Celebrity chefs are, in many ways, our culinary tastemakers. You see Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood critique enough Victoria sponges on GBBO and suddenly you want to make all of the Victoria sponges. You watch Guy Fieri eat enough cheesy, greasy food at diners, drive-ins, and dives and suddenly you’re in the mood for a chili dog. After enough times bingeing Hell’s Kitchen, you’re determined that you’ll not be the idiot sandwich and you will make the perfect scallop.
However, some food trends seem to pop up out of nowhere. One bakery makes a rainbow-hued bagel and then suddenly every bakery is making rainbow-hued bagels. You see one oversized, extravagant milkshake on Instagram and then suddenly everybody’s dying to slurp down on pounds and pounds of ice cream topped with equal amounts of sugary candy. And when these trends pop up all on their own, our fav celeb chefs have a thing or two to say about them.
Wondering what your favorite celebrity chef has to say about the most recent food trends? Here are 14 popular food trends celeb chefs can’t stand.
Martha Stewart doesn’t care for the plant-based eating fad
Mention Martha Stewart and the name likely conjures up images of perfectly laid tables, beautiful banquet spreads, and expertly decorated domestic spaces. Martha Stewart is known for creating spaces of tranquility and tables filled with nourishing, delicious food. So why would Martha Stewart hate on plant-based eating? Well, as Stewart told the Vancouver Sun, it’s not that she doesn’t like plant-based foods or even vegetarianism or veganism. It’s the "fad" part of "plant-based eating fad" that she doesn’t care for.
She assures readers that plant-based eating is a good thing and here to stay — so you might be making a big mistake by just chalking it all up to a passing trend. In fact, Stewart is so behind plant-based food options that, in 2020, she lent her face to a Subway Canada commercial for the chain’s Beyond Meat Meatballs, featuring in its vegetarian-friendly meatball subs. Stewart credits a range of factors for a movement that she reaffirms is definitely not a fad at all, pointing not only toward the wealth of plant-based options diners have to pick from, but also tp the environmental ramifications of meat-heavy diets.
Nigella Lawson isn’t interested in the clean eating trend
Nigella Lawson has been pretty outspoken regarding her opinions on diet foods and restrictive eating, so a Good Housekeeping article claiming that she "loathes" the terms "healthy food" and "clean eating" isn’t so surprising. "I wouldn’t want a life where I lived on chia seed pudding, just as I wouldn’t want a life where I lived on eggs Benedict or steak and chips," Lawson said. "You can guarantee that what people think will be good for you this year, they won’t next year."
And Lawson has a point. Over time, the recommended "healthy" diets and health foods have changed vastly, as science continues to prove and disprove past assumptions, so what’s considered healthy today may not be considered healthy tomorrow. As Business Insider notes, only a few decades ago, healthy food fads and trends included items like radioactive water. Even more recently, Vitamin Water was all the rage and considered healthy, despite the fact that the drink includes 33 grams of sugar.
Gordon Ramsay has a few choice words for foam foods
Foam foods have gained quite a lot of attention over the last few decades. A modern culinary technique brought to you by the same man behind molecular gastronomy (via Great British Chefs), a foamed food is simply any liquid food item that’s been either pumped up with air or watered down, typically via tools such as an immersion blender or an espuma gun, which uses nitrous oxide to turn foods to foam.
You can find both savory and sweet foams, and both are typically popular at fine dining restaurants of a certain bent. And Gordon Ramsay is firmly not a fan, at least where savory foams are concerned. "Sometimes they look like toxic scum in a stagnant pool," he told PopSugar as he recounted a bone marrow foam that he tried while in Russia. He feels a little bit better about dessert foams, though, and even serves a citrus foam on top of a pineapple carpaccio as part of the Hell’s Kitchen menu.
Gordon Ramsay doesn’t want truffle oil touching his food
In the same PopSugar article, Gordon Ramsay went off on truffle oil, too, noting, in true Ramsay-explicit style, "The worst thing, for me, is truffle oil. That thing needs to be let down […] This thing needs to be let out in tiny, tiny, little [amounts]."
But Ramsay is definitely not alone when it comes to his hate of truffle oil. Many, many chefs have spoken out about this popular addition that’s made its way to topping just about everything on a menu, from truffle oil fries to truffle oil burgers to truffle oil pasta. And while a little bit of truffle oil can be tasty, sometimes less is more, as Ramsay points out. That’s especially true when you consider that most truffle oil doesn’t even include truffles and is, in fact, made from a lab-created synthetic product that supposedly doesn’t even taste like real truffles, according to Kitchen Stories.
