Winning the James Beard Award as the nation’s most outstanding chef might be the food world’s highest honor. But, in terms of pop cultural significance, there may be no greater sign of accomplishment than having your likeness mocked on The Simpsons. Last night’s cameo by D.C.’s own José Andrés now firmly establishes his place in the American zeitgeist. Eater has the video. Credit Simpsons creator Matt Groening and company for nailing certain characteristics of the Think Food Group mogul. The bushy eyebrows, for one, are spot on. But, in some ways, the cartoon homage is a big let down.
For one thing, the character seems far more subdued than the kooky, wild-eyed power drill-wielding cook we saw on Conan recently. The satire here, involving a deconstructed Caesar salad of foams, gels and airs, is more a riff on molecular gastronomy in general than a send-up of Andrés’ over-the-top personality. Maybe next time the producers will call up the real Andrés instead of some sober voice-over stand in.