TV Moments Celeb Chefs Can Never Live Down

Long before cooking competitions were a popular concept on TV, much of celebrity chefs' popularity was driven and bolstered by their cooking shows, media interviews, and appearances on talk show cooking segments. Unfortunately for some, being in the business of food does not serve as a shield against the scrutiny that comes with being a celebrity. That's because, even with editors and tape delays, not every faux pas could simply be cut out of a broadcast, never to be aired or picked apart by viewers. Then again, even if these cringe-worthy moments could be edited out, sometimes it's that very faux pas that has made for the most compelling viewing.

Whether it's massive food failures, getting dragged by other chefs and celebrities, or quite simply being irresponsible with their words or inappropriate in their behavior, these celebrity chefs have each engaged in a television moment or two that they can never live down. Read on to see which ones will make you chuckle, which will enrage you, and which are just straight-up unforgivable.

Bobby Flay quits Iron Chef Showdown by revealing a T-shirt at the end of the show

Bobby Flay is no stranger to embarrassing on-screen moments. While most have passed out of the minds of many viewers, one incident, in particular, is not as easy to forget. According to Vanity Fair, this stunt may have nearly torpedoed his career. During a 2017 live taping of "Iron Chef," Flay ripped his apron wide open mid-showdown, revealing the words "THIS IS MY LAST IRON CHEF BATTLE EVER" plastered across his t-shirt. Producers reportedly told Flay that they wouldn't be able to cut around the stunt as soon filming was concluded. He retorted that had been the point of his action.

Per People, Flay quickly claimed that the whole thing had been a bad joke, saying "This past summer when I was in production on Iron Chef Showdown, I wore a T-shirt to have a little fun during my last battle this season. In hindsight, it was probably not the best decision because it's just creating confusion." Nevertheless, while this revealed some tensions brewing between the celebrity chef and Food Network, all things are apparently hunky dory now as he's remained on the show despite an attempt to leave again during 2021 (via Good Housekeeping).

Giada De Laurentiis serves raw chicken on Today

If there's one mistake you absolutely do not want to be caught making as a celebrity chef, it's serving up raw food. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened when budding talent Giada De Laurentiis made her first appearance on "Today" (via People). Hosted by Al Roker at the time, De Laurentiis had prepared a seemingly innocuous dish of grilled chicken with pesto. But when Roker went on to cut the chicken, they found to their horror that it was uncooked on the inside.

While De Laurentiis may not live down this horrid culinary moment, it wasn't the first time she had to wade through a less-than-appetizing TV moment early in her career. As it turns out, De Laurentiis had also struggled to adapt to being on camera when her show, "Everyday Italian," launched in 2003. Fortunately for her, while the case of the rather raw bird may not be forgotten, hers is a reminder that even the worst mistakes will not always end your career.

Gordan Ramsey behaves inappropriately toward Sofia Vergara

For better or for worse, the internet never forgets. Gordon Ramsay knows all about that after a video of him and Sofia Vergara at an interview resurfaced long after the original taping. According to Insider, the 2010 clip featuring the celebrity chef and actress on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" quickly went viral in 2019. In the video, Ramsay is seen directing a range of sexual innuendos toward Vergara, while touching her arm, slapping her thigh, and sitting in her seat at various points in the interview.

At one point during the clip, Vergara is seen explicitly saying "No! No touching!" Viewers on social media went on to express their horror, citing that Ramsay's behavior was uncomfortable in the extreme, though some dismissed the exchange as nothing more than banter (via HuffPost). Though it seems neither Vergara nor Ramsay commented on the video clip at the time, it did lead to necessary conversations about consent among viewers. Though he's rarely known to be an example of stellar communication skills, out of all Gordon Ramsay's interviews, this was the most cringeworthy without a doubt.

Nicole Kidman spits out Giada de Laurentiis' focaccia

If a chef's career doesn't end after a massive on-air flop, then that leaves the door for yet another colossal mistake to occur down the line. In another De Laurentiis moment that will never be wiped from viewers' memories, who can forget focaccia gate? According to The Independent, during a 2017 cooking segment of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," host DeGeneres and guest Nicole Kidman joined De Laurentiis as she prepared arancini balls and focaccia.

While De Laurentiis reportedly got the first dig in when she stated that DeGeneres' arancini balls resembled dog food, Kidman had the last laugh, so to speak. Per CBS News, upon tasting the focaccia, Kidman promptly spat it out and went to comment that it was "a little tough." De Laurentiis said that filming was to blame, as the texture came down to the focaccia having gone stale after sitting around for five hours. 

However, the actress insisted that the focaccia was tough, although she said that she knew critiques weren't exactly welcome, revealing even more awkwardness between the two celebrities. One thing's clear: regardless of whether or not rules about criticizing food during cooking segments exist, Kidman went no holds barred when it came to breaking them.

Jamie Oliver almost runs over Oprah Winfrey

If you're Jamie Oliver, you're generally not making bad food or giving horridly inappropriate interviews. No, if you're Jamie Oliver, you're nearly running Oprah Winfrey over with a scooter. According to the Daily Mail, the celebrity chef was invited to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in the mid-2000s. During the live taping of Oliver's appearance, he tried to whizz onto the set on the back of a moped. Though Oliver and the crew had rehearsed the stunt before the taping, things did not go according to plan once the cameras started rolling.

