Celebrity chefs: expanding empires

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to define key characteristics and income-generating activities of modern celebrity chefs based on a review of their operations in selected regions of the world. It also aims to examine business models, including growth through internationalisation, and attendant challenges. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Findings are based on analysis of secondary data from academic and practitioner materials in the public domain collected from a range of print and electronic sources. Findings ‐ Despite individual differences, celebrity chefs share certain defining characteristics and activities. They have risen to prominence in countries such as the UK and USA where they comprise a powerful commercial force and their influence is apparent in certain of the more economically advanced parts of East Asia, demonstrated by developments in Singapore. The trend can be seen as an example of globalisation, although securing the growth and sustainability of celebrity chef enterprises at home and abroad is a demanding task. Practical implications ‐ Commercial opportunities are explored as well as some of the problems to be resolved by stakeholders in the celebrity chef industry. Originality/value ‐ Research into aspects of the business of celebrity chefs is limited, especially with reference to selected East Asian markets, and the paper offers some new insights into the celebrity chef phenomenon there and more widely.

Keywords: Catering industry; Celebrities; Cooking; Globalization; Wealth and income

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00070701111131728

Publication date: May 17, 2011

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