“I’ve been telling my friends, ‘Look, these are the new reality-TV stars. They aren’t Kardashians.’ We’ll see how that translates. I’m basically the only one left.”
― Casey Affleck, director
I’ve only ever eaten food that is good or inspired by a good meal I’ve had before — whether it be a cooking class, a family meal, or, most recently, a charity luncheon.
In this era of the celebrity meal, though, I think food personalities have started sharing their favorite meals even more than they ever have.
Casey Affleck, Oscar-winning director and actor, says he is “basically the only one left.” His personal highlights include a bite of cold seared foie gras with jamón ibérico at Escon, and a tasting of Finnish salmon at Edo restaurant in Venice, California.
Actor Aziz Ansari first started sharing the food he loved on his food blog, Nibbles From the Dinner Table, when he was filming Master of None. So far he’s shared the signature biscuits and gravy at Chicago’s Lilly Pond, the grilled cheese sandwich at Vibiana in San Francisco, a lobster salad at New York’s David Burke Kitchen, and foie gras at Michael Mina.
The show’s other leads — Eric Wareheim, Luke Null, and Erinn Hayes — also share their favorite meals and restaurants — and many are pretty successful in their own right. Emily Blunt, Common, and John Legend each pay tribute to their favorite places and cuisines.
Other stars have more ambitious goals, or are trying to show the world how they would celebrate a regular night in. Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, vacationing in Mexico, brainstormed ways to have their dinner in an hour — which sounds like a nightmare, I guess. Even on more work days, some are leaning into the food they love, while others post their top five favorite meals on social media.
“I’m a real pioneer, when it comes to personal cooking at least,” Gabriela Cantu, partner and executive chef at DC’s Slow Food Capitol Hill, told InStyle. “People are hungry to hear stories, to see photos, to see original ways to cook.”
Even more common are celebrities’ restaurant recommendations. Brandon Heffernan is passionate about Los Angeles eateries and restaurants, but nothing more than booking a reservation at Apuritan, a “fusion-foodie bar” he first ordered at a party in San Francisco’s Greektown.
In one Instagram story, Dina Eastwood, mother of Clint Eastwood, shared that her second favorite restaurant in the world is “Chilis in Vegas,” and both Blake Lively and Gwyneth Paltrow have shared favorite restaurants in New York.
It’s clear that more people are hungry for knowledge about food — and for sharing it with people. I’m not the only one who’s interested in who cooks what on American reality television, and the few food publicists who are willing to be interviewed are likely to have a deeper grasp of industry trends than those behind a mere celebrity endorsement.
This social media growth in eating and cooking is also allowing them to pull back the curtain on some of their favorite places. This year’s “Master Chef” winner, Tiffany Derry, chose to share her favorite Italian restaurant, 2 Coalhouse, on Instagram. Chef Emeril Lagasse, known for cooking his signature Italian dishes at restaurants all over the world, will soon be opening a restaurant in Dubai. Other chefs, such as Brett Loftis of Titletown, an Ohio restaurant with only 30 seats, and Angela Adalian of Olmsted Group, a firm that promotes mobile-food vendors, are posting photos of their favorite self-serve hot chocolate shops.
As more and more people jump on the social media bandwagon, I’m sure to see more stars share photos and videos of their favorite meals on social media. At least, we’ll all be treated to updates on just how much food celebrity chefs really eat.