I was flipping channels this weekend and came across a remarkably interesting show on Bloomberg News called Titans at the Table.
This show was a casual round table focused on four of the most influential celebrity chefs in the world, Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray and Tom Colicchio. Each iconic in their own right yet assembled for a discussion about what was the current state of the food industry, restaurants, public morale, celebrity and what drives each of them.
This eclectic pairing didn’t disappoint by any stretch. The lineup included two Food Network Iron Chefs (Batali + Flay), a star from Bravo’s Top Chef (Colicchio) and the ubiquitously famous lightening rod of Food Network’s 30 Minute Meals and what seems like her face is on every product in every supermarket in America (Ray).
The host asked great questions about the changing landscape of being a restaurateur to Batali, Flay and Colicchio. Flay discussed how trying to stay innovative was always his driving force. Batali discussed wanting to bring the rich Italian eating experience to the U.S. Colicchio shared that he wanted to serve what he wanted to eat.
The host went on to discuss fame. Batali said something erie in light of the Paula Deen fall from grace, “It takes a lifetime to build your reputation and only a few bad days in a row to ruin it”. What made Batali’s words even more impressive was that the show was filmed weeks before the Deen brand destruction.
When asked about their future plans, Rachael Ray stopped for a second and gave such a telling answer, “I haven’t planned one day of my success so I am going to stick to my instincts and just enjoy the ride”. Ray has as many detractors as fans but the truth is she has built an impressive brand and could be one of the most influential women in America. Her audience may not be the most upscale consumer but they are loyal and very in tune with Rachael.
Overall, Titans at the Table was the most enjoyable hour of non-scripted television as I’ve watched in a very long time. Honesty and intellectual integrity from celebrities at this level is hard to find. All four are NY Times Bestselling authors, several are James Beard or Michelin award winners and yet they seemed so real!
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