IQ News: Cooking Sites Whet Users’ Appetites

In recent years, star chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay have become celebrities even outside their TV kitchens. From chat rooms on the Food Network’s Web site to e-mail recipe swaps, the Internet has helped elevate chefs to fame and bring all things food into the mainstream.
“Cooking is in everybody’s face,” said Rob Beighey, a 30-year-old chef who answers food-related inquiries at the member services center of the American Culinary Federation in St. Augustine, Fla. Beighey said that the great number of cooking shows on TV has helped broaden interest in the food industry.
“There is a huge burst of non-industry people getting into the culinary field–lawyers, doctors,” he said. But “men are still dominant in the industry in terms of cooks and chefs,” said Beighey.
Men may dominate restaurant kitchens, but on the Web, women represent a larger percentage of traffic to foodie sites like Food.com, Sierra.com and Cooking.com, according to Media Metrix, a New York-based Web research firm.
Beighey, for one, credits the Web for heightening the interest and accessibility of information to the culinary curious. Beighey particularly likes the Food Network’s Web site and recently went there to help a fellow chef find a recipe.
–Christine Sparta