Culinary Literacy and Parasocial Interaction Relationships: The Role of Hispanic Celebrity Chefs in Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
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The phenomenon of celebrity chefs is a vibrant area of study, and previous research has demonstrated it with studies focusing on audience participation, masculinity, and food criticism. However, despite the ubiquity of celebrity chefs in the media, there are limited data related to parasocial relationships, healthy eating, and the influence of Hispanic celebrity chefs in modern society. Due to this lack of scholarly research, this research examines the phenomenon of the potential of Spanish-language celebrity chefs to become role models and promote a healthy lifestyle in Hispanics living in the United States. Building on the theory of social cognitive theory, parasocial relationships, and identification, this research aims to investigate the exposure of adults to celebrity chef television programs, to assess the influence these figures have and how they are perceived. This study explores the intersection of Hispanic celebrity chefs and parasocial relationships by conducting a quantitative analysis of the influence of celebrity chefs on individuals’ lifestyles habits, complemented by a qualitative study of eight Hispanic celebrity chefs who are using healthy techniques to increase individual behavioral changes. This study offers a unique insight into understanding the behavioral and psychological impact celebrity chefs can have on audiences. The effect of celebrity chefs could be greater to those who experience and are prone to higher levels of identification; thus, this article offers some thoughts on positive health outcomes stemming from this phenomenon. Understanding the implications of celebrity chefs as role models can further research on entertainment-education approaches and mass media-based health initiatives.