Tuesday 19 February 2008

Why do celebrity chefs pose like this?

What is it about celebrity chefs that makes them pose with their arms crossed on the front cover of their books? I saw these books by James Martin and Wozzer side by side in Waitrose and wondered whether it was a trait that other chefs had too. You can see below that Jamie has also dabbled with the arms crossed technique. But not in anyway near the way that Wozzer and James Martin do.

If you have a look at Jamie's other front covers a patern emerges. The arms crossed thing is a bit of a red herring. In all of his front covers he looks relaxed. Informal. Making cooking look like a piece of piss. He doesn't need to do the whole arms crossed thing to look important or commanding.

Maybe you could say that Jamie's got his arms crossed to add a bit of gravitas to his "Cook" book. And in the Jamie at Home book it's a fairly relaxed bit of arm crossing afterall.

Gordon's front covers are interesting too. But a bit harder to decypher. It seems that he's gone from being a bit shy about his face by covering up his chin and not looking to camera to a place where he is now very happy to act as a model - almost like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. See what you think...

During the course of Gordon's rise to fame loads of girls have fallen head over heals with Gordon for his gruff, assertive masculinity. His contoured face has become iconic and he's stopped hiding it away.

Hugh's front covers are the most consistent of all. Very Hugh. You get a picture of Hugh eating or holding whatever sums up his latest book. Simple. So Wittingstall.

It all goes to show that celebrity chefs are major brands these days. The same rules of branding apply to them as they would to any of the brands I work on. The look and feel is crucial and consistency of image is really imporant too.

I hope my amateur interest in body language hasn't bored anyone too much!


Cakelaw said...

Hi Browners, rather than being bored, I laughed when I read this post. You've got it spot on - the guys with their arms crossed look smug, unapproachable and vaguely threatening, while Jamie's and Hugh's relaxed styles make me want to go and buy their books. Gordon's a great chef, but his style of gruff masculinity is actually a huge turnoff!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Heh heh. That was fun - I enjoyed that. Good spot!

Browners said...

Glad you enjoyed it. I'm thinking of doing a longer piece about it. I jumped onto Amazon and was amazed to see how they all copy each other.

Cheeky Spouse said...

Interesting and amusing.
I confess to watching 'Hotel Babylon', and the most recent episode introduced us to the new executive chef, Otto Clark, played by Alan Davies. Whilst he was watching the kitchen staff at work, he struck up the Gordon pose, one arm across chest and the other with the knuckle against the chin! I wonder who he's based the character on? There wasn't the Gordon-style swearing, but definitely the stance.

Browners said...

It's definitely a "chef pose". I'd love to see what a proper behavioural psychologist would say about the arms crossed thing.


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