Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Trendwatch 2010: OMG Chef Iz Daddeh!

And now... a return from a much-needed Lenten mini-break. 

Fact: Having kids changes everything. I'm a childless singleton myself, but I've seen it so many times with my friends who've just had kids (including Scribey) that it's definitely undeniable.

Fact: Having kids changes everything, especially when you're a dude. This I don't have to explain, since I live with my parents and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the things my dear PapaMei did before fatherhood changed his life.

Fact: If you are a male chef - and especially if you are a male celebrity chef of certain prominence and/ or notoriety - having kids will change everything in ways that you would never expect.

Okay, so "celebrity chefs as dads" is not a new trend. Gordon Ramsay and Tom Colicchio have kids; so do Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, and Tyler Florence. Heck, even Christopher Kimball has kids. (Not that I'd doubt Mr. Bowtie's ability to reproduce; I just don't want to know how, is what I'm saying.)  Some of the chef-hosts I've seen from the Food Network Canada reruns shown here, like Michael Smith and Roger Mooking, have talked about how Becoming A Dad has changed their culinary approaches.

What does stand out as trend-worthy, however, is the concept of fatherhood as a signifier of major change in a chef's public image.

Witness, for example, Jamie Oliver's speech at the TED 2010 conference:

And then, there's our favorite potty-mouthed culinary bad boy (and known embodiment of the chef-as-debauched rock star archetype) Anthony Bourdain, turning up as a guest star in - of all places - Yo Gabba Gabba! 

In fact, now that I've mentioned this, I'd like to go ahead and nominate a few more food-show hosts for the inevitable on-screen "OMG I IZ DADDEH!" epiphany:

  • David Rocco (Food Network Canada): I want to hate him based on his show alone; he has the face and body of a GQ model, lives in Italy with his gorgeous wife, and gets to cook - and eat - all sorts of fresh and delicious Italian food while exploring a life that I can only dream of... in other words, the male version of Giada de Laurentiis. His Wikipedia entry, however, mentions that he and his aforementioned wifey just had equally beautiful twin daughters, so I'm totally looking forward to the episodes where he cooks for the girls.
  • Adam Richman (Travel Channel, USA): Now here's a thought for you - the guy from Man Vs. Food, taking time out of his busy schedule of chowing down and pigging out to reproduce. Regardless of how that thought is coming into your mind right now, you gotta admit that it's more palatable (pun intended) than seeing Andrew Zimmern on Sesame Street.
  • Bob Blumer (Food Network Canada): Not that I would know if he's available - let alone willing, for that matter - but I've already stated in this very blog that I am willing to volunteer myself for the cause, so that's that...
  • Curtis Stone (late of TLC, though I still prefer him on Surfing the Menu): ...Annnnnd, in the off-chance that Bob Blumer really isn't up to the task, I'm going to join that very long line of female shoppers at Whole Foods who have been waiting for him to, um, be taken home for the purpose of spawning his messy-haired babies. Heh.
  • Guy Fieri (Food Network USA). On second thought... um, no.

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