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Jul 21, 2013 12:41 PM

Have you met a "celebrity chef?" Were you pleased or disappointed?

I have a few "celebrity chefs" I favor. Of course everyone knows I'm a Gordon fan, but haven't met him. I'm not a "chef stalker," as in I don't go to the South Beach events, etc, or pay money for such.

The only true celebrity chef I have met has been Kerry Vincent. When I lived in Tulsa she based out of there and did charity events and ran the national Sugar Show every year. Was I pleased? Extremely. Gracious. Spent about 15 minutes talking to me about FN shows and how they work and discussed food. (She also likes the chocolate turnovers from Arby's). If I found a charity event with Gordon I admit, I'd probably try to find a way to go.

Any celebrity chef on your bucket list?

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  1. None on the bucket list. But George Perrier kissed my wife on the lips three times one evening during her birthday. He's lucky he stopped at three. ;]

    7 Replies
    1. re: Chinon00

      I took mom to a wine & food event in AC a few years back. We dined at Mia one evening and Perrier was in the house. When mom remarked how much she enjoyed her meal, he bowed and kissed her hand. Cosidering she was 81 or 82 at the time, that's a marked departure for George.

      Mia is in Caesar's, which was one of the sponsoring hotels. We also stayed there three days, and I assume more than a few of the "talent" were staying there as well as we saw several outside the performance venues. We met a very charming, soft-spoken Tom Colicchio (gorgeous blue eyes). We saw Guy Fieri walking through the hall; he's not so charming or soft-spoken, but was cool enough to stop and autograph an apron for me as I have a friend who is a big fan. We also saw Robert Irvine and Ted Allen . . . jerks.

      1. re: gaffk

        Oh I like Ted Allen. Sad to hear that he is a jerk :(

        1. re: melpy

          I met him once at an event, he initiated the conversation, and he could not have been nicer.

          1. re: Withnail42

            He was a regular customer when I was a cashier at an upscale market while in grad school. He was never anything but friendly, polite, and helpful. When he overheard me say that it was a coworker's birthday, he bought her a giftcard for the market.

            1. re: tracytrace

              Guess I caught Ted on a bad night.

              1. re: gaffk

                Going back to his Queer Eye days, Ted never struck me as a particularly gregarious person. It always seemed like he would prefer being at home writing to working with bubbly strangers. Whenever someone reports that any celebrity is a jerk, I have to wonder if maybe they're just a more naturally reserved person and were caught on a day where they didn't have the energy to be "on."

                Unless of course that person was outwardly hostile, in which case they might legitimately be a jerkwad. :)

      2. We had a "celebrity chef" here for a bit, new restaurant (no, he didn't own it, thankfully), he was on Hell's Kitchen. He was a jerk. Didn't last.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Bunson

            I don't think so. A short, very round guy. He devised the menu, and it was all over the map, crazy. Some good, some just dumb. He also had them stack the food... steaks were serve with the potatoes on the bottom, then the veg, then the steak, and then a topping. Left a huge mess after just the first bite. They got a different chef, he's changed the menu. He's a bit of a celebrity in this state, had a great restaurant in another town. and he's related to a big political name. Much better to work for.

        1. Close calls only. Alice Waters was in line in front of me at a bookstore in Berkeley. It was long before I had dinner at Chez Panisse or was aware of her fame. I also saw Huber Keller at a food court in SF. I was on my way to the airport so I couldn't say hi. I wish both times I got to talk with them.

          I'd love to meet Anthony Bourdain. Long before he became so popular I read Kitchen Confidential. I was working in a very challenging position at the time. The book really helped me have perspective about my situation and I often reflect on the funny and challenging moments in the book. I wish I could thank him for writing that book.

          9 Replies
          1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

            This is just hearsay, but I've gotten reports about both alice waters and anthony bourdain as being two incredibly down-to-earth nice people.

            Let's hear it for nice celebrities! yay!

            1. re: rmarisco

              I love nice celebrities. It has to be a royal pain in the butt to have no private time, yet you do reap the benefits monetarily. Kerry hung around with me for about 15 minutes chatting. And of course my favorite, as everyone knows, David Hasselhoff was incredibly nice when I interviewed him.

