30 November 2010

Are the Celebrity Chefs selling out these days? (30 Nov 2010)

A fresh perspective

Every time I see Curtis Stone, the chef of supposedly all things seasonal, on a Coles ad or MasterChef which is sponsored by Coles I have a little cringe because I wonder if this means he's somewhat sold out. I bet his never walked into the fruit and vegetable aisles in Randwick Coles to spot the sad looking bruised and battered produce I've seen lying around — and I've lost count how many times I've noticed moldy strawberries still left on the shelf. Anyone wanna do a quality spot check? It's nothing like you see on the MasterChef pantry that's for sure — I wish it was though.

It now looks like Woolworths is getting in on the act and using Celebrity Chefs brought to the Australian household limelight on MasterChef to advertise their supermarket as a destination for all your Christmas food shopping. I seriously wonder if Margaret Fulton, Tobie Puttock and Guy Grossi really pick Woolworths for Christmas or is it more the other way around with Woolworths picking them as their feel-better-about-buying-from-a-huge-supermarket-rather-than-your-local-independent-butcher-or-farmers-market-promotional-ambassadors. I would have thought professional chefs would be buying directly from farmers and suppliers so they have more control over what they're really getting and serving their customers and building on a trusting relationship?

I also wonder if these Fresh Food Chefs actually cooked the pavlova, turkey and leg of ham they're holding or is it just all advertising props made by food technicians and food stylists. Winners are grinners as they say and someone must be winning through all this but I doubt it's the hard working farmers. That's my gripe and whinge for the day.

Dear Reader, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Psst Simon, it's Guy Grossi, not Rossi ;)

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi lorraine, thanks for picking the typo. gee you would have thought i would have got that right since it's in the poster hehe :-)

joey@FoodiePop said...

It's tough to say whether they're selling out, but they are cashing in on the food phenomenon at the moment. Who knows when the MasterChef/food show bubble will burst?

Zina @ tastedbytwo said...

Great post Simon. I agree with your sentiments 100 percent. Everyone in the food industry is going on and on about buying local and direct from the producer and here are three heavyweights endorsing Woolies. That said, these ads don't annoy me half as much as the stupid Curtis Stone Coles promos.

Nugmeg said...

I couldn't agree with you more about celebrity chefs. Plus, foods in supermarket 're fresh and sometime tasteless.
Not only that buying from local independent butcher/farmers market'll support them. The main reason I buy foods from farmers' market is foods taste more flavoursome.

The Recipe Binder said...

Talk about timing! Only this morning I was bitching and whinging to my (poor!) husband as we threw out more fruit from "The Fresh Food People".

This time a pineapple (purchased a couple of days ago) had putrified in the fruit drawer and leached its rotten bile all over about $40 worth of apples, peaches, strawberries, another pineapple and a few other bits.

I'd love for Tobie, Rosemary, Curtis and all the others spruiking the major supermarkets to eat the type of crap I'm forced to buy because there aren't any lovely little farmers markets or (hygeinic! (sp?)) butchers within a reasonable distance from my home.

Wow - sorry for that rant. I'm very crabby about throwing away more fruit as this isn't the first time it's happened. In fact, Hubby and I were tallying up the amount of stuff we've had to throw out (due to a sudden onset of mould or putrification). We think we've wasted about $250 this year alone on "fresh" fruit and veg.

Needless to say I've taken a punt on a small independent fruit & veg delivery company and am hoping they delivery me lovely FRESH produce tomorrow.

Trissa said...

Margaret Fulton lives in the same area as I do - and I can confirm she is a Woolies regular!

YaYa said...

Sigh, Guy Grossi made me really want to buy that Woolie's ham but I know that it's not going to live up to my expectations, celebrity endorsed products never do!

Anna Johnston said...

Well..., I can confirm MOST chefs don't buy from the Big 3 supermarkets for their restaurants - the price & quality are just not good enough (How do I know..., I'm a chef!).
I'm happy enough that some of our chefs are enjoying a moment in the sun - it highlights to everyone the underlying facts that "good food" & "delicious home prepared" foods and that can't be a bad thing...... just sayin' :)
Great to connect with you Simon :) Looking forward to reading more & connecting through the blogosphere!
Chef Anna

Richard Elliot said...

