Last Wednesday’s, “Michel Roux on Bread” as part of the BBC Two series, the Great British Food Revival confirmed that there are few things that make me more annoyed than celebrity chefs on a crusade. This term I use, “crusade”, isn’t me attempting to mock Michel Roux for being over-zealous, this is literally the word he chose to use to describe what he felt he was doing himself. He genuinely believes that a good man should go to war over bread… and admittedly, many have. As a history student an obvious pattern in history is identifiable: when bread prices go too high, SHIT GOES DOWN. Countless rebellions and revolutions have been sparked throughout time by bread. So yes, Michel kind of has a point: bread is definitely a cause worth fighting for. However, crops haven’t failed, famines haven’t struck, and bread prices are stable… hooray! So then, “what could Michel’s Bread Crusade possibly be about?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s not the price of bread that gets to Michel. What grinds his gears is what he perceives to be a lack of respect for bread. He is the first revolutionary of his kind: the first man to be up in arms because people simply aren’t middle-class enough about their bread.
He was livid, absolutely livid that people such as you and I are content to go and buy our bread from the supermarket. How fucking dare we. The aim of Michel’s crusade appears to be to eliminate from society all the people who wish to buy their bread from supermarkets in order to save time, and to replace these Bread Heretics with a purer faith, whose beliefs about bread are staggeringly ridiculous. His main problem seems to be that people don’t spend enough of their free time making and baking their own bread, and therefore they don’t value or respect bread for what it is. To which I can’t help but reply…WELL OF COURSE YOU’LL MAKE BREAD IN YOUR SPARE TIME, YOU UTTER TWAT, BECAUSE YOU’RE A PROFESSIONAL FUCKING CHEF! You have A) the knowhow and skills to create good bread; B) if you’re a professional chef one probably assumes that you quite enjoy cooking in your spare time; and C) being a celebrity chef you earn a considerable amount more money than the average person, so the tesco-value thin white slice probably doesn’t have the same appeal to you because hey, you can afford not to buy supermarket bread and instead buy fresh ingredients to make your own bread. Price isn’t an issue for you, but it very much is for most people, and you are horrendous if you think you’re allowed to look down on someone for that reason, which clearly, you do.
It is this kind of mentality in many cookery-programs and celebrity chef’s brains that is entirely, woefully, out of touch with the real life for the majority, and is honestly something I find offensive. Picture this scene: Dave, 26, gets home from his 9 to 5 as a salesman. Dave really needs to let off steam and thinks a nice drink down the pub with his mate would be an ideal way to do so. His mate decides to call him up and asks Dave, “fancy going for one or two down the pub Dave?” What luck! But wait, as Dave goes to say yes he realises something important and has to turn his mate’s offer of a drink or two at the pub down. He puts the phone down, dejected. Dave realised he has to stay in tonight, cause he’s out of bread, and because he’d been listening to Michel Roux and was now a snobby cunt who didn’t like the idea of buying his bread from the supermarket, he had to spend his evening making and baking his own bread instead of letting off steam from a hard day at work, because otherwise he’d have no toast for the morning and no sandwiches to take with him for lunch. Later that evening Dave slits his own throat with a bread knife out of a mixture of boredom and depression, all thanks to Michel Roux.
This story is fictional, but it was written with the intention of making a point: MICHEL ROUX, PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE TIME IN THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES TO BAKE THEIR OWN FUCKING BREAD. That’s why they get it at the supermarket… not because they don’t respect good food, not because they have malfunctioning taste buds as you seem to believe, but for the simple reason that it is both cheaper and more convenient. You literally couldn’t sound more out of touch, standing there in your MASSIVE kitchen, telling people in a time of financial-crisis, that they’re bad people for not using their precious time and resources to make and bake their own unique loaf.
Being out of touch really is a trend amongst celebrity chefs. Whether it’s Jamie Oliver telling us that he’s got a great and effective way to get our kids to eat their five a day, then preceding to mash up about 20 quids worth of fresh fruit just to get the measly amount of juice inside so that he can freeze that juice into a tiny ice lolly, which let’s be honest, is only ever going to work on a daily basis for mums and dads if they’ve got a six figure salary to burn on copious amounts of fresh fruit that you’re not even going to eat; or Heston Blumenthal declaring his own crusade against those bastards, the NHS, by getting angry at the NHS for not caring enough about the food they provide their hospital patients, when the answer – probably all those bleeping machines and doctors and medical supplies that you tend to find in NHS hospitals – to why the NHS don’t spend enough money on quality food is staring him straight in his fucking face. Celebrity chefs are repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly out of touch with real life. They are not only presenting themselves as a deluded, condescending, egotistical bunch, they are also downright offensive.