Chefs, What Would It Take to Sell Yourselves to a Major Corporation?
Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since James Beard likened himself to a "gastronomic whore" after signing an endorsement deal with Jolly Green Giant to tout their Corn Niblets and wax beans in his recipes, culinary personalities shilling for food companies has been on the rise. A few notables include Food Network's Alton Brown hawking Welch's, Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio singing the praises of Diet Coke, and celebu-chef Rick Bayless raving about a Burger King chicken sandwich.
So what would it take for the Valley's chefs to sell their personalities to a major corporation? Here's what a few of them had to say.
As a general rule, I severely distrust major corporations. The two times I did anything with large corporate landlords ended in disaster, which further fostered my affinity for smaller independent business as partnerships. The situation would really have to be extraordinarily financially rewarding in addition to being something that I really believed in. So don't look for me on a frozen pizza box or Costco pancake mix anytime soon, but never say never.
First, I would have to have respect for the corporation and be assured that what they project would not dilute what I spent the last 40 years building. Second, a boatload of money.
It would take money! As long as I didn't have to get involved, they could even make "Chef Christopher's PETA Approved Faux Foie Gras" on a stick. I would take the money and run and open a place where I didn't need to make money -- a place where I could just cook.
A large enough check that would allow me to live a really good life off the interest. I'm thinking something to the tune of $10 million, plus residuals.