Monday Question

21 04 2008

I work next to two restaurants whose fame derives not necessarily from their cuisine, but the men from whose minds the dishes sprout. The plates go for around $30-$50 at Morimoto and Del Posto, two bastions of Chelsea fine and hip dining, and the Moet-Hennessy execs who work below me are glad to open their wallets, scaling the price gradient in accordance with their recent sales records.

Around the city, celebrity chef-backed restaurants are blooming. Some scream, like many of Wolfgang Puck’s or Bobby Flay’s. Others are a little more discrete. All seem to draw massive, prohibitive lines.

But the question is: Are celebrity chefs a good thing? For all they’ve done to bring excitement, or at least attention, to food, do they get away with the same thing that, say, Springsteen does in Rolling Stone when he releases a bad album? The personality of the man overpowers the food, and are people just deluding themselves in not letting the food speak for itself?

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