I'm a cook. I work in a medium size kitchen and we have no Chefs. We have different levels of cooks with the Head Cook being slightly higher than First Cook. Even our Cook's helper's supervise 3 to 4 "prep" workers. If I notice that a walk-in or refrig is running warm, I call an engineer. Help me from Union wrath if I were to tinker with a thermo-coupling, or even change a light bulb. My bosses who run the dining services are administors.
The Head Cook is a jerk and really wants to be called a chef (which he is because people are suppose to report to him, or he is suppose to tell cooks what they should be doing) but all he wants to talk about is how good he was at private restaurant where he worked 10 years ago. Or before that at Steak and Shake. If he weren't such a jerk, I would call him "Chef".
But for myself, what I do is cook. I put the best food I can on our customer plates. I cook because I love to fed people. I read internet forums and one of the most heated dissuasions is "whether some one is a cook or a chef." I like our method of naming because people don't get caught up in titles but can just cook. We cook real midwest food for less than $10.00 a plate and Cater parties for sometimes a hundred dollars a plate. Is the cook a Chef because the plate costs more? And not a Chef when it cost ten dollar?
Maybe the word Chef is evolving in our culture, and now instead of the french "chief" it simply means a cook. Hopefully a good cook. And yes, Rachel Ray is a Chef.
Real vs Fake Chefs
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