As it turns out, the ‘golden age’ for the rise of the cable network celebrity chef, spanned the years from the launch of the Food Network in 1993, until circa 2010. Today, there seems to be more celebrity chefs than the dishes they create. However, we’ve compiled a list of what would be the ‘Idiot’s Guide’ sanctioned, inaugural C.C. Hall of Fame class of 2015-2016. Each of these very accomplished chefs were chosen as much for their charm and charisma over the airwaves, as their technical culinary prowess, and ability to make mouths water. Bon Appetit!
#10. Nigella Lawson / Great Britain.
Nigella Lawson has deep family roots in the British government, she has even deeper roots in the world of culinary influence. Her debut cookbook, ‘How to Eat‘ (1998), was an instant hit and best seller, having sold over 300,000 copies. Her sophomore effort ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess‘ (2000), had an even greater impact, as it won her the ‘British Book Award for Author of the Year‘. Not bad Nigella, and certainly Hall of Fame worthy.
#9. Aaron Sanchez / El Paso, Texas.
For die hard fans, and casual viewers of Aaron Sanchez‘s programs such as ‘Heat Seekers‘, ‘Chopped‘, and ‘Chefs vs. City‘, Mr. Sanchez’s magnetic personality, humor, and pointed good looks, is something they’ve come to expect over the years. 1st ballot, Hall of Fame inductee.
#8. Sunny Anderson / Lawton, Oklahoma.
As her name suggests, you’d be hard pressed to find a more bubbly, and effervescent personality than Sunny Anderson. It’s that personality coupled with her amazing passion for food, that seems to captivate audiences, and fans alike. Her Food Network program ‘Cooking for Real‘ (2008) was hugely popular. In short, Sunny is fun to watch and an easy pick for C.C. Hall of Fame.
#7. Tyler Florence / Greenville, South Carolina.
Throughout Tyler Florence‘s career he has found himself on a number of popular culinary television programs including, ‘Food 911‘, ‘How to Boil Water‘, ‘Tyler’s Ultimate‘, and ‘The Great Food Truck Race‘. His performances are graceful, and his manner promotes ease and confidence in the viewer. Not bad for the good old country boy from Greenville. Today, he continues to add to a resume that is already C.C. Hall of Fame qualified.
#6. Roger Mooking / Edmonton/Alberta, Canada – Trinadad.
Roger Mooking is the rare example of celebrity chef, and music recording artist. He is the host and co-creator of ‘Everyday Exotic‘, a popular culinary show that airs in the United States, and Canada alike. He is also the co-host of ‘Heatseekers‘ with fellow Hall of Famer, Aaron Sanchez. Roger has ingratiated himself with American audiences with notable appearances on popular daytime shows such as ‘Today‘, and ‘Good Morning America‘. Roger has also entertained the masses, as a member of the 1990’s R&B, funk, hip-hop musical trio ‘Bass Is Base‘. The group were awarded a ‘Juno Award‘ in 1995. Dynamic is an easy description of Roger Mooking, his C.C. Hall of Fame induction, almost goes without saying.
#5. Jaime Oliver / Clavering/Essex, Great Britain.
Besides his notable culinary bonafides, of which there are many, In 2005, Chef Jaime Oliver headed up a campaign originally named ‘Feed Me Better‘ a movement who’s efforts were aimed at influencing British schoolchildren in the ways of healthy food, and healthy living. A noble endeavor to be sure. Jaime has had three successful series of his ‘Naked Chef‘ program franchise, ‘The Naked Chef‘, ‘Return of the Naked Chef‘, and ‘Happy Days with The Naked Chef‘, all for the BBC. As of June 2000, Oliver was named envoy of the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain in the UK. Making appearances on television and radio ads, a deal that earned him an estimated £1.2 million yearly. It should also be noted that Jaime is a popular, and engaging figure, with fans the world-wide. A no-brainer, Hall of Famer.
#4. Rachel Ray / Glens Falls, New York.
Glens Falls, New York’s own Rachel Ray is the story of the hometown girl made good, very good, exceptionally good. Rachel is perhaps the most well known, and financially successful celebrity chef in this class. Rachel is at the same time, a culinary television personality, astute businesswoman, and best-selling author. You can find her hosting a syndicated daily talk show ‘Rachael Ray‘,which has won three (3) Daytime Emmy Awards. This is in addition to…wait for it… three (3) separate Food Network series, ‘30 Minute Meals‘, ‘Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels‘, and of course her original ‘$40 a Day‘. She also has a line of signature cook wear, and is the corporate spokesperson for ‘Nabisco‘, ‘Dunkin Donuts‘, and others. Rachel has become an American icon, and a delightful addition to C.C. Hall of Fame.
#3. Alton Brown / Los Angeles, California.
In many ways Alton Brown is the coolest science teacher, ever. Combine that with his brand of self deprecating humor, and his passion for the science behind the culinary process, and you have a star…That you can actually learn something useful from. This author knows this to be true from first hand experience. When you combine the fourteen (14) year run of ‘Good Eats‘ , and his mini-series ‘Feasting on Asphalt‘, and ‘Feasting on Waves‘, as well being a host on ‘Iron Chef America‘, and ‘Cutthroat Kitchen‘, you have a great career. In this case, a C.C. Hall of Fame career.
#2. Giada De Laurentiis / Rome, Italy.
With enough adorable good looks, equal amounts charm, and a remarkable passion for Italian cuisine, you too can be Giada De Laurentiis. In 2012 she was awarded the ‘Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lifestyle Host‘ for her work on the Food Network program ‘Giada at Home‘. While you’re at it, you can add her 2012 induction into the ‘Culinary Hall of Fame‘. Which makes her induction in this years C.C. Hall of Fame a forgone conclusion.
#1. Bobby Flay / New York City, New York.
One might marvel at how Bobby Flay can do all that he does. He is the Executive Chef and/or namesake, of some two dozen restaurants across the United States, including ‘Mesa Grill‘ in Las Vegas, New York’s ‘Bahamas Bar Americain‘, ‘Bobby Flay Steak‘ in Atlantic City, ‘Gato‘ also in New York, and ‘Bobby’s Burger Palace‘ located in about a dozen states across the nation. His wildly popular television programs throughout the years have included, ‘Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay‘, ‘Grillin’ & Chillin‘, ‘Food Nation‘, ‘3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay‘, ‘Boy Meets Grill‘, ‘BBQ with Bobby Flay‘, and ‘Throwdown! with Bobby Flay‘. It’s fairly obvious that Bobby Flay is enamored with his god given name. He is also a clear C.C. Hall of Famer. Bobby Flay is an American culinary icon, a carefully crafted career that resonates with the American public, and holds special distinction.