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Chef Susur Lee poses for his portrait in his new restaurant, Lee Lounge at603 King St West, on January 25 2011. Lee still has a restaurant in New York.

Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Huh? When did Susur Lee start endorsing products for Kraft?

The celebrated Toronto chef is featured on Kraft Canada's website, which promotes the use of Kraft-brand barbecue sauce, peanut butter and "Signature Asian Sesame Dressing" in Chinese dishes, such as "Pang-Pang Chicken" and "Fragrant Chive & Shrimp Stir-Fry."

"Cooking easy and delicious meals for the family has always been a top priority for Chinese moms. With a wide range of products from Kraft, recreating the taste of home while living in Canada has never been easier," reads an online message, signed by Mr. Lee. "As your Kraft Culinary Expert, I am pleased to share recipes and cooking tips with, helping you create everyday Chinese dishes that are easy on your part and sure to please your family!"

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Who knew Mr. Lee was a Kraft Culinary Expert? It might be hard to imagine him stocking his critically acclaimed restaurants with Kraft sauces. But then again, Britain's Marco Pierre White, who was the youngest chef to win three prestigious Michelin stars, amazed diners a few years ago when he pronounced that Knorr brand chicken stock cubes were "the best f---ing ingredient in the world, let's not kid ourselves."

Mr. White has since become a celebrity spokesman for Knorr, among other food companies, to the dismay of those who now consider him a sellout. In a Telegraph article last year, writer Rose Prince noted that "even chefs of White's quality have their price."

"Selling out has become a natural progression that follows television fame," she added.

Considering celebrity endorsements are practically a given for professional athletes and movie stars, is shilling sauces a matter of course for celebrity chefs? Or should they just stay in the kitchen?





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