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Does a Chef's Body Size Matter?

Does a Chef's Body Size Matter?

Yesterday, Page Six reported a rumor concerning Nigella Lawson's oversized bum. According to the article, a Food Network insider claimed her program's director went to extreme lengths not to film her recently enlarged backside. The Food Network quickly denied the rumors stating no changes had been made to their filming technique.

However, the entire ordeal left a stale taste in my mouth. I wondered, why does a chef's body size really matter? The saying never trust a skinny chef drives me crazy. Why should we trust Nigella's recipes more than Giada's recipes based on the size of their bodies? Shouldn't the final taste of the dish be the deciding factor in a chef's worth?

I would like to believe that body size doesn't matter in the culinary world, but after reading your comments on how chunky you think a certain chef's legs are, I know that it sadly does. How do you feel about the subject? Would you hate Rachael less if she packed on the pounds? Would you enjoy Nigella more if she lost the curves? Does a chef's body size really matter?

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rafaela-losardo rafaela-losardo 9 years
no problem with that... all I hope is that Nigella keeps herself healthy so she can live longer to make those wonderful recipes, size shape, even wardrobe are not included...
sauterhead sauterhead 9 years
I think the problem here is a little different - you'll notice that this stigma applies to THE GIRLS. Women chefs: Giada, Rachel, Paula, Nigella, Ina. Alton Brown has gotten mighty chunky recently, or Tyler Florence going up and down in weight. I love love Alton Brown, so really I'm kind of disappointed that he's gotten unhealthy, but people never say they hate the guy chefs because they're thin and they can't trust that. Some commenters have noticed, which is great, but it's such a double standard. The show is the personality, the recipe, the approach. Apparently for women, also how the viewers would imagine you naked. Besides - it's not always what you cook. It's how much you eat of it and how active you are. Certainly some of what Rachael Ray makes isn't as healthy as I think she advertises her meals to be. Anyway, the reasons I find Giada and Rachael annoying have nothing to do with their body size.
Emmakatie Emmakatie 9 years
When I see a smaller chef, I don't feel like they know what they are doing. In other words I don't trust skinny cooks. Weird I know, but its just something I think of when I see cooks. Like some of you said, I pick the food, not the chef. As long as the food tastes good!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
"Honestly, it's saddening to be reminded that we are so image obsessed and body obsessed in this country. How we view others is directly connected to how we view ourselves. It's our own personal insecurities, IMHO, that drive our serious judgment of others. Choose your chef based on the food not the body." Very well said Punkingirl!! I totally agree.
Advah Advah 9 years
I think it's a bit dangerous to say 'I want to eat healthy so I won't eat what a large chef would cook'. You can put on weight because you cook with a lot of fat, but then you can pay attention to the way you cook and still put on weight because you eat massive portions of food and cookies at every meal. So, no, I don't care what the chef looks like. I pick the recipe, and if it's richer than what I'd usually eat, I just have a smaller portion, or subsitute the side dish for vegs or a salad.
alethia037 alethia037 9 years
The size of the chef doesn't matter! I cook in and manage one of my father's two restaurants. I am a size two. My father cooks in both places and manages as well. He is 150 pound man. I eat the food I cook all day, but I am also on my feet 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Being in a hot kitchen all day, I tend to drink a ton of water... and I try to run 3 times a week. The restaurant I run is borderline fine dining and fairly "trendy" and has been open and thriving for 20 years...
kscincotta kscincotta 9 years
