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If you could choose a chef to cook a holiday meal...

I belong to a survey group, and one I took tonight had to do with Holiday Meals. One of the questions was the following along with some choices, and I thought it might be interesting to see who people would choose.
If you could choose, what celebrity chef would you choose to cook your holiday meal for you?

Mario Batali
Emeril Lagasse
Bobby Flay
Alton Brown
Julia Child
Rachael Ray
Giada De Laurentiis
Cat Cora
Jamie Oliver
Gordon Ramsay
Paula Deen
Martha Stewart
Ina Garten


Personally, I don't think having Julia Child in the list is fair, as she's no longer with us. But if she WAS - I would absolutely pick her!

Anyway, with this list, and without wanting to think of an "other", I chose Jamie Oliver. The little bit I know about him, it just seemed like I'd like his flavors the best.

Who would you pick and why?

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  1. The part of me which hates to clean would choose Martha, because while the turkey was cooking she wouldn't be able to stop herself from totally cleaning and reorganizing my house! Definitely get more bang for your buck with her.

    If I were hosting my family, then Ina. Her style and personality would fit everyone quite well.

    For just me, SO and select friends then David Chang!

    1. I'd like to look at Giada while Paula Deen did the actual cooking

      5 Replies
      1. re: bagelman01

        Oh great, you've gotta thing for both cleavage AND butter, do you?! ;) You might really have a heart attack with that combo. HA HA HA!

        1. re: kattyeyes

          I'd die happy............
          Actually they were the best combination I could come up with from the list offered.

          I could be happy with a holiday meal prepared by any of the old school line cooks from Le Cirque, The Four Seasons, Le Chambord, etc.

          I don't require a TV personality, and am not fond of Nouvelle Cuisine for a holiday. A good, experienced and well trained line cook from a top restaurant would be fine, I don't need an executive chef or chef d'cuisine.

          However, I would want a top notch baker for the desserts, one who could make Viennese or Hungarian tortes.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            "Oh great, you've gotta thing for both cleavage AND butter, do you?! ;)"
            sounds to me like Nigella would be his ideal, then ;)

            1. re: kattyeyes

              and from the other extreme...

              To turn a family Sunday supper into a holiday, I'd love to have Lidia Bastianich cooking in my kitchen, BUT only if she brought along grandma.

            2. re: bagelman01

              NOW, now......we'll have none of that sort of thing, bagelman.

            3. Well, my guys are missing from this list! I'd like Tyler Florence for dinner and Jacques Torres for dessert, please. And if my mom had a vote, Jacques Pepin all the way...she has his books (signed), has met him, adores him. He lives in CT, even, so he could get here in less than an hour. ;)

              But back to my choices...I've never made a Tyler Florence recipe I didn't like--his bacon-wrapped turkey this past Thanksgiving was OUTSTANDING...and I watch him with regularity more than any other chef on TV.

              As to Jacques Torres, I was a HUGE "Dessert Circus" fan back when, have waved hello to him in his DUMBO store and simply LURVE his chocolates...his Alize hearts of passion are a bigtime fave as is his hot chocolate. I think it would be even MORE fun if he somehow got to make cartoon lions leap across the kitchen while making dessert for me JUST LIKE ON TV!!! Seriously, his desserts have made me drool for years...matter of fact, much as I'm fond of Tyler, if I can only pick one, I'm skipping dinner and going straight for dessert...yeah, surprise, surprise! ;)

              3 Replies
              1. re: kattyeyes

                Yeah, Jacques Torres. And his desserts aren't bad either.;-) Really, I could use a whole dinner of desserts once a year.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  When I saw the title of this thread, Tyler is who I immediately thought. I love his style of food, as it's similar to what I grew up with, only more refined in technique and with some new ingredients.

                  Once i saw the list, however, I've got to say I do admire Mario Batali, and would love to eat food he'd prepared. I used to watch Molto Mario, and loved his combo of easy rapport and education with the people at the bar watching him cook.

                  1. re: amyzan

                    i know, whenever i watched Molto Mario i always wanted to be one of the people sitting at the bar!

                2. I agree, Julia first, but since she's unavailable, Jacques Pepin for sure! He's French (i'm a total whore for French anything, pardon my french!), he likes his wine, he'd have Julia Child stories, i love the accent, and he'd just be fun - he'd sit down with you at dinner and mix his several glasses of wine together, he'd scoff at the seriousness of food.... and of course, the food would be amazing.

                  Batali would be my other choice because he's just such a freak about the perfection of his food. he'd be fun to go out and drink with after dinner, too...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    I second Jacques Pepin, but Lidia Bastianich or Lorenza de' Medici would be very close seconds.

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      Pepin for sure--I love hhis easy way in the kitchen; and the food he serves looks amazing and simple at the same time.

                      If I had to pick from the list, I'd be torn between Bobby & Ina. Ina's food looks great (if aorta-clogging, but hey it's only 1 meal) and I've eaten at Bobby's and so know it's great ingredients cooked simply and simply delicious.

