The on-screen personas of famous chefs are as varied as their personalities. Some of them are known for being warm and kind (at least on TV) while others have fiery tempers. It’s hard to know how much of this is an act. Famous chefs might act a certain way in public, but often that’s because they have a certain image to maintain. How much of it is real, and how much of it is just a show for the cameras? It turns out that a lot of your favorite celeb chefs are actually total jerks in real life.
Anthony Bourdain is notorious for his insults. This guy throws everyone under the bus. Whether he’s mocking his fellow chefs or trashing Food Network, Bourdain does not hold back. His profanity-laced insults range from mild to downright nasty. He has “naked contempt” for Emeril Lagasse who he calls “Ewok-like.” When it comes to Alain Ducasse, Bourdain has harsher words, calling the French chef an “arrogant f***wit.”
Bourdain isn’t beyond redemption, though. After frequently insulting Rachael Ray, calling her a “bobblehead” and a “freakazoid,” she sent him a fruit basket and he backed off. It looks like he might have a heart after all.
Paula Deen came under fire in 2013 after admitting to using the “N word.” It’s safe to say that anyone who uses racial slurs isn’t very nice, but her company made things even worse by issuing a bizarre justification for Deen’s use of the word. According to a statement, when Deen went around using the epithet, it was a years ago in what was a “quite different time.”
According to her company, Deen’s use of the slur should have been excused because when she was born, “America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus.” Deen claims she no longer uses the word as “things have changed…in the South.” Sorry Paula Deen, but racism is racism no matter what decade it is.
Rocco Dispirito has made millions as a restaurateur and television personality, but the famous chef is still counting pennies. He says he was his mother’s sole caretaker for years, which is admirable, but after she passed away he went to war with his two siblings over her will. His mother left him 50 percent of her estate and split the other half evenly between the other two children, but Dispirito claims the money he spent on his mother’s care entitles him to a larger share.
You’d think that a man with so much money would just let his mother rest in peace, but it seems Dispirito would rather estrange his family.
According to producer David Page, who created the Food Network hit Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Guy Fieri is impossible to work with. He said that as Fieri’s fame grew, so did his ago. “Almost everyone who becomes a star in television develops an abnormal sense of self,” he told City Pages. “In the worst-case scenario, they become surrounded by sycophants who tell them everything they want to hear.”
A big ego is one thing, and not exactly unusual among famous people, but Fieri is also allegedly homophobic. Page shared a story about a time Fieri stormed out of a restaurant because he “had decided that the two men running the restaurant were life partners.” Fieri reportedly told Page, “You can’t send me to talk to gay people without warning! Those people weird me out!”
It sounds like Fieri needs to be reminded that he’s living in the 21st century.
Gordon Ramsay’s on-screen antics are well-known, but he can also be pretty harsh in real life — especially on social media. He’s gone from berating people on television to insulting people’s food posts on Twitter. It’s a mark of just how famous Ramsay is that people are tagging him in their food. Sometimes it obvious the posters hope he’ll say something snarky. But in other incidents, it’s clear he’s dashing someone’s culinary dreams.
Ramsay’s responses are varied. Sometimes he actually offers constructive criticism, like telling someone “This is NOT how you cook scrambled eggs.” Other Twitter users get more than they ask for though, like the person who was told that his cheese egg mayo toast “looks like the inside of my grand dads [sic] colostomy bag.” It’s awful and hilarious at the same time.
Rachael Ray seems so sweet and cheerful on TV, but she’s not always so nice when the cameras go off. She reportedly planned a trip to Italy for her 10th wedding anniversary with family and friends, and didn’t invite her father. “It’s disappointing,” said her dad.
The celeb chef is also rumored to have quite the potty mouth, unleashing her temper when the cameras aren’t rolling. She has also allegedly made disparaging remarks about other celebrities, including some racially-charged comments about Oprah.
Action Bronson has built an empire for himself with his brash behavior, but there have been times when the public has called him out on his antics. In 2012, he posted photos on Instagram of an incapacitated person his friend doused in water. The captions read “Close up of Drunk Mexican Tranny after Bes poured a Bottle of water on its head” and, “Big Body Posin wit a Drunk Mexican on Broadway #Queens.” Bronson defended his actions, writing that the person in the photo shouldn’t have gotten drunk if they didn’t want to be put on Instagram.
