Modern celebrity has made us forget that everyone, no matter how unpleasant or odd they might appear, is still human. This makes it seem all the more sensational when, as we all do, famous people do something scandalous. We’re used to VIPs behaving in a certain way. When they don’t live up to expectations, it can come as a shock.
This is even more true of the cooking world. Learning that the people who comfort us with some of our favourite foods have something dodgy to hide jars with what is, essentially, an outwardly wholesome profession. Clearly, there’s often a lot more going on behind the camera than meets the eye. Here are the biggest celebrity chef scandals of all time.
7. Robert Irvine
As host of the Food Network’s smash hit “Dinner: Impossible”, Robert Irvine was flying high in 2008. However, it all came crashing down after many began to query some of the more elaborate claims on his resume. When it became clear that his claims of cooking for four ex-Presidents as well as the British Royal Family were, at best, misleading, he left the network, returning later that year with his tail between his legs.
6. Gordon Ramsay
Despite his fearsome reputation, Gordon Ramsay’s biggest controversy actually had relatively little to do with him. In 2017, Ramsay’s father-in-law was sentenced to six months in jail for hacking into his email account in an attempt to dredge up some past misdeeds. Despite being former business partners, there was clearly no love lost between the pair.
5. Ina Garten
Ina Garten may have built an image of friendly, all-American hospitality, but the reality is slightly more complicated. She attracted a good deal of controversy in 2011 when it was alleged that she had rejected two pleas from the Make-a-Wish foundation to visit a 6-year-old leukaemia sufferer because of a schedule conflict.
4. Guy Fieri
The spiky one may rub some up the wrong way, but there’s little doubting his natural flair for presentation. That being said, there’s apparently a side to Guy Fieri that you don’t see on camera. Accused by a sullen ex-triple D producer of making homophobic remarks, it is alleged that Fieri doesn’t like working with people of a different sexual orientation as they “weird him out”.
3. Mario Batali
Running an empire of restaurants, cookbooks, pasta sauces and TV shows, it seemed Mario Batali was untouchable. This all changed in 2017. After accusations of sexual misconduct from four women were made public in Eater, Batali was asked to step down as a presenter on The Chew, saw his sauces pulled from shelves and found himself under official investigation from the New York Police Department.
2. Paula Deen
For years the face of Southern comfort cooking, Paula Deen was the darling of the Food Network. The relationship turned sour, however, after Deen admitted to regularly using racist language, including the n-word. She was subsequently dropped by the channel after being a regular for 11 years.
1. Martha Stewart
Talk about cooking, homemaking and lifestyle in the early 2000s and you can’t help but mention Martha Stewart. For two decades she was a titan of daytime television and watched by millions around the world. Which made it all the more shocking when she ended up in jail for securities fraud and obstruction of justice in 2004.
It’s easy to forget that everybody is human. Though there are some things that are unforgivable, it’s impossible to go through your entire life without making a mistake - regardless whether you’re world famous or a complete unknown. As anyone who’s ever had to work cramped in a hot, sweaty kitchen will agree, hospitality doesn’t always attract the most family friendly personalities. Maybe we need to stop putting them on a pedestal and being disappointed when they fall.