs. These are the guys and girls of kitchens that bring the A-game but leave the annoying at the swinging door. What follows is a look at the chefs at the top of their game, respected by their peers, revered in culinary circles and, most importantly, have cooking heart without selling their souls to the TV devil.
Jim Berman is a Pittsburgh émigré living in Delaware. As the mid-Atlantic division chef with a food distribution company, Jim orchestrates new menus and conducts kitchen testing. Follow Jim on Twitter and Instagram.
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