He later posted a lame apology in which he said: “I love Gay People, Trannies not so much.” It gets worse from there. Bronson went on to say that he wasn’t “trying to offend anybody from the Gay and Lesbian Community” and that the person in the photo “wasn’t even a Transvestite.” He closed his pseudo-apology by saying that he doesn’t “give a f***” what people think.
It’s hard to imagine lovable Jamie Oliver ever acting like a jerk, but it happened. When Oliver spouted off about why women should breastfeed, ladies everywhere were understandably annoyed. Oliver has several children of his own, but that doesn’t mean he’s an expert on breastfeeding, though he went on LBC radio to tell women that it is “easy…convenient…more nutritious…[and] free.”
One caller who phoned in expressed her disgust with Oliver’s lecture. “We didn’t know what to do with our nipples until Jamie Oliver popped his head above the parapet!” she said sarcastically.
Ina Garten is basically the sweetest lady of the food scene, but it turns out that even she isn’t as nice as she appears. In 2010, she turned down a 6-year-old superfan whose biggest wish was to meet his idol. The child was suffering from leukemia and asked to have a cooking session with Garten through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She said no not just once, but twice.
Sure, Ina Garten is incredibly busy, but it seems cruel to reject a sick little boy. She eventually agreed to meet him, but not until the boy’s mother wrote about the incident on a now-deleted blog. Garten’s spokesperson claimed it took months for his request to come to her attention since she receives so many requests “to support charitable causes” and that it’s “not possible to do them all.” By the time Garten made time for the little boy, however, his parents had had enough and turned down her invite to visit her show.
Most celebs who get called out for racist remarks make them in their private lives, but Ree Drummond actually went on air with hers. In a Season 2 episode of her hit show, The Pioneer Woman, Drummond decided to prank her family by serving them up a tray of “Asian hot wings.” Her family were disgusted by the meal, with crew members saying things like “Where are the real wings” and “I don’t trust ’em.”
Clearly delighted by the horrified reactions to an ethnic dish, Drummond revealed that she had actually prepared a tray of American Buffalo wings and that the Asian wings were a joke. “I’m just kidding guys,” she said. “I wouldn’t do that to you.”
The Asian-American community was understandably offended by the incident. Making another culture’s food the butt of a joke is not okay.
Many people seem to think that tipping the wait staff in a restaurant is a mere courtesy, but it’s actually necessary. Servers make far less than the federal minimum wage, because it’s expected that their tips will supplement their salary. If they don’t get tipped, they’re likely only coming away with a couple of dollars per hour.
That’s why it was such a big deal when a class action lawsuit was filed against Batali and his business partner, Joe Bastianich, on behalf of the wait staff of his restaurants. According to the lawsuit, Batali’s restaurants had a policy of deducting 4 to 5 percent of wine sales from the tip pool in order to line the owners’ pockets. The wait staff eventually grew fed up with this policy and demanded they receive their tips. Batali and Bastianich finally settled to the tune of $5.25 million.
Geoffrey Zakarian is a big deal. The “Chopped” star is not only a television personality but also a restaurateur. Unfortunately, the chef might have major cooking skills but his business expertise is a bit lacking. He filed for bankruptcy in 2011, after facing lawsuits from his former employees at the now-closed restaurant, Country. According to the class action lawsuit brought against Zakarian and his management firm, Zakarian failed to properly compensate his staff for overtime and falsified pay records. Definitely a jerk move, chef.
In 2014, Bobby’s Flay’s wife Stephanie March was rushed to the hospital. Instead of rushing to her side like any loving husband would, Flay offered to have assistants stay with her since he was busy at work. On top of that, Flay allegedly cheated on his wife of ten years with his assistant, Elyse Tirrell (though he has denied these allegations). It didn’t come as too much of a surprise when March asked Flay to move out of their apartment. Flay quickly filed for divorce and cancelled March’s credit cards in a move that her lawyer called “bullying through economic warfare.” It’s safe to say that March is better off without him.