It’s been a tough week for celebrity chefs. Nigella Lawson and Paula Deen have had their dirty laundry blown across the social media landscape, but in very different ways. Their current predicaments serve to illustrate the fact that even the rich and famous aren’t immune to things like domestic violence and bigotry. They are just like the rest of us, living in a world where we are certain that nothing is sacred or private anymore.
Both Nigella and Paula are known for their love of food and their celebration of it. Neither are classically trained chefs; instead they started their journey on the road to celebrity chefdom as working mothers who were trying to keep things interesting in the kitchen. Nigella became known as a “Domestic Goddess” in Britain, and has had several successful television shows, and bestselling cookbooks. Paula is known as a down-home, southern doyenne, who keeps dairy farmers busy churning copious amounts of butter for her personal use. She has also amassed an empire of restaurants, cooking shows, cookbooks and merchandise.
Up until a few days ago, both women were enjoying the status quo on the surface. Then, Nigella was choked by her husband at an upscale London restaurant, and Paula was hauled into court to give a deposition about a discrimination lawsuit filed by one of her former employees. Her racist remarks have caused quite a stir, as has the horrific photos taken of Nigella, and her abusive husband, Charles Saatchi. Many of us thought that neither woman would ever find herself in such shocking situations, but the sad reality is that no matter who you are, or how much money you have, no one is off the hook for bad behavior.
After the shock of seeing the graphic photos of Nigella, and reading parts of Paula’s shocking deposition, we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will Nigella announce that she is divorcing Charles Saatchi because of his reprehensible behavior? Will The Food Network yank Paula Deen’s cooking shows? Will she lose her endorsement of a popular diabetes medication she started hawking last year after she announced that all that butter and grease shut down her pancreas? It is anyone’s guess at this point, but the situations both women find themselves in certainly give us lots to think about.
Whether at home or at work, we need to always be mindful of the ways our actions can hurt others. We should never stop learning how to be better people to our families, friends and colleagues. Fortunately, Coggno can help us in both areas by providing workplace violence prevention courses and diversity training courses to anyone who wants them. It doesn’t matter if you’re an individual looking for more information on these very important topics, or if you’re a business owner who wants employees to recognize how important it is to control anger and get along well with everyone. There isn’t a better time to explore these issues than now.
We hope that things work out for Nigella and Paula, and that they will learn valuable lessons from these horrific episodes in their lives. It just goes to show that even the pros burn the occasional pot, and that not every recipe turns out well.
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