Politician’s kids become politicians. Actor’s kids become actors – and most of them use their resemblance to their famous parents (hopefully, they’ve also inherited some talent) to start their careers. So, why not chefs’ kids?
Maybe that’s always been the case – think of Bocuse and his son Jerome, Michel Roux Sr. and Jr., or Elena Arzak. Restaurants in Europe have been handed down within a family, so following in your famous (or not-so-famous) parents’ profession was a necessity.
But has it been as true in the US? Give it time…after all, Bocuse and his generation of celebrity chefs are about 20 years or more years older than the first generation of US chefs to leave the anonymity of the kitchen behind – Wolfgang Puck, Charlie Palmer and others discussed in Super Chef. But we won’t have to wait long – since American chefs often start their kids earlier – way earlier.
The trick is figuring out if the offspring’s success is helping their own career or their parent’s career.
Consider a few recent examples of what chefs’ kids are doing:
Emeril Lagasse‘s daughters have penned their first cookbook, The Gluten Free Table: The Lagasse Girls Share Their Favorite Meals by Jilly Lagasse and Jessie Lagasse Swanson (Grand Central 2012). Don’t be fooled by the title, these aren’t “girls”, but grown up women, daughters of Emeril’s first marriage – his “girl” is Meril Lovelace Lagasse who at age seven is a few years away from her own cookbook (or is she?).
Mario Batali‘s two boys, Benno and Leo, are coming out with their cookbook, The Batali Brothers Cookbook (Ecco 2013). Both have been in the foodie spotlight along with other Italian-American cooking kids like Gale Gand‘s son Gio. Celebrity Chefs kids can help their parents reach younger customers – and instill important lessons on good diet choices. Chef’s kids lunchbox choices have long been a favorite topic for newspaper columnists.
Norman Van Aken‘s chef son, Justin co-wrote his father’s latest cookbook, My Key West Kitchen (Kyle Books 2012) – oddly, it is not entitled Our Key West Kitchen even though it includes reminiscences of both – and it is home to both chefs.
Of course, America’s most famous kids might be Paula Deen‘s two enterprising sons. Bobby Deen has probably made the most out of his mother’s diabetic confession, with his own Cooking Channel show, Not My Mama’s Meals – while still tied firmly to her meals at The Lady & Sons.
Bringing your kids into the family business is nothing new – and yet passing on celebrity to young progeny is not as common.