What Guy Fieri, Anthony Bourdain, and 14 Other TV Food Stars Looked Like Before They Were Famous

Editor
You think you know these celebrity chefs well, but can you recognize these 16 stars from when they were young?
Michael Symon

Michael Symon

What Guy Fieri, Anthony Bourdain, and 14 Other TV Food Stars Looked Like Before They Were Famous

What Guy Fieri, Anthony Bourdain, and 14 Other TV Food Stars Looked Like Before They Were Famous

Food Network, Paula Deen

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that everyone was young once. When it comes to celebrity chefs, we’re so accustomed to seeing them on television that it doesn’t even occur to some to think about what they might have looked like when they were younger. Well, it occurred to us, so we tracked down photos of 16 of the biggest TV food stars as youngsters.

Star #1

Star #1

Bobby Flay

Born and raised in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, this fourth-generation Irish-American has made a name for himself with his ubiquity on the Food Network, as well as his five restaurants and a chain of “burger palaces.”

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Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay made his first appearance on the Food Network in its earliest days and has had at least one show on the network at just about all times since then. He’s currently featured on Beat Bobby Flay, as well as Brunch at Bobby’s on the Cooking Channel.

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Star #2

Star #2

Cat Cora

The first female Iron Chef; she has also published several cookbooks.  

Cat Cora

Cat Cora

Cat Cora

Cat Cora co-hosted Bravo’s culinary competition series Around the World in 80 Plates with Curtis Stone. She also has her own line of gourmet Greek specialty foods called Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea; airport restaurants in San Francisco, Houston, and Salt Lake City, also under the same moniker; and her own cookware line. 

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Star #3

Star #3

Emeril Lagasse

This chef was king of Food Network for nearly a decade, has published multiple cookbooks, and runs a string of very successful restaurants.

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Emeril Lagasse

Emeril Lagasse

Kai Hecker/ Shutterstock

Bam! The Massachusetts-born Lagasse rose to fame as the host of Essence of Emeril, then hosted the network’s highest-rated show, Emeril Live, for years. Today he continues to write cookbooks and run his restaurants, and he hosts Emeril’s Florida on the Cooking Channel.

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Star #4

Star #4

Jeff Mauro

This Chicago-born “sandwich king” was the winner of the seventh season of Food Network Star

Jeff Mauro

Jeff Mauro

Jeff Mauro

The host of Food Network series Sandwich King, Mauro is also a co-host of The Kitchen with Geoffrey Zakarian, Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, and Marcela Valladolid and the co-owner or popular Chicago restaurant Pork & Mindy’s.

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Star #5

Star #5

Jeffrey Saad

This Next Food Network Star runner-up got his start working in a local diner kitchen at the age of 13. 

Jeffrey Saad

Jeffrey Saad

Jeffrey Saad

Host of the former Cooking Channel series United Tastes of America, Jeffrey Saad is a food fanatic. His cookbook, Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders, features 100 internationally inspired recipes. Founder of the Sweet Heat Mexican restaurant chain, Saad is partner and executive chef of The Grove in San Francisco and also a partner of Pasta Pomodoro.

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Star #6

Star #6

Johnny Iuzzini

This acclaimed pastry chef is also a frequent guest on Food Network programs.

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Johnny Iuzzini

Johnny Iuzzini

Johnny Iuzzini

Named Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2006, Johnny Iuzzini has been featured on Food Network, The Martha Stewart ShowTODAYGood Morning America, and served as head judge on Top Chef: Just Desserts. Iuzzini published two cookbooks: Dessert FourPlay in 2008 and Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking in 2014.

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Star #7

Star #7

Marcela Valladolid

Born in San Diego, this classically trained pastry chef started her own catering company in Tijuana, Mexico, after graduating from the Ritz Escoffier Cooking School in Paris.

Marcela Valladolid

Marcela Valladolid

Shutterstock

Marcela’s first Food Network show, Mexican Made Easy, premiered in January 2010, and she’s currently a co-host on The Kitchen along with Mauro, Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, and Geoffrey Zakarian

Star #8

Star #8

Marcus Samuelsson

Born Kassahun Tsegie in Ethiopia, this chef was raised in Sweden.

Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson

Paul Brissman

Marcus Samuelsson became the youngest chef to ever receive a three-star review from the New York Times, at age 24 for Aquavit. He's appeared as a judge on Top Chef, Iron Chef America, and Chopped, was a contestant on The Next Iron Chef, and won his season of Top Chef Masters in 2010. 

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Star #9

Star #9

Michael Symon

Winner of the first season of The Next Iron Chef, this Cleveland-born chef is a major player in the culinary scene there.

Michael Symon

Michael Symon

ICA

Appearing in everything from Dinner: Impossible to his own Cooking Channel show, Cook Like an Iron Chef, Michael Symon still has time to run his restaurants and also be a co-host of ABC’s The Chew.

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Star #10

Star #10

Nadia G

This quirky former Cooking Channel star was born in Montreal to a family of Italian immigrants.

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Nadia G

Nadia G

Nadia G

Born Nadia Giosia, Nadia G rose to fame as host of Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen on YouTube, which became a show on the Cooking Channel that ran for three seasons. Her Cooking Channel series Bite This With Nadia G launched in July 2014, and she’s also appeared on Iron Chef America, Chopped All-Stars, and Cutthroat Kitchen.

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Star #11

Star #11

Paula Deen

This Southern belle hosted a very popular Food Network show, and opened her flagship restaurant, The Lady & Sons, in Savannah in 1996.

Find more on The Lady & Sons here.

Paula Deen

Paula Deen

Paula Deen

Paula Deen hosted Paula’s Home Cooking, Paula’s Party, and Paula’s Best Dishes on Food Network, and today she runs her own online cooking network, the Paula Deen Network.

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Star #12

Star #12

Rachael Ray

This queen of television and print media started out in the kitchens at a specialty market in New York’s Upper East Side. 

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray has said her first memory is of her mother cooking in a restaurant kitchen. With cooks on both sides of her family, it’s no surprise that she ended up a culinary superstar. Passionate about all facets of food, she even launched a charity in 2006 called Yum-o!, which promotes healthy eating, teaches cooking, feeds hungry kids, and funds scholarships.

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Star #13

Star #13

Robert Irvine

This photo was taken in the star’s Royal Navy days, shortly before he became the muscleman he is today.

Robert Irvine

Robert Irvine

Robert Irvine

Robert Irvine hosts Restaurant: Impossible and Dinner: Impossible on Food Network and has also competed on Iron Chef America.

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Star #14

Star #14

Marc Murphy

This suave kid, the son of a diplomat, had lived in Milan, Paris, Rome, Genoa, and Washington, DC all before the age of 12. grew up to run several New York restaurants and also run a full-service catering company. 

Marc Murphy

Marc Murphy

Marc Murphy

Marc Murphy can frequently be seen as a judge on Chopped, and also runs restaurants Landmarc, Kingside, and Ditch Plains in New York, as well as Benchmarc catering company. 

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Star #15

Star #15

The Ferndale Museum

Born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised in Northern California, this chef earned his first dollar by selling pretzels as a kid and fell in love with food while studying as a foreign exchange student in France.

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Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Caesars Entertainment

The mayor of Flavortown first rose to fame as the winner of the second season of The Next Food Network Star in 2006, and today, repeated airings of his Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives show makes him the most ubiquitous presence on Food Network.

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Star #16

Star #16

njmg.typepad.com

This New York-born chef grew up in Jersey, and for a time sported a hairdo apparently inspired by the violinist from the band Kansas. He fell in love with food after first tasting a raw oyster on a fishing boat in France, and he graduated from the Culinary Institute of American in 1978.

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain

Travel Channel

After a lengthy stint as executive chef at New York’s now-shuttered Brasserie Les Halles, Anthony Bourdain blew up the culinary world with his expose Kitchen Confidential, which earned him a Food Network travel show called A Cook’s Tour. He leveraged that into No Reservations and The Layover on Travel Channel, and today he hosts CNN’s Parts Unknown.

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