From what I understand doing advertisments / endorsement work is one of the most lucrative things a celebratity can do. It is also one of the easiest. If you were offered easy money wouldn't you take it too?

However, there are some celebs that refusa adverts on principle because it is selling out. I can't think of any foodie examples, but I know Michael Palin from Monty Python and travel show fame has always refused to do adverts.

Is it any different from food bloggers taking free meals? Can you write a truly independent review when you've had a freebie?

Being a bit controversial! ;-)

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

lol - thanks for confirmation, Trissa.

I think that the food/chef 'phenomenon' is hitting its peak around about now, and that the chefs are just trying to cash in on it like most working people would probably do.

They are making the CBD rather festive though, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

Before Master Chef and the like, I only went to good restaurants and ate the food and never really cared about who the chef was. Since this whole master chef hype, chef is finally getting some face time with the public. So in a way - good for them!
But I do agree that it feels like they are selling themselves a bit - especially after the whole Curtis Stone debacle about whether or not you can provide dinner for under $10. Sure made Curtis Stone look a bit silly!

susan said...

Maybe the woolworths they shop at has great produce, but I know that every time I buy fruit from either woolworths or coles I am always disappointed. I would be much happier if they put their face behind aldi!

Blue Penguin said...

I thought this was a really interesting post, and something I've wondered about several times recently, too. You'd like to think they're backing up their statements, but it's a bold move if they're not, given how much better informed so many people are about food now. I'm not sure we're as green as we're cabbage-looking (or maybe pavlova looking, as the case may be), but as long as we keep questioning (and shopping at the markets as well as the supermarkets), hopefully it'll stay under control...

Ladybird said...

Definitely food for thought Simon.. I was wondering the same thing as I walked past one of those posters today!

Glenn said...

hi simon - i present a radio show in sydney on 2GB and am keen to discuss this topic further......i'm in 100% agreement by the way!
pls contact me via glennwheeler@optusnet.com.au

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi joey, it's a big bubble at the moment but as long as it's inspiring people to think about their food then i guess it's a good thing.

hi zina, there does seem to be a bit of a contradiction happening. perhaps the chefs are offered so much money that it'd be very hard to refuse? i'd like to see them in a Woolies or Coles doing a cooking demonstration with the produce actually available from the store to make it more real.

hi nugmeg, yeah it very much goes against everything that they talk about that we should be doing and then they turn around to do woolies ads and become spokespeople for Coles.

hi the recipe binder, rant away. i believe you're not alone. i wish i had a garden so i could grow my own vegetables. you can't get more local than that. hope the independent fruit and veg delivery goes well. feel free to mention them if think they're worth using.

hi trissa, that's good to hear although is she buying fruit and veges or toothpaste and toilet paper :-) can you check if she's buying those cherries next time and whether she actually made that pavlova.

hi yaya, if guy grossi cooks it for you then perhaps it might be a good ham.

hi anna, if it inspires some people to eat good food then of course it's a good thing. it's a shame that the marketing world use celebrities as puppets to promote the big guys. but i guess it takes two to tango.

hi richard, it's good to hear that some celebs refuse to do ads. very interesting. not sure if celeb chefs getting loads of money is the same as a food blogger getting a free meal but i think a blogger can still provide an independent and honest review if they want to. i guess there's lots of food for thought on the subject.

hi tina, food is certainly on everyone's lips at the moment — pun intended :-)

hi anonymous, i heard about that curtis stone $10 thing. i think he should have done more of his own research before agreeing to it.

hi susan, i think they shop in the Woolies and Coles of perfect produce which only exists in Marketing Land.

hi blue penguin, let's hope we all become more wiser in the end to be informed shoppers.

hi ladybird, perhaps i'm just jealous. i wonder if Coles or Woolies can pay me for a year as a full-time blogger so i can dine at all the restaurants i want to :-)

hi glenn, thanks for dropping by. hope to touch base soon to discuss further :-)

Joe said...

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the post. I believe the foods were cooked by a stylist or home economist in their test kitchen. However, the recipe may belong to the celebrity. From an advertising perspective, they are there purely to endorse the brand (an ambassador for the brand).

I am actually doing a PhD in this topic. So good to hear how people think here.


Simon Food Favourites said...

hi joe, thanks for dropping by.i hope the PhD goes well on the topic. would be interesting to read once it's completed. :-)

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