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Peter Bart: Celeb Chefs Generate Strong Ratings And Big Scandals, Testing Foodie Loyalty

Peter Bart: Celeb Chefs Generate Strong Ratings And Big Scandals, Testing Foodie Loyalty

I’ve always thought I understood the arcane workings of the star system, but I still marvel at how cooks and bottle washers have achieved the star status of actors and musicians. Famous foodies are much in the news lately — Mario Batali, Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck and the late Anthony Bourdain — and the shows of star chefs sprawl across the TV landscape. “Misfits, free spirits and wanderers have created a new American profession,” heralds Andrew Friedman in his new book titled Chefs, Drugs and Rock & Roll, which is good summer reading.

Friedman writes colorfully about his cast of foodie miscreants, but I am left wondering whether we’re all falling victim to a feast of hype. I’m willing to pay a hefty tab at a top restaurant heralding a “name” chef, but still wonder how the egos, prices and sexual

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