Food Channel 4/5/99 p.2
Restaurant Trends: Hot Chefs
Celebrity chefs have had a great deal of influence on food industry trends in the past
decade or more. So it doesn't hurt to stay up on who's who in the restaurant world.
The James Beard Foundation has announced the food industry's picks for top chef of
1999. Nominees include New York chefs, Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu), Alfred Portale
(Gotham Bar & Grill), and Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin; Patrick O-Connell of The Inn at
Little Washington (Va.); and Charlie Trotter (Charlie Trotter's) in Chicago. The winner
will be announced in early May, along with best regional restaurant, best new chef, best
restaurant, outstanding cookbook, and outstanding food writing (Food Channel is
expecting a call any minute).
What's A Chef Worth?
Forbes recently featured the Celebrity 100 list in its March 22
issue, and celebrity chefs
were rubbing elbows with the best of them. Wolfgang Puck, not surprisingly, tops the
list with a net worth of $10.5 million. After that, you'd have to be a New Yorker or a
foodie to recognize the rest: Jean-Georges Vongerichten at $2.1 million, Nobuyuki
Matsuhisa at $.75 million, and Daniel Boulud at $.7 million.
No doubt even celebrity chefs occasionally serve as personal cooks for the rich and
famous. But you don't have to be a millionaire to be treated like one. Increasingly,
people are hiring personal chefs to cook for them in their homes or deliver a few meals
to them, just as they hire cleaning services and nannies to offset their busy schedules.
Dine by Design, Delectable Dishes, and Active Wellness are just a few of the many
personal-chef services available in New York city, according to Karen Angel of the New
York Post. And the U.S. Personal Chef Association, a group that trains personal chefs,
claims it referred 277 callers to various chefs in New York who were looking for
something more than catering. Now that more and more career-starters are aspiring to
the cooking profession and filling up the CIA and other cooking schools, you can expect
certified chefs to become a much more available commodity in the job pool.
New Product Trends: Coca-Water
With the same speed that ketchup companies jumped on the salsa
trend a decade ago, The Coca-Cola Company announced it is
launching a new brand to capitalize on the bottled-water trend. The
product, called Dasani, now makes it exceptionally convenient (along
with Pepsi's Aquafina) for American consumers to go to any one of
the ubiquitous cola machines around the country and choose safe,
pure, refreshing water to drink. According to the press release,
Dasani will be available in 20-ounce (single-serve and multipack of
six), 1-liter and 1.5-liter sizes. And in case you haven't been keeping
track, Dasani is the seventh brand The Coca-Cola Company has
added to its U.S. line over the past five years: Surge (1997), Citra
(1997), Barq's (acquired in 1995), Cool from Nestea (1996), Fruitopia