Famous Chefs Who Are Completely Different In Real Life

When you watch someone on television or read about them in magazines, it can start to feel like you actually know them. This seems to be the case even more so with celebrity chefs, who we associate with the comfort and familiarity that comes with cooking and serving food (even if we don't actually get to taste what they're making).

Yet as with all entertainment, it's important to realize that things aren't always what they seem. That smiling chef on your television could be harassing employees when the cameras are off, and the chef screaming obscenities at his underlings during prime time could be a total sweetheart in real life. You just never know. 

Do a little digging, and the truth comes out. These are some of the most surprising instances where celebrity chefs are completely different in real life. We guess our parents were right when they cautioned that you can't trust everything you see on TV!

Friendly Guy Fieri is allegedly creepy and homophobic

Guy Fieri is all smiles. He's a down-to-earth guy who wants to cover the world in Donkey Sauce. He spends his time traveling to mom-and-pop dining establishments across the country on his super-popular show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (or "Triple D" as it's known by fans), which sounds pretty darn wholesome, right? 

Well, it turns out that beneath those mirrored shades and frosted tips is nothing short of an alleged homophobe. 

His former producer, David Page, recounted in an interview that Fieri once chewed him out for having him talk to what he assumed was a gay couple. "You can't send me to talk to gay people without warning! Those people weird me out!" he allegedly said. A field producer who formerly worked for the show, Kari Kloster, confirms that Fieri then told the show researchers that they had to let him know if he'd be speaking to any gay people on the show so he could "prepare" himself. 

Fieri is also apparently obsessed with innuendo and sex jokes. "Anytime any woman mentioned 'cream,' Guy went into a sexual riff. When cutting the show, you had to tell the editors to watch Guy's eye line, because it's always on breasts," said Page. 

The cherry on top of the Flavortown Sundae? Page said he's also made anti-Semitic remarks, including "Jews are cheap." Turns out Fieri might be as charmless as his flame-print bowling shirts and bleach blond goatee. 

Rachael Ray is rumored to be a bad-mouthing poor tipper

Rachel Ray has helped a lot of people start cooking at home with her TV shows and magazine. But it was during one of her shows that people noticed Ray might not be as generous with her money as she is with her cooking advice.

On her show $40 a Day, Ray would show viewers how to dine on vacation for just $40 a day. Yet it was only by leaving meager tips that she was able to stay on budget. Though most agree that 20 percent tips are standard these days, Ray advised that around 10 percent is enough. Since the majority of servers are paid below minimum wage and rely on tips for their livelihood, it didn't go over well with many of her fans.

There are also rumors that she may not be as nice as her TV persona suggests. In 2007, TMZ reported that after drinking what a witness said was a lot of red wine, she started making disparaging comments about fellow celebrities. One source said she claimed that Oprah was "wearing slave drag" in Beloved, and that "she obviously has problems being black." She also allegedly went on to diss Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, using language that's definitely not allowed on TV. Of course, Ray denied those allegations.

Gordon Ramsay is actually pretty nice

Calling Gordon Ramsey nice or sweet would definitely be at odds with his television persona. On Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef, Ramsay is most well known for screaming his face off at contestants, lobbing insults at them for everything from their looks to their seasonings (or lack thereof). 

Then there's his Twitter, where he routinely critiques fan's dishes with scorn severe enough to make even the most accomplished home cooks cower. 

But just watch an episode of Master Chef Junior, and the nurturing way Ramsay interacts with the young cooks gives a hint as to his real personality. He's usually more concerned with boosting the kids' confidence than making them cry, and his criticism is constructive instead of personal. 

Chef Duff Goldman has also gone on the record saying that Ramsay is "one of the coolest guys in the universe," and fans were wowed by his generosity when he answered a struggling chef's question with genuine care on a Reddit AMA. 

He may not be nice in the traditional sense, but his heart is definitely in the right place. 

All-American boy Bobby Flay might be a jerk

Bobby Flay, with his twinkling blue eyes and down-to-earth bro persona, seems like a pretty nice guy. He just wants to have a rooftop bbq! He's had major success at the Food Network, and his restaurants get pretty good reviews.

Sadly, all is not well in Bobby Flay's world. These days, the chef is becoming notorious for his infidelity and propensity to be, well, a jerk. 

In 2015, Flay split from Stephanie March, his wife of 10 years, after allegations surfaced that he's been secretly having an affair with his assistant. But the affair wasn't the only thing that turned the marriage sour. There was an incident where March's appendix burst and, instead of rushing to her side, Flay sent his assistants to the hospital to comfort her. Um, what? 