I actually discussed this same issue with my husband a while back. We had been watching an earlier season of the Next Food Network Star during which there was a particularly heavy contestant named Reggie. He was very likable and did well, but I wouldn't say he was head and shoulders above some of the others. So I made the observation to my husband that if Food Network knew what they were doing, they wouldn't choose Reggie and would instead select one of the equally talented but more physically appealing chefs. As I explained it to him, the chefs on Food Network are very much charged with selling the idea of food and cooking and someone who is very obviously displaying the negative side affects of over-indulging in food isn't the best way to go about getting people interested in cooking/eating. Extremely overweight chefs selling food is like having lung cancer patients sell cigarettes to me (to use an extreme example). That being said, I don't think being overweight makes you a bad chef and it certainly doesn't mean your recipes are bad. Maybe not the healthiest, but still quality recipes. And women like Rachael Ray and Nigella who are normal looking are great people to have on air. Ultimately, I don't particularly care what the person looks like who's making my food (unless their obvious lack of being in shape causes them to sweat in my food ala Howie on Top Chef Season 3), but I do think that Food Network does itself a disservice by having extreme overweight chefs (like Mario) selling the idea of cooking and food.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Tough one...
kurniakasih kurniakasih 9 years
I don't care. I watch all of them, but only some of them I like (the way they host is what matters to me). As for recipes, if it's simple enough, I'd jot it down and try it the next day, regardless the chef. I do some modification (instead of putting butter all over the place, or heavy cream--I opt for lighter ingredients), but other than that, I don't care how they look like as long as I find them endearing as a host and they provide good, easy-to-follow recipes.
princexy princexy 9 years
In terms of the chef, I would be suspicious of anyone who is really seriously skinny. But I know a fair number of people who eat a lot and just have a really high metabolism so you have to be really sickly skinny for me to be suspicious for that reason. As for whose recipes I would go for... Alton Brown and Giada Delaurentiis have the most consistently good recipes in my experience so that is what I go for if they have a recipe for what I want to make. Giada's are always so simple to make. Alton's are usually a bit more complicated and need ingredients I don't necessarily have but there is so much detail and explanation behind what to do and why that they usually work out. As for who I watch... Giada is gorgeous and everything about her show is always gorgeous. Paula is definitely entertaining, though the recipes I have tried have been pretty questionable. I love Alton Brown, no need to say more. Sandra Lee, Ellie Krieger and Robyn Miller just scare me. Emeril I find kind of boring, really repetitive with the bam and whatnot. Mario Batali is never on when I am home so I can't say. Bobby Flay I will sometimes watch but his shows can be a little... not engaging. For those people who are so concerned about obesity and fat chefs being bad influences on society (or anyone else really who may be interested) consider reading 'Rethinking Thin' by Gina Kolata. Among other things, one of the key points of the book is that it points out a major flaw in the statistics that say that being overweight is the root of all evil. With those statistics they throw the thin people who are terminally ill or have any major disease out of the data but leave the people who are overweight who have the disease because being overweight is the 'cause'.
gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
Well, the tv industry does it because of image obviously, but being overweight is just as bad as being underweight.
laneylaney laneylaney 9 years
It doesn't matter to me. It's all about personality. I happen to love Nigella, Ina, and Giada (sorry to the haters), and they all vary in size. I'm not the biggest Rachael fan but I'm sorry, she does not need to lose weight! She had some really bad stylin goin on a few years back (when she went blond...), but I think she looks pretty good now!
CoconutPie CoconutPie 9 years
The only person I have a bit of trouble with its appearance is Mario Batali. I find he looks a bit dirty. Other than that, I only care about the food. And maybe a bit about the Chef's personality.
haute77 haute77 9 years
what matters is how the food tastes. i hate giada, but her recipes are usually good. rachael ray on the other hand has easy recipes, but most of them are disgusting. nigella, not so sure about her. she is far from overweight. she's gorgeous and has curves. so what?
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i don't think tht you can really say that there's a correlation. Giada eats SOOOO much when she's filming her shows that she would in theory be HUGE but she's not. i think that if someone knows how to cook and explains it or has a great personality - then skinny or not - they should be credible. we all LOVE mario batali don't we? and we like cat cora right?
ad2121 ad2121 9 years
Nigella is gorgeous...
bgirl bgirl 9 years
