"Foodie" is a term that I personally do not care for, but has become such a big part of today's lexicon, that you can't ignore it, nor the people whom it may pertain.
The major reason I don't like the term is that while it may describe tenets of my personality, I have actually met and worked with real "foodies"...and let me just say...they're INSANE. They're WAY too obsessive about the most minute details of a dish or ingredient, that it makes me feel like I don't get it.
It's not that I'm not interested if the squab a certain chef brought in special from outer Mongolia and had a steady diet of wild rice. It's that I don't care. That's just not my thing.
But I do enjoy them for the common interest in the culinary arts, along with discussing facets of the food and beverage industry.
One writer has taken a quick snapshot of this culture, and it was review by the "Wall Street Journal".
According to the story, the author Steven Poole takes aim at a number of areas from food obsession, to organic farming and even the impact that nouvelle cuisine had several decades earlier.
The one avenue I want to focus on here is the celebrity chef effect. In the book, Poole says that celebrity chefs try to pretend they have a greater role in life than merely, "spraying froth at a few rich people."
While attending culinary school, I found it laughable that many students and chef instructors held an extremely bitter attitude towards Food Network personalities (including a particular disdain for Emeril Lagasse). They would remark that, "they're not REAL chefs," and that anyone who would lower themselves to do what other celebrity chefs do for the camera is, "unbecoming of a culinarian."
First of all, these students who if they were to ever achieve the level of success of those either on Food Network, the Cooking Channel, PBS or the Travel Channel, would be lucky to do so. The same goes for the chef instructors, who would no doubt drop everything they had, students and school included, to jump at the chance at being featured in front of a national TV audience.
The biggest impact a celebrity chef on TV should have on the viewer is to inform, entertain and give back whenever possible. Holding chefs to the standard of heroes, Gods or any other deity is the same as expecting that from such TV darlings as Jerry Springer, Snooki or Honey Boo Boo. It's both ridiculous and a waste of time.
I watch enough cooking shows and related programming to know and admit that I have my favorites and not-so favorites. But I believe, like most normal people, that celebrity chefs and TV "foodies" are regular folks who happen to have a particular talent, skill and passion. Nothing more, nothing less.
If I can learn something from watching them...great. If not, I either will feel somewhat entertained or know not to watch that show again. I suspect that very few people idolize Emeril, Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, etc., to disturbing proportions.
As for how celebrity chefs view his or her fans, I can't say. I'm sure the size of their ego is directly proportional to the size of their character. But they don't get that far in life without someone thinking they're pretty good at making food and getting others excited about it.
And that should be the focus of any food program or channel is learning about and then craving the different foods across the country and around the world.