                      And yes, I do have a thing for simple ingredients cooked well.

                    2. The Two Fat Ladies. And Mario Batali. This is a fantasy, right?

                      2 Replies
                        1. I would choose Gordan Ramsay, if for no other reason, than to hear what is bleeped out...

                          Actually, we have dined at several of his UK restaurants, and have greatly enjoyed each experience, and will repeat later this month.

                          No # 2 choice would be Chef Lagasse, and then Chef Flay for # 3.


                          1. Guy Fieri and Duff Goldman

                            I couldnt think of two guys Id rather have a meal with.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: joe777cool

                              Guy Fieri? Is he that little "spiky haired dude?


                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                i'd hardly describe him as "little," but yes :)

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Well, he seems to be much shorter than most of the folk on his shows, but maybe that's the angle of the camera?



                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    he does appear to be a bit vertically challenged...i guess i was thinking more about girth ;)

                            2. I'd go for "other" - it'd be Rick Stein.

                              (FWIW, Ramsay has sort of cooked for me - that is, I've eaten in one of his places - now closed as part of his economic downturn))

                              1. honestly - it depends what holiday

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: thew

                                  Let's assume Christmas or Thanksgiving, as that's what I assumed the holiday(s) were to which the survey was referring.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    On reflection, I might want to withdraw my suggestion, in that case.

                                    I'd assumed a wider definition of "holiday" but if we're talking about major holidays then, for me, these are inherently occasions where there is food that's traditional to our family and the customs of our culture. As such, I don't think I want any celebrity chef to cook them - just wouldnt feel right.

                                    But if I can have Rick Stein come and cook something on another day around the main holiday day, that'd be fine, thank you very much.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      only one of those is a holiday for me

                                      1. re: thew

                                        So.....pick the one that is a holiday for you.

                                        Or don't. It's just a fun little question I thought I'd throw up here.

                                  2. I think I'd tend to trust Rick Bayless to come up with something both festive and a bit unusual, and delicious as well- so 'other' for me.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: TongoRad

                                      Ah, Chef Bayless would be great, especially if it was Nov 01, or Cinco de Mayo. OTOH, he'd be great for any "holiday."


                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        I'd love to have Rick Bayless in my kitchen any day, but would especially welcome him for Día de los Muertos to see what he could whip up for my birthday. *<:)

                                    2. Other - Michael Symon! He should be on this list IMO.

                                      And calling Rachael or Martha a "chef" is really not accurate.

                                      1. Not sure if he's really a "celebrity" chef, but i would choose Kevin Gillespie from Top Chef season 6. His love of pork & his way with vegetables totally wins me over!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jcattles

                                          Oh - now THAT is a nice "other" pick, jcattles! And rockandroller, agree re: Ray and Stewart not being "chefs" - I just posted the list as the survey gave it to me.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            lol Linda, I knew you would appreciate that! Only a true Top Chef follower would :)

                                        2. LW, are you feeling okay? i just realized you didn't include your beloved Eric Ripert on the list!!

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            LOL! It's not MY list, ghg! I promise - I just did a copy and paste of the survey list I received via Email!!

                                            Lordy - how the hellanddamnation could I forget him? I'm a failure, I tells ya. A failure. ;-)

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              oh right, i missed the fact that the original list wasn't yours. but still, you didn't think to *add* him? i'm telling. ;)

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                My unnatural adoration for Chef Ripert will remain steadfast, even if you tell on me and he takes away my Ripert Club Lifetime Membership Card. ;-)

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  Oh, see, and I assumed since it was Linda posting the question that it was just understood that Eric Ripert were an option...;-)

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    I'm so transparent, aren't I? ;-)

                                              2. other:
                                                hugh fearnley-whittingstall
                                                maurcus samuelsson
                                                jaques pepin

                                                on the list, if julia isn't available (and i don't think she is) i guess i'd have to go with mario, followed by emeril.

                                                  1. If I could make a choice like this, hands down it would be Juila & Jacques, first for the fantastic food they would prepare but mostly for the fantastic conversation that would hopefully take place. If it were one or the other, it would have to be Julia.

                                                    1. Mario or Giada. All of Giada's recipes I've tried have been really easy and all have been wonderful. Mario's haven't been as good, but I think he just think his recipes lose something in the interpretation.

                                                      1. Other. One of the best chefs I'e ever met and eaten from is in drug rehab. I wish he were well and cooking. No name, of course.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: lemons

                                                          That's how Andrew Zimmern ended up in Minnesota. He's spoken about it often.

                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                            Wow! I had no idea Andrew Zimmern was a recovering drug addict/alcoholic...I always wondered why I never saw him drink on his show, which I watch all the time & love. I'd love to eat with him as I know it would be interesting But I pick either Ina Garten or Tyler Florence; both cook my kind of food. Marcus Samuelsson is right behind them...

