Celebrity chefs

Celebrity chefs have been around for a long time but it's only in the last twenty or so years that TV cooking has become really glamorous with celebrities such as Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver putting the heat back in the kitchen. Nowadays there are a lot of chefs and celebrity foodies on TV in cookery programmes and competitions. And no doubt everyone has watched one at some point and felt inspired to culinary creativity - to varying degrees of success!

There are different types of celebrity chefs, trained chefs who own restaurants, food writers and journalists and television personalities. Gordon Ramsay is trained chef who is the owner of many restaurants - one of which, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, has been awarded three Michelin stars. He has appeared in the TV shows Boiling Point, Kitchen Nightmares, Hell's Kitchen and The F-Word, in which he made a name for himself for his fiery temper and foul language. He also starred in Cookalong Live in which viewers were meant to follow him in the creation of a 3 course meal in under 60 minutes.

Jamie Oliver first appeared on our screens as The Naked Chef and quickly gained popularity through being a no-frills, down-to-earth lad who viewers could relate to. He then went on to make a name for himself by campaigning for healthy school dinners, for eating free-range chicken on Jamie's Fowl Dinners, for improving pig farming conditions on Jamie Saves Our Bacon and for creating a restaurant, Fifteen, which employs disadvantaged young people. He also recently tried to encourage the nation to learn how to cook fresh, healthy food in his Ministry of Food.

Heston Blumenthal is almost more of a scientist than a chef, although he owns the three-Michelin-starred restaurant The Fat Duck, which was recently in the news for a case of suspected food poisoning that turned out to be the norovirus (winter vomiting bug - yum!). He has published several books such as his In Search of Perfection series and also The Big Fat Duck Cook Book. His TV shows included Big Chef Takes on Little Chef in which he attempted to revamp the Little Chef menu and more recently he has been preparing authentic feasts from the Tudor, Victorian and other historic periods. Some of his signature dishes sound quite bizarre, such as smoked bacon-and-egg ice cream and snail porridge.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall advocates going back to basics and eating organic, natural foods. His River Cottage TV series show him living self-sufficiently, raising his own livestock and farming his own produce. He is well known for his messy appearance and willingness to make dishes out of strange things such as roadkill and hedgerow plants. His River Cottage Cookbook series have been very popular including a specific River Cottage Meat Book and River Cottage Fish Book.

Nigella Lawson is not a trained chef but instead started as a food journalist. She is famous for her flirtatious presenting style and adjective-laden descriptions of food. Nigella has had several successful TV series and accompanying cookbooks including Nigella Bites and Nigella Express, which shows how to make quick meals without resorting to ready meals or junk food. Her books How To Be A Domestic Goddess and Nigella Bites were nominated and awarded various awards.

Delia Smith has been appearing in cookery programmes since the 1970s. She also was a food writer rather than a chef, but her TV programmes such as How To Cook have been incredibly popular and have caused items of cookware and ingredients that she uses (such as the Kenwood mini-chopper and Aunt Bessie's mashed potato) to sellout in shops once endorsed by her. Delia is a household name nowadays and her recipe books including How to Cheat at Cooking continue to be bestsellers.

Anthony Worrall Thompson, or AWT, is a chef and restaurant owner who has fully embraced his TV chef status and regularly appeared in programmes such as Ready Steady Cook and Saturday Kitchen. He's written many cookbooks such as Anthony's Weekend Cookbook and he also recently appeared on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here.

Recently chefs specialising in certain cuisines have gained popularity such as Anjum Anand who stars in Indian Food Made Easy and Ching-He Huang who stars in Chinese Food Made Easy. These two BBC Food programmes teach viewers how to make delicious Indian and Chinese recipes that are simple and healthy so you can give your local takeaway a miss.

The BBC have many chefs featuring on their TV programmes and on their web video console Get Cooking. This summer from the 10-14 June, they are holding the BBC Good Food Show at the Birmingham NEC where you will be able to see celebrity chefs cooking live. Ainsley Harriot, the Hairy Bikers, James Martin, Angela Hartnett and many others will be cooking delicious dishes at the show. Book tickets now if you fancy learning from the masters.

Speaking of learning from the masters, if you hope to become the next celebrity chef there are cookery courses available from top famous chefs. For example the Saturday Kitchen Curry Course is a 3-hour lesson in the basics of making a great curry. You could join a cookery day with Lesley Waters (from Ready Steady Cook) at Chantmarle Manor in Dorset. Rick Stein has a Seafood School in Cornwall, Nick Nairns' Cook School is situated in Scotland and at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons you can learn to cook in the school set up by Raymond Blanc.

Are you a keen chef or do you prefer to sit back and watch the experts at work? Leave a comment and tell us who your favourite celebrity chefs are, or if you think you'd make a better one!

Top cooking searches:
  1. Recipe books
  2. Cooking utensils
  3. Recipes
  4. Cooking schools
  5. Top restaurants
  6. Cookbooks
  7. Healthy recipes
  8. Vegetarian dishes
  9. Baking
  10. Mexican food