I think cooking shows on the Food Network are tailored to fit certain peoples tastes, and tailored to emit different "emotions" that the viewer will get. For example, with Nigella, you get the "sensual, nurturing" feeling from watching her cook. With Giada, you are supposed to get the feeling that she is trendy and glamorous...I mean who hasn't watched Giada's show just to see her clothes/accessories, or how she looks? With Ina, you get that cozy, "cottage," motherly feel...what comes with that territory? Very traditional, sometimes overly fatty recipes. With Mario, you get that hearty, authentic Italian, "big family" feel. Paula Deen is self-explanatory. If The Food Network (and other cooking networks) didn't tailor its programming to appeal to different types of people, they wouldn't have much of a following. Honestly, watch what shows and chef's make you get that warm feeling inside, and which ones fascinate you, and leave the rest. Isn't that what it's all about?!
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
it doesn't matter to me. there are certain chefs i can't watch, just based on personality or their recipes. can't stand watching rachael ray, and sandra lee, i like to watch soemtimes and see how many cocktails she can make for a kid's bday party, and she's pretty thing, but usually i turn her off.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I def. agree its about the food, but I feel like some of the best food comes from the heavier people (paula, ina, mario)... with the exception of nigella and giada... I don't think nigella is that big! I think she is perfect! Giada is a bit too skinny if you ask me! I loved Paula's quote when she was on Oprah and Oprah said how her food is delicious, but what about the health factor, she said "honey, i'm your cook, not your doctor" What bothers me about Rachael is that if you're a fan of hers, you know what she looks like on her shows, but on her magazine they make her like 2 sizes smaller! Thats just insulting!
Punkingirl Punkingirl 9 years
I think that it's an utterly ridiculous comparison to make. I don't like the fact that Paula Deen (and Ina G, BTW) make really fatty foods. But you know what, they also make healthy foods. One of my favorite couscous recipes is from Ina. I watch their shows to gain knowledge about food and because I like seeing them cook, especially when it's with passion. I decide for myself what I'd like to eat and what recipes I won't touch b/c of the nutritional value. Come on people, what happened to making choices based on what you want for yourself rather than what you perceive? I find it interesting that people don't seem to make the same issue out of the male chefs gaining weight. Does anyone else think that Emeril has gained a significant amount of weight over the last few years. I noticed but it didn't change the whether I watched his show or will try one of his recipes. Honestly, it's saddening to be reminded that we are so image obsessed and body obsessed in this country. How we view others is directly connected to how we view ourselves. It's our own personal insecurities, IMHO, that drive our serious judgment of others. Choose your chef based on the food not the body.
Marci Marci 9 years
It's a bit of a mixed bag for me. Chefs lives revolve around food, so I would expect them to have a certain amount of extra padding because it seems like they'd *have* to consume more calories than needed simply as an occupational hazard. With cooking shows and their chefs now elevated to celebrity status, there's that whole skewed angle on body shape, which is in direct contrast to real world and food. So tough on the chefs, in that sense. That being said, I'm of the thought of a lot of other posters that I like to cook delicious meals with a strong emphasis on healthy, so a really heavy chef does make me wary of cooking like they do. And just from a caring factor, every time I see Mario Batali, he looks heavier, and I worry about him.
seven7 seven7 9 years
There's a lot more to being skinny than just what you eat. Giada uses chocolate, and cooks pasta all the time...maybe she is graced with a great metabolism, or she works out...who knows. I don't think fat vs. skinny matters with chefs, I don't assume just because they are chefs they eat all the time. And just as some people like to work what they've eaten off with a good run, while others choose not to, chefs do too...their cooking has nothing to do with this. Certain overweight chefs have healthy recipes just as often as a skinny chef might have unhealthy recipes... I really think their weight should be viewed as their own business and be left out of the equation. So I personally don't really care about the weight of the person teaching me to cook...at the end of the day I choose what I will actually make and what not.
bikinib7 bikinib7 9 years
ditto to siren6.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I don't care. It's all about the personality and the quality of food for me.
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