Paola Andrea Albarran, Regent University, USA.
Celebrity chefs are role models for millions of people, not only because they are well-known figures who have culinary skills, but also because they play an important role as potential influencers to promote a healthy lifestyle. However, despite the ubiquity of celebrity chefs in the media, there are limited data related to the influence of celebrity chefs in modern society. Due to this lack of scholarly research, the present study examines the interconnectivity of celebrity chefs and role models through entertainment-education approaches. This study examined the positive influence of celebrity chefs to increase individual behavioral changes and change individuals’ lifestyles habits as models of behavior. An online survey provided information that was quantitatively analyzed for the existence of celebrity-person identification and how it impacted audiences’ beliefs and behaviors. Respondent answers indicated high levels of identification corresponded with viewing celebrity chefs as role models and belief in the television cooking shows efficacy. Celebrity chefs were perceived as a positive influence, particularly the expectation is that people are developing identification with celebrity chefs, which can lead to individual behavioral changes. This article offers unique insight into understanding the behavioral and psychological impact celebrity chefs can have on audiences. The effect of celebrity chefs could be greater to those who experience and are prone to higher levels of identification; thus, this article offers some thoughts on positive health outcomes stemming from this phenomenon. Understanding the implications of celebrity chefs as role models can further research on entertainment-education approaches and mass media-based health initiatives.