Then there's his professional behavior. A lot of people have pointed out that the entire premise of his show, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, is kind of insulting. A world-class chef walks up to a small-time cook and challenges them in a battle to see if he can make their signature dish better than they can — you just can't help but feel terrible every time Flay wins.

Cheery Paula Deen is possibly a clueless racist

When Paula Deen first arrived on the Food Network scene, she was like the cheerful, loving aunt we all wished we had, mixing up pound cake and fried chicken in her gorgeous kitchen to share with her family, friends, and the viewers of her show. 

It seemed impossible that this lady with the megawatt smile could be anything but the epitome of southern hospitality, but it turns out that was bot quite true. 

Deen and her brother were sued by a former employee who alleged sexual harassment, racism, sexism, and "inescapable pornography" was rampant at their restaurant Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House. During her deposition, Deen let slip some very disturbing details.

When asked if she had ever used the n-word, Deen casually replied "Yes, of course." She also seemingly alluded to using the n-word in jokes, explaining that, "Most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks...they usually target, though, a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know..."

Deen eventually lost her spot on the Food Network, but she's been trying to make a comeback for several years now. Time will tell if she succeeds. 

Charming Mary Berry appears to be fatphobic

Mary Berry is like the charming, proper British grandma we all wish we could have...who just happens to be a world-class baking expert, too. Her gentle but stern criticism on The Great British Bake Off makes it seem like even the most amateur cook might someday be able to churn out a perfect summery sponge cake, but there's one thing that she apparently has no tolerance for: overweight people. 

Fans were incensed when, on an episode of her show Classic Mary Berry, she fat-shamed Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw.

While talking about his life growing up on the seashore, Outlaw mentioned that he loved windsurfing. "You, windsurfing?" she asked incredulously. "You must go very fast...bit of weight on that board!" 

She also made a comment about his weight helping him crush garlic. 

It's not the first time Berry has come under scrutiny for fat-shaming. In 2015, she said in an interview that "You don't want somebody who's judging cakes to be large...people don't want to see a large person judging cakes."

Suddenly eating cake in front of Mary Berry sounds a lot more stressful than it did before.

Nerdy science guy Alton Brown is conservative and hates millennials

Science-minded types have a reputation for being liberal, but Alton Brown, who has made a career out of delving into the science behind our favorite dishes, is actually a pretty staunch conservative. He's definitely of the "bootstraps" generation, and has repeatedly gone on the record saying that he thinks younger generations have it too easy. 

When being interviewed by a millennial reporter, Brown said "I don't think your generation knows crap about the value of things. Sorry it's absolutely true. You may be the exception, but I even have trouble hiring millennials to work with me. They want everything given to them; they're used to getting it all for free." We're just surprised he didn't end the interview with "Now get off my lawn!"

Brown also has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to vegetarians and those with special diets. "Unless you have a medical bracelet that says celiac, shut up and eat the food...There are times when vegetarians should shut up and eat the pork chop."

There are also reports that at one of his live shows, he made racist and homophobic jokes. That doesn't sound like Good Eats at all.

Strict Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio is actually very compassionate

If you watch Top Chef, you know that judge Tom Colicchio can seem truly scary sometimes. He has no tolerance for BS, and if he thinks a chef isn't doing their best work, he doesn't hesitate to let them know. 

Colicchio seems like a traditional "manly-man" chef, a type that too often falls into "food bro" territory. But behind the scenes, Colicchio is actually a compassionate man who is doing his part to make the world and the food industry a better place. 

He's done tons of work with the Food Bank for New York City, works with advocacy group Food Policy Action, and has met with several lawmakers to discuss things like school lunch programs and food stamp funding. 

Colicchio also didn't remain silent when Mario Batali was hit with sexual harassment allegations. He penned An Open Letter to (Male) Chefs, where he outlined all of the ways in which the restaurant industry is hostile to women, calling out his co-workers and breaking down what needs to happen to make kitchens a safe place for all who work in them. 

Sure, he may be stern, but he's putting his serious demeanor and passion to good use.

Andrew Zimmern is a total intellectual, not a culinary gross-out bro

Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel is probably best known for his very adventurous eating. He's traveled the world, eating all sorts of things you can't find at an American grocery store, so he has a reputation as the king of gross-out eating. Eyeballs are as common as dinner rolls to this guy.

But Zimmern is so much more than a culinary stuntman. The entire ethos of his show is to demonstrate that even if you eat pizza for dinner while someone else is eating donkey penis, chances are the two of you have more in common than you think. 

