Celebrity Chef Restaurants: Fact or Fiction?

Are you a fan of the celebrity chef restaurant? The Practical Cook has mixed feelings, but not jealous ones that her name is not on the marquee. No, Gentle Readers, I have some doubts that the celebrity chef title is much more than a branding exercise.

This past week, at a meal at Lupo, a Wolfgang Puck joint, I had a chance to sample several dishes. The sausage and broccolini pizza looked amazing, and was good, but at the risk of causing another firestorm, it was not my favorite, or even in my top 5 all-time pizzas. (That list is a post for another day.)

Italian Sausage and Broccolini Pizza at Lupo (Wolfgang Puck)

Italian Sausage and Broccolini Pizza at Lupo (Wolfgang Puck)

I have eaten one of the best meals of my life at a Mario Batali restaurant, but he was there that day, orange clogs and all. I also had the pizza at one of his restaurants when he was not there, and it reminded me strongly of Chef Boyardee in a box pizza. That is not a compliment, even for nostalgia’s sake.

Another Celebrity Chef

Another Celebrity Chef

This is a short one as I catch up on sleep and head back into my own kitchen. Really, I’m curious. Have you eaten at many celebrity chef restaurants? If so, which ones and what was your experience like? Post a comment or Tweet.

More on the topic as the jet lag recedes.

Thoughts, pizzas, and pictures can be sent to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Finally, a week with a Weekly Menu installment!



Filed under Restaurant Reviews

2 responses to “Celebrity Chef Restaurants: Fact or Fiction?

  1. Kelsey

    We also ate at Lupo. It was good, but not spectacular. However, I do love Mesa Grill. I don’t know how much this has to do with Bobby Flay or the fact that I really like Southwest/TexMex/South of the Border fare. I agree the entire premise is a marketing bonaza, but who cares if it means that I potentially get to eat great food.

    • The Practical Cook

      Excellent points. I had a good celebrity chef restaurant experience at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in San Francisco, and the prosciutto and mozzarella at Lupo were outstanding.

      My best celeb chef experience was Border Grill, so perhaps I’m also Southwest/Mex biased!

      And the marketing hype works on me a bit, just because I’m curious to see the chef’s perspective on food and restaurants.

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