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Smoking chefs


andrewB
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Younger chefs in today's kitchen smoke far less.  Kitchens run by old-school-ish chefs smoke more.  It's a direct reflection of smoking in society in general.  You'd be surprised to learn how many of what we regard as the most precise and refined palates in the country also are laden with smoke regularly.  Doesn't SEEM to have much of an effect that I can detect -- though I just find nasty on a hygenic level.

dont know if its true but i heard thomas keller smokes like a chimney. i think that would fall under 'most precise and refined palates in the country'

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Heh, this reminds me of a Chef Phillippe, a classically trained French chef who was the exec of a small Italian bistro, 1421. I remember coming into the kitchen on the first day of menu tasting, and Phillippe was behind the line, yelling at cooks, gesturing *into* pans with his cigarette. All I could think of was ash when we got around to tasting the food :hmmm:

On another note, the exec I currently work with smokes (been one since he was 14, he says) and his food is impeccable. Then again, I myself have the occasional cigarette :rolleyes:

Bartender @ Balliceaux, Richmond, Va

"An Irish Lie is just as good as the truth."

- Egan Dean, Table 6 cook

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...I think we can all agree that smoking is a pretty gross habit ...

Not all. I for one feel that smoking of cigarettes, cigarellos, cigars and the pipe can be a rather charming and quite civilized habit so long as it does not impose on the rights of others. Among smokers that I have admired for a variety of different reasons: Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Queen Margarhete II of Denmark, Frankln D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, Jean-Paul Sartre, Che Guevera, Georges Simenon, Albert Camus, Whoopi Goldberg, Sophia Loren, Luciano Pavarotti, Catherine Deneuve, Audrey Hepburn, John Wayne, Johnny Cash, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Jacques Brel, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Vincent Van Gogh, Alfred Hitchcock, Claude Monet. Pablo Picasso and, of course, Tonto. Popeye and Sancho Panza.

With thanks in great part to The Gallery of Famous Smokers at http://www.jusonline.nl/smokers/index.html

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  • 3 weeks later...

I for one find that smoking dulls the senses, and lets not forget that nicotine is a drug, as legal as it may be, it's highly addictive and it hurts the user. In my opinion, it is disrespectful to your own body to smoke. I have tried smoking, never liked it and never will.

I do agree on the fact that It's everyone's right to smoke, and I believe that most of my disgust towards the habit has come to me through it imposing itself into various public environments. Nothing worse for me than opening a door to the outside to face a group of smokers. Even worse, sit down to a nice dinner outdoors while a neighboring table puffs away, sucking all the beauty out of a crisp bottle of Sancerre or an aromatic menu item. I have also found it to be imposing in a negative way in a kitchen. Not only do the senses of smell and taste become dull, but if the person CANNOT control his/her dependency on the drug they tend to become short tempered, irritable and unfocused on their task. One may be able to argue that there are great chefs that have smoked all their lives, and I feel like these people have had a huge influence in changing the palate of consumers by heightening the intensity of flavours and seasonings. I have noticed time and time again when training new cooks who smoke, while it's been generally easier to train non-smokers.

Whenever I become owner of an establishment, I will purposely not hire smokers, no matter how great they can cook. It's a simple matter of maintaining consistency on the seasoning and flavouring within all the cooks in the establishment.

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