Do you think Michael Symon is sneering at Mario Batali across Kitchen Stadium right now, mocking him for having an inferior number of "Likes" on Facebook? We can almost hear Symon's Nelson-esque "hah-hah" from here. "Only 23,000-some Facebook fans to my more than 30-k? You've been an Iron Chef way longer than me. And I'm from Cleveland!"
Symon would know this, of course, because yesterday The Feast came out with a list of the Top 20 Most Liked Chefs on Facebook, their self-proclaimed popularity contest ranking chefs from highest to lowest based on number of mini cyber thumbs-up.
Not surprisingly, this list is comprised mostly of those we see cooking on TV, be it on Top Chef, Hells Kitchen, or what have you. (In fact, Gordon Ramsay placed second.) This really can't be helped, as fandom is built on widespread recognition. Still, there were a few non-Food Network stars that eked in. West coaster Thomas Keller beat out many a TV cheflebrity to come in 4th place with a whopping 47,160 "Likes." Fellow Californian Alice Waters came in at number 15 with 12,489, just on top of Tom Colicchio's 8,423, and Grant Achatz of Chicago's Alinea, Gourmet's number one-ranked restaurant in North America, just squeezed in at 20th place with a respectable 4,634.
Other than that, the list is mostly peppered with the Emeril Lagasses and Guy Fieris you'd expect.
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Wait, Guy Fieri? Is he really a chef? (Find out who's #1 after the jump.)
That depends what kind of boundaries you're setting. Per The Feast:
For the definitive list, we limited our pool to chefs with at least one restaurant (so Rachael Ray's 27,398 fans are not included here), ignored dupes, and compared the numbers for each person's top-ranking fan page to those of others.
This may explain why the number one chef on Facebook, with a whopping 1,244,012 "Likes," (almost double Ramsay's) is the butter-slinging Southern belle Paula Deen. Whether or not she's really a chef is debatable, though she does have a restaurant, and clearly, she's likable. Still, we're pretty sure one of those million or so Facebook fans is not Jonathan Gold.