Los Angeles

Are Celebrity Chefs Good for Food?

That’s the provocative point of departure for an upcoming Zócalo Public Square event.

Chefs have always had a knack for fame: From Julia Child to Napoleon’s personal chef, who published lucrative cookbooks and invented the tall white chef’s hat. But today, thanks in part to the Food Network, several seasons of “Top Chef” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” and a burgeoning “foodie” culture, chefs are full-fledged celebrities. Besides running top restaurants across the country, they publish enough books to overwhelm the shelves — and abilities — of most any home cook. They host TV shows that rely on outsized personality as much as inventive recipes. And they lend their names and talents to chain eateries and bottled grocery-store sauces.

Are celebrity chefs over exposed and over extended, and how have they transformed food? Pulitzer Prize-winning LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold visits Zócalo with a panel of star chefs including Nancy Silverton of Mozza and “Top Chef Masters” star Susan Feniger of Street to find out how famous chefs shape what we cook, how we eat, and the future of high cuisine.

When: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 starting at 7:30pm
Where: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 North Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles
Cost: Free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended and can be made online.

Established in Los Angeles in 2003, Zócalo roams across L.A., and has traveled to Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and as far as Shanghai, Berlin, and Guadalajara. In its seven years, Zócalo has featured over 800 compelling thinkers and doers from a wide range of fields—politics, governance, humanities, health, economics, education, technology, foreign policy, arts, science and beyond—who explore how we see and relate to one another, be it locally, regionally, nationally, or globally.