Which Celebrity Chefs Won 2012 Slideshow

Paula Deen

We’re sorry Paula Deen; we know you dropped 30 pounds and two pant sizes (congratulations!) but your 2012 was not good, to put it mildly. The Paula Deen blooper video? A mess. Your diabetes diagnosis spilled by the Daily? A mess. That insane lawsuit against you and your brother for sexual harassment and racial discrimination? Hot mess — and not in a good way. Sure, you made a ton of money from your diabetes deal, but even your publicist quit. That's never a good sign.

Verdict: Lose

Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri is definitely not the best chef in America, and somehow Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar opened smack dab in the middle of Times Square this year. And it makes sense. And it got torn apart.

The Village Voice and the New York Post both ripped apart Fieri’s restaurant, but the ultimate burn was Pete Wells’ scathing review of the place, composed entirely of questions. And yet, we still have to give it to Fieri; people started dining at his restaurant ironically, Twitterers jumped to Fieri’s defense, and you know, the guy did get to go on Broadway for a role in Rock of Ages. Plus, he does get paid $100,000 an hour for speaking.

Verdict: Inadvertent Win

Anthony Bourdain

Somehow, Bourdain managed to piss off folks over at Travel Channel, smack-talk them about advertising decisions, and then move on to CNN with Parts Unknown, taking his entire staff with him. He shot and promoted No Reservations and The Layover all the way through, continuously bashing Travel Channel in the meantime. And during that, he got paid to get tattoos at SXSW and eat a ton of food. Did we mention he’s also married to kickass MMA fighter Ottavia Bourdain?

Verdict: Win. Obviously.

Sandra Lee

We may not like Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa cake as much as the next guy, but somehow the first lady of New York managed to maintain her reign as the most unperturbed ice queen in the industry. She called out a New York Times reporter for pushing her on Governor Cuomo questions, snagged a Daytime Emmy award, and launched a lifestyle magazine while working on two new shows. And despite the craziness that is her Christmas tree, we imagine she just might be the next Martha Stewart.

Verdict: Win

Martha Stewart

Speaking of, while we love Martha Stewart, her company doesn’t seem to be doing too well. They essentially killed off Whole Living and Everyday Food, right after Hurricane Sandy at that, and while PBS did pick up Stewart's show, it doesn’t seem like there’s much traction. On the bright side, she’s producing a lifestyle sitcom called the Tao of Martha, which might be less annoying than Julie & Julia, so we’re not too disappointed in the domestic goddess. But really, laying people off right after Sandy?

Verdict: Lose, but we’re looking forward to a better 2013

Wolfgang Puck

Remember when Wolfgang Puck was in charge of the Academy Awards food? Yes, that was a big deal. Also, he tossed pizza dough with Aziz Ansari. Also, he launched a money-making line of coffee. And also, he’s a guest judge on Top Chef. Did we mention he posts adorable thank you videos on Twitter?

Verdict: Win

Mario Batali

Earlier in the year, we were expecting Batali to have a mediocre year, what with all the worker lawsuits over tip-skimming (Batali and  Joe Bastianich had to pay some $5.25 million over the first lawsuit). But then, Batali joined The Chew, which was renewed for a second season, and announced a new Eataly location in Chicago. Also, did we mention that Eataly earned Batali and Bastianich some $85 million in its second year?

Verdict: Win

Jamie Oliver

He basically put pink slime producer Beef Products Inc. out of business.*

*With the help of the media. And got sued for it.

Verdict: Win

Gordon Ramsay

Ramsay might be the highest-paid chef (according to Forbes), but the poor guy is never without a lawsuit. Granted, he often files these lawsuits himself, but really how much beef does one person need? First, there was that whole fiasco with his father-in-law (granted, that was at the end of last year), then some more hacked emails, another lawsuit with a publicist, a huffy story with The Guardian that kept asking him about the aforementioned lawsuits, and then he plays soccer with some pros, gets hurt, and leaves the field on a stretcher. Can’t the guy catch a break?

Verdict: Lose

Weber Cooks

This guy. We just want to give him a hug and tell him it’ll all be OK.

Verdict: Lose