Why is Bon Appetit magazine spotlighting a person who appears to hate food?

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Kelly Wearstler apparently has “no appetite for empty calories” – nor for tasty solid food of any kind, at least according to a recent article in Bon Appetit magazine. Like many other foodies currently commenting on the BA website and elsewhere, I find myself completely baffled and even rather angry that a magazine with the tagline “Cook with Confidence. Enjoy your Food.” would choose to showcase a celebrity (of dubious note) who seems to have extremely questionable eating habits.

Ms. Wearstler begins her day with “a bunch of Hollywood hot-shots” doing a bootcamp workshop where “I’ve heard we burn 800 calories per class.” Yet besides “almonds or granola, I don’t eat a lot during the day”, she says, subsisting instead on “alkaline water with cayenne extract”, water with lemon, “double dry nonfat macchiato” (isn’t that just air and caffeine?) and juice. Oh, and let’s not forget the plankton drops! Her one solid meal of the day seems to be the standard skinny celebrity “healthy” diet of chicken and salad – with one weekly “whole wheat pizza” dinner with her husband.

Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

Personally I’d never heard of Ms. Weastler before the brouhaha surrounding this article. According to Wikipedia she was a Playmate of the Month and a judge on the Bravo network show Top Design – no wonder she was off my radar. The question remains, why are we reading about her and her bizarre diet in a magazine that’s supposed to celebrate food and cooking? This feature seemed like it belonged more in an issue of Vogue or Us magazine, not Bon Appetit – and that’s largely why I don’t read fashion and celebrity magazines, because they tend to focus on celebrities whose lives are meaningless and alien to me. I like cooking magazines because I enjoy reading about and getting ideas from people who, hopefully, love food as much as I do.

That’s not to say I don’t think there’s room for features on healthy cooking and dieting in a food magazine like Bon Appetit. Honestly I know I’m not alone in it being a constant struggle to balance my love for cooking and eating delicious foods with trying to maintain a healthy weight. I’d like to see more features on professional chefs who have dealt with that battle themselves and how they found balance. But I don’t need to read about the questionable dietary habits of celebrities who seem determined to eat as little as possible to maintain a weight that’s unrealistic and unobtainable by so many of us “common folk”. It could also be seen as promoting eating disorders, as some commenting on the article (including a recovering anorexic) have pointed out.

I doubt they will do so, but I for one would like to see some sort of apology from Bon Appetit for their unfortunate decision to publish such questionable content. In the meantime that’s one cooking magazine I can strike off my monthly reading list, since it’s clear they’re more interested in promoting the celebrity “lifestyle” than celebrating real food.

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