Reputation Survey: Celebrity chefs - Oliver roasts his rivals

The public rates Jamie Oliver most highly among the current crop of celebrity chefs, but has a love-hate relationship with Gordon Ramsay.

Inspiration to cook: Jamie Oliver
Inspiration to cook: Jamie Oliver


Jamie Oliver has been named as the most popular celebrity chef by 37 per cent of 3,500 respondents to PRWeek/One Poll's latest survey.

Even as Heston Blumenthal prepares to unveil his first London restaurant, and celebrity chefs join forces to push a sustainable fish and seafood message, it is Oliver that keeps coming out on top.

Half of the respondents said they would most likely buy his recipe books; 54 per cent said Oliver was the most likely to inspire and encourage them to cook; 67 per cent believed he had the greatest desire to change the food industry; and 58 per cent said he had the best public image.

Gordon Ramsay took the crown for making the best TV programmes (35 per cent) and for running the best restaurants (43 per cent), but 64 per cent thought he was the chef with the worst public image.

Forty per cent said that creating great recipes was the most important factor for establishing a celebrity chef's reputation, followed by motivating social change (13 per cent), a good restaurant or restaurant chain (13 per cent) and a TV show (ten per cent).

The recent focus on fish and seafood has also had an impact, with 57 per cent saying it had changed their perceptions, encouraging them either to eat sustainable fish (24 per cent) or try new types of fish (33 per cent).

But while the chefs may have the power to change cooking behaviour, it seems that brand endorsements fall flat. A whopping 66 per cent said if a celebrity endorsed a supermarket it would not affect their propensity to shop there.

Survey of 3,500 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll

PRWeek's deputy features editor Kate Magee talks to Rob Metcalfe, MD of Richmond Towers and Nicky Forrest, MD of Phipps PR about the latest public attitudes to celebrity chefs.


It seems that Jamie Oliver is the UK's most loved chef.

We love him because he is inspiring, wants to change the way we eat, writes great recipes and books that we want to buy and 58 per cent of us think he has the best public image of all the chefs.

And, of course, Gordon Ramsay has the worst public image, with 64 per cent of us convinced that he is the worst thing since sliced bread. So, why is it then that more of us trust Ramsay to run a good restaurant and make entertaining TV programmes?

Is Ramsay the Piers Morgan of the celeb chef world - much maligned but brilliant at what he does?

It seems that what we want from our celeb chefs is great recipes and books, and for them to zip it when it comes to motivating social change and appearing in the media.

Perhaps there is also a universal truth in all this - deep down we prefer a flawed genius than a decent guy.


68% of respondents said they had changed their eating habits as a result of celebrity chefs


64% said Gordon Ramsay was the celebrity chef with the worst public image


50% said they would be more likely to purchase a book by Jamie Oliver than his peers

Which of these celebrity chefs do you think ...

- makes the best TV programmes?
Gordon Ramsay 35%
Jamie Oliver 28%
Heston Blumenthal 18%
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall 8%
Nigella Lawson 7%
James Martin 3%
Delia Smith 1%

- is the most inspiring?
Gordon Ramsay 15%
Jamie Oliver 54%
Heston Blumenthal 6.5%
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall 7%
Nigella Lawson 10.5%
James Martin 4%
Delia Smith 3%

- most wants to change the food industry?
Gordon Ramsay 7%
Jamie Oliver 67%
Heston Blumenthal 9%
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall 15%
Nigella Lawson 1%
James Martin 0.5%
Delia Smith 0.5%

- has the best public image?
Gordon Ramsay 7%
Jamie Oliver 58%
Heston Blumenthal 6%
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall 8%
Nigella Lawson 10%
James Martin 2.5%
Delia Smith 8.5%

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