BEWARE of foodies. As a menace they rank alongside lawyers and estate agents, with the added offence of attacking our digestive system as well as our moral fibre.

My recent heart scare has convinced the better half of the household – an unreconstructed foodie – I should go on a health kick.

This involves the purchase of a contraption called a Ninja Foodi. Why?

Because a TV cook’s endorsement now carries the status of a papal bull. Only the purchase of a George Foreman Grill 10 years ago has caused more domestic warfare.

My basic objection is clear cut. Celebrity culinarians sell us the myth they can slim you down to the physique of Enrique Iglesias. For foodies, healthy eating equals expensive kitchen toys.

Years before crusading cooks like Jamie Oliver, Glasgow councillor Stevie Dornan championed healthy eating projects in his Drumoyne ward. Community halls bought ingredients at low prices. Kids cooked for pensioners and pensioners cooked for each other. Young males, like myself, were left to fend for themselves.

They learned nutrition, and the skills to cook healthy meals at low cost.

It proved transformative. He wanted the project rolled out city-wide. For a time, it was. Today, food is no longer just about personal health but involves our planet’s survival.

Politically, Stevie’s worn more colours than Joseph had on his Amazing Multicoloured Dreamcoat. Who cares? He didn’t get a book deal or TV show off the back of his campaigns but he does deserve the gratitude of his city.

I witnessed cooks orbiting planet showbiz when an ‘as seen on TV’ chef shared the bill with ex-Animal Alan Price at a Glasgow restaurant.

Pricey, despite being a Lib Dem, is an outstanding live performer. A keyboard worrier who exerts himself tremendously when belting out the blues.

The meal was unremarkable. Yet customers called the cook from the kitchen to shouts of “Sublime!” Some waved napkins in his honour like spectators at bullfights wave hankies.

We snubbed this display and attentively watched the show. Abruptly, a banquet trolley engulfed in flames bumped our table.

It was transporting what’s called a flambé.

It appeared too much cognac had overlaid the rum, and the fire reached Towering Inferno proportions.

Pricey calmly segued from Don’t Stop the Carnival to Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear. Unflappable even as fire blankets enveloped him and extinguishers gushed.

Our own Maggie Bell was seated nearby, and has probably never recovered.

The man responsible for the celebrity chef cult is rock PR Shep Gordon. Having renounced his debauched lifestyle, he discovered food. The only shakes Shep gets now are milkshakes.

He also ‘got’ Buddhism and cooked for spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama and Shirley MacLaine. In fairness, chefs were ruthlessly exploited by restaurant owners. Shep wasn’t a one-man trade union, but did help workers treated as unfairly as . . . well, as unfairly I’m treated by foodies intent on keeping me alive.

Shep has a lot to answer for. So, indeed, do I. The Ninja Foodi is back in its box. I eat therefore I am?

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