We associate celebrity chefs with the comfort and familiarity that comes with the food they cook — but not everything is what it seems. These are some of the most surprising instances where celebrity chefs are completely different in real life. Guy Fieri is just a down-to-earth, all-smiles kind of guy who wants to cover the world in Donkey Sauce. He spends his time traveling to mom-and-pop dining establishments across the country on his super-popular show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and fans have come to know The Mayor of Flavortown for being pretty darn harmless and wholesome.
Unfortunately, those mirrored shades and frosted allegedly hide a heaping amount of homophobia. Fieri’s former producer, David Page, recounted in an interview that the celebrity chef once chewed him out for having him talk to what he assumed was a gay couple. Fieri allegedly said: "You can't send me to talk to gay people without warning! Those people weird me out!" A field producer who formerly worked for the show confirmed that Fieri then told the show’s researchers that they had to let him know if he'd be speaking to any gay people on the show so he could, quote, "prepare" himself. The rotten cherry on top of the Flavortown Sundae? According to Page, the fiery chef also made anti-Semitic remarks. Turns out Fieri might be as charmless as his flame-print bowling shirts and bleach blond goatee. Rachel Ray has helped a lot of people gain the confidence to start cooking at home with her magazine, cookbooks, and TV shows. However, it was during one of her shows that people noticed Ray might not be as generous with her money as she is with her cooking advice. On her show $40 a Day, Ray would show viewers how to dine on vacation for just $40 a day.
Yet it was only by leaving meager tips that she was able to stay on budget.
Though most agree that 20 percent tips are standard these days, Ray advised that around 10 percent is enough. Since the majority of servers are paid below minimum wage and rely on tips for their livelihood, it didn't go over well with many of her fans. “Unbelievable!” There are also rumors that she may not be as nice as her TV persona suggests. In 2007, TMZ reported that after drinking what a witness said was a lot of red wine, she started making disparaging comments about fellow celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie. Of course, Ray denied those allegations. Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio seems like a traditional "manly-man" chef, a type that too often falls into "food bro" territory. But behind the scenes, Colicchio is actually a compassionate man who is doing his part to make the world and the food industry a better place. He's done tons of work with the Food Bank for New York City, works with advocacy group Food Policy Action, and has met with several lawmakers to discuss things like school lunch programs and food stamp funding. Colicchio also didn't remain silent when Mario Batali was hit with sexual harassment allegations. Instead, he penned An Open Letter to (Male) Chefs, where he outlined all of the ways in which the restaurant industry is hostile to women, calling out his co-workers and breaking down what needs to happen to make kitchens a safe place for all who work in them. Sure, he may be stern, but he's putting his serious demeanor and passion to good use. Calling Gordon Ramsay gentle or kind would definitely be at odds with his television persona. On Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef, Ramsay is most well known for screaming his face off at contestants, and throwing insults at them for everything from their looks to their seasonings -- or lack thereof. “...He’s a BIG DRAMA QUEEN.” “That really hurt. I thought I was gonna puke.” But just watch an episode of Master Chef Junior, and the nurturing way in which Ramsay interacts with the young cooks will give you a hint about who the famous TV chef really is.
Ramsay is usually far more concerned with boosting the kids' confidence than making them cry, and his criticism is constructive instead of personal. “Next time I see you serving mashed potatoes with yellow fin tuna, I’m gonna hang you upside down and stick your head inside a moonfish.” Chef Duff Goldman has also gone on the record saying that Ramsay is, quote, "one of the coolest guys in the universe," and fans were wowed by his generosity when he answered a struggling chef's question with genuine care on a Reddit AMA.
He may not be nice in the traditional sense, but his heart is definitely in the right place. With his twinkling blue eyes and down-to-earth bro persona, Bobby Flay seems like a pretty nice guy who just wants to have a rooftop barbecue and hang out with his cat! Because of this, Flay has had major success at the Food Network, and his restaurants have gotten pretty good reviews. Sadly, all is not well in Bobby Flay's world. These days, the chef is becoming notorious for his infidelity and propensity to be kind of a jerk.
In 2015, Flay split from Stephanie March, his wife of 10 years, after allegations surfaced that he'd been secretly having an affair with his assistant. But the affair wasn't the only thing that turned the marriage sour. There had also been an incident in which March's appendix burst and Flay sent his assistants to the hospital to comfort his wife instead of being there for her himself. Then there's his professional behavior. A lot of people have pointed out that the entire premise of his show, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, is kind of insulting. A world-class chef walks up to a small-time cook and challenges them to see if he can make their signature dish better than they can? You can't help but feel terrible every time Flay wins. When Paula Deen first arrived on the Food Network scene, she was like the cheerful, loving aunt we all wished we had, mixing up pound cake and fried chicken in her gorgeous kitchen to share with her family, friends, and viewers. It seemed impossible that this lady with the megawatt smile could be anything but the epitome of southern hospitality. These illusions were shattered when Deen and her brother were sued by a former employee who alleged sexual harassment, racism, sexism, and "inescapable pornography" was rampant at their restaurant Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House.
