Culinary culture in this paper referred to traditional cooking habits and food preparation. Celebrity refers to famous or well-known chefs, cookbook authors, writers, and specialist in the field. Gastronome is a person with distinctive and refined culinary taste, a theorist who cultivates taste not only for his own pleasure but educating others through books and various media, distinct and recognizable figure in cookery. The word "Chefs" when use alone refers to popular or famous chefs involved in cooking programmes or well-known kitchen figures in hotels, restaurant, and catering Celebrity chefs as those who are well known among the general public for their appearance on British Television. (Mintel 2002).
Food is anything primarily composed of substances such as carbohydrates, fats, water, and proteins consumed by humans for either nutrition or for pleasure (McGee 2004, pp. 792-793). It is then majority of cultures have distinctive set of cooking which becomes a tradition, favourite, and fashion. Gastronomy is relationships between culture and food along with various cultural components with food as the centre. It involves discovering, tasting, experiencing, researching, and have full understanding about food (Mead 1997, pp.11-19). It is an acquired knowledge concerning man's nourishment (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2006, p.1).
Culinary culture and gastronomy's turning point begun in the 15th century's Italian Renaissance (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2006, p.1). Italian cookery was introduced by Catherine de Medici to France in 1553 (Oliver 1967) which the later assumed culinary authority in Europe and introduced Haute Cuisine in the 18th century (Mennel 1996). It became more popular today with more elegance and refinements through celebrity endorsement adding new dimensions and credibility to a particular product. Television helped popularized the pleasures of food (Pratten, 2003, p. 454). The "recipes" campaign launch by J. Sainsbury in the 90's for instance, used the endorsement of a famous British Cook Delia Smith (Byrne & Whitehead, 2003, p.289).
Celebrity endorsement changes the public's cooking practices and food habits through credibility, similarity, and familiarity (Triandis, 1971). In times when people's attitude towards food change rapidly and more adventurous (Pratten, 2003, p. 454). People tend to follow sources which they believed has relevant knowledge, skills and experience. Similarity and familiarity enhances trust between endorsers and the public. By repeated exposures, the public adopts related positions in terms of thinking, liking, and behaviour (Belch and Belch, 1995).
The impact of celebrity chefs starts with convenience. Gastronomes through their gastronomic writings are setting the guides to good cooking. People in these modern times seek easy to prepare, time saving but good food. For instance, Mintel 2002 reporting the level of growth of people's demand for convenient meals doubled since 1997 and has reached an estimated 1.12 billion pounds in 2002. The confidence and the inclination to follow whatever they see on television is also a major influence in public's cooking and eating habits as they become more reliant on convenient food and attracted to cooking shows. Changing people's lifestyle means changing their diet (Mintel, 2002).
Famous chefs are products of