Do TV chefs have to be sexy to succeed?

John Besh

Both the Guardian in the U.K. and the Braiser in the U.S. have recently weighed in on the question: Do TV chefs have to be sex symbols to be successful? It's a good question - and may explain why the most talented chefs are disappearing from TV while the more photogenic ones hang on (when was the last time you saw Mario Batali? Yet Guy Fieri is omnipresent).

The Guardian presents their article, Do today's TV chefs have to be sex symbols too?  as a serious debate between  Lucy Cavendish and William Skidelsky. They have an interesting discussion with Cavendish going for yes, ("Chefs  now need to be more than good cooks. They have to excite. They need to lick their fingers à la Nigella, or knead bread with their big manly hands.") Skidelsy takes the more optimistic view, ("I find it rather cheering that, when it comes to food, there has always been space for odd-looking specimens (the Hairy Bikers, Two Fat Ladies, even Gordon Ramsay) as well as the self-evidently fetching.") 

Of course much of the debate concerns what you decide is sexy - does skill provide a sexiness that can trump less than telegenic looks?

The Braiser provides illustrations to make their point in  Do TV Chefs Have To Be Sex Symbols? We Investigate - With Photos. We actually suspect the Braiser is approaching this with their tongue firmly in their cheek . Their nominees for the sexiest chefs are Guy Fieri, Jamie Oliver, Paula Deen, Robert Irvine, and Sandra Lee. Frankly, only one of these (Oliver) could be regarded as a supremely talented chef and I'm not sure about the sexiness of the others.

And while we're mulling that question, here's our nominee for sexiest chef - for both his devastating smile and his unquestioned talent - John Besh. Agree or not?



  • Mary  on  3/26/2013 at 11:29 AM

    I totally agree with your choice of John Besh. That smile and his honesty make him sexy to me too.

  • Jane  on  3/26/2013 at 11:44 AM

    Thomas Keller does it for me!

  • Christine  on  3/26/2013 at 2:09 PM

    I have to add Michael Symon to this list!

  • Tammywolf  on  3/30/2013 at 2:37 PM

    Tyler Florence is pretty easy on the eyes also!

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