The most popular celebrity chefs have become household names and have transformed the way the world views cooking. Many people are curious as to how these chefs got their start. Did these celebrities study at a top culinary school or learn through an apprenticeship? This article will discuss how the top 5 celebrity chefs including Rachel Ray, Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, Bobby Flay,and Emeril Lagasse got their start in their cooking career.
1. Rachel Ray
Rachel Ray has never attended a culinary school. However, Ray did grow up in a family that owned multiple restaurants. She eventually went on to work in several food related jobs. Ray got the ideas for 30 minute meals from a buyer at a gourmet market in Albany.
Rachel Ray wanted to appeal to and help people who were reluctant to cook and lacked the time for detailed drawn out recipes. Ray’s 30 minute simple meals and vibrant personality were so popular she became a celebrity chef. Ray is criticized by chefs who have formal training for her use of canned and boxed ingredients. However, her friendly, outgoing personality and simple meals continue to be highly sought after and viewers flock to her popular television shows.
2. Gordon Ramsey
At age 19, Ramsey began to focus on culinary school. Ramsey studied Hotel Management specializing in catering at North Oxfordshire Technical College. His first job at Wroxton House included chef duties and charge of a 60 seat dining room. He went on to work in various restaurants and eventually worked under two chefs who owned Michelin starred restaurants where Ramsey found his inspiration. Ramsey is best known for his television programs based on competitive cooking such as Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, and Kitchen Nightmares. Ramsey also owns and operates many Michelin starred restaurants.
3. Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver grew up helping his parents by prepping and assisting with cooking meals at their local pub. After considering several top culinary schools, Oliver finally chose Westminister Kingsway College for his formal studies. Oliver apprenticed at both Neal Street Restaurant and the River Cafe in London. Oliver was spotted by a television producer at the River Cafe and began his career as a celebrity chef. Jamie Oliver is best known for the television shows: Naked Chef and Jamie’s Kitchen. Oliver’s specialty is organic, natural, and healthy cuisine.
4. Bobby Flay
After considering several top culinary schools, Bobby Flay enrolled in the French Culinary Institute. Flay worked at a variety of restaurants early on. Then Flay met a restaurant owner who helped him create a unique style and enhanced Flay’s knowledge of Cajun food and spices. Bobby Flay is now the executive chef and owner of 10 restaurants. In addition, Flay has hosted seven food network television programs.
5. Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse went to culinary school at Johnson and Wales University. Lagasse worked at restaurants in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York before moving south and discovering a love of New Orleans cuisine. Lagasse has won over 37 awards for his 9 restaurants. He has also starred in over 1,550 episodes of Emeril Live and The Essence of Emeril.
In conclusion, with the exception of Rachel Ray, every celebrity chef listed above has attended various top culinary schools. Culinary schools offer practical and useful preparation and kitchen skills. In addition, most culinary schools require an apprenticeship in a commercial kitchen. Apprenticeships have helped celebrity chefs to discover and develop their niche in the cooking world. Having a niche or specialty is highly valued in the world of food today. Culinary school is an excellent choice for aspiring chefs. Maybe you will be the next Top Chef or maybe the next big food show…
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