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As seen on TV

Pop culture cashing in on cooking

  • Rick Bayless
Rick Bayless (Michael Tercha/Chicago…)
January 08, 2012|By Georgia Garvey, RedEye

Culinary stars have always taken to the airwaves to show their talent – people like Rachael Ray, Graham Kerr and Emeril Lagasse wouldn't be household names if it weren't for those who came before them.

But the new generation of cooking shows – and the kitchen masters who inhabit them – continue to be hot properties on cable and network programming. According to TV ratings from zap2it, almost 1.7 million people watched the Dec. 7 episode of "Top Chef" and more than 6 million watched the season finale of "Hell's Kitchen."

So who are the hot TV chefs on the air now, ones who might be 2012's Julia Child or Jeff "The Frugal Gourmet" Smith? RedEye serves up a heaping helping of some of the more visible culinary artists on the small screen.

PAULA DEEN

Show: "Paula's Party," "Paula's Home Cooking," "Paula's Best Dishes"

Specialty: Southern cooking, but not the healthy recipes. The ones that include "four sticks of butter" as their first ingredient.

Known for: Butter. Lots and lots and lots of butter.

TOM COLICCHIO

Show: "Top Chef"

Specialty: Steak, in all its many and mellifluous multilayers.

Known for: Creating new uses for variations on the word "craft" with his restaurant names, including Craftsteak and Wichcraft, a sandwich place.

GUY FIERI

Show: "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," "Guy's Big Bite," "Minute to Win It"

Specialty: Eating hot dogs, chili dogs, chili cheese dogs, hamburgers with chili cheese dogs on them, and generally, food that could be featured in "This Is Why You're Fat."

Known for: That hair. Also, a sense of personal style that mimics Tom Arnold at a tattoo parlor.

GIADA DE LAURENTIIS

Show: "Everyday Italian," "Giada's Weekend Getaways"

Specialty: Pronouncing Italian ingredients like "prosciutto" and "spaghetti" in really annoying ways.

Known for: Being hot, cooking food that she does not appear to be eating much of.

RICK BAYLESS

Show: "Mexico: One Plate At A Time"

Specialty: Mexican food, Mexican ingredients, Mexican drinks. Basically, being more Mexican than Mexico.

Known for: Being chef and owner of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Xoco restaurants in Chicago, also for being sportswriter and commentator Skip Bayless' brother (OK, not so much the last one).

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