The food world and pop culture world are essentially one and the same these days. With the rise of the celebrity chef, those who used to remain holed up in the kitchen are now in the spotlight on TV. But, chefs aren’t just tied to the Food Network or Sunday morning PBS shows. They’re even appearing on primetime sitcoms. And they’re surprisingly funny. (except for Emeril Lagasse’s short-lived sitcom, but we won’t talk about that.) Here are a few of our favorite celebrity chef sitcom cameos:
Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, and Gordon Ramsay on The Simpsons
The Simpsons has been on television for approximately a billion years, so it’s no surprise that a few celebrity chefs have come through Springfield. The prime meeting of the culinary world and the Simpson family came during the season 23 episode “The Food Wife.” The 2011 episode largely skewers foodie culture, and while Marge, Bart, and Lisa bond over their love of classy cuisine, Homer feels left out. This all comes to a head in a bizarre dream sequence in which Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, and Gordon Ramsay dine with three of the five Simpsons and Ramsay chews out Marge for inviting the philistine Homer to a high-end restaurant in a profanity-laden rant.
Robert Irvine on Melissa & Joey
Celebrity chef Robert Irvine can fix any restaurant’s issues, but what he can’t apparently do is cook salmon to Joey Lawrence’s preference. In a particularly memorable episode of this family-friendly sitcom, Melissa Joan Hart and her TV husband are having a fight that just so happens to come in the middle of a planned dinner. Instead of pausing their fight for a night out on the town, their tensions boil over to Irvine’s salmon course, which Hart and Irvine think is cooked to perfection but Lawrence thinks is still swimming upstream.
Gordon Ramsay on New Girl
Gordon Ramsay may have been a flurry of anger and slurs on The Simpsons, but he played a much more sympathetic role on a recent episode of FOX’s New Girl. During the 2017 Valentine’s Day episode, Zooey Deschanel’s Jess is in denial about her feelings for her roommate/on-again, off-again boyfriend Nick and is spending Valentine’s Day alone with a specially prepared meal from a mystery “celebrity chef.” And who would’ve known?! It’s Gordon Ramsay! After he cooks Jess some of his signature scallops, he throws the dish on the floor and plays therapist, yelling (somewhat kindly) at her until she admits she isn’t sad but angry. Gordon Ramsay: Michelin star chef, television personality, and life coach.
Michael Voltaggio on Suburgatory
Top Chef season six winner Michael Voltaggio guest starred on a 2013 episode of this Jeremy Sisto vehicle as a chef who cooked a 18-course Valentine’s Day menu (that of course Sisto’s George is eating by himself). At the end of the $600 dinner for one, George asks who made an insane pork belly and veal tongue hash finished with shards of micro-beak in a freshly-lambed foam. It was then that Voltaggio said his only line: "I did. I lambed it this morning,” while covered in blood.
Rachael Ray (and Others) on Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
With the absence of Melissa McCarthy’s Sookie in Netflix’s 2016 Gilmore Girls revival, someone has to take over the kitchen at the Dragonfly Inn. In comes a rotation of celebrity chefs, both in person and in passing mention. And, as might be expected, none of their food is up to the standards of Lorelai’s small-town palate. Roy Choi is dismissed for being little more than “a food truck guy” and a “tweeter” and Rachael Ray barely makes it a day in the kitchen after serving up countless sandwiches and soups. But plenty of big-name chefs have apparently tried to brave the kitchen at the inn and failed, including Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, Alice Waters, and Ina Garten.