Giada De Laurentiis agrees — keep truffle oil out of her kitchen
For Giada De Laurentiis, it sounds like she may think that some chefs are using truffle oil in everything simply because they think it automatically upgrades their food or makes them seem a little more knowledgeable than they are. As she told Bravo, "It doesn’t make you more of a gourmet cook to use truffle in everything. It’s very overpowering. Use in moderation! It’s been overused a little too much."
And using truffle oil in moderation won’t just rank your cooking a little bit higher in De Laurentiis’s estimation. It may also save you quite a bit of money, too. While imitation truffle oil that’s filled with synthetic stuff can be relatively affordable for the average home cook, real truffle oil made at home using genuine truffles can be extravagantly expensive, thanks to truffles’ wild price of $1,000 to $5,000 per pound. Kitchen Stories notes that, if you’re really dying for that true truffle flavor, but are operating on a budget, you’d be best going with truffle salt.
Martha Stewart rounds out the trio of truffle oil haters
Whereas Giada De Laurentiis cautions cooks to use truffle oil in moderation and Gordon Ramsay says to use it in "tiny, tiny, little [amounts]," Martha Stewart’s hatred for truffle oil seems to run a little bit deeper. At the 2018 Mohegan Sun Wine and Food Festival, TODAYasked Stewart if there were any ingredients that she refused to use, and she reported back, "Oh, I would never use truffle oil, oh never."
She added, "It’s bad. They’ve done many studies on truffle oil. It’s synthetic, it’s fake, it’s horrible. It clings to your tastebuds, it’s a hideous thing. Forget truffle oil." So, if you’re looking for Stewart’s approval, you’d best steer entirely clear of the truffle oil, at least if you know what’s good for you.
And if you think Stewart’s reaction to truffle oil is over the top, she’s not alone in her dramatics. Serious Eats noted that comparing truffle oil to real truffles was downright blasphemous, while yet another at the Houston Press said that truffle oil is "a sham, it’s bad for you, and it’s just downright evil."
Mary Berry thinks you could use avocado in far better places than on toast
Avocado toast, no matter how delicious it is, has unfortunately received a pretty poor reputation as the downfall of millennials. If only millennials would spend less money on avocado toast, they could all buy houses! And pay off their student debt! And have children! But the supposed economic impacts of avocado toast aren’t the primary reason why Mary Berry doesn’t care for the popular brunch item.
Instead, the GBBO judge said in an interview with Hello! that avocado toast is basically a waste of avocado. She also mentioned the retro food fad that she’d rather see in avocado toast’s place, saying, "Better to add them to a prawn cocktail or to a little plate of smoked salmon or shrimps. And I love prawn cocktail – it’s so retro! […] People used to laugh at prawn cocktail because it felt dated, but it’s coming back."
Mary Berry also raises an eyebrow at those interesting restaurant presentations
In Hello!, Mary Berry likewise mentioned the absurdity of certain restaurant presentations. "Serving food on slate tiles? Oh no — that’s all very gimmicky," she said. "And I don’t like it when a plate is zigzagged with sauce across it or dropped in little blobs in circles."
While some diners might be entertained by the odd restaurant presentations that are becoming increasingly trendy, it seems we’re all quite self-aware of just how ridiculous some of the restaurant presentations out there are — and they go far beyond Mary Berry’s disliked sauce zigzags and blobs.
Just take a look at the popular Twitter account We Want Plates, which was started in 2015 and has since amassed a following of more than 155,000 people. All would rather eat off some simple plates than some of the interesting restaurant presentations they’ve been served, including everything from one user’s experience with Wagyu beef draped over a knock-off Barbie doll to another’s confrontation with mozzarella sticks served in a Croc (yes, the shoe).
Alton Brown is not amused by molecular gastronomy
But before there was avocado toast or dessert served atop VHS cases, there was molecular gastronomy, the trendiest of all food trends. In a blog post that has since been deleted from his website, Alton Brown served up his beef against molecular gastronomy. Luckily, Kitchn made note of the deleted post, so we still have a glimpse of his insights.
Now, at first glance, you might think that Brown would be a fan of molecular gastronomy. His long-running Food Network show "Good Eats", after all, was all about the science behind how cooking really works. But, as Kitchn says, "Alton believes that the popularity and labeling of such things [as molecular gastronomy] creates cooks who are less interested in the more ‘basic’ skills of cooking … [T]his new breed of chef who is label-driven is more interested in the cool tricks and less concerned with the proper cooking of an egg."
It’s not an unfair point. It could be the case that, like the above chef who served Gordon Ramsay a foam made from bone marrow, some are using molecular gastronomy to simply do something because they can, without ever asking if they should.
