The era of the globetrotting chef
Posted 27 September 2005 - 06:55 PM
Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, email@example.com
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)
Posted 27 September 2005 - 07:04 PM
"Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters-it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an exellent electioneering potion..."
- Balance and Columbian Repository. May 13, 1806
Posted 27 September 2005 - 07:55 PM
Think of the whole forum as a fabric.
This bring up the question of is Ducasse a chain, I believe you posted on this in another thread Steven.
Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.
My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 05:20 AM
The thing is, great restaurants are incredibly hard to create.
There are two issues that interest me. One: does the great chef, the one who has achieved some sort of truly original impact on diners, vitiate him or herself, dilute the gift, waste the talent by opening a series of four-star copies or lower end rollouts? Not if they've already left their mark. Indeed they stand to strengthen their work by expanding, if they can do it well. Chefs as we know have expanded with varying degrees of success. (Whatever happened to stephen pyles and star canyon?) The best, acting like CEOs, are able to spread their standards throughout their entire organization. Those whose standards don't trickle down have a spotty track record.
I think the real danger is young chefs who get into the business not with a four star restaurant as the goal, but with the goal of being CEO of a spread of four restaurants, and product and books, before they've developed any meaningful standards of their own or created anything of unique value in the culinary world.
Or perhaps worst of all, a generation of young chefs whose goal is to be globally influential. Can you imagine getting into this business with that as your goal?
Very interested in Clark's view on this subject.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 07:09 AM
Don't they call this "DiSpiritosis"?
.........Or perhaps worst of all, a generation of young chefs whose goal is to be globally influential. Can you imagine getting into this business with that as your goal?
Posted 28 September 2005 - 08:14 AM
Posted 28 September 2005 - 11:50 AM
And after all, who would you rather have as owner of a slew of restaurants? A wildly talented and accomplished chef or a real estate or money syndicate of greedy thugs?
A really good chef, like those listed, can create wonderful places for people to gather and enjoy and learn and grow - in the dining room and in the kitchen. Food is a birthright and a responsibility. This is just a logical evolution.
Marion Cunningham - author of the magical Fanny Farmer and other cookbooks - used to say the home made bread (so popular in the 70's) the was lousy is still simply lousy bread. Artisan, hand made, small bunch and all that is romantic in concept but actually needs to be really good to be worth our time and tummies.
Some cheffie globalists will crash and burn (Rocco...). Some will bump a bit but continue to thrive (Jean George Vongerichten, Ducasse...) And some will stay in Chicago where they belong (like the terribly self important but deeply limited Charlie Trotter). This is a series of individual efforts but all, I think for the better, as more good food and good cooking goes to an ever widening audience.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 08:42 PM
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Posted 28 September 2005 - 09:32 PM
consolidation is an inevitable consequence of progress
it is not value laden however
i think what will be the defining characteristic of this transition to multinationals who are in fact branded people will include:
how integral is the personality?
how complete is the organizational system?
how financially viable is the model?
globetrotters legacy will depend primarily on their credibility, and in this way is no different from single unit operators/
it would be a shame if grand chefs were only "grand chefs" but there is no reason to think this must be the case, even if it seems likely and probable
even ferran is not ferran anymore, but he is a mature product, it is highly likely that the next baton wielder is not on the cultural radar
this is the real question, will globalization strengthen or undermine the powers that be