Rock-Star Chefs

The Wall Street Journal:

To prepare for his first live national tour this fall, Guy Fieri sought advice about living on the road from members of AC/DC (“Take care of yourself, man,” was one band mate’s counsel) and rocker Sammy Hagar, who recommended voice coaching.

Fieri is not a rock-band frontman, a pop star or a rapper. He’s a chef. His show will consist of him making things like jambalaya sandwiches at 21 concert venues around the country, in spaces with up to 5,500 seats.

Live performance is a booming business for celebrity chefs, who themselves are a thriving niche of the entertainment world, straddling television, publishing and retail and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

For years, chefs have staged cooking demonstrations at food festivals around the country, often for charitable causes and usually free. These days, top food personalities are charging audiences up to $250 a ticket to watch them cook, hear them banter and, some of the time, eat their food.

Speaker-booking agencies that specialize in top authors and former politicians are now promoting chefs. Some chefs are packing in crowds of thousands per live show.

Photo by The Wall Street Journal.

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