Alton Brown would also like everyone to stop obsessing over Southern food
It’s true: Southern food has experienced a renaissance. Just look at the explosion of fried chicken sandwiches, for instance. According to Us, Alton Brown says he’s "tired" of anything made in the Southern United States being slapped with the "Southern food" label. He recommends that we all just focus on good food versus bad food, admitting he’s "over labels" and that "we’ve beaten Southern food about to death."
Besides, just because you’re calling something "Southern" doesn’t make it so. For example, Brand Eating reported that 7-Eleven opened a Southern-inspired fried chicken restaurant in Manhattan. However, the Southern authenticity is certainly up for question, especially when you consider that Southern cuisine as a whole is evolving rapidly. Sure, if you cross into the South, you can still find your barbecue, your meat-and-three’s and your farm-to-table fare, but, as Thrillist points out, you can also find a range of international cuisines that are claiming traditionally Southern ingredients and foodways as their own, and to great success.
So, maybe think of Alton Brown’s advice the next time you proclaim you love Southern cuisine when really you just love a good piece of fried chicken or a bowl of cheesy grits.
Tyler Florence has even stronger feelings against molecular gastronomy
Whereas Alton Brown says he’s concerned that the trendiness of molecular gastronomy might distract chefs from creating truly good, well-made dishes, Tyler Florence doesn’t hold back at all. In a New York Magazine interview, he says, "I think Ferran Adria [the creator of molecular gastronomy] sparked a lot of interest in people. In the right hands, that kind of food is mind-blowing; it makes you think about things. But the ripple effect of that, of the guys who are trying to knock him off […] it’s just gross. It’s terrible, it’s disgusting, it’s horrible cooking."
Florence goes on to name the worst thing he’s ever eaten, a meal which was borderline molecular gastronomy, as a dish at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Venice that was made up of reconstituted salt cod on a bed of what he describes without restraint as nothing more than "friggin’ Cocoa Puffs."
Guy Fieri wants you to do your own grocery shopping
Whereas a lot of the celebrity chefs on this list are spewing their hate for food trends that have been around for quite a while, such as truffle oil and molecular gastronomy, Guy Fieri’s most-hated food trend is actually pretty new. In fact, it reached brand-new heights over the COVID-19 pandemic, but Fieri was proclaiming his dislike for this trend before it even really became a trend, way back in 2015. What does he dislike so much? Online grocery shopping.
In a blog for Food Network, he admitted that buying groceries online fills him with "worry and anticipation of what’s coming," saying, "I want to smell those oranges, I want to see those bananas, I want to feel, I want to look at those beets. I want to see the asparagus. I know the picture, but you’re not going to send me that exact asparagus."
The chef further went on to say he loves going to the grocery store in person, specifically to shop for whatever he’s actually going to cook that day. The only thing he doesn’t like when it comes to the in-person shopping experience? Carts with wobbly wheels.
Anthony Bourdain found your fancy burger "dismaying"
At some point in time, burgers became so much more than just burgers. Gourmet burgers made of high-class ingredients began popping up on fine-dining menus. Burger toppings started to include not just your basic lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, cheese, but branched out to include all sorts of fancy things, from aioli to the hated truffle oil to bacon jams and pork belly. But when is enough finally enough?
And as the late, great Anthony Bourdain noted in a Food & Wine interview, "It’s dismaying, but I completely understand the impulse. What chef wants to die broke? And let’s face it: Burgers are good. But it is definitely a little dismaying, any time you see really great chefs cooking below their abilities by putting out a burger."
In the same interview, though, Bourdain does say that he’s not "categorically" against food trends, just "dismayed" or "annoyed" as the situation requires, admitting that he’s a "jaded foodie observer" and that sometimes food trends are at least based on good ideas. Still, next time you’re in the midst of a burger craving, considering keeping it simple.
Alex Guarnaschelli is annoyed that food trends exist at all
Lastly, Alex Guarnaschelli says what you — that is, if you’re a foodie who loves a good food fad and trying the next big thing at brunch and posting it all over your social media, anway — may have been thinking throughout this entire article: leave my trends alone!
She tells Us, "I wish people would stop calling a doughnut, or a cupcake of any kind, a trend. I wish the trend of labeling things a trend would go away. For me, a doughnut, and a cupcake, they’re just eternal. So is a muffin and a scone. I think they should be left alone."
So, if you found yourself offended by a certain chef’s dislike for truffle oil or Mary Berry looking down on avocado toast, follow in the footsteps of Guarnaschelli and hold on to your favorite food trend that will be, for you, eternal. Have fun with it, even if Martha Stewart rips your favorite truffle oil brand a new one. Lie in bed and order all of your groceries from your phone, even if it means disappointing a personage no less than the Mayor of Flavor Town. After all, as Nigella Lawson notes, these trends are here one day and gone the next, so you might as well enjoy them while you can.