Explore Cardiff University

May the Fork be With You: Celebrity Chefs and the Cultural Biopolitics of Good Food

Professor Mike Goodman, Reading University
Tuesday 4th February 2014 - 4:00pm
Glamorgan Building Council Chamber

Environment Research Group Seminar.

The chef-ocolypse is upon us. Now major voices in defining ‘good food’ and increasingly powerful political figures, celebrity chefs are central figures in the austerity foodscape where, for a growing segment of the population, quality food is watched rather than eaten. Thus, more broadly, a new cultural biopolitics of food is equally upon us, as our media muses in the form of celebrity chefs lead us into what Naccarato and Lebesco (2012) call new forms of culinary capital that are at one and the same time laden with democratic potential and new forms of food exclusivity. But what do audiences think about celebrity chefs and what effects might they have on food behaviours and knowledge at the level of the everyday?

This paper reports on the results of an ongoing survey (n=300) with the British public on their viewing habits, engagements and thoughts about celebrity chefs and food media programmes more generally. In particular it explores the ways that celebrity chefs and food media is incorporated into everyday food routines but also ‘resisted’ at other levels. In short, this paper argues for a cultural biopolitics of food that incorporates not only the rise of food media and celebrity chefs, but makes room for engagements with the ways that this food media is ‘chewed over’ by audiences as part of daily food cultures and routines.