1) Gordon Ramsay-Host of Hell's Kitchen, The F Word, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares etc etc. Despite his insistance that he's not a celebrity chef, it's hard not to attach that label to him. But his F Word recipies (mostly desserts) have intrigued me to try and make souffles and hot chocolate fondants as well as experiment with fresh scallops and other ingredients that I hadn't considered in the past. Plus his method for telling how well a steak is cooked has really helped me. That and I find it hard to ignore a guy who swears every other word.
2) Marco Pierre White-Not as popular outside the culinary world as Ramsay is but in Britain, this is the man regarded as the greatest of all the chefs. Despite the fact that he's been retired for over 10 years, his influence his still enourmous. Not so much of a TV celebrity like Ramsay, but his program Marco's Great British Feast exposed me to all new ideas for food. I've already made one of his puddings (that's what they call dessert; wonder what they call actual pudding?), altough I did overwhip the cream which screwed me over, and it was alright.
With all this cooking I've been doing, my parents have been asking me if I want to go back to school and work towards becoming a chef. I might if I was just turning 18 but I've already decided what I want to do with my life. The cooking is a hobby...but one I like to take seriously. Tomorrow (depending on when I get home from my temp job doing landscaping) I'm going to try and make crème brûlée. While I don't have a small blowtorch to caramelize the sugar topping, I'm hoping the broiler will do just fine.