Women's History Month: Five Female Celebrity Chefs That You Love or Love to Hate

Categories: Lists, Rants


March is Women's History Month! As it winds down, what better way to celebrate than by sharpening our claws on the female celebrity chefs that we love? ... or love to hate. 

1. Sandra Lee

Flavor: Salty


Back in the day, the word "salty" was used to indicate that someone was irritated, angry, or had just been tried like a free sample.  If you were thinking that Martha Stewart would be the obvious choice for salty, you are right -- but then who would we write about for bitter? Take a moment to consider why Sandra Lee is salty. Think about it- she is tall, blonde, beautiful (Is it natural or thanks to the old hazy-camera-lens trick?), and has her own TV show but despite her best efforts, she has yet to rise to the demi-god status of her Food Network contemporaries, Giada De Laurentiis or Rachel Ray.
Why? One word- "tablescapes".

After preparing her signature semi-homemade meals (read TV dinners) Sandra traumatizes her viewers concludes her show with tips on how to "decorate" the table. Tangles of tulle, paper flowers, and creepy porcelain fairies abound on her tablescapetastrophies . Despite their train wreck-like quality, Sandra's garish, table creations, TV show, and cookbooks have a huge fan following.

Why You Secretly Love Her:
After spending twenty minutes opening cans, reconstituting potatoes, and decimating perfectly good tables, Sandra likes to reward her efforts with a stiff drink. We're not talking watered-down Comos here people; we're talking Mind Erasers and Tequila Shots with tiger blood chasers! Hopefully "Hair of the Dog" comes in a can...
2. Nigella Lawson



Chef Nigella Lawson is a self-proclaimed domestic goddess (Note: not in a crackish, Charlie Sheen money-chaser way). Her biting wit, curvaceous, food-loving body, and penchant for late night snacking are just a few reasons why viewers love this British import.  Her Cooking Channel shows, Nigella Express and  Nigella Feasts features the goddess preparing traditional and exotic comfort foods and punched up cocktails.  Nigella's way with words keeps us glued to the tele as she likens blended strawberries to glistening rubies or describes a viewer's recipe for "Slut Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly" as dish that can " make a grateful eater weep". Nigella's endless hangover cure recipes suggest that, at the tender age of 51, she can probably hold her own in a game of quarters or beer pong. What's not to love?  

Why You Secretly Hate Her: Unlike the rest of us, Nigella can eat her weight in chocolate  and still look fabulous!
3. Martha Stewart



Martha Stewart has built her frosty empire on making you feel inferior. For decades she has held the carrot of perfection high above your head and beaten you senseless with the stick. Her bizarre, high-society accent, obscure ingredients (cloud berries anyone?), and perfectly decorated house in the Hamptons are designed to remind you of the life that you will never have. What can be said about this acrimonious ice queen that hasn't already been said? Three things:  

1. Martha Stewart cries in cubes,if she cries at all,and then uses the cubes to make a Tom 
    Collins using gin that she distilled in her basement. 

2.  If it weren't for the eighth amendment, her coma-inducing show could be used by the
     military as an interrogation tactic.

3. She always has the last laugh. Always! Despite the subliminal abuse that she dishes out
    we keep coming back for more which for  Martha is a good thing.
 Why You Secretly Love Her: Let's face it, Martha's got some serious street cred. She's 
 spent time in the clink and no doubt, cracked some skulls while she was in there.
 Plus, she kicks it with Snoop Dogg and P Diddy!  If only we could convince her to get
 that teardrop tattooed on her face...

4. Bethanny Frankel
Umami (Savory)

Bravo TV

Chef, entrepreneur, and former Real Housewife of New York, Bethanny Frankel is gutsy, tough as nails, and not afraid to speak her mind. Her 100-calorie Skinny Girl Margaritas, though no match for  big girl Margaritas, are wildly popular as are her low-calorie cookbooks and new fitness DVD. Her dry, sometimes self-deprecating, sense of humor, and mini-meltdowns keeps us tuning into her new Bravo spin-off show, " Bethanny Ever After", to see more from this queen of lean.

Why You Secretly Hate Her

She always looks like a million bucks even weeks after giving birth. During the last season of the Real Housewives, she passed up the perfect opportunity to use her pimp hand on whacked NY housewife Kelly Bensimon during an apocalyptic girls' trip to the Virgin Islands.

5. Rachael Ray
   Flavor:  Sweet Saccharine

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Rachel2.jpg

Much like Sweet-n-Low, Rachael Ray is unnaturally sweet, destroys your body, and can be found everywhere. Most of America has fallen in love with Rachael's cutesy, girl next-door antics and her 30 Minute Mishegas Meals but not you! You're too clever to be won over by this olive oil shilling, fly-by-night charlatan!

Rachel Ray is aggravating for many reasons. Here are the top three:
1.She has a special word for everything.
   "E.V.O.O" (extra virgin oil olive), "sammies" (sandwiches), and of course, "yum-o!"
   (this is delicious).

2. There are no less than seventeen substitutes for every ingredient she uses.
Example:  "Hey guys! Today we're going to make bacon cheeseburger sliders. First you'll need a pound of ground beef. If you don't have ground beef you can use ground pork or ground turkey. If you don't have either of those you can use ground pickled sausage or squirrel meat".

3. She juggles armfuls of raw meat and vegetables instead of carrying a few at a time like a
    normal human being all in the name of saving time.
   Why not rename the show, 31 Minute Meals so normal people can make that daunting
    second trip to the fridge?   

Why You Secretly Love Her:  She has a rad 1950's oven. Her raspy voice makes you think that she could probably hold her own in a bar brawl.

Could there be an M.M.A match up between Rachael and Sandra Lee in our future? Fingers crossed!

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

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NONE of these women are chefs.  A Chef is a person who runs a professional kitchen.  They are TV cooking show hosts.  How about a column about Alice Waters, Barbara Tropp, Traci des Jardins, MarySue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Gabrielle Peterson or any other the myriad other women who actually are Chefs???


LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your columns! Keep 'em coming!

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