It seems Oliver's brakes did not work properly as the floor had been freshly polished. This sent him hurtling off the scooter and toward Oprah herself. Per Express, while the talk show host's security got prickly with Oliver, the show's lawyers were more concerned that he would sue after the stunt went wrong. The celebrity chef, who went on to mount many motorcycles and mopeds during photoshoots and has since annoyed quite a few folks, claimed that a lawsuit was never on his radar following the incident. Nevertheless, young Jamie Oliver will forever go down as the chef who nearly crashed into the greatest talk show host of our time.

Sam the Cooking Guy loses his cool on the Today Show

Sam Zien may be known as Sam the Cooking Guy, but in 2008, he was also known as the guy who lost his cool on "Today." According to The New York Times, during a taping with hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, Zien was trying to describe the process of preparing a salad. However, he kept getting interrupted by the hosts. Zien expressed his annoyance, saying, "Can't I talk? I watch this show every day. Everybody has issues with a lot of chatter back here, pay attention one minute." Kotb and Gifford looked stunned for a moment, then spoke back with comments about that being the last time and rescinding a compliment about his eyebrows (via YouTube).

Zien was reportedly not the only one who found the two hosts' frequent interruptions annoying. Viewers who were interviewed by The New York Times expressed how much Gifford grated them whenever she cut fellow hosts and guests off. Yet, while "Today" views dropped after Gifford joined the team, NBC vouched for her ability to elicit strong reactions. Zien may have been the one to lose it, but he sure did also spark a lot of chatter too, including a Reddit thread dedicated to this exact exchange.

Gordon Ramsay gets roasted for bad pad Thai

Even Gordon Ramsay, who has become synonymous with trash-talking other chefs, is not immune to being roasted by other culinary bigwigs. According to Vice, the celebrity chef found himself in culinary hot water when another video clip — this time from his show "The F Word" — resurfaced on Twitter. After he presents his iteration of pad Thai to contestant and Thai chef Chang, Ramsay is told by Chang that his presentation cannot be regarded as pad Thai, because it lacks the flavors of the true dish. 

Although Ramsay attempted to cajole chef Chang into agreeing that his dish was not too shabby, the other man was not having any of it. He struck back, saying that while the dish may be pad Thai to Ramsay, it certainly was not to him. If you're one of those television viewers who gets a rush of satisfaction from seeing the villain get a taste of his own medicine, watching a Thai chef scorn Gordon Ramsay may be quite the reparative experience.

Molly Yeh's popcorn salad elicits strong opinions

Ever wondered what popcorn and peas have in common? The short answer is Molly Yeh. The cookbook writer pulled out what many had previously considered unimaginable during an episode of her Food Network show, "Girl Meets Farm." Other ingredients in the now notorious crunchy snap pea popcorn salad include shredded veggies, cheese powder, celery leaves, and mayo.

When the video clip started making waves on social media in 2021, many people watched in horror at the weird combination of ingredients. Twitter user @sarahlugor was adamant that "if u bring me out some soggy mayo popcorn i will be going to jail that day" while @vexedinthecity judged anyone who might so much as be tempted to try, saying "If you looked at the popcorn salad and thought, "Hmm, that looks good," then I never want to hear you talk about being worried about what's in the Covid vaccine."

Marco Pierre White relegates bacon to the microwave

If you've looked into the practices of several chefs, celebrity or otherwise, then you already know that few kitchen appliances split kitchen crews down the middle into factions as fast as microwaves do. However, the curious case of microwaves is a non-factor for Marco Pierre White. Per The Telegraph, despite having three Michelin stars to his name, he maintains that the perfect bacon sandwich can only be made with microwaved bacon.

Though he made no mention of his string of partnerships with several microwaves, White claimed that microwaved bacon not only cooks better but saves ample time during the post-sandwich-making cleanup. While Tim Hayward called for bacon to be saved from the hands of White (via The Guardian), if nothing else, the sandwich does need no fancy culinary work. So if you're ever so inclined, you can simply microwave a few slices of bacon for two and a half minutes on a plate. You can then pop them on a slice of white bread while wiping up the fat on the said plate with the other slice, before smashing it all together and serving it on — yep, you guessed it — that very same plate. Call it gourmet, if you will.

Paula Deen gives cringe worthy interview after admitting to using a racial slur

Of all the TV moments that a celebrity chef can never live down, possibly none have had as far-reaching an impact as the live TV moment that completely devastated Paula Deen's career. According to The Washington Post, in 2013 Deen was embroiled in a racial discrimination lawsuit. During the deposition, she admitted to using a racial slur. In addition to the cancelation of her Food Network show, Deen's business partners and sponsors quickly dropped her from their rosters.

Deen appeared on "Today," where rather than apologizing, she doubled down by declaring that she was not racist. This occurred despite Deen's statement that she would have liked to throw a Southern plantation-themed party. Per Today, it was clear at the time that Deen regarded herself as the victim, saying "I've had to hold friends in my arms while they've sobbed because they know what's being said about me is not true." While fans and other chefs were reportedly divided on how things played out, it seems it was only a year later that the magnitude of Deen's actions and words finally landed for her.