"We are way more alike than we ever imagine, which is why I am so dead set on presenting the world as I see it through food in hopes that others will see our commonalities through that as well," he said in an interview. He's dedicated to showing people that the world may seem large and other people's cultures might seem "bizarre" at first, but if you open your mind and actually get to know them you'll see that every human has in common things like trying to be a good partner and a good parent, trying to provide for their families, and trying to make the most of what they have. Tasting their food is just the first step to understanding.

Anthony Bourdain was a total romantic

When we think of Anthony Bourdain, cupid and all of his little heart-tipped arrows is not what comes to mind. As cynical as they come, Bourdain was better known for his brash takes on everything from veganism to Rachel Ray than he was his thoughts on love and romance. He was an old-school bad boy with a penchant for cursing, a love of martinis, and a curiosity about the world that could not be sated.

So it's surprising to learn that he was also a total romantic. His partner Asia Argento, who he started dating after splitting with his wife, apparently captured his imagination like no one ever had before. 

The two started dating a year after they met while Bourdain was filming Parts Unknown. Their connection was immediate. Friends say that Bourdain was like a teenager in love when he talked about her, "absolutely lovestruck." One source even said "he was crazy in love with her, crazy being the keyword." 

He may be gone, but we're glad Bourdain got to feel such a powerful love in his life. 

Paul Hollywood is professional on camera, but allegedly sloppy off screen

On screen, Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood seems like he's a consummate professional. Rarely does his stony face break into a smile or his piercing blue eyes sparkle with mirth. He seems like a no-nonsense type of guy, but it turns out that while Mr. Hollywood is keeping his cool on TV, his personal life is allegedly a little messier. 

First, there was admitted affair with Marcela Valladolid, the host of the American version of Bake Off. Hollywood and Valladolid became official, vacationing in Mallorca together while Hollywood's wife moved toward divorce. After four months, though, the affair dwindled, and Hollywood's wife generously took him back.

Unfortunately, rumors began to swirl again in 2017, when Hollywood was seen kissing Candice Brown, one of the winners of Great British Bake Off. Though Hollywood and Brown denied any impropriety, the next week Hollywood and his wife announced that they were separating

The next hit to his reputation was when Great British Bake Off was sold to Channel 4. Some fans called him a traitor when he agreed to stay on as host of the new show, even though his former colleagues Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc, and Sue Perkins decided to stay with the BBC. 

On screen, he may seem like an impenetrable wall of stoicism, but the reports of his personal life seem to paint a different picture.

Smiley Nigella Lawson has actually suffered great losses

The glamorous Nigella Lawson may seem all sultry smiles and decadent indulgence, but one of the reasons why she takes such pleasure in the little things, like food, is that she's actually suffered through quite a few major losses in her life. 

First, her mother died when Lawson was in her mid 20s. Lawson's grief was made complicated by the fact that, as she later revealed, her mother had been abusive, verbally and physically

Then, she suffered two major tragedies less than a decade apart. First her sister, Thomasina, died of breast cancer in 1993. Then, John Diamond, her beloved first husband, died of throat cancer in 2001. 

More recently, she had to say farewell to her friend Anthony Bourdain, who died by suicide in 2018.

Still, she emphasizes that despite these tragedies, she tries to find happiness in the little things.

"I don't want to waste life. It feels so ungrateful not to take pleasure. You have to take pleasure in life while you can because people have that ripped away from them," Lawson said in an interview in The Australian Women's Weekly.

Perky Giada De Laurentiis might not be as friendly as she seems

No one's got a smile bigger or brighter than Giada De Laurentiis, but some have reported that she's not as friendly in real life as she appears on your TV screen. 

Fans who see the star in public may want to run up and get a hug, but De Laurentiis says, "I wish I could say no touchy-touchy, but it doesn't work that way." It can be hard for some people to see the same smiling face on TV all day every day, only to meet that person in real life and realize that they're actually a stranger, so de Laurentiis puts up with the hands-on nature of her guests even though she doesn't like it. 

Another thing De Laurentiis doesn't like? Being called out on national TV, like she was when she was doing a cooking demonstration with Nicole Kidman on Ellen. While on her own show De Laurentiis is very encouraging to novice cooks, on Ellen she started making digs at Kidman, asking "Nicole, have you made meatballs or anything?" when Kidman started making risotto balls. 

Kidman appeared less than impressed by the comment, and the segment that followed was full of eye rolls, shady comments, and a final barb from Kidman when she took a bite of De Laurentiis' pizza and said, "It's a little tough." This earned an "I hate doing these things!" from De Laurentiis, who didn't seem her lighthearted self by the end. Perhaps we were catching a glimpse of the real Giada?