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The Nepo babies of the food world

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Chart: Vicky Leta

The 2022 nepo baby speech was a powder keg, and this week, vulture leave the game. On Monday, the entertainment news site publishedHow a baby Nepo was borna survey by senior writer Nate Jones that explores our collective obsession with famous children of famous parents (i.e. the products of nepotism).

None of this is new – Hollywood has always been filled with the offspring of A-listers entering open houses for them – but TikTok has recently latched onto the phenomenon with such fervor that celebrities are now being questioned bluntly. about what they think of being considered so-called nepo babies, and few have provided gracious responses. Naturally, all of this leads us to ask ourselves: Who are the nepo babies of the food world?

The nepo babies of the food scene

One strain of nepotism isn’t exactly equal to another, at least not in terms of the status, power, glamor, and fame it can get you. A few Food Network stars, for example, are the children of skilled chefs and restaurateurs, but learning a trade from one’s parents is not the same as nepotism. Here’s how Jones puts it in vulture:

Better to imagine nepo babies on a spectrum. At the top are the classic nepo babies, heirs to famous names and famous traits: Dakota Johnson, Maya Hawke, Jack Quaid. The next level includes people who have benefited from family ties even though they were not famous per se. These include the likes of Lena Dunham, whose artist parents provided the necessary cultural capital, as well as “industry babies” like Billie Eilish, daughter of an actress, and Kristen Stewart, whose mother was the script supervisor on The Flintstones at Viva Rock Vegas […] And we can probably draw a line under personalities like Paris Hilton, for whom the term rich people is already enough.

For our purposes, let’s focus on people whose parents are actual celebrities in one way or another (food-related or not) and whose children rose to prominence after the fame of their parents has long been established. Fair?

Scrolling through celebrity chefs, Cooking Channel hosts and Food Network stars, one finds a refreshingly small amount of people who could be considered nepo babies.

Giada From Laurentiis

The longtime Food Network star, who rose to prominence as a chef at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago before hosting the series. EverydayItalian In 2003 he published a dozen cookbooks and won numerous Daytime Emmy awards. De Laurentiis is the eldest daughter of Italian-American actress Veronica De Laurentiis and Alex De Benedetti, executive producer of Evil Dead 2, of all things. Giada’s maternal grandparents were also celebrities: Italian movie star Silvana Mangano and famed film producer Dino De Laurentiis. Giada studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

His Wikipedia The page is vague about how she got her start at the Food Network, saying simply that she “was contacted by the Food Network after she styled an article in Food & Wine magazine in 2002.” However, her Food Network biography states, “Giada’s career began on the Food Network in 2002 when she was discovered by a network executive after reading an article about her and the De Laurentiis family in Food & Wine magazine. .”

So while Giada’s skill set has taken her far in the 20 years since her cable debut, who knows if she would have had the opportunity without a feature-worthy mother and grandfather in a refined gastronomic publication.

Bobby and Jamie Deen

These burly boys have their own page on their mother Paula Deen’s official website. Isn’t that sweet? Paula, an established icon of Southern cuisine, began her tenure with the Food Network in 2002 with the premiere of Paula’s home cooking, a series in which Bobby and Jamie often starred. Although Paula was anything but rubbed On the Food Network’s website following various public controversies, the boys went on to hold the odd Baking Championship Here and There after their mother’s contract ended in 2013.

Bobby and Jamie aren’t nepo babies so much; Rather, they appear to be somewhat less engaging satellite personalities to their mother’s formidable screen presence, two members of a family-run restaurant business who enjoyed a solid decade on the small screen. The boys have written half a dozen cookbooks together, a rather innocuous way of capitalizing on a name that was on far more lips a decade ago.

Sophie Flay

“Sophie Flay grew up in New York, surrounded by some of the best chefs and restaurants in the world.” Thus begins the Food Network Bio for the daughter of the greatest thing that ever happened to a culinary cable channel, Bobby Flay. He continues, “Sophie is currently a community reporter for ABC7 in Los Angeles, a position the young reporter got shortly after graduating from the University of Southern California, with a degree in broadcast and digital journalism.”

Anyone else see the nepo bat signal there? That’s right: the word “soon”. This is a pretty high profile gig to have gotten so quickly after graduation, but I mean no disrespect to Sophie’s skills and screen presence, which I assume are substantial, especially since his father is someone who has the gravity to get away with inserting his name into the title of virtually every Food Network TV show ever produced.

Besides appearances on her father’s flagship programs, Sophie also stars alongside Bobby on Food Network shows. The list of flies and Bobby and Sophie on the coast. Not a nepo “food” baby, per se, but still someone with all the right people in her corner while she hustles.

Fieri Hunter

Just as young Simba learned from childhood that the kingdom of Mustafa would one day be his own, 26-year-old Hunter Fieri has spent the past decade carefully positioned in front of the camera alongside his larger-than-life father, the chef Guy Fieri, as they head to America’s Best Restaurants, Drive-Ins and Dive-Ins. It is predicted that one day young Hunter will assume his rightful place as mayor of Flavortown.

But is is its rightful place? Does anyone… like Hunter that much? Does anyone care if they like a chef’s poke bowl or think the tenderloin is next level? Of course it is offered the occasional profilebut his TV show in collaboration with Shell service stations has such a small online footprint that Google kept suggesting the wrong results.

Hunter just doesn’t seem comfortable in front of the camera and he’s had half his life to train. Ultimately, his milquetoast TV career helps us better understand Guy’s secret sauce: you need Something loud enough to make people laugh at you, like flames or spiky hair or a set of embarrassing catchphrases. Without those toeholds, there’s nothing to hold on to, and you look like, well, a nepo baby.

Brooklyn Beckham

Hunter Fieri can take comfort in the fact that he is at least 1,000 times more charismatic than Brooklyn Beckham, son of Spice Girl Victoria and soccer star David Beckham. The king of culinary nepo babies, recently married to a 23-year-old billionaire, has worn many hats during his short time on Earth – football player, model, photographer – but in 2021 it was decided (maybe by algorithm) that Brooklyn “would try his hand at becoming a professional chef”, as Wikipedia so aptly put it.

The boy’s efforts deserve our attention, if only to see the obvious downside of nepotism: the expectation that you will turn into something fabulous. quickly, in front of an audience that will be more amused if you fail. Brooklyn’s guest spot on Rachel Ray’s show is painful to watch, because he’s been a cook for so little time that he hasn’t yet learned how to banter while incorporating spices into ground beef. Worse still could be his appearance in the kitchen alongside James Corden to The late showhis canned laugh quickly reverting to a frown as he drops a clove of garlic trying to peel it.

“I’m a weirdo in the kitchen” he says Hustlethen prepare a gin and tonic.

It’s possible that Brooklyn will change its mind about being a chef in the coming years. It might even get better. But until we see which of these results we’re heading towards, we can probably turn off the cameras and cancel the airtime deals while he figures it all out.

Nepo babies will always be there

Admittedly, most of these examples seem at least somewhat innocuous. Even though he got the job thanks to his mother’s success, it’s pretty hard to argue that Jamie Deen stole someone else’s hard-earned opportunity by starring in Road tested (2006).

By the way, there’s probably a reason why you can’t immediately name countless nepo babies in the food world. The kitchen, for all its pomp and circumstance, can be an absolute slug– an unglamorous assault, from below, of late nights, verbal beatings and deeply flawed visionaries whose most popular creations are still relatively unknown. This anonymity, which can turn a work of singular genius into a pile of contextless food atop a nondescript white plate, could be a bitter pill to swallow if you’re used to a life in the spotlight of your family.