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"Chef" -- Who is? Who ain't?


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My rule of thumb is anyone who heads (or had headed including Sous or Chef de Cuisine) a kitchen or is credentialed (e.g. C.E.C. etc).......get addressed as chef by me.

does ACF Junior Chef count?

Depends if it's a man or woman. :shock::laugh:

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Let's get this straight, it's my maestro analogy -- just read the first post.  SLkinsey just gussied it up a bit, that's all.  And for the record, I was at a bar once, and Leonard Bernstein was there, and someone came up to him and said, "how ya doing, Maestro."  So, in fact, maestros are called "maestro" off-the-clock.

Easy there Chief. If you want the credit, let it be known that you said the word "Maestro" first in this thread. As to your other comment see my earlier remarks to the effect of:

After a while some conductors attain such a level of respect/prominence/political influence that they are always referred to as "Maestro"...

I would also say that conductors of long tenure with a certain body of musicians may be habitually referred to as "Maestro" by the people under their baton.

And, of course, as I pointed out before, you could have seen someone say "how ya doing, Maestro" to Luciano Pavarotti, but that doesn't mean that it was right.

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So -- a chef is really just a middle manager who can cook? He manages the kitchen staff, but still reports up to the owner of the restaurant.

wow, if only I could cook, I could be a chef.  :smile:

I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind. Does one have to be a good dancer in order to be a good choreographer?

Certainly I think that one could be a great chef and a mediocre cook, and I can see where someone could understand intimately what a perfectly cooked piece of meat is without being able to produce it him/herself on a consistent basis. That's what cooking staffs are for.

Now, that said, I would imagine that most decent chefs are good cooks, or were good cooks at one time.

As a related side note... I remember seeing a "documentary" on young chefs that was produced back before Emeril Lagasse hit the big time. There was an interview with a woman who had hired him for one of his first big gigs down in New Orleans, and she said something to the effect that he had the reputation as a guy who couldn't cook but who really worked well with people, and that his kitchens turned out great food.

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I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind.  Does one have to be a good dancer in order to be a good choreographer?

Does a person have to be literate and coherent to be President?

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I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind.  Does one have to be a good dancer in order to be a good choreographer?

Does a person have to be literate and coherent to be President?

To be a good one, yea. :wink:

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I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind.  Does one have to be a good dancer in order to be a good choreographer?

i agree. on a related note, thomas keller reportedly doesn't even taste his food. that, i never quite understood. perhaps just hype? [i'm guessing there will be some mis-directed pro-keller tirade on the way which will have little to do with this comment.]

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I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind.  Does one have to be a good dancer in order to be a good choreographer?

i agree. on a related note, thomas keller reportedly doesn't even taste his food. that, i never quite understood. perhaps just hype? [i'm guessing there will be some mis-directed pro-keller tirade on the way which will have little to do with this comment.]

pro-keller tirade.

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I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind.  Does one have to be a good dancer in order to be a good choreographer?

i agree. on a related note, thomas keller reportedly doesn't even taste his food. that, i never quite understood. perhaps just hype? [i'm guessing there will be some mis-directed pro-keller tirade on the way which will have little to do with this comment.]

Isn't this the Dilbert theory of management?

I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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"I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind. Does one have to be a good dancer in order to be a good choreographer?" - slkinsey

I think im about to have a cardiac arrest.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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"I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind. Does one have to be a good dancer in order to be a good choreographer?" - slkinsey

I think im about to have a cardiac arrest.

The difference is what separates a chef from a fucking kitchen manager.

I'm with you invento...

Edited by Chef/Writer Spencer (log)
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Nice, spoken from a colleague who has obviously witnessed the horror of political kitchen managers "floating to the top". I love it. Now im ready for war.

Edited by inventolux (log)

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind.

If you're a Chef, you are also a good cook. It's a requirement. You don't need to be a great cook, but you do need to be a good cook. Perhaps more importantly, you need to be an experienced and professional cook. There are more people out there calling themselves "Chef" without the experience or professionalism to back it up than there are who can't make a decent meal at home.

Oh... and too further muddy the waters... there are those food service employees who run kitchens and can't cook. They're called Kitchen Managers, not Chefs.

And finally... (personal issue) a Pastry Chef should be called a Pastry Cook or better yet a Pastry Baker. They, also, are most surely NOT Chefs.

fanatic...

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I wonder, in some ways, whether it is absolutely necessary that a chef needs to be a good cook, so long as he/she understands the workings of the professional kitchen, understands cooking, is a capable manager, can recognize well-cooked food, has good taste and has a good creative mind.

If you're a Chef, you are also a good cook. It's a requirement. You don't need to be a great cook, but you do need to be a good cook. Perhaps more importantly, you need to be an experienced and professional cook...

I tend to agree... I just thought it was an interesting digression to explore for people who were inclined to think about it beyond their initial knee-jerk reaction. More hypothetical than anything else. For whatever its worth, one generally has to be at least a good dancer to be a good choreographer as well. That said, many great choreographers were well beyond their best days as dancers when they did their best choreography, and I would agree that one need not be a great cook to be a great chef. Likewise, I would imagine that some chefs of long standing may lose their chops for working on the line. Your point about being an experienced and professional cook goes directly to my hypothetical requirements of "understands the workings of the professional kitchen" and "understands cooking." I did not mean to imply an underdstanding of these things from reading books.

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Interesting...

Yes, a Chef needs to pay his dues and learn all aspects of the kitchen. Yes, he needs to be a great (or at least a good) cook.

The Chef is the leader of the cuisine in his restaurant. His soul needs to be the embodiment of the product he is presenting to his guests.

But most importantly a great Chef needs to be a cultural icon. If respect is not present in the position the Chef will not attract the talent he needs to accomplish his culinary goals. A kitchen is a brigade working through teamwork to a common goal of culinary mastery. The Chef needs to be a mentor and lead the team through recruiting and training the talent necessary to accomplish the task at hand. The true sign of a successful Chef is the abilities of his Sous Chefs and brigade and the jobs they land when they move on to new employment!

Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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Interesting...

Yes, a Chef needs to pay his dues and learn all aspects of the kitchen. Yes, he needs to be a great (or at least a good) cook.

The Chef is the leader of the cuisine in his restaurant. His soul needs to be the embodiment of the product he is presenting to his guests.

But most importantly a great Chef needs to be a cultural icon. If respect is not present in the position the Chef will not attract the talent he needs to accomplish his culinary goals. A kitchen is a brigade working through teamwork to a common goal of culinary mastery. The Chef needs to be a mentor and lead the team through recruiting and training the talent necessary to accomplish the task at hand. The true sign of a successful Chef is the abilities of his Sous Chefs and brigade and the jobs they land when they move on to new employment!

I agree with most of this excepet for "paying dues". At just exactly what point does a chef stop "paying dues"?

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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