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Celebrity Foods 9/9/11

Every Day Italian "But I'm going to make it Italian." From Giada De Laurentiis to Iron Chef's Mario Batali, more and more celebrity chefs are making the leap from TV shows to the supermarket. "The catch with celebrity foods is they can come with a high price tag. They can be two or three times as much as a garden-variety brand." Consumer Reports wanted to know whether celebrity brands are worth their A-list prices. So it taste-tested dozens of tomato sauces, salad dressings, and soups from famous chefs like Wolfgang Puck, restaurants like Rao's, and Hollywood stars like the late Paul Newman. Kim Kleman, "Many do include fresher ingredients, but not all." Take these Emeril's and Newman's Own pasta sauces. Both list as their first ingredient tomato purée, which is water and tomato paste. So does Ragu, which is less expensive! Kim Kleman, "About half of the celebrity products we tested were no better than cheaper mainstream brands, although a few rated excellent." Among soups, Wolfgang Puck's Tomato Basil Bisque is the standout, but it's pricey at $3.50.
For pasta sauces, both Mario Batali's Marinara and Giada De Laurentiis' Tomato Basil rated excellent. While his costs a whopping eight dollars, hers is a Best Buy for three dollars at Target! But no celebrity salad dressings rated excellent. You could probably make a better and less expensive one yourself at home. "

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