                                                        2. After watching a number of episodes with Chuck Hughes host of Chuck's Day Off on the Cooking Channel, I would def. say Chuck! I'd be more than happy to show up at the restaurant on his "DAY OFF" and enjoy a meal! What a fun guy!

                                                          1. Since Julia made the list of choices, we are obviously not restricted to living chefs, therefore I choose Robert Carrier to come prepare a Christmas feast. He was an incredible chef of great talent and had a magic touch at constructing menus that dazzled all of your senses. If you're not familiar with him, you can read a little about him here: http://tinyurl.com/36dupkg For at least four decades, when I hear "chef" and "Christmas" or "holidays" in the same sentence, Robert Carrier pops up in all of his glory! I would love it if he did roast goose and all of the trimming his way.

                                                            1. ok, i'm going to toss one out there that's sure to incur the wrath of may Hounds, but so be it :)

                                                              Rocco Dispirito. he's taken so much flack for the poor choices he's made since his Union Pacific days that people tend to forget the man can cook his ASS off.

                                                              1. I would pick an 'other' and go for Nigella Lawson. Just because I love to watch her cook and her style is so sensual. I like her non-pretentious approach to food and the obvious enjoyment of eating and sharing what she cooks - she would fit right in to our holiday style.

                                                                1. I'd like either Mr Ramsey, Mrs Child, or Mr Pepin. Hard choice to make for me amongst those. OOh, wait, I know, James Beard! That's who I'd want! For any holiday!

                                                                  1. A Thomas Keller Thanksgiving would go down a treat.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      Ooh, memorable, especially if you could be in the kitchen and watch.

                                                                    2. I pick an "other"--Anne Burrell. Her food looks great.

                                                                      Second, Pepin

                                                                      Third, Bayless. Mexican Thanksgiving, baby!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: coney with everything

                                                                        I was thinking about Bayless too. I have a "thing" for him.

                                                                      2. Bobby Flay for flavor and spice
                                                                        Tyler Florence for his take on classic dishes
                                                                        Paula Deen because she's not afraid of butter. Also, it's like having grandma in the kitchen.

                                                                        1. Nigella, of course! Only if she hangs around for dessert

                                                                          1. Hubert Keller - hands down.
                                                                            I can't believe no one else mentioned him!

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: weewah

                                                                              Oh true, I had forgotten entirely about him, not living in the Bay Area any more. Snif.

                                                                              1. re: weewah

                                                                                I can't believe I forgot him too! And two added bonuses: amazing desserts after a great meal and then he could function as DJ for the post-dinner party!

                                                                                1. re: weewah

                                                                                  I have a lil crush on him ;) He'd be my first choice, Cat Cora second.

                                                                                2. Michael Chiarello, especially if he can bring some of his gorgeous produce to my sick-of-root-vegetables corner of New England.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                    Charlie Trotter
                                                                                    Fergus Henderson
                                                                                    Masa Takayama

                                                                                  2. Pepin would be my pick because he's a great teacher. And we could drink wine together.
                                                                                    Bittmen for the same reason.

                                                                                    But for a more shallow reason I would pick Alain Allegretti. He could fix me a pbj sandwich for a holiday and I wouldn't complain a bit. http://ny.eater.com/tags/sexiest-chefs

                                                                                    1. As Escoffier is unavailable I'd have to go with Hubert Keller, Rick Bayless, Marcus Samuelsson, Jamie Oliver or Tyler Florence. Oh, and Laura Calder would be fun, too. All that I mentioned seem to have pretty down-to-earth personalities as well as culinary finesse. But I would have to be able to cook with them. Many in the above list would not be allowed in our kitchen due to their attitudes and/or personalities! :-D

                                                                                        1. Jose Andres, Hubert Keller or maybe Heston Blumenthal.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Joan Kureczka

                                                                                            Oh, how the heck did I not think of Blumenthal? I move him to #1 on my list.

                                                                                          2. In a perfect world, I would walk up to Mario Batali's place in Rome. It would be near the Via Giulia. The joint would be small, wines would be cheap and good. Chef would have his modest kitchen in full view of the diners. Easter supper? Oh yes. Warren Zevon would be on the box: Werewolves of London.

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                                                              yep. I'd join you. It would be my first trip to Rome (I really need to rectify that someday soon), and this would be the kickoff dinner. Even though I don't celebrate Easter.

                                                                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                March-April is the best time to be in Rome. Been doing it for years. You owe it to yourself. ;-)

                                                                                                1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                  We're looking forward to lots of words and pix.

                                                                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                      Dining vicariously works as a substitute at times.

                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                        The Italy Board is a constant source of inspiration. Lots of smart posters there.

                                                                                            2. Emeril and Paula. Yep, I'm southern. :)

                                                                                              1. Come to think of it, Cecil Troy if he were still alive would be wonderful, as would Serge Bruyere (unfortunately ditto). Rick Bayless would be a treat as well (I have a thing about him, the buff midwestern professorial type is right up my street).