              1. re: rmarisco

                We were at an Anthony Bourdain event at Le Bernardin a couple years ago and he actually came around to the tables and sat down and chatted during dinner for quite a while. It wasn't cookie cutter stuff either, talked about music, his family, movies, and his career. He was so incredibly down to Earth and he openly acknowledged how fortunate he was to be where he is.

                1. re: Spiritchaser

                  I'm happy to read this! I would love to chat with him at an event. Hopefully, he'll make it out in my direction in the future.

              2. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                Would be nice to meet Alice :)

                Let's see ... I've met Tim Love, Tiffany Derry, Stephen Pyles, John Tesar (who was sweet to us).

                If I could meet one person from the food world, it would be Ruth Reichl. Not a chef ... but I love her writing.

                1. re: foiegras

                  Alice is not particularly warm. I don't know if it's shyness, arrogance, bitchiness, weariness, or a defense mechanism.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    She was in the cafe when we went for lunch a couple years ago. She just seemed reserved to me.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      I've met and talked to her quite a few times. Dunno what's up with her.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        She just sounds like an introvert, who don't always show the warm initial social interaction with strangers that extroverts do.

              3. My daughter and I were having lunch at Burger Bar in SF a couple of years ago. Hubert Keller happened to be there and was very nice to my daughter who was super excited to see him in person.

                5 Replies
                1. re: baseballfan

                  I think he is kind of attractive. That was part of my disappointment.

                  1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                    He's lovely in many ways. We have a mutual friend and have cooked together once.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Wow, I would have loved that. Or maybe not--I'd be too flustered. He's definitely attractive, and not only from a looks pespective.

                  2. re: baseballfan

                    I met Hubert Keller at a food event about 20 years ago, probably before he was a celebrity and was just a local SF chef/restauranteur. He was friendly and charming.

                    I did also see him at Burger Bar in SF a couple of years ago, but he was engaged in conversation with some people so I did not try to speak to him.

                    I went to see Anthony Bourdain at a speaking engagement in about 2006. He stayed around to sign books (got a great knife graphic and autograph in my copy of Kitchen Confidential) it was a brief chat, but he did agree to a picture.

                    1. re: pamf

                      My encounters are same as pamf. Because I used to frequent Hubert Keller's original SF restaurant, Sutter 500, when it first opened in early '80s, I approached him almost 30 yrs later when he opened Sleek, a steakhouse in the Lumiere Casino complex in St. Louis (where he also has a Burger Bar). He was uber gracious and took me back into the kitchen for a tour and a chat. And as for Bourdain, I also met him at one his speaking gigs, at Fox Theatre in StL, followed by the book signing; and, he too was really nice and funny.

                  3. Met Grant Achatz of Alinea when he came to the table to prepare his famous "Jackson Pollock" frozen chocolate mousse dessert ... Chatted him up a bit since a chef in our area had worked with him at French Laundry and asked us to say 'hi'. Pretty intense guy, great chef.

                    Met Daniel Boulud briefly at Daniel in NYC. He was gracious enough to sign a menu for us personalized for a young chef in our area who said Boulud was his favorite chef. He stopped by several tables that night chatting up guests and seemed like a personable guy.

                    Saw Eric Ripert swanning through the dining room at Le Bernardin in his chef whites but he didn't stop to talk to anyone. Nice smile, great hair!

                    Would like to meet Thomas Keller someday.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: willyum

                      I met Frank Stitt one night when we were at Highlands Bar & Grill.....a very nice man, but extremely shy. Had to pretty much pay the waiter to get him to come out of the kitchen. lol! He chatted for a few minutes & I got my picture w/ him. Enjoyable evening.

                      1. re: willyum

                        Met Achatz also, during prep of the same dessert. He was pleasant but seemed pretty intensely focused on what he was doing.

                        I did also meet Thomas Keller before dinner service early last year in front of the French Laundry and he was very pleasant. Interestingly he wasn't in house that night (it was the first dinner service after winter break) and Tim Hollingsworth was running the show (he was wonderful as well).

                        Finally, I met Pierre Gagnaire at his restaurant Twist in Las Vegas and he was lovely - the fact that I can speak French helped a lot as well.