During her deposition, Deen let slip some very disturbing details, freely admitting to using racial slurs. The TV chef then tried to justify her actions by saying: "Most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks…they usually target, though, a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know…" Deen eventually lost her spot on the Food Network, but she's been trying to make a comeback for several years now. Time will tell if she succeeds. “This is only the beginning, y’all.” Science-minded types have a reputation for being liberal, but Alton Brown, who has made a career out of delving into the science behind our favorite dishes, is actually a pretty staunch conservative. He's definitely of the "bootstraps" generation, and has repeatedly gone on the record saying that he thinks younger generations have it too easy. When being interviewed by a millennial reporter, Brown said: "I don't think your generation knows crap about the value of things. Sorry, it's absolutely true. You may be the exception, but I even have trouble hiring millennials to work with me. They want everything given to them; they're used to getting it all for free." “In the words of my 13-year-old daughter: whatever.” Brown also has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to vegetarians and those with special diets. The science-loving chef has said: "Unless you have a medical bracelet that says celiac, shut up and eat the food…There are times when vegetarians should shut up and eat the pork chop." There are also reports that at one of his live shows, he made racist and homophobic jokes. That doesn't sound like Good Eats at all. Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel is probably best known for his very adventurous eating. He's traveled the world, eating all sorts of things you can't find at an American grocery store, so he has a reputation as the king of gross-out eating. Eyeballs are as common as dinner rolls to this guy. But Zimmern is so much more than a culinary stuntman. The entire ethos of his show is to demonstrate that even if you eat pizza for dinner while someone else is eating donkey parts, chances are the two of you have more in common than you think. Zimmern said in an interview: "We are way more alike than we ever imagine, which is why I am so dead set on presenting the world as I see it through food in hopes that others will see our commonalities through that as well.” On screen, Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood seems like he's a consummate professional. Rarely does his stony face break into a smile or his piercing blue eyes sparkle with mirth. He seems like a no-nonsense type of guy, but it turns out Mr.
Hollywood’s personal life is allegedly a big mess.
First, there was that admitted affair with Marcela Valladolid, the host of the American version of Bake Off. Hollywood and Valladolid soon became official, vacationing together while Hollywood's wife, Alex, moved toward divorce.
After the affair fizzled out four months later, Hollywood's wife generously took him back.
Unfortunately, rumors began to swirl again in 2017 when Hollywood was seen kissing Candice Brown, one of the winners of Great British Bake Off. Though Hollywood and Brown denied any impropriety, the next week, Hollywood and Alex announced that they were separating.
Though he gives the impression of being an impenetrable wall of stoicism, the reports of his personal life seem to paint a different picture. When we think of Anthony Bourdain, cupid and all of his little heart-tipped arrows is not what comes to mind. The chef was as cynical as they come, known for his brash takes on everything from veganism to Rachel Ray -- and not so much his thoughts on love and romance.
Bourdain was an old-school bad boy with a penchant for cursing, a love of martinis, and a curiosity about the world that could not be satisfied. “This is what you need. This is the path to true happiness and wisdom.” Believe it or not, Bourdain was also a total romantic. Asia Argento, the woman he started dating after splitting with his wife, apparently captured his imagination like no one ever had before. Bourdain and Argento’s connection was immediate when they met while filming Parts Unknown, and the pair kicked off their romance a year later. Friends say that the beloved chef was like a teenager in love when he talked about Argento, calling Bourdain, "absolutely lovestruck." One source even said: "He was crazy in love with her, crazy being the keyword." He may be gone, but we're glad Bourdain got to feel such a powerful love in his life. The glamorous Nigella Lawson may seem all sultry smiles and decadent indulgence -- however, one of the reasons she takes such pleasure in the little things is because she's actually suffered quite a few major losses in her life. Tragically, her mother died when Lawson was in her mid 20s. Lawson's grief was made complicated by the fact that, as she later revealed, her mother had been abusive, both verbally and physically. Lawson found herself grieving again later in life when suffered two major tragedies less than a decade apart. Her sister died of breast cancer in 1993 -- and in 2001, her beloved first husband, John Diamond, died of throat cancer. Still, Lawson emphasizes that despite these tragedies, she tries to find happiness in the little things. The famous chef revealed her personal philosophy in an interview in The Australian Women’s Weekly, saying: "I don't want to waste life. It feels so ungrateful not to take pleasure. You have to take pleasure in life while you can because people have that ripped away from them.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite celebrity chefs are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you don't miss a single one! .