Chefs in the late '90s have become what talk show hosts were earlier in
the decade. Simply substitute Emeril Lagasse for Geraldo; Michael Romano
for Sally Jessy; Julia Child for Phil Donahue.
Whether hawking their latest cookbook or chatting up a live studio
audience over creme brulee, the current crop of media-savvy chefs has
rocketed from mere culinary professional into the celebrity stratosphere.
Starchefs.com not only acknowledges this trend, it celebrates it,
strewing digital signatures across the screen like so many handprints
outside Mann's Chinese Theater.
Though the slow-loading, graphics-laden main menu will try any visitor's
patience (perhaps the designers should have consulted with some of their
featured "stars"), there's enough material on hand to sate all but the
most voracious food groupie's appetite.
Roughly 40 chefs receive individual home pages, which incorporate
biographical and cookbook information, recipes, restaurant blurbs and an
interview with each chef. The recipe section is particularly noteworthy,
including "insider" tips on preparation techniques and unusual
ingredients. The bios also offer an interesting glimpse at the myriad
paths taken on the road to stardom. But be forewarned: some information
looks to be at least two years old, rather defeating the purpose of the
In addition to chef profiles, the site promises gossip but doesn't
deliver, announces culinary events, and features visitor-provided
restaurant reviews (skewed heavily toward New York and Florida. C'mon
Kansans, log on!). Topic areas also include help wanted ads for star chef
wannabes. Emeril had better watch his back.