Does Nepotism Exist In The Pop Culture Food World?

Have you ever used a social connection to land a job? Whether you have or haven't, chances are that the person sitting next to you probably has. According to a survey reported by The Guardian, nearly seven out of every 10 young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 bank on their family's connections to land their very first job. Other studies show that about 80% of open positions are filled with the use of social connections, and — more shockingly — only 30% of all job openings are actually posted on freely accessible job boards (via CNBC).

While nepotism is hardly a new concept, its connection with Hollywood is a hot topic that the world simply can't get enough of. Kept alive by savvy TikTokers who like to unearth the genealogy of the latest debutant in their free time, few nepo babies of Hollywood have escaped the sizzling fire of nepotism (via The Face). But that makes one wonder: Is Hollywood the only industry plagued with nepotism? 

Per The Takeout, the food industry, for one, is also riddled with nepotism. Several famous chefs that have ruled television screens for years are, in fact, what you'd call nepo babies, and their offspring are rapidly becoming reality show stars with fan followings of their own.

The new generation of nepo babies

While several famous actors and socialites have their own cooking shows without any qualifications except a self-proclaimed passion for cooking, the most famous nepo baby in the pop culture food world is, perhaps, Brooklyn Beckham. When Beckham turned his quarantine hobby into an expensive cooking show with a $100,000 budget per episode, many called out the "Cookin' With Brooklyn" star's lack of professional experience and the Beckhams' ties to Gordon Ramsay, who reportedly advised them to fund the show (via New York Post).

Ramsay himself once said that he'd never hire his own kids and explained that he'd tell them to "f*** off to another chef, learn something different and come back with something new to improve the business" (via Metro). Nevertheless, his youngest daughter Matilda "Tilly" Ramsay, was making a guest appearance on "Hell's Kitchen" and "Masterchef Junior" when she was just 10 years old, per IMDb. At 21, Tilly has her own cooking show and a cookbook, which makes it hard not to wonder whether her famous surname played a part in her early success.

Then, there are the Deen Brothers — Bobby and Jamie — who make frequent appearances on Food Network shows with or without their mother, Paula. There's also Bobby Flay's daughter who, though studies journalism, has her own Food Network bio, and Hunter Fieri, whose induction in the world of food began with a monthlong trip across Europe with his dad, which then turned into the five-episode special "Guy and Hunter's European Vacation."

Chefs that you didn't know were actually nepo babies

Vulture divides nepo babies into three categories: "The classic nepo babies, inheritors of famous names and famous features;" "[Those] who got a leg up from family connections even if they were not famous per se;" and "industry babies...whose artist parents supplied the necessary cultural capital." While Tilly, Brooklyn, Hunter, Sophie, and the Deen Brothers are classic nepo babies with surnames that carry serious weight, others may have established themselves as skilled chefs now but began as nepo babies decades ago.

The most notable food celeb is Giada De Laurentiis and her illustrious family of prestigious Italian cinema stars (via CheatSheet). Her parents were both actors, her maternal great-grandmother Silvana Mangano starred in David Lynch's "Dune", and her maternal grandfather was the famous producer Dino De Laurentiis. The Food Network star once confessed that the network approached her only after reading a Food & Wine article that featured what she, and more importantly, her star-studded family ate, according to Eater.

Another industry baby-turned-Food Network star is Alex Guarnaschelli, whose mother was Maria Guarnaschelli — a big name in the world of cookbook editors. According to her bio, Alex credits her mother for her "global education in food as she was raised on the cuisine of whatever book her mother happened to be working on at the time." The only thing that really matters, however, is whether a nepo baby in the food world can establish themselves as a skilled enough chef regardless of how they got their start in the first place.