The original celebrity chefs were calm, soft-spoken, and proper characters like Julia Child. These days, a growing number of celebrity chefs have attracted attention for their “bad boy” attitudes and behavior. Below are 8 bad boy chefs (and girls) who have made waves in popular culture.
1. Gordon Ramsay
The number one top earning celebrity chef according to Forbes, Gordon Ramsay is an award-winning chef and restaurant owner who stars in the reality TV shows, Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, and Master Chef. Gordon is known for his potty mouth and volatile temper. Often throwing his chef contestants out of the kitchen, he expects nothing less than perfection. He has also been known to bad mouth other celebrities in the food world, such as Bobby Flay, Frank Bruni, and Cat Cora, which has added to his bad boy persona.
2. Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain is a world traveler, author, and former chef who rose to fame with his no-holds-barred TV show, No Reservations, in which he sampled bizarre foods like sheep testicles and ant eggs. He first earned a reputation as a bad boy, because he wrote about his former life as an alcoholic and junkie in his book, Kitchen Confidential. Anthony has also attracted a lot of media attention for the wry comments he has made about other celebrity chefs, like Rachael Ray and Paula Deen.
3. David Chang
David Chang is a Korean-American chef who is the founder of the famed Momofuku restaurant group. Known for his rebellious attitude, David Chang does not offer vegetarian options or reservations at his restaurants. He has also made headlines for charging $5 for a bottle of coke and for making dismissive remarks about California chefs.
4. Martha Stewart
Although she’s a woman, cooking and home economics expert Martha Stewart has earned her spot on the famous bad boy chefs list for being involved in an insider trading scandal that landed her in jail. Martha said that her nickname in prison was M. Diddy.
5. Mario Batali
Mario Batali is a celebrity chef who specializes in traditional and regional Italian cooking. Mario earned notoriety for skimming the tips of the hardworking staff at several of his high-profile Italian restaurants. Plaintiffs argued that Mario’s restaurants would take 4-5% of the tips from employees in order to pay the sommeliers’ salaries. The court ordered Mario to pay $5.25 million in restitution.
6. Juan-Carlos Cruz
Juan-Carlos Cruz is the former host of Calorie Commando and Weighing In on the Food Network. Easily the baddest boy on our list, Juan-Carlos pleaded no contest to hiring two homeless men to murder his wife, which caused him to be sentenced to nine years in prison.
7. Paula Deen
Paula Deen, the Queen of Southern Cuisine, has become notorious for her bad boy behavior. She has been called a hypocrite for promoting high-sugar and high-fat recipes while battling diabetes, and most recently, Paula was accused of making racist remarks involving the “n-word,” which caused her to lose many endorsement deals and also led the Food Network to cancel her popular cooking show.
8. Robert Irvine
Robert Irvine is a British celebrity chef who is the host of the Food Network’s show, Restaurant: Impossible. He impressed the culinary world with claims that he had a degree in food and nutrition from the University of Leeds, was a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, worked as a White House chef, and worked on a wedding cake for Prince Charles and Princess Diana. However, some sources dispute these assertions, and Robert’s reputation has been permanently damaged, as a result.
Is Bad Behavior a Recipe for Success?
In show business, the more badly you behave, the more attention you get. Although some of these bad boy chefs are only seen as “bad” because they are outspoken and unafraid of voicing their opinions, others have committed deplorable acts and actual crimes. These chefs’ attitudes and actions have gotten them into hot water, but it appears that in some cases, a little bad behavior may be an ingredient in their recipe for success.