The past few years have seen growing media coverage and public awareness in Australia around questions of food provenance and animal welfare while supermarkets have come under considerable public and political pressure over their treatment of Australian farmers and perceived uncompetitive pricing practices.
The mainstreaming of ethical concerns cannot be understood simply as a consumer movement or indeed purely as an extension of market logics; rather it is articulated to and implicated in broader changes in relation to the political and social role and status of corporate players, non-state actors and questions of lifestyle politics in shaping the future of food systems, policy and regulation.
This article examines the role of celebrity chefs and other non-state actors in this heated and highly politicised environment. Celebrity chefs have been described as the new rock stars of the contemporary age. More than just stars, however, they have in many ways become cultural icons of our time as they neatly exemplify and embody a variety of contemporary shifts and tensions around work, lifestyle and leisure; branded, performative modes